The Madras Anti-Hindi Agitation, 1965: Political Protest and its Effects on Language Policy in India Author

(s): Duncan B. Forrester Source: Pacific Affairs, Vol. 39, No. 1/2 (Spring - Summer, 1966), pp. 19-36 Published by: Pacific Affairs, University of British Columbia Stable URL: . Accessed: 07/06/2011 07:58
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therewas much alarm in the non-Hindiareas. Granville Austin.i965.J Constitution India.and on a carefulanalysisof the Indian pressduringthe relevant period. Jr.'In spiteof many efforts assure the non-Hindito speakingpeople of India thatthe change-over Hindi would not be preto cipitate and thattheirlegitimate interests would be safeguarded. Ambedkar it reported thatat a meeting the Congress of members the Assembly was decided by a majority one that the partyshould support of it of the provisions to relating Hindi when thesecome to be debated(See Hugh Tinker. of The student agitation was alreadyunderway on January And to cite "foreign 25.These subjectsare taken up in more detail by Brecherwhose studyof the decision-making processis illuminating spiteof one or two doubtful in judgements.particularly Hindu (Madras) whichgave a very The full coverage the events."The Riots in Tamilnad: Problems and Prospects India's Language Crisis. K. markedthe end of the periodin which English of ANUARY 26. I56).Oxford. i966.on conversaof in tionswith individuals involvedon both sides of the dispute.No agitation similarintensity in of and scale had everbefore beenknownin Madras. Hardgravegives an accountof the agitation seen fromMadurai but is not much concerned as with the reconsiderationof languagepolicy by government and the complicated chain reactionin state and nationalpolitics.i966. pletely I9 . Hardgrave. 1965: Political Protest itsEffects and on Language in Policy India DuncanB. 35-57. It is also misleading Brecher of to suggest thatthe agitation began with the self-immolation two DMK workers(p. purposeis to throwsome lighton thedynamics Its 1 The paper is based on personalobservation the agitation Madras city. No. ch. I52). This is without in foundation.and it demonstrated deepseated dissatisfaction with the language policyof the Government India of and the mountingstrength some new politicalforces.i965.leading to bitter agitation and violent protest. he repeatsthe tale that the constitutional provisions making Hindi the official language were approvedby only one vote in the Constituent Assembly I949 (p. The Indian Constitution: Cornerstone of a Nation. observers" as sayingthattherewere 5oo deathsin the courseof the agitation to give currency comis to unsubstantiated rumors. I2.Bombay. pp. Thus.. and Michael Brecher. particularly the Stateof Madras. V. New York.according theterms the Constitution. thefifteenth anniversary thecomingintoforceof the rather thanHindi could. of This articleconon centrates theagitation Madras Stateand theresponse it on the part in to of Indian policy-makers. 8. Vol. pp. A. Majumdar.The Madras Anti-Hindi Agitation. p.The Problemof Hindi: A Study. August. pp. pp. i51-67. esp. Forrester . of i965. 399-407. of Amongotherstudieswhichshouldbe consulted further for details of the courseof eventsare RobertL." of Asian Survey. I33. although is truethatDr. Successionin India.India and Pakistan:A PoliticalAnalysis. London. used to of be for all official purposes. 299-300). i963.

theprotection of was language in doubt. although for guage nowused most is usedmore than English still is Parliament. anti-English there strong Constitution India. Hindias itsofficial in with Tamilians a nation Hindihadbeen language the for suitable official as suggested themost of Nehru Report I928. since over ableinfluence national may all which complicate consideraemotions the often havedeplored intense series concessions of policy. its whenever and languages India bydrawing." is feeling. tocontinue the LanAn so if years riod fifteen andlonger Parliamentdecided. Article of 351. for second official language a peas was English. itsgenius forms. regional texts authoritative areoften purposes. Figures 20 .Out ofa total population 439million. still English. 2 8 A Pacific flairs public of between opinion official and ofprotest the and process adjustment India. English the levels been has higher English remains between states. over in scientific cation. andexpression inHindustani the the for or necessarydesirable. develop sothat may of Hindi promote spread the the culture of of as a medium expression all theelements thecomposite for of with interfering without byassimilating its are or According thei96i Census."2 on and primarily Sanskrit secondarily other on vocabulary. theUnion in In Administration an rarely make appearance. guage agitation. Hindiandregional languages and is at the in almost entirelyEnglish. a long but topopuof tion questionslanguage of agitation who further among those has to laragitation tended encourage Most previous lantheir particular threatens interests. however. up concerned setting oflinguistic the the however. policy modern in and is agitation India nonewthing hasexercised in considerLanguage leaders National policy independence. thestate the and in governments legislatures. of official lanthe it differedthat involved question the in Madras agitation extent the was to minor and guage be usedbygovernment only a very to of ofTamilbutthefuture Not in status Tamil question. main for "link language" communication the for eduthe and generally medium higher the of language commerce is still a English remains All India. "Itshall the that script it serve to it language. particularly India. subjects. takenfrom India-A Reference Annual: 1965. policy feel some that states. Official of inI955 of Constitution to under terms the appointed the guage Commission although language Hindi supported as thesoleofficial review situation the infavour English. tosecure enrichment and and other used style. of languages. although some "prestige language.3i652 languages dialects spoken to wererecorded of I33. The bythe after Indian Union independence Motilal shall of Union beHindi language the lays that official Constitutiondown the to of Union be duty the in Devanagari andfurther.4 million India. of dissented and members Bengal Madras from lanIn practice. in north particularly in areas.

