Over 1.6 lakh students in Chennai appeared for the Hindi Prachar Sabha’s exams in 2018 compared to 27,600 in 2009. In 2010, a total 2 lakh 30,000 students took the DBHPS exams from different streams across Tamil Nadu and in 2019 this increased to 5 lakhs 71,000 in 2018.
Undeterred by the anti-Hindu stand of the Dravidian parties, students from 5 years onwards studying Hindi as optional, additional language has been on the rise in Tamil Nadu . Mind you, It is voluntary in nature.
Tamil Nadu had witnessed anti-agitation in 1965s stirred by the DMK saying “Hindi was being imposed on Tamils which would destroy the classic language from use. It is one of their poll planks and a powerful weapon to get leverage from the Centre. The next- gen parents with money wanted their wards to learn Hindu with private tuition by jobless Hindi Pundits as no government schools taught Hindi, Sanskrit. To meet the demands of the students, Hindi Prachar, part of the freedom movement, came into existence in Bharat. In 1927, Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, an independent body, was formed with Mahatma Gandhi at the helm. Provincial branches were set up. The first branch in Chennai, initially functioned in George Town, then shifted to Mylapore and to Triplicane where it functioned till 1936. The same year it moved to its present building in Thyagaraya Nagar in a 7 acre land. It was declared opened by Jawaharlal Nehru on 7th October 1936.
Protests against Hindi are on an on and off basis for the Dravidian parties to suit their political compulsions. Last year it opposed the draft National Education Policy (NEP) calling for the imposition of Hindi. This year DMK and its allies, the ruling AIADMK opposed the NEP saying that it paves the way for studying an additional language besides the mother tongue. Most of the CBSE schools, which have a three language formula including Hindi, Sanskrit, are run by the politicians in the state. For them the CBSE pattern English medium schools is a golden egg laying goose. That is why they have been opposing Jawhar Navodaya schools in the state where fees are very minimal and Hindi is being offered for students. What’s surprising is the spike in the number of students from Tamil Nadu studying Hindi language courses offered by the Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha (DBHPS). Over the last decade, figures say, there has been a substantial increase in students having a non-Hindi language as their mother tongue opting for Hindi.
Over 1.6 lakh students in Chennai appeared for the Hindi Prachar Sabha’s exams in 2018 compared to 27,600 in 2009. The Tamil Nadu region, excluding Chennai, topped the southern states in the 2018 Hindi exams by a huge margin. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana together totaled 2.38 lakhs followed by Karnataka (42,005) and Kerala (20,005). In 2010, a total 2 lakh 30,000 students took the DBHPS exams from different streams across Tamil Nadu and in 2019 this increased to 5 lakhs 71,000 in 2018.
The Tamil Nadu region topped the southern states in the 2018 Hindi exams by a huge margin. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana together totaled 2.38 lakhs followed by Karnataka (42,005) and Kerala (20,005).
The DBHPS data reveal that there has been an yearly increase in the number of students taking the Hindi exams in Tamil Nadu
One of its officials last year told the media that to meet the demands from students they had to reschedule the examinations. DBHPS conducts one exam in February and another in August every from lower level to Higher levels. He said there has been a steady increase in candidates taking the examinations in the last two years so much that they had difficulty in finding exam centers.
In Tamil Nadu, Hindi is being taught in private run unaided schools having both Samacheer and CBSE syllabus. Some private schools, tution centres and coaching bodies train students to write DBHPS exams based on its syllabus. The number of students voluntarily learning Hindi through the Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha has been consistently on the rise since 2009-10. From just 98 schools 10 years ago, there are now more than 950 educational institutions permanently affiliated to the CBSE in TN and a thousand others with temporary affiliation.
DMK MP Kanimozhi, former Minister Dayanidhi Maran, Durai Murugan’s son and leading DMK leaders and first family members studied hindi and are fluent in speaking the same. But they would stage drama in the state calling Hindi imposition. After Kanimozhi’s alleged drama at the Airport for not knowing Hindu has intensified after the NEP announcement. The hashtag “Hindi Theriyadhu Poda (I don’t know Hindi) was trending on social media. Kanimozhi posted a picture with young people around her wearing T-shirts “Tamizh Pesum Indian (Tamil speaking Indian) and ‘Hindi Theriyathu Poda” (I don’t know Hindi) in Social media.
Sr journalist Senkottai Sri Ram told Organiser “Students studying in Government schools have no access to Hindi as they basically come from economically weaker and downtrodden families. But the Middle class or the rich can study Hindi either in schools or through private appearance in Hindi prachara exams. A level playing field has to be created even the downtrodden can study Hindi like their peers in other economic strata. It would give them self-confidence and get plenty of employment opportunities not only in Tamil Nadu and but also in other parts of Bharat”.
He said that he studied Hindi privately, which is helpful in conversing with his North Indian colleagues. In Tamil Nadu children aged 5, kids going to school, college, and office-going staff, retired people, all study Hindi voluntarily to enrich their knowledge.