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Excerpts of C.N. Annadurai's speech

When Anna warned of ‘relentless agitation’

Print edition : Jun 03, 2022 T+T-
CHENNAI : 22/03/2008 : Former Chief Minister (late) C.N.Anna Durai with C.Rajagopalachari (late) Governor General of India.Photo : DIPR

CHENNAI : 22/03/2008 : Former Chief Minister (late) C.N.Anna Durai with C.Rajagopalachari (late) Governor General of India.Photo : DIPR

Speaking on the Official Languages Bill, C.N. Annadurai, MP, and later Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, made many valid points. The following are excerpts of his speech, taken from Anna Speaks at the Rajya Sabha 1962-66 (edited by S. Ramachandran, 1975).

“It was stated that Hindi has got the claim to become the official language because it was spoken by 42 per cent of the population. If this 42 per cent were to be scattered throughout the length and breadth of India, the argument would be logical and it would be ethical also but this 42 per cent is concentrated in compact and contiguous areas. Therefore if 42 per cent is taken into consideration, you are conferring a permanent, perennial advantage on a compact and contiguous area in India and conversely a permanent disadvantage to other areas…. Therefore, the 42 per cent, entrenched in a compact area, cannot be taken as an index of ethical majority. It is merely an arithmetical majority. Therefore I say that Hindi has no claim to becoming official language. (page 69)

“The consequence of the imposition of Hindi as the official language will create a definite, permanent and sickening advantage to the Hindi-speaking States…. In this problem, the DMK occupies only a very small place. It depends upon the future of this Bill whether the DMK is to occupy a greater sphere or occupy the same sphere…. But if Hindi is imposed as the official language, the DMK will unfold its relentless fight, its relentless agitation against the imposition of Hindi whatever be the consequences. (page 72)

“I would say it is not a question of majority or minority. It is a question of justice and freedom, it is a question of consultation and concord, it is a question of amity and affection or animosity. You will have to decide it in that way and not though numbers.” (page-73)

Sathosh Kumar Babu, MP, wanted to know what solution Annadurai proposed. Annadurai responded: “Keep the status quo by amending the Constitution. Let there be a solution not necessarily by us…. It is my request, my pleading….”


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