July i965. would have to learnthree languagesand three entirely different and some Indian children scripts would face the task of learningfourlanguages: theirmothertongue.6%. 21 . The NationalLanguage Question:Linguistic Problemsof Newly Independent States. S.the regionallanguage. Telugu. Citedin The Hindu. and themoreardentprotagonists Hindi have been inof 4These and the following are figures cited fromthe Census of India.20%. Kerala: 4. effect In this meant two languagesfor the Hindi-speaking statesand threeforthe others.28%. 1964. Madras. July I alone is capable of serving a "link lanas guage" which can guaranteethe politicalunityof India. whiletheregional languagewas to be themediumin education and stateand local administration. Madras: 0.pp. p. Kerala:0. on particularly thepeopleof thenon-Hindistates. is a policy it and not a statute. 8o-8i 6 Mysore:i. fairly is evenlyspreadthroughout country the whereasthereare large areas of India outsidethe "Hindi heartland"where the numberof Hindi speakers very is low indeed.1965. thereare I02.for it is argued that alof thoughso few speak English. Andhra: I. pursuance so In of this aim the Chief Ministers the various statesadopted in i961 the of "Three-language Formula. if the principal cognateDravidian languages (Tamil. The Constitution down what is in effect program the developlaid a for mentof Hindi and the replacement Englishwithinfifteen of years-an inbrief credibly periodfora linguistic revolution complicated. 5 Bengal: 4. Furthermore. forinstance. Cf. There are thusconsiderably of than speakers anyother of of singlelanguagein India but theyare stilla minority the total population. it This small minority.I%.London.Kannada) are takentogether.4%.5 nowhereexceeds fivepercent. 6.and Hindi. Mohan Kumaramangalam: India'sLanguageCrisis. 6." accordingto which both English and Hindi were to be used as link languagesand taughtin schoolsthroughout India indefinitely. 57. i96i by the Secreof The tary theEducation Commission.6 This even spread of the English-knowing elite is one argumentcommonlyused in favourof the retention English. 7 See R.TheMadras Anti-Hindi Agitation. Very few Indians have English as theirmothertongue but of the 30 million who know two languages "a littlemore than eleven million"4know English while9.Tamil-the language of Madras State-is spoken by 30. ambitious An Tamilian. B. Malayalam. i965 moreHindi speakers as speakers Hindi. and Madras: 4. Punjab: 4. Le Page.2I%. But probably the moreeffective argument theprotagonists Englishis thattheimposition of of of Hindi would give a major advantagein termsof job and educational possibilities thosewho haveHindi as their to mother tongue. Hindu.7 millionwho speak a Dravidian ratherthan an Indo-European language.2%.2i%. however.Only a tinyminority of a littleunder threepercentknow English and even where knowledgeof English is highest.6millionand.7 The Three-language Formula therefore imposesa greateducational burden.36millionhave Hindi as a secondlanguage.English.

