India: No place for Hindi in Tamil Nadu, says AIADMK

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

No place for Hindi in Tamil Nadu, says AIADMK

Jayakumar’s statement came a day after the Opposition accused chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami of being an apologist for the Centre’s three-language formula proposed in the draft New Education Policy (NEP).

INDIA Updated: Jun 07, 2019 01:39 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chennai
AIADMK,Hindi in Tamil Nadu,Hindi imposition
There is no place for Hindi. Neither the government nor the party would backtrack even an inch from what Anna has laid out. There would not be any change,” Tamil Nadu minister and AIADMK leader D Jayakumar said.(PTI File Photo)

Tamil Nadu’s ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Thursday said there is no place for Hindi in the state and that it is committed to the two-language formula of teaching Tamil and English in schools.

“The AIADMK government is committed to the two-language formula in schools — mother tongue Tamil and English — introduced by Anna [former chief minister C N Annadurai]. There is no place for Hindi. Neither the government nor the party would backtrack even an inch from what Anna has laid out. There would not be any change,” Tamil Nadu minister and AIADMK leader D Jayakumar said.

Jayakumar’s statement came a day after the Opposition accused chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami of being an apologist for the Centre’s three-language formula proposed in the draft New Education Policy (NEP).

The draft proposed compulsory teaching of Hindi in schools across the country. The Centre on Monday dropped the clause related to the proposal in the draft after southern states opposed the idea saying it amounted to imposition of Hindi.

Jayakumar said Palaniswami’s tweet on Wednesday, which has since been deleted, urging PM Modi to include Tamil as the third optional language in other states was misunderstood. “The message of the chief minister’s twitter post was well-intentioned. But the Opposition has been distorted it and turned into an unnecessary controversy.”

First Published: Jun 06, 2019 23:49 IST

India: Anger in South over draft policy’s Hindi ideas

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Anger in South over draft policy’s Hindi ideas

Although the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, was muted in its response, the Tamil Nadu government maintained that the state will persist with a two-language formula – Tamil and English.

INDIA Updated: Jun 01, 2019 23:54 IST

MC Rajan
MC Rajan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Hindi imposition,three-language formula,languages in school
According to the draft National Education Policy that was made public by the new government, the three-language formula should be introduced at an earlier stage in schools.(Ministry of HRD/Twitter )

In Tamil Nadu, where language is an extremely sensitive issue and an old slogan, “English Ever, Hindi Never,” still holds resonance, the draft national policy on education has incensed political parties by calling for the adoption of a three-language formula in schools — Hindi, English and the local mother tongue in non-Hindi states.

Parties of every political shade — from the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) to the Left and actor Kamal Haasan’s fledgeling Makkal Needhi Maiam — slammed the report, which they saw as a precursor to the imposition of Hindi. Pro-Tamil parties projected it as a Dravidian versus Aryan fight.

“The DMK will never allow imposition of Hindi. It will raise its voice in Parliament and outside and strive to stall it,” DMK’s newly elected Lok Sabha MP Kanimozhi Karunandhi said.

Although the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, was muted in its response, the Tamil Nadu government maintained that the state will persist with a two-language formula – Tamil and English.

“Tamil Nadu will continue to have the two-language formula and there is no move to either change it or dilute it,” AIADMK veteran and education minister KA Sengottaiyan said.

According to the draft National Education Policy that was made public by the new government, the three-language formula should be introduced at an earlier stage in schools.

“Since children learn languages most quickly between 2-8 years, and multilingualism has great cognitive benefits for students, children will be immersed in three languages early on, from the foundational stage,” the policy said. Suggestions of Hindi’s domination like a reference to the 54% of Indians who speak Hindi didn’t go down well in Tamil Nadu.

“In keeping with the principle of flexibility, students who wish to change one of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6, so long as the study of three languages by students in the Hindi-speaking states would continue to include Hindi and English and one of the modern Indian languages from other parts of India, while the study of languages by students in the non-Hindi-speaking states would include the regional language, Hindi and English.”

