Bengaluru: Former first-class cricketer Rajinder Amarnath and veteran Hindi commentator Sushil Doshi have kicked up a row for their comment that Hindi “should” be spoken by all Indians as it is “our mother tongue”.
There is no other language greater than it, they said as they commentated for a Hotstar telecast of the Karnataka-Baroda Ranji Trophy match in Bengaluru’s Chinnaswamy stadium Thursday.
They were later forced to apologise as several angry netizens took to social media to lambast them.
Did this lunatic commentator just say “Every Indian should know Hindi” ? What on earth do you think you’re @BCCI ? Stop imposing Hindi and disseminating wrong messages. Kindly atone. Every Indian need not know Hindi #StopHindiImposition #RanjiTrophy #KARvBRD pic.twitter.com/thS57yyWJx
— Ramachandra.M/ ರಾಮಚಂದ್ರ.ಎಮ್ (@nanuramu) February 13, 2020
Even after somuch protest from Non Hindi people from last 70 years, Indian govt irrespective of ruling party, wants to impose Hindi on non Hindi people and trying to make India=Hindi, this is nothing but rape.ಬಲಾತ್ಕಾರ, ಇವರ ನಡೆ ಹೇಗಿದೆ ಎನ್ನಲು ಬೇರೆ ಪದ ಬೇಕಿಲ್ಲ.#stopHindiImposition
— ಅರುಣ್ ಜಾವಗಲ್ | Arun Javgal (@ajavgal) February 13, 2020
For the uninitiated, here you go again: India DOES NOT have a national language, and you can't impose a language or a culture on anyone. If you still do have any doubts, read up on the Constitution and not lousy WhatsApp forwards #StopHindiImposition #RanjiTrophy #KARvBRD https://t.co/Iwv37kW1yA
— Arun Venugopal (@scarletrun) February 13, 2020
Hey you idiots what the hell you're blabbering in the commentary box, India is not equal to Hindi,have some commonsense while speaking,Hindi is not Rashtrabhasha,@BCCI should sack these clowms from the commentary panel,it's an insult to non hindi speakers#stopHindiImposition https://t.co/YUq56zoMJH
— Prashanth (@prashanthhr01) February 13, 2020
It all started when the discussion steered towards how veteran cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, who has begun Hindi commentary, had described a dot ball as “bindi ball”.
Amarnath, a former Haryana all-rounder who is the son of former India cricketer Lala Amarnath and brother of Mohinder Amarnath, then said: “Hindustan mein har Hindustani ko Hindi aani chahiye, ye hamari matrabhasha hai (In India, every Indian should know Hindi… it is our mother tongue).”
Doshi added: “Isse badi bhasha hamare liye nahi hai (There is no language greater than this).
“Sahi keh rahe hain aap. Main un logon ko badi krodh se dekhta hoon jo kehte hain ki, bhai, hum cricketer hain phir bhi Hindi bol rahe hain. Arre bhai, Bharat main rehte hain, Bharat ki bhaasha hi bolenge, usme garv ki kya baat hai (I get angry when people say they speak Hindi despite being cricketers. You live in this country, obviously you will speak the language of the land. What is there to be proud of)?”
Tipped off about the angry reactions they were drawing on social media, Amarnath offered an apology during the live commentary.
“The intention was never to enforce a language. All languages of the country are part of the country. Everybody loves to speak their own language. My intention was not to hurt anyone.”
The two also tried to clarify their comments during the media briefing held after the day’s play, but found few takers.
Amarnath first said he never said Hindi was India’s national language, adding that he only wanted to communicate that Indians should know Hindi. When asked whether he stood by his statement that every Indian “should know” Hindi, the former Ranji player said he should have perhaps said everyone “could” know Hindi, instead of “should”.
Doshi, meanwhile, seemed to tie himself up in knots further by mistaking Telugu for the language spoken in Karnataka, Kannada. When corrected, he added that Hindi was to India what English was to England.
Pro-Kannada organisations to approach BCCI
Pro-Kannada organisations refused to accept the duo’s apology, saying they would take up the issue with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which had appointed the commentators.
“These are senior commentators and cricketers. They should know what they speak on a public platform. Why should they indulge in language advocacy?” said T.S. Nagabharana, the chairman of the Kannada Development Authority, a government body involved in promoting Kannada.
“They are best suited to their profession. They will lose respect if they involve themselves in such controversies.”
Arun Javagal, a campaigner associated with the ‘Hindi-Imposition-Resistance Movement’, said the statements were an outcome of the way Hindi had been promoted by the central government over the past 70 years, and given an “extra special status” through provisions like Article 343, which declares Hindi the official language of the union.
“They may have apologised, but this should also send a message that people can’t make sweeping statements as we all are proud of our mother tongues… Let this be a lesson to all to be careful about how they speak,” Javagal said.
However, theatre artiste and Bollywood actor Prakash Belawadi, who has dabbled in art of various languages, said Doshi and Amarnath should not be targeted for their comments.
“It was their individual opinion on what they felt about Hindi,” he added.