283-97. May i96i. XXXVII.Nehru's even which became more of states. newawareness a distinct anda of of northern. Lal Nehruin May. RobertL. Devanandan. a deepening of a dence." allofficial This not. Rudolph. and be extended. "The DMK and the Politicsof Tamil Nationalism. pp. on an toconfer unfair on be would never imposed the Hindi in harlal Nehru's assurance I959 that did byShastri and their areas non-Hindi without consent itsreaffirmation fears rest. the and transactions poses for a (but makes possible notobligatory) it merely of process Hindi-ization. finally theDravida a party influential among particularly Federation). the failed calm fears thenon-Hindi to hadur had was trustedNehru been.i965.8 state anindependent Dravidian insouth Both itself hitherto seldom has expressed in violence. and Centre inthe andthe both administration. as the may."Journal Asian Studies. then Self-Respect dominance. Bombay. RobertL. an attitude Tamilchauvinism been and of in first their political expression theold found Thesefeelings generated. detail Constitution Act Languages in years. courts atthe inpolitics. x964-65. appointed continuebeused. and felt it short speakers that fell down that of process non-Hindi slowing it Accordingly force verbal guarantee. D. 4. His successor. Naicker's E. Cultural and Tamilian identity. Tamil. of has inance the North. No. is The DravidianMovement. does ofcourse. addition Hindi. wasuntil India. that they speakers because seemed alarmed non-Hindi the seriously Such moves Jawaof advantage theHindispeakers theNorth. ofgiving statutory to Mr.i960. Ramaswamy in Munnetra or and Kazhagam DMK Movement."Urban Life and PopulistRadialism:DravidianPoliVol. in theeccentricV. XX.i964. 3.Affairs Pacific not should toEnglish that Constitution's years' fifteen protection sisting the as as be English should eliminatedquickly possible. Hardgrave. Baacutewiththedeath Pandit of 22 . Bangalore. to not such put XVII of the laid The programmeHindi-ization downin Chapter of carried and not in elaborate wasnot. as Shastri. Vol." No. of ticsin Madras. Progressive (Dravidian committed setting of tothe up which recently explicitly students. and Lloyd I. used the making possible continued ofEnglish (No. not deTheDravidian of South. particularly arehighly languages the with in with classical literature comparable that Sanlanguages a veloped has which revival Tamilculture of Thiscentury seena major has skrit. Accordinglyi963 an Official in through fifteen states.The Dravida Kazhagam. toBrahmin alternative rule only which viewed British as the Justice Party. Anti-Brahminism rejection trasuspicion all things ardent havefound exthe ditional Hinduism an import from North as domthe against industrial There have protests beenwidespread ponents. Tamilnationalism 8 Usefulbackground material to be foundin P. PacificAffairs. of Tamillanguage all effort the itself manifested in an intensive topurify self-confihas renaissance led to a growing Sanskritic influence. from language English that Section oftheActstates "the 3 for to purto in day. halt in Parliament. could havebeen. Hardgrave. i9 of i963) waspassed.

9 Tamil linguistic turned against English. of by assurances I959. its Assembly.5 percent. and nomically. ActoolTamilians for advancement protection their and of use the as little pressure replace to English themecordingly there beenvery has diumof higher and it required onlythe suggeseducation Tamilnad.P. See 23 . with i6. see interests tiedto thecontinuance as Madrasmiddle classgenerally. pointments government in service education. has happened as feeling never has in other so being threat Tamil. Nehru's approached. through In of to rearrangement the a to parts India. I957 it wonthirteen oftwohundred five Legislative and seats theMadras in out to in seats. were reiterated himand byother leaders. particularly amongstudents also amongtheilliterate by wouldbe completely unaffected a change Thosewhose personal interests as be to of official language couldeasily persuaded see 'Hindi imperialism' ecothe partof a larger plotby theNorthto dominate Southculturally. the after labour.3 percent the total entry.8 percent. Punjab with i2 percent. Note thatduringthatperiodthe area of the stateshrunk and Delhi with7. Madras produced istrative Servicesthroughcompetitive of Next came U. farfrom of interests. In and of important trols MadrasCorporation a number other the volte-faces. politically. 23.Madras continues be a leader in the number ofplacessecured. as partly because standwhich madethem has much sought than higher of havebeensomewhat ardofeducation knowledge English and Tamilians have secured largeshareof apa elsewhere consequently and of and Perhaps because this. but policy and strategy DMK has made someremarkable the ithasbeen in against Hindi. i965 havehad a someIndia under British in independent theTamilians the and on of reputation hard for what privileged position. I963. indeedthe lawyers. nor Mr. partly account their work. consistently involved protests deeply in aroused oncemoretheold fears In latei964 twothings particular of to "Hindi imperialism. in adverse tionthat by a English tobe replaced Hinditoprovoke violently was masses. businessmen. grewas Republic Day. The Hindu.The MadrasAnti-Hindi Agitation. and Students. but reaction. Northerners Southerners fromthe same handiof a point English.moreparof English thelanguage government thecourts as of comCommission ticularly. spiteof this. caponthose whom isnotthe for it In The DMK has grown in in considerably influence recent years. January i965. the Official Neither LanguagesAct i963. And well-publicized in examination i965 seemed to for Services diumtoEnglish theUnionPublic 9 From I948-I962 Madras State filleda higherproportion places in the Indian Adminof examinations than any other state." Alarmat official pressure replaceEnglishwith as Hindi as speedily possible 26. introductionHindiwouldimpose serious in the mother tongue. themedium theUnionPublicService as for and start petitive examinations. frequently wouldnotbe grievously the adequateto convince Souththatits position for of exwhentheconstitutional weakened protection thestatus English moves introduce to Hindi as an alternative mepired. i962 itincreased strength fifty The DMK alsocontowns. their and and.April8.English.

