BJP leader Dr. Subramanian Swamy is known to be outspoken on his views, but that quality of his seems to have landed him in trouble this time around. Swamy who was in Bengaluru on Saturday stirred a controversy by calling Pro-Kannada activists foolish for protesting against Hindi Divas.
Swamy said, "Foolish(Pro-Kannada activists) those people. Hindi is one of the languages in the constitution. If Hindi grows does not mean that Kannada will come down. They're all the effect of these mad people in Tamil Nadu, they did it and they're suffering today. They can't travel around the country and get jobs because of it. Let not Karnataka repeat the stupid mistakes of Tamil Nadu."
Swamy's comment has definitely not gone down well with Pro-Kannada activists. Some outfits have warned of taking to the streets if he continues to make such statements.
Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha leader Vatal Nagaraj said, "Subramanian Swamy has lost his mental balance. Some pro-Kannada outfits in our state to protest against the imposition of Hindi because they've alternate views. In the first place, people who learn Kannada aren't getting jobs in the state then how would Hindi help? This logic is wrong."
On September 14th, some pro-Kannada groups held demonstrations against the celebration of Hindi Divas in Chitradurga and Bagalkote districts in Karnataka. #StopHindiImposition trended on Twitter, with many alleging the center of imposing Hindi on other states. Regional pride has played a significant role in the South. Many National Party's too have tried to adapt themselves to the setup. Meanwhile, regional party's have taken strong offense to Swamy's comment, with the JD(S) being the first to slam the BJP stalwart.
JD(S)' Tanveer Ahmed told Republic TV, " A person who is a fool is the only one who can call other people foolish and Mr. Subramanian Swamy falls into that category. In a country with a series of languages like Tamil that's 5,000 years old and Kannada 2,500 years old, why should we speak Hindi that's just 600 years old? Just because people in Delhi speak Hindi it does mean that we should be compelled. We will learn Hindi by choice but not when someone compels us."
Karnataka witnessed several protests last year after pro-Kannada groups protested against Hindi boards in Metro stations. Regional pride has always been a sensitive issue that has to be addressed carefully.