‘Hold competitive exams in Kannada as well,’ CM Siddaramaiah urges the Union government

Siddaramaiah jumped on the 'Oppose Hindi imposition' bandwagon when the CRPF recruitment examination was conducted only in Hindi and English.

BySouth First Desk

Published Nov 01, 2023 | 2:01 PMUpdatedNov 01, 2023 | 2:01 PM

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah Belagavi woman assault Nadda

On Wednesday, 1 November, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah made a pitch for conducting competitive exams for central government jobs in Kannada, saying that it was not possible to conduct them in Hindi or English alone.

Addressing a gathering at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on the occasion of the 68th Karnataka Rajyotsava, the Chief Minister said that he would write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to relook at the medium of language for these exams.

“Shivaji Nagar MLA Rizwan Arshad has rightly said that the central government conducts the exams only in Hindi and English. We need to oppose it,” he said.

“Our children will write the exams in the language they know. I will request our Prime Minister to take a relook (at the mode of language),” Siddaramaiah added.

Also read: CRPF recruitment announcement sparks debate on Hindi imposition

Eminent scientists from Kannada medium

Noting that only government schools have Kannada as the medium of instruction and not private schools, the Chief Minister lamented there was a misconception among people that those studying in private, English-medium schools alone were talented and secured decent jobs.

Siddaramaiah also pointed out that the state produced many eminent scientists who studied in the Kannada medium.

“The Supreme Court has said that parents have the right to get their child educated in the medium of instruction of their choice,” he added.

Siddaramaiah also emphasised the need to upgrade government schools so that the students studying there receive quality education. In this regard, he felt the need to make Kannada compulsory till Class 10 in Karnataka.

The Chief Minister announced free electricity and water for government schools from Wednesday onwards, to improve their condition.

Also read: Siddaramaiah joins ‘Hindi imposition’ chorus

Opposition to Hindi

In April, there were widespread protests from South Indian leaders opposing the Hindi imposition, as the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) decided to conduct its recruitment examination only in Hindi and English.

Terming it an injustice to candidates from non-Hindi speaking states like Karnataka, Siddaramaiah criticised the then-Karnataka BJP government, saying that the “double-engine” government of the BJP had “failed” the state’s aspirants.

“I urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately allow the candidates to write the CRPF recruitment exam in Kannada too. It is important to relax the rule of writing the exam only in English and Hindi to help candidates from non-Hindi states,” Siddaramaiah said in a series of tweets then.

Stating that languages did not reflect knowledge and were just a medium of communication, he said that though candidates who studied in Kannada-medium institutions were smart, they might be unable to clear the exams because of the language barrier.

“This is injustice towards our youth,” he tweeted.

Past protests

The protests against the imposition of Hindi in non-Hindi-speaking states also surfaced in October 2022, when the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) issued its recruitment notification for the posts of constables in the paramilitary forces, with exams only in English and Hindi.

This hurts lakhs of aspirants whose first language is not Hindi and provides an undue advantage to those who are well-versed in that language.

Leaders from southern states — especially Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Telangana — as well as rights groups in West Bengal, such as Bangla Pokkho, had vehemently opposed any imposition of Hindi in banking, railway services, display boards, and government events, and have also criticised the absence of regional languages in common entrance exams for central services.

(With PTI inputs)