In response to the outcry in Tamil Nadu, a senior human resource development ministry official said: “If anyone has any difficulty, they should express (it). We take all views into account when the policy is taken to the cabinet. 30th June is the date before which they can give views on the policy.’’

Information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar wrote in a Twitter post: “There is no intention of imposing any language on anybody, we want to promote all Indian languages. It’s a draft prepared by committee, which will be decided by govt after getting public feedback “

Linguistic politics has been a feature of Tamil sub-nationalism since 1938, when protests erupted against a move by then premier of the Madras Presidency, C Rajagopalachari, to make Hindi compulsory in schools. Two men who were arrested for participating in the protests, Natarajan and Thalamuthu, and died in police custody were deified as martyrs to the cause of Tamil.

Rajagopalachari, known as Rajaji, himself became a convert and opposed the imposition of Hindi.

Massive protests erupted against Hindi again in 1965 and pro-Tamil activists committed suicide by self immolation and consuming poison. And riding on this wave of protests, the DMK rose to power in the 1967 assembly elections. No national political party has since emerged as an alternative to the Dravidian parties of Tamil Nadu.

Even now, the slogans of those days, “English Ever, Hindi Never”, “Let the body go to the grave, giving life to Tamil,” find occasional resonance.

Conscious of the political overtones of language pride in the Dravidian land, MNM founder and actor, Kamal Hassan, who has also acted in HIndi-language movies, made it clear that the language shouldn’t be imposed.

“Imposing a language is wrong. The option should be left to the people and facilities should be provided to learn any language {they want to}. Imposition would be counterproductive,” he told journalists.

Going a step further, Marumalarchi DMK (MDMK) leader Vaiko warned that Hindi imposition would lead to another language war.

“If the Centre is bent upon imposing Hindi upon us, another language war would erupt in Tamil Nadu as it happened in 1965,” he warned.

Incidentally, Tamil Nadu is the lone state in India where Navodaya Vidyalayas, residential schools meant for gifted students, haven’t been allowed on grounds that it would encourage the backdoor entry of Hindi. Both the DMK and AIADMK are on the same page on this issue.

Political parties in the state harp on late first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s assurance that Hindi would never be imposed on non-Hindi speaking states unless they accepted the language. They also invoke a similar assurance by late Prime Minister Lal Bhadur Shastri.

“Widely spoken in the country, Hindi is one among the keys to political power at the Centre. But instead of thrusting it, the BJP government should facilitate its learning,” reasoned C Lakshmanan, associate professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies.

First Published: Jun 01, 2019 23:54 IST

India in for drier, hotter summer

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

India in for drier, hotter summer

According to figures released by the Central Water Commission on Friday, 91 of the major reservoirs across the country are holding an average of 25% of their capacity.

INDIA Updated: May 11, 2019 07:36 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
summer,summers in India,Pre-monsoon rainfall
Many parts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are facing a drought-like situation despite the 2018 south-west monsoon bringing ample rainfall, experts said. (Diwakar Prasad/ HT Photo)

Pre-monsoon rainfall has been 21% below the long-period average (LPA) of 82.5mm between March 1 and May 8, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). North-west India, with a rain deficit of 37%, and peninsular India, with a shortfall of 39%, bore the brunt.

Rainfall triggered by cyclone Fani earlier this month managed to bridge the deficit in central, east and north-east India, which have now recorded normal pre-monsoon rains, according to data put out by IMD in its weather status report released on Friday. Central India has experienced 15% surplus rain over the LPA, mainly due to showers in the past one week.

Even so, extreme heat waves in most parts of India would mean large swathes of the country will remain dry before sowing begins in June for the Kharif crop with the onset of the south-west monsoon, which is critical in India, where nearly half the population is dependent on farming and 60% of the net-sown area does not have any form of irrigation.

