Who is selling ‘Pani Puri’ in Tamil Nadu? Minister’s jibe at Hindi speaker

New Delhi: Amid the ongoing Hindi vs regional language debate, Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy on Friday landed in a soup after he made a controversial statement about the Hindi speaking population. Taking a dig at those who insist jobs will be available for those who learn Hindi, the minister asked who is selling ‘pani puri’ in the city now, in an obvious reference to the predominantly Hindi-speaking vendors involved in the trade, PTI reported.

“Many said you will get jobs if you learn Hindi. Is it so…Look here in Coimbatore, who is selling Pani puri. It is them (Hindi-speaking individuals),” PTI quoted Ponmudy as saying.

“If a cat can go through a hole, can’t a rat,” he asked cryptically.

His comments came while addressing the 37th convocation of Bharathiar University. The event was presided over by state Governor R N Ravi, also the varsity Chancellor, where the minister reiterated the ruling DMK’s stand against ‘imposition’ of Hindi, a claim which Ravi sought to dismiss by saying “there is no question of imposition of Hindi or any other language on anyone.”

The minister also recalled that English and Tamil have been in vogue in Tamil Nadu for a long and that the same will continue while students were not against learning other languages, including Hindi.

Students are ready to learn all the languages says K Ponmudy

Ponmudy said students of the state were ready to learn any language and that they were not against other languages including Hindi.

Noting that the state government was ready to adopt good schemes in the New Education Policy (NEP 2020), the minister said there should not be any imposition of Hindi and students can prefer any language as the third option, but the state will follow the system prevailing now.

Alleging Hindi imposition through NEP 2020, the Tamil Nadu government has already said the two-language policy, comprising Tamil and English, will continue to remain in practice.

“We don’t want to agitate against the good things in NEP. We are ready to follow them. But at the same time, in Tamil Nadu, we should have our own language. India is a land of unity in diversity.

In Tamil Nadu we should follow our own education system…We should follow certain good policies from the NEP,” Ponmudy added.

There was a time when society barred education to women. However, the ‘Dravidian Model’ has created a system, where education was for all and women students outnumber their male counterparts in higher education, as this is social reformer Periyar’s land, he said.

Chief Minister M K Stalin has formed a committee to formulate an education policy and based on its recommendations a policy will be formulated, he said.

Tamil Nadu governor denied ‘Hindi imposition by Centre’ claim

Tamil Nadu governor N Ravi, in his address, denied Ponmudy’s claims of Hindi imposition and highlighted Tamil’s richness and wealth which he wanted to be spread across the country by enabling more people to learn the language.

“An impression is created by some people that the Central government is imposing a language on Tamil Nadu or anyone. I think that is far from the truth. That is not correct,” he said.

In fact, the whole thrust of NEP was to do the learning and teaching in the mother tongue, the regional language.

(With PTI inputs)

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