The Union government’s notification for SSC recruitment exams has put the spotlight again on discrimination against non-Hindi-speaking job aspirants.
The Combined Graduate level examination conducted by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) has become a bone of contention as the recruitment test for 20,000 posts is conducted only in Hindi and English. 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.
SSC released the examination schedule on 18 September to fill Group B and Group C jobs in different ministries, departments, organisations of the Government of India, and various constitutional bodies and tribunals.
Pointing out that the Union government’s decision was against the spirit of democracy and a disadvantage to students who didn’t study in English medium or were not from the Hindi-speaking states, the aspirants want the government to allow them to write in their regional languages.
The notification has also led to a language fight with leaders from non-BJP parties accusing the Union government of imposing Hindi.
‘Hindi imposition in exams’
Many SSC CGL aspirants told South First that they find it difficult to appear for the exams that are conducted only in English and Hindi.
A few aspirants who didn’t want to be named said that even though they studied in English medium where they were taught Hindi as well, they want the Union government to add other regional languages of India, as is the case with UPSC exams, to provide an equal opportunity to all aspirants.
“We feel like the Union government has denied us basic fundamental rights. Why are they not giving importance to other languages? Is Hindi the national language of India? Slowly, the Union government is snatching away our rights, which is sheer discrimination,” one aspirant said.
Arun Javagal, organisation secretary, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, told South First that the non-inclusion of regional languages would result in fewer non-Hindi students appearing for SSC exams in future.
“There are many students who are well-versed in their regional languages, and the government’s decision not to include them is nothing but an attempt to force the aspirants to write exams in English and Hindi. This makes it difficult for them to clear the exams, which in other terms opens up opportunities for Hindi-speaking candidates to secure more seats,” he said.
Further, Arun said officers from the Union government and staff cannot speak the local language in many cases.
Kanimozhi slams Centre
Condemning the Union government’s decision over the language row, DMK MP Kanimozhi, who took to Twitter, said the decision was against democratic rights.
She said, “The Indian Union’s sovereignty is rooted in its pluralism. On the contrary, trying to impose singularity on everything is going against the democratic spirit.”
“I strongly oppose the Union Government’s announcement that only English and Hindi will be used in CGL examinations administered by the Staff Selection Commission for Union Government departmental positions. The Indian Union’s sovereignty is rooted in its pluralism. On the contrary, trying to impose singularity on everything is going against the democratic spirit”, she tweeted.
I strongly oppose the Union Government’s announcement that only English and Hindi will be used in CGL examinations administered by the Staff Selection Commission for Union Government departmental positions. The Indian Union’s sovereignty is rooted in its pluralism. (1/4) https://t.co/YDQJ4WaSOO
— Kanimozhi (கனிமொழி) (@KanimozhiDMK) October 6, 2022
‘DMK only fights on social media’
Meanwhile, the AIADMK’s official spokesperson Kovai Sathyan told South First that the AIADMK too wants the Union government to include all regional languages in the SSC exams and not just conduct them in Hindi.
But he questioned the DMK’s stand on the issue as it was an ally of the Congress that was ruling at the Centre earlier.
Sathyan said that there were no exams in all regional languages during the Congress-led UPA regime (2004–2014) and wondered what the DMK was doing then.
“I’m very sure the DMK was sleeping then. There are better ways to find a solution for the language row,” he said.
He said the DMK was a party that only fought on Twitter and other social media platforms.
“Fight with the bureaucrats. Hold them accountable with your MPs in Parliament. What stops the DMK from doing such things?” he said.
TRS, JD(S) too criticise SSC Hindi move
Putta Vishnuvardhan Reddy, a member of BRS, the party rechristened its name from TRS, told South First that conducting SSC exams only in Hindi and English is a step that goes against the basic constitutional rights of a citizen.
Hitting out at the Union government, he pointed to a Parliament session where Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had listed 13 languages in which certain banking exams would be held. But despite this, the BJP is very particular about imposing Hindi, he noted.
“They must understand Hindi is not the language of India. People feel they are discriminated against, and it will bring up new issues as it denies basic fundamental rights,” he said.
Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, in a series of tweets over the language requirement, asked if there was a need for more proof of Hindi imposition and language discrimination.
He alleged that the Union government is “hell-bent upon suppressing regional languages and that there is … hatred towards southern regional languages, including Kannada”, he said.
Kumaraswamy also demanded that examinations should be conducted in Kannada and Kannadigas should be appointed to posts in Karnataka.
“Only after the Union government ensures changes in this regard should they conduct the exams. If the examination is conducted in Kannada, many talented young people of Karnataka will get selected,” he said.
ಕೇಂದ್ರದ ಸಿಬ್ಬಂದಿ ಆಯ್ಕೆ ಆಯೋಗ (SSC) 20,000 ಹುದ್ದೆ ಆಯ್ಕೆಗೆ ಹಿಂದಿ-ಇಂಗ್ಲೀಷ್ʼನಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾತ್ರ ಪರೀಕ್ಷೆ ನಡೆಸುತ್ತಿದೆ. ಆಯ್ಕೆಯಾದ ಅಭ್ಯರ್ಥಿಯನ್ನು ಯಾವ ರಾಜ್ಯಕ್ಕಾದರೂ ಕಳುಹಿಸಬಹುದು. ಕನ್ನಡ ಸೇರಿ ಯಾವುದೇ ಪ್ರಾದೇಶಿಕ ಭಾಷೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪರೀಕ್ಷೆಗೆ ಅವಕಾಶವಿಲ್ಲ.
ಹಿಂದಿ ಹೇರಿಕೆ, ಭಾಷಾ ತಾರತಮ್ಯಕ್ಕೆ ಇದಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಸಾಕ್ಷಿ ಬೇಕೆ? 1/5 pic.twitter.com/upGS4AXwKE
— ಹೆಚ್.ಡಿ.ಕುಮಾರಸ್ವಾಮಿ | H.D.Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) October 7, 2022
‘SSC exam always held only in Hindi, English’: BJP
“What can we do if they want to turn everything into a controversy? Since 1975, these exams are being held in Hindi and English. The BJP wasn’t in power at that time,” CT Ravi, national general secretary of the BJP, told reporters on Friday.
Ravi said that even in 1996, when HD Deve Gowda was prime minister, the exam was still held only in English and Hindi. “Non-technical exams have been held in all regional languages, but technical exams have always been in Hindi and English. This is an unnecessary controversy,” he added.