Millions of farmers wait for the rains to begin summer sowing of major crops, such as rice, sugar, cotton, coarse cereals and oilseeds. Half of India’s farm output comes from summer crops dependent on these rains.

Many parts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are facing a drought-like situation despite the 2018 south-west monsoon bringing ample rainfall, experts said.

Also read: Dust storm, light rain may lower temperature over the weekend

“The water level in big dams this year is 10-15% less than previous years despite many of the regions receiving good rainfall last year,” said Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People.

According to figures released by the Central Water Commission on Friday, 91 of the major reservoirs across the country are holding an average of 25% of their capacity.

Concerns of a weak monsoon this year have been fanned by a lingering El Niño, a weather phenomenon characterised by warm ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean that is associated with poor rainfall and more episodes of heat waves in the subcontinent.

An update by private weather forecaster Skymet Weather said on Thursday that after tapering down slightly during April, El Niño indices have risen again in the last two weeks although the increase has been marginal.

“During the beginning of monsoon, there is a 60% chance of El Niño conditions remaining steady. This is why we are expecting monsoon rain to be below normal in June and then gradually becoming normal in the latter part of July and August,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice president (meteorology and climate change), Skymet Weather. Deficient pre-monsoon rains and a weak beginning to the monsoon could have an impact on summer crop sowing, which may be compounded by deficient rainfall.

For a bountiful crop, the rains also need to be evenly distributed across regions. Robust summer rains, which account for 70% of India’s total annual rainfall, spur rural spending on most items and increases demand in other sectors of the economy. Rural sales, for instance, account for about 48% of all motorcycles and 44% of television sets sold annually if the monsoon is normal.

Also read: Heat wave conditions prevail in North India

Officials at IMD, however, said concerns about El Niño are premature. “El Niño conditions have definitely not gone up. June onwards, it will move towards neutral El Niño conditions. We don’t expect El Niño to amplify. At the most, there will be a sluggish start to the monsoon but it will not be detrimental in any way,” said KG Ramesh, IMD’s director general.

Last month was marked by heat waves in many parts of the country, including eastern Uttar Pradesh, western Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Vidarbha, and Telangana. Some northern parts of the country also recorded extremely high temperatures.

For example, Una in Himachal Pradesh recorded 41.7 degrees C on Friday; Sundernagar, also in Himachal Pradesh recorded 37.6 degrees C, Dehradun in Uttarakhand was at 38.7 degree C. The highest maximum temperature this summer recorded till now has been at Brahmagiri in Vidarbha on May 2 at 46.4 degrees C.

“Heat wave in central India, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh is expected in May which is the peak summer season… We have noticed that the temperature in the foothills of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh are also 3 to 4 degrees above normal. Temperatures also increase before a western disturbance approaches,” said Charan Singh, senior scientist at IMD. Due to an approaching western disturbance (WD) and moisture incursion from Arabian Sea, scattered rainfall and thunderstorms are expected in north-west India and north India, including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, on Sunday.

“The heat wave will abate. There will be scattered rainfall in northwest India till May 17. But it is unlikely to compensate for the deficient pre-monsoon showers over the country,” added Palawat.

First Published: May 11, 2019 07:32 IST

Ahead of Cyclone Fani, Red Alert issued for Coastal Tamil Nadu

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Ahead of Cyclone Fani, Met dept issues red alert for coastal Tamil Nadu

Weather tracking website Skymetweather.com has observed that the system may strengthen as a tropical storm on the evening of April 27 or on the morning of April 28.

INDIA Updated: Apr 25, 2019 17:47 IST

M Manikandan
M Manikandan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
IMD,Tamil Nadu,alert
The Indian Meteorological Department has said if the low pressure transforms into a cyclone, it will move in a western and north-westerly direction where Tamil Nadu lies.(PTI PHOTO)

The Indian Meteorological Department on Thursday issued a red alert for Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on April 30 and May 1 saying heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely in the southern state and the union territory. The IMD and other private weather forecasters have predicted that a low pressure formed in the Bay of Bengal is likely to develop into a cyclone which would be named ‘Fani’.

