Ex-Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy weighed in Thursday on the Twitter exchange between actors Ajay Devgn and Sudeep on the always controversial subject of Hindi being India's national language. In a series of tweets, the Janata Dal (Secular) boss backed Kannada actor Sudeep and said, "Hindi is not a national language..." He also criticised Devgn for his "ludicrous behaviour" and labelled him a "mouthpiece of the BJP's Hindi nationalism".
Kumaraswamy also ripped into the BJP and said "a seed sown... has become contagious (and is) dividing the nation." This is a threat to India's unity.
"Actor Kiccha Sudeep saying that Hindi is not a national language is correct. There is nothing to find fault with in his statement. "Actor Ajay Devgn is not only hyper in nature but also shows his ludicrous behaviour," he tweeted.
"Just because a large population speaks Hindi doesn't mean it becomes a national language. At least 9 states, Kashmir-Kanyakumari, have Hindi as a 2nd, 3rd, or not even that. In this situation, what is the truth in Ajay Devgn's statement? What do you mean by "not to dub?" The former chief minister wrote to
The controversy erupted after Sudeep's response to "K.G.F: Chapter 2"—a recently released Kannada film—being called a "pan-India film."
He said Hindi could not be considered a national language and called on Bollywood to release dubbed versions of its films, to which Devgn responded, "Hindi was, is, and always will be our mother tongue and national language."
Sudeep then underlined the country's cultural and linguistic diversity and also politely wondered if Bollywood would have understood his comment had it been in Kannada and not English. "Don't we also belong to India, sir?" he asked.
The exchange prompted a furious debate on languages in India (even after the two actors reconciled) and the perception of the imposition of Hindi in the south-an explosive that unites otherwise rival regional political parties.
"From the beginning, 'Hindi'-based political parties in the Centre have been making efforts to destroy regional languages. The Congress which started with surprising regional languages, is being continued by the BJP. "
"Ajay Devgn's blabbered as a mouthpiece of the BJP’s Hindi Nationalism of one nation, one tax, one language, and one government," Kumaraswamy wrote.
"An addiction to primacy is dividing the country. A seed sown by the BJP
Kumaraswamy wasn't the only Kannada politician to hit back at Devgn; another former chief minister, the Congress' Siddaramaiah, also spoke up.
"Hindi was never and will never be our national language. It is the duty of every Indian to respect the linguistic diversity of our country. Each language has its own rich history for its people to be proud of. I am proud to be a Kannadiga! "
The Congress' state unit chief, DK Shivakumar, also tweeted, pointing out that there were nearly 20,000 languages in India and that none should dominate another.
"There are 19,500 mother tongues spoken in India. Our love for India feels the same in every language. As a proud Kannadiga and a proud Congressman, let me remind everyone that Congress created linguistic states so that no one language dominates another, "he tweeted.