pp. The DMK seized upon thesefearsas a veryconvenient weapon against the Tamilnad CongressParty. otherDMK leaders were arAnnadurai and about a hundredand fifty and processions the meetings planned rested.It is alleged that therewas a good Madras and arrested which inflamedthe situdeal of indiscriminate beating-upof students.'2 AnnamalaiUniversity. the Conference declareRepublic Day a "Day of Mourning"in protest to of for In Janagainsttheexpiry constitutional protection English. of Madras.1' betweenthe CongressGovernment of The stagewas now set forconflict party. January and 24. mourning As continued and did among students by theparty not take place but agitation thepoliceused teargas at Pachaiyappa's College in Madras.In the earlymorningof January C. 10 The Hindu.Protests is and at came from leasttwo collegeprincipals somedoctors. a consequence. however. held at Tiruchirapalli on foralarm.which has made hardlya cheep of protest thatthere was no ground againsttheofficial languagepolicyand has insisted Conference. N.the police In ation considerably. 23 12 This statement based on eye-witness againstpolice excesseslater accounts. i965. op.. 84-86. But the Madras and a popularmovement by the chiefopposition led wereanticipated none. i8. thatit would defythe gov24. On January 27. was largelyinspired DMK. cit. The Government 26. but was also attendedby I7. on ernment ban on demonstrations RepublicDay. police raidedhostelsat a numberof collegesin studentleaders. Mohan Kumaramangalam.Pacific Affairs themthat confirm worstfearsof theTamilians. the in the earlymorning.Nothingcould convince the and ignoranceof Hindi would not prove a seriousbar to appointment promotion government in serviceand that fromi965 the Hindi-speakers in wouldnotholda highly privileged position India. Government hard as possibleon the languageissue but the Madras Govas ernment to of made it clearthatit was not concerned seek an alteration the or nationallanguagepolicyand thatit would permitno "mourning" antiposition was that Hindi agitationon Republic Day. January i965 and S. 11 The Hindu.Hindi bookswereburnton thebeach and a largegathering stuto amendment to dentsmarched theSecretariat demanda constitutional prothe 26.A Madras StateAnti-Hindi by January i965. The agitation.The Congress In injuredin a police lathi chargeand in brawlswith Congressworkers. southof Madras. mournnothing substantive would be changedon January and to observe to ingon sucha national festival wouldbe tantamount subversion.10 theshort oppositionmemberspressed the uary session of the Madras legislature. by representatives most of the otheroppositionpartiesand supported of Warm popular supportencouraged some wealthyTamilian industrialists. by scaleand thedevelopment theconflict of The DMK announcedon January i965. tecting positionof English. the startedunexpectedly followingday and was mainlythe work of stuin were offices Madurai werestonedand some students dents. #it 24 .