According to the IMD, if the low pressure transforms into a cyclone, it will move in a western and north-westerly direction where Tamil Nadu lies.

“A well low-pressure area lies over East Equatorial Indian Ocean and adjoining the southeast Bay of Bengal. It is very likely to intensify into a depression during the next 24 hours over East Equatorial Indian Ocean and adjoining central parts of south Bay of Bengal and into a Cyclonic Storm during the subsequent 24 hours over southwest Bay of Bengal and adjoining Equatorial Indian Ocean. It is very likely to move northwestwards along the east coast of Sri Lanka near north Tamil Nadu coast on April 30, 2019,” the IMD alert reads.

IMD’s Chennai regional director, S Balachandran said, “We are monitoring the system. Only on April 27 can we predict when and where the cyclone will make landfall.”

He also advised fishermen not to venture into the sea for the next week.

Though the IMD has not predicted the exact place where Cyclone Fani would make landfall, Nagapattinam-based private weather analyst Selva Kumar, who had correctly predicted that Cyclone Gaja will cross the shores between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam coasts in November last, has claimed that Cyclone Fani will cross the shore between Manamelkudi (Pudukottai district) and Adhirampattinam (Thanjavur district) coastal areas.

The weather tracking website Skymetweather.com has observed that the system may strengthen as a tropical storm on the evening of April 27 or on the morning of April 28.

“It is to be named Cyclone Fani. By this time, it would have reached Southwest Bay of Bengal, close to Sri Lanka. Gradually, it will arrive in close proximity of the North Tamil Nadu coast in the Southwest Bay of Bengal. Weather models are showing the tendency of the system to move north-northwestwards and re-curve thereafter,” the skymetweather.com said in its blog.

The weather forecast website has also predicted that it is already a slow-moving system. “If the system re-curves, it is likely to further make it slower. This means that the system may become more intense and spend more time in the proximity of the Tamil Nadu coast, resulting in good rains over the state, including Chennai for a prolonged period,” the prediction reads.

If the cyclone makes landfall, it will be the second one in the state within six months. Cyclone Gaja hit the state in November. In the cyclonic devastation, 63 people died and thousands of houses were damaged in Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Pudukkottai districts.

With the IMD sending out a red alert, district administrations of Pudukkottai, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Thiruvarur have advised fishermen not to venture into the sea for the next few days.

First Published: Apr 25, 2019 17:45 IST

After 43 days in Odisha prison, Abhijit Iyer-Mitra walks free

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

(I AM NOT A LEGAL EXPERT ON  INDIA’S LEGAL AFFAIRS BUT DOES NOT THIS TYPE OF A CASE DAMAGE INDIA’S CLAIM OF BEING A DEMOCRACY?)(oldpoet56)

After 43 days in Odisha prison, Abhijit Iyer-Mitra walks free

Iyer-Mitra, who was behind bars since October 23 over his tweets on 12th century Jagannath temple and 13th century Sun temple since September this year, was granted bail by Orissa High Court on Wednesday after the Odisha Government decided not to accord sanction of his prosecution and withdraw all cases against him.

INDIA Updated: Dec 07, 2018 01:26 IST

Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Bhubaneswar
Delhi-based defence analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra on Thursday walked out of jail free after a court in Konark granted him bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 and an assurance that he won’t make any “distasteful remarks” in future. (ANI)

Forty three days after his arrest over allegedly insulting Odia sentiments and tradition in his tweets, Delhi-based defence analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra on Thursday walked out of jail free after a court in Konark granted him bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 and an assurance that he won’t make any “distasteful remarks” in future.

