Following Protests, Southern Railway Forced To Withdraw Circular Asking Staff To Talk Only In Hindi & English
In the aftermath of the all-around rise in protest by DMK Leaders and workers, the Southern Railway was compelled to withdraw a circular which instructed station staff and train operation controllers to refrain from using their regional languages for official communication. As per the earlier notification, the staff was asked to communicate only in English or Hindi.
The circular that was issued on June 12, stated that only English and Hindi should be used in order to communicate and to ensure that instructions are properly grasped.
The railway workers and opposition leaders were in all rage against the decision and protested against the move, terming it as illogical and to be an imposition of Hindi.
About the Circular
The circular that was sent to all section controllers and station masters stated, “It is the responsibility of the control office to ensure that every instruction passed by it to the station masters is clear and fully comprehended.”
Gajanan Mallya, general manager of South Central Railway, defending the decision asserted that the direction was given “only for the operating part of it”. “So that they [station masters] understand and do not misinterpret railway signals,” ANI quoted Mallya as saying.
Gajanan Mallya, GM, South Central Railway on notice issued by Southern Railway directing station masters to communicate to control room in English or Hindi: That communication was given only for operating part of it, so that they understand and do not misinterpret railway signals pic.twitter.com/U4BBv99MRf
— ANI (@ANI) June 14, 2019
DMK Chief Expressed His fury
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief MK Stalin called the circular arrogant. He said that through the circular, the Railway was not only trying to impose Hindi on Tamil Nadu but was also attempting to make it a dominant language. “The Railway is bullying its officials,” he said. He asked for the Centre to interfere and withdraw this move of imposing Hindi. “If not, the DMK will put a full stop to Hindi in the state,” he said.
DMK Lok Sabha MP Dayanidhi Maran along with other leaders held a protest at the Puratchi Thalaivar Dr MG Ramachandran Central Railway Station on June 14, before the circular was withdrawn.
The Revised Circular
All India Station Masters Association President, John Vincent told The News Minute that he was the one who personally approved the move to withdraw the circular
“As Railways employees, we are more than willing to go learn the local language wherever we are posted. But when someone is posted in a state like Tamil Nadu, you can’t force them to learn Hindi as well,” he said.
“It felt that attention is required to ensure that communication between the Control and the Station is improved. While it goes without saying that it is the responsibility of the Control to ensure that every instruction passed by it to the Station Master is clear and fully comprehended, it is also essential that the SMs (Station Masters) do the same while requesting permissions or advising action that they are taking. Therefore, it may be ensured that communication between Control and Station Masters does not give room to any misunderstanding or ambiguity and is clearly understood by all concerned,” the revised circular read.
Similar Incidents In Recent Past
Earlier in June 2019, Draft Education National Policy (DNEP) gave rise to a controversy when a panel of experts recommended that the students, those in Non-Hindi speaking states, as part of the three-language policy should have their regional language, Hindi and English be taught in schools and for the students from Hindi speaking state, it said that they should learn Hindi, English and a modern Indian language.
Even then, DMK was quite vocal about their criticism, with Chief Stalin claiming that emphasis on Hindi in DNEP was a ‘greedy and wrong thing’ and may produce disastrous results.
Party leader Kanimozhi was also against the imposition of Hindi, while Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Vaiko warned of a “language war”. Tamil Nadu School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan had then said that the new policy will be rejected right away.
The protests by political leaders from South India finally forced DNEP to change its decision, as the Centre on June 3 reformed the draft education policy and now does not state any more specific languages for students studying in middle school.