makingan official theagitation."5 After another again on March long closurecollegesreopened but 8. Subramaniam(Minister Food) would look after interests of same timein Delhi that of theSouth. V. higher. Krishnamachari. and in manyplacesthere people were killed and twenty-five police firedin sevenplaces. The Hindu. ativebutuneasy of On February8 the collegesreopenedbut the vast majority the stuNo force. ment's as languagepolicy expressed thePrimeMinister's Madras State. by March I5 13 14 28.Agitation.February i965.reaffirming more the of that therewould be no imposition Hindi. i964 that languageof India "seems to seek to retain Englishforall timeas theofficial 29 On still proposition" rankled.0. December24.The first calmin MadrasStateforabouta week. February the ped.The Prime Ministerbroadcast the nation. i965 Anti-Hindi TheMadras burnedthemwas killed.and there wave of theagitation bug poison. Union Ministerof Finance and himselfa Tamilian. I964. deathsin the courseof totalof sixty-six on FebruaryI3.Two police sub-inspectors once again therewas police firingin several Tiruppur. putthetotalconsiderably 25 . 15 Rumours The Hindu. Alagesan. The Hindu. In to takenof the disturbed therewas a completehartal (general strike). T. On FebruaryI2 therewas completehartal throughout in Twentypeople were killed in police firing eleven places. on in and his earlier remark a speechat Santiniketan December23.twenty-four were burntalive by an enragedmob in injured. withincreased resumed and theagitation dentsremained strike on it and activeDMK supporters.handed againstthe Governin theirresignations the Prime Ministerin protest to in broadcast.13 did to change-over Hindi and sternmeasuresagainstthe agitators not imgave no hintof a changeof policy The PrimeMinister provethe situation. once to places. collegeswere closedby order evento meeta delegation refused and of theGovernment theChiefMinister calling for a quicker Prime MinisterShastri'sstatements of students. broadcastin Tamil suchas himas was unnecessary Tamilian ministers thattheagitation saying the selfand C. January I965.14 January there to me a deeplyhumiliating DMK supand in was another deathin policefiring Palayamkottai another timeusing against"Hindi imperialism"-this in porter killedhimself protest was relwas now over.Ironically enough.Two DMK supporters opened fireand a student one novel to India-and a further hunselvesto death-a mode of protest All dred and tenDMK leaderswere arrested. T. 25.On the eleventh. was at almostthe it Subramaniam and a juniorminister fromMadras.trainswere stopCoimbatore io On werepolice/athi-charges. The situation into was now obviously of control and police and troopswere brought out Fifteenpeople were shotdead Madras in large numbersfromotherstates. For a week attempts weremade to resumetheagitation. seemedto longerwas it limitedto students have become a popular movementand now advantage was sometimes conditions settleold scoresagainstthe police.

The agitation demonstrated levelof communication a poor between government people. When became it obvious that the Government's calculations wide the initial were of mark. or dissident college The Hindu. in 23 17 16 26 . obvious The on ofgovernmentan agitation this unpreparedness for scale demonstratesitwastaken surprise. was suggested theLeft It that of Wing theCommunist (which very Party is in weak Tamilnad) bewas hind agitation. It would seem theMadras that Government believed theagitation that wasbeing whipped bythe up DMK andhadnosubstantial popular base.'7 and Prompt tough action against core the leadership theDMK could of therefore beexpectednipthe to trouble the in bud. reStatements the ChiefMinister by and variousministers the Legislative in Assembly. andcontributed a great toinflame masses the deal the of people. Language policy discussedthe was in at Chief Ministers' meetingDecember i964. ported The Hindu. possibly and permanently cripple chief the opposition in the party process.Pacific Affairs most colleges were working normally. Kamaraj. Madras note The Chief on Minister. that the or some wealthy mill-owners.January and 24. I964. hisreturn this from meeting. agitation runitscourse. a policy Such explains the Madras Government's to allowanydemonstrations on Rerefusal at all public the Day. i965. taken and to his Congress party channels conveyed warning theimpending no of and explosion Congressmen no made effortavert byconciliatory to it statements ormodification of policy.but does seem any it not that warning washeard. Tamilian the wasapparently aback hesitatedshow hand. and Neither Government the ofMadras theGovnor ernment Indiaseem haveassessed of to the correctly intensitypopular of feeling the on language inthe issue South. The had but shock the the and scars remained. noserious So was attempt made prior the to agitation tomodify language either the or it policy topresentin a more favourable tothepeople Madras theother light of and non-Hindi states. the that and extremely by vacillatinganduncertain handling the of developing shows inadequacy crisis the of official understanding state public ofthe of opinion. early of the morning arrests and in college beatings-up hostels. Kumaraswamy a of Tamilians. that interests said the of Tamilnad would suffer. the and Chief Minister's refusal meet to with the leaders the of student agitation. followed there a second inwhich stage rather improbable ofthe explanations forces work at were bandied around official in quarters. DecemberI6.16 not Southern ministers central inthe Government until agitation wellunder kept quiet the was and the way. TheMadras Government's to the attemptsdealwith situation radical by measures the three were during first days based fundamental on misunderstandingthe of intensity scale popular and of dissatisfaction. mass arrests DMK leaders. even All-India Congress President.