Iyer-Mitra, who was behind bars since October 23 over his tweets on 12th century Jagannath temple and 13th century Sun temple since September this year, was granted bail by Orissa High Court on Wednesday after the Odisha Government decided not to accord sanction of his prosecution and withdraw all cases against him. Iyer-Mitra was hospitalised on Sunday following acute pain in his stomach.

Soon after his release, Abhijit will head to Chennai to meet his mother VS Chandralekha, Tamil Nadu’s first Woman collector and a close associate of Subramanian Swamy.

The withdrawal of the cases came after he petitioned to the Odisha chief secretary seeking withdrawal of sanction to prosecute him under Section 196 of the CrPC in the 2 cases citing lack of intent or malice. “In addition to my apology to the Odisha assembly, I have unreservedly and unconditionally apologized for my words and actions that may have unintentionally hurt the sentiments of the people of Odisha, the Chief Minister and any others,” he wrote. Last month, the Assembly pardoned him after he begged apology.

In September this year, Iyer-Mitra landed in a doghouse after he flew in a chopper with former BJD MP Baijayant Jay Panda over waters of Chilika lake. He became a collateral victim of fight between the CM and his bete noire Baijayant Panda, when he went to the Sun temple at Konark in Puri district and posted a video blog on Twitter in which he said the temple was a humple(a slang for sex). An FIR was lodged at Konark police station, but Iyer-Mitra managed to secure bail from a metropolitan court in Delhi in September.

However, his ordeal began when he passed some offensive remarks against MLAs of the State leading to breach of privilege motion. He landed in further trouble when a second FIR was lodged against him by a one Manoranjan Swain of Bhubaneswar over an year-old tweet of him ridiculing Odisha and Jagannath temple. In a tweet dated November 16, 2017, he wrote “Odisha was discovered by Bengali explorers, who called it “OriShala!!! And it was named Orissa”.

Iyer-Mitra was arrested and sent to judicial custody after being booked under sections 294, 295-A, 506, 500, 153-A of IPC and 67 IT Act on Sept 20 for allegedly making offensive remarks that could cause communal disturbances. Soon after he landed in jail, he stopped eating.

Though his arrest was condemned by several intellectuals as well as Amnesty India, the government did not move till his health deteriorated on Sunday leading to his hospitalisation.

First Published: Dec 06, 2018 22:40 IST

How Tamil Nadu stayed peaceful after Jayalalithaa’s death

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS PAPER)

How Tamil Nadu stayed peaceful after Jayalalithaa’s death

INDIA Updated: Dec 08, 2016 00:49 IST

KV Lakshmana, Hindustan Times

Highlight Story

A security person places flowers at the burial place of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa in Chennai. (PTI Photo)

J Jayalalithaa’s legions of devotees had immolated themselves in her defence in the past but when their beloved Amma died on Monday night, they were strangely calm and disciplined in mourning.Her party, the AIADMK, said late on Wednesday that 77 people died of shock across Tamil Nadu following news that their resilient Amma couldn’t pull through after a cardiac arrest. It promised to pay Rs 300,000 each to the families of the deceased. Official reports put the death toll at nine till evening.

But whatever the number, it could have been a nightmare had Amma’s supporters behaved the way they did when she was arrested in September 2014 after a Bengaluru trial court convicted her of corruption in a disproportionate assets case. About 244 people died of shock or committed suicide then, while mobs ran riot.

“Police prepared very well … did barricading for crowd control, which was effective. They factored in every aspect of the situation, drawing from past experience and placed policemen and rapid action force (RAF) units wherever needed,” said R Natraj, an AIADMK legislator and a former director general of police.

Barring frayed tempers and minor scuffles, the state and its capital, Chennai, remained peaceful.

Thousands of mourners filed into the landmark Marina beach for a final salute at the grave of the 68-year-old former chief minister and matinee idol.

They wailed and beat their chests, but remained disciplined. The reasons are not far to seek.

