Mr.Avinasilingam (Chettiar) one time Education Minister
of our State was, it is reported, heckled twice by fellow
Congressmen in the Rajya Sabha, while he was expressing
his views about the Language problem. We are sorry to
hear that, but not surprised. For, though we lack intimate
contact with the Hindi fanatics of the up-country as
Mr.Avinasilingam (Chettiar) has the unique honour of
having we are convinced of this fact: no amount of reasoning
could or would make ‘schemers to change their course.’
And as we are convinced that there is fairly big group,
bent to enslave the South, by implanting Hindi as the
official language, they would be terribly upset whenever
and whoever speaks against the Hindi Imperialism.
Mr.Avinasilingam (Chettiar), perhaps, could present
credentials enough to prove that he is a better Congressman,
than those hecklers! But, Congress or no Congress, if
anybody expresses any antipathy towards Hindi, then
those chauvinists would not tolerate him.
The ex-minister of our State, bred and brought up in
a land which is noted for its democratic spirit probably
thought, that a patient and sympathetic hearing would
he given, whenever anyone expresses honest difference
of opinion. He found to his dismay that he was mistaken.
So long as he was talking on policies of food or fodder,
using even scathing words, the Sabha gave him a sympathetic
In fact, the words used by Mr.Avinasilingam while discussing
the food problem, was a bit harsh.
Says the ‘Times of India’ “Mr.Avinasilingam Chettiar
who emerged as the strongest critic, virtually voiced
the feelings of the opposition when he declared that
it was a matter of ‘sorrow and shame’ that while we
have been proclaiming that we are going to achieve self-sufficiency,
year after year, we have to import food.”
He went to the length of saying that those who are now
in charge of administration on the food front, should
be replaced by dynamic persons.
There were no protests, no interruptions, but the moment
Mr.Avinasi began to talk on the language issue, he had
to face heckling!
Mr., Avinasi, writes the ‘Times of India’, “warned up
to thunder that any attempt on the part of the majority
in the country to force the pace of the change-over
to Hindi would result in disastrous consequence—that
way lies the danger to the unity of the country.”
We thank Mr. Avinasi for maintaing the true Tamilian
spirit—calling a spade a spade, come what may—but we
request him to permit us to point out, that if this
is the attitude of those upcountry leaders, now, towards
such a seasoned politician as Mr.Avinasi, the future
relationship between those of the South and those of
the North, is bound to be, uglier still!
Mr.Avinasi, was but pleading for ‘caution’—not even
for completely giving up Hindi. He did not even utilise
such terms as fanatics, chauvinists—he was but requesting
them not to force the pace of the change over to Hindi
and yet, he was heckled! And why? Those at the North
would tolerate any kind of talk—even downright criticism
of Mr.Nehru—but they would not allow any word expressed
against their policy of Hindi Imperialism.
We are sure, Mr.Avinasilingam would have by this time
detected this trait in them—but what is his answer,
what is the way out?
True, the exhibition of valour is to be appreciated,
but if this is the sort of treatment meted out to men
of Mr.Avinasi’s calibre, we shudder to think, what is
in store for men with lesser valour and integrity! And,
that is one reason why, we want to be freed from the
shackles—the future relationship as between those at
the North and those who go from the South, is bound
to become worsened. Either we submit to become the slaves
of Hindi Imperialism or raise for our inherent rights.
There is no, ‘in-betweens’!!
We do not know, what thoughts were kindled in Mr.Avinasilingan’s
mind, on facing those hecklers, and to what decision
he has come to.
We, on our part, are not surprised—our policy gains
strength whenever instances such as these take place—they
but go to prove the soundness of our logic and the seriousness
of our demand.
(Sub-Editorial - 22-02-1959)