Farmer sets fire to self to protest Hindi language imposition in India
An 85-year-old Indian farmer sets himself on fire to protest against the marginalization of other languages in the country.
Frustrated by the attempts of Modi's government to impose Hindi as the official language of India, an 85-year-old farmer in the state of Tamil Nadu, in the southern part of the country, set himself on fire on Saturday to protest against marginalizing Tamil, and saying that government's move will endanger the "future of the youth" in southern areas.
Thangavel staged the protest outside an office belonging to the DMK party, the ruling party in the region, of which he was a member.
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Although English is used in India as the main official medium language between citizens of different regions of the country and the government, the state recognizes regional languages to communicate with residents in different parts of the country, given that there are hundreds of languages and dialects.
MV Thangavel, the Indian who set himself on fire, was raising a sign written in Tamil stating: "Modi government stop imposing Hindi. Why do we need to choose Hindi over our literature-rich Tamil... it will affect future of our youth."
A study conducted in 2011 revealed that only around 44% of Indian citizens speak Hindi.
The political debate regarding this policy has been the cause of tensions since it was first pushed forward by the then-ruling party in the 1960s, which caused turmoil in southern India.
However, it was brought back to light only last month when the country's Interior Minister, Amit Shah, leading a group of MPs, brought forward a recommendation to make Hindi the official language.
The proposed move also includes the academic field, such as engineering and medicine.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi previously described the use of English in the country as maintaining a "slave mentality" while pushing for using local languages, however, his domestic opponents accused him of using this as a pretext to impose Hindi on the country.
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