The AIADMK leader’s prolonged illness since September, the month she was admitted to Apollo Hospitals, and her oscillating health gave the administration and the people enough time to prepare for the inevitable.

Since news about her health came out of Apollo Hospitals and the party in fits and starts, people were prepared for the eventuality, said psychologist Chitra Arvind of Manas, an NGO.

“Yes, it is difficult for her supporters to accept it. But there was no impulse for them to commit suicide, as was the case before.”

Even die-hard supporters were reconciled to the inescapable fate — this is a natural death, an act of god.

Read| Chennai gradually returns to normal after Jayalalithaa’s death

“Word went out to the party’s rank and file to maintain strict discipline as it was the greatest homage that they could pay to Amma … not to bring discredit to the party,” said C Ponnaian, an AIADMK spokesperson.

Pickets and preemptive action checked the outbreak of violence, while meticulous preparation helped manage a sea of crowd and VVIPs who turned up during Jayalalithaa’s burial on Tuesday.

Across Tamil Nadu, about 100,000 police personnel were deployed, their leaves cancelled. In Chennai, 10,000 rookie constables and 1,000 trainee sub-inspectors were on duty, supplementing the regular security set-up.

A police officer said the closure of state-run Tasmac liquor shops for three days helped too because there were fewer drunken brawls that could have escalated into mass violence.

Read| Not Amma to all: The other side of Jayalalithaa’s legacy

Jayalalithaa, India’s Colorful, Controversial State Leader, Dies

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BLOOMBERG NEWS)

Jayalalithaa, India’s Colorful, Controversial State Leader, Dies

December 5, 2016 — 2:18 PM EST December 5, 2016 — 2:18 PM EST
  • She died close to midnight after a prolonged hospital stay
  • Made a determined journey from a starlet to chief minister

Jayaram Jayalalithaa, a popular movie star who rose to become one of India’s most powerful regional leaders, has died. She was 68.

She died at 11:30 p.m. local time on Monday at Apollo Hospital in Chennai, the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu where she was chief minister, the hospital said in a statement. She was hospitalized on Sept. 22 to treat fever and dehydration, and died following a cardiac arrest on Dec. 4.

Jayaram Jayalalithaa

Photographer: M. Lakshman/AP Photo

The colorful and controversial politician had faced a series of high and lows. Her supporters said she steered Tamil Nadu to development and economic growth, making the state a base for companies including Dell Inc. and Hyundai Motor Co. Her critics said she established a personality cult, involved in corruption and indulged in extravagant expenditure.

“Our beloved leader, The Iron Lady of India, Puratchi Thalaivi Amma, is no more,” her party said on its official Twitter account.

Jayalalithaa’s death could trigger public expressions of grief among her supporters, who in the past had shown devotion to their ‘Amma’ — ‘mother’ or ‘goddess’ in the local language — by painting her portrait in blood and walking on hot coals. Police blocked traffic on some roads in Chennai leading to the hospital where Jayalalithaa was hospitalized.

Starlet to CM

Like many politicians in southern India, Jayalalithaa used a past in the popular Tamil-language cinema and in particular her closeness to M.G. Ramachandran, a movie hero who founded the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party, to build a political base.

Under her leadership, the AIADMK started several welfare programs to supply cheap food and medicines to the poor, all named after Jayalalithaa. She also led the party to greater influence, allying with the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1998 to form a national government that collapsed after 13 months when she withdrew support.

“Her demise has left a huge void in Indian politics,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted. Her “connect with citizens, concern for welfare of the poor, the women and marginalized will always be a source of inspiration.”

The troughs and peaks continued. Jayalalithaa spent three weeks in prison on corruption charges in 2014 before a high court cleared her. After being physically attacked amid the state assembly in 1989, the Rock Hudson fan who considered green her lucky color became the first in decades to win consecutive terms in Tamil Nadu.

Her national ambitions, however, remained unfulfilled.