This language war, which started before the freedom struggle, was considered a huge challenge to India’s democratic philosophy in almost 20 years after the liberation struggle. Historical evidence proves that if the language of a race is destroyed, that race will also be destroyed.  Yes, this anti-Hindi language war started against that!

Rajagopalachari, the then Chief Minister of Madras, made Hindi compulsory in schools.  In those days getting education alone was even a question, so to try and enforce education in a foreign language when there was already a lack of proper teachers to even teach in the mother tongue, an uproar from the people began. The language war martyrs Natarajan and Thalamuthu said that they would sacrifice their lives so their future generations can live with Tamil.  Arrested and imprisoned during the protest, they refused to give a letter of apology in exchange for medical treatment and subsequently died in prison.  Thus, the first seed for the language war was sown there.

After 15 years, Lal Bahadur Shastri, who was the Prime Minister of independent India in 1965 and took office after Nehru’s death, enacted a law to make Hindi the official language and the language war began again.  The then Madras provincial chief minister Bhaktavatchalam also supported this and the youth of Tamil Nadu got angry.  They woke up.

Everyone started fighting together, school students, college students and general public.  Seeing this as just a disturbance, the Congress government was quick to bring in the police force to suppress these youths. Seeing that the police force wasn’t enough, they bought in the military to assist and take down the crowds.  The ‘Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’ (an Opposition Political Party to the then State Government), took a stand in this struggle and many of its leaders were jailed.  Not only the leaders, but also many students and many citizens regardless of political parties dared to go to jail.  Many post offices and train coaches were looted in this protest which continued for 50 days.  Nearly 400 people lost their lives. 2,000 were injured.  As the war continued, the language war was brought to an end as it reached its climax and avoided major damage. Accordingly, along with Hindi, English continues to be the official language till date.

If there is one race in the world that died for language, it would be our Tamils. Today, “Language War Martyrs Day” is observed in memory of the 12 martyrs who died in the language war.

It is our duty to remember our ancestors who died for the Tamil Language and Heritage.

 #அத்துத்து #Aatrupadai #Tamil #Tamil #language #language


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