particularlyChief and the Minister. hardlycritical washeard a note from Congress MLAs. Congress andMLAsarerelucMPs tant challenge to government onissues even where feeling strong their is in constituencies. principal is the channelfor conveying information conditions about within state Delhi. own Many governments state aremore creaturesthe the of Congress Parliamentary than thestate Board of legislature. JanThe uary 28. Nanda feltthe agitation was "based on grossmisunderstanding. op. TheUnion Government apparently believed the that whole was agitation based "misunderstanding"official on The ofthe language policy. Congress from no MP Madras spoke. toooften. in both to But Madras DelhitheCongress and had Party overwhelming majorities party and discipline to bottle tends up criticism theCongress from benches. Why communication between was In so poor government people? and theory.TheMadras Anti-Hindi Agitation. Lal BahadurShastrisuggested thatthosewho opposedHindi mustunderstand thatwhatgovernment doing was in pursuance the Directive was of Principles the Constituof tion. ChiefMinin 7.. isterto Tamilnad Congress Committee. See also the Madras ChiefMinister's statement Vellorereported The Hindu. 26. Nanda(HomeMinister). L. i965. itis small divided there but and and is little suggest government carefullyopposition to that listens to criticism. the to 18Statement the ChiefMinister. itwas too Only decisive action clear unor and equivocal promisesmodify could to policy have mended situationlate the so inthe day. instigated trouble. i965. at in January i965." Hindu. during and the Budget Session theMadras of Legislative Assembly starting March on i. T. See also The Hindu. deeply distrustful Government ofthe on account police of behaviour theearly in stages. Brecher: cit. Both Delhi in in and Madras Opposition very the was vocal. of reported The Hindu. instance. 1965 had teachers. The Hindu. might helped they have toeasethesituation byFebruary theagitation become mass ii but had a movement considerable with impetus. more and answerabletotheCongress Command Delhithan localopinion.'8nostage itadmitted the the At was that agitation arose from relatively a spontaneous outburst popular of resentment. it Again. February I965. debate language In the on policy Parliament Febin on ruary for i8.19 attempts ofLal Bahadur Shastri. 19Mr. is generally that inthe true Congress governments states more are responsivethe to central organs the of party topublic than opinion within their state. June2i. When Government the ofMadras the and Government ofIndia decided better that communication wasnecessary already late. KrishG. T. in which demanding was concessions. radical criticismdismissed subversive Congress is as and governments notaboveattemptingintimidate are to unwelcome opponents. 27 . and namachariexplain Government's made to the stand little. FebruaryI4. clarinot fications. High in to The state government. any. I59. legislatures Parliament Delhishould state and in convey popular feeling theGovernment. cf.Ibid.p. if impression onpublic opinion Madras. these Had statements made been earlier. I965.

as however."The Pedagogyof Democracy:Coercive Public Protest India. to The tragedy theMadras of agitation a tragedy common modern is too in India.Vol.The Politicsof Scarcity. 663ff. it is alsotrue the But that strong feeling on thelanguage issuewas notlimited DMK supporters. although veteran Rajagopalachari. forlongbeenassailing official had the language policy and gave activesupport the agitation. in many as others.and RichardLambert. September i962. in Bombay. notcommitted anypolicy thelanguage was to on issue and fewother Swatantra members seemto havebeenactive leaders in thedisturbances. to of WhentheUnionGovernment realized that had beendrastically it misinformed abouthappenings Madras. and realistic balanced. Krishnamachari. by Other parties notgiveas did active lead as DMK. pp. LeftCommunists accused instigating The were of trouble. to DMK attempted manipulate to already existing emotions head up a broadaland liance anti-Congress buttheagitation of forces. pp. 3."Some Consequences Segmentation India. 406-24.It is only after violence runitscourse communication nehas that and gotiation become possible. outbreak violent The of protest a signthat is communication broken has down. non-party. himself Tamilian. 4. leader a the C. T. herinvestigations reports and were I2. LVI. a far to lesseasyin present and circumstances theCentre assess extent infor to the tensity feeling areasremote of in was from Delhi. 28 . July i964. the oftheconservative Swatantra Party. 7.i963. But no serious attempt madeat anystage do this. in Muchofthesupport theagitation. number publicfigures. i2. it was in and by certainly forgotten a successor Shastri to be selected. within Hindi area and it is easyfortheprotagonists the of Hindi to bring It direct pressure bearon theUnionGovernment." American in PoliticalScienceReview. butthis is party as weakin Madras itis strong Kerala." Economic of in Development Cultural and Change. Bayley. especially chaps. No.IndiraGandhicameon February on herowninitiative. state showed the government itself incapable presenting accurate of an picture thesituation Delhi. there ceras in and is tainly little suchstories. top-ranking No minister sent Madras investigate. madelittle in it to the effort remedy situation. No. violence of becomes normal a and efficacious instrument political pressure.Pacific Aflairs But in thisinstance. some for and of theleadership. and she This boldaction reminded peoplethat is one of thefewpolitical leaders India trusted thewholenation. Swatantra to The Party such. was to to except T. was of A particularly 20 On political protest India see MyronWeiner. Also David H. quickly passed ofDMK out control there muchto suggest DMK leaders and is that ultimately became extremely alarmed whatwas happening. of course. Vol. ifcommunication But is resumed a concesas sionto violence. not when Delhi to had is. I.20 Thereis no doubt that initial the impetus muchoftheleadership and of theagitation camefrom DMK party. & 8.

and tarredHindi signboards. chalkedup slogans.p. and were publicly sympathetic.The DMK. hoistedblack flags. This was called the Tamilnad Students' Anti-HindiAgitationCouncil. agitation onlysprangup on January by whichtimethe principal leaderswere alreadybehind bars. dents abstained from classes. had in For the first therewas littleviolence. finally. Certainwealthyindustrialists Brecher although probably the from beginning the exagsupported agitation the mill-owners . took out processions. however."22 impression The gained at the timeby the present orbehindthe student amountof finance was thattherewas no substantial was leftto raise what fundsit ganizationand that each unit and district needed. but by thistimematters passedoutofcontrol anycase. financed stu. of Madras University.There 21 For example. veryrare in startamong students. 29 . tation came frommany sourcesand studentgroups were able to collect certainly considerable sums fromthe public. to dentsseea change-over Hindi as a serious Anti-Hindi The Organizationwas rudimentary. turbances frequently and for has Madras State. cit. threat their to prospects. majority collegesActionCommittees of the student with DMK. In otherpartsof India politicaldisThis is. however.the gated the protest. mob took over and all restraint the was highlyunusual.21 Finance forthe agieducationists lawyers.Vice-Chancellor AnnamalaiUniversity. L.forMadras does not boast a large numberof goondas or professional as mobsters does Bengal.In the rapidlyestablished Many-but not allof were formed. of and some leading members of Aiyer. and DMK was not leadershad no connection refusal able to dominate organization is demonstrated the students' by the as to return classesand call offtheagitation to by even whenrequested thetop leadersof DMK.and althoughbased on Madras City it very contacts with most of the collegesin the state. op. Vice-Chancellor Dr.. Mudaliar. developeda greatappeal for in as partly becauseMadras stustudents. .wheretheUniversity a reputation good discipline little have in generalheld alooffrom and allowedpoliticians politics students has influence colleges. Beforethe end of the agitation the police had effectively infiltrated temporarily as and brokenup suchorganization therewas. It is also clearthatthe agitation quicklydevelopedits own impetusand out The DMK instipassed completely of control. a student to organization guide the But DMK 27. a resultof harshpolice and government among stumovement and almostuniversal agitation becamea spontaneous was lost. P. organization and finally action. 22Brecher. C. gerates when he says"some anti-Congress writer dents'agitation. partly a resultof Tamil chauvinism.The stufew days of the agitation burnt Hindi books. appeals of the January in and of the DMK for mourningand protest Conference Tiruchirapalli founda readyecho amongstudents. Sir A.The MadrasAnti-Hindi 1965 Agitation. Ramaswamy the bar. This in itself dents.

cit. or such actions effectivelya normal gag outlet protest. In the the of the beginning accepted position both Government ofIndia andtheGovernment there neither ofMadras that was was possibility nor 23 This instance does not fit well into the pattern sketched out by RichardLambert.It to Why were "normal constitutional channels" little so utilized? isfair no in that saythat general oneinIndia believes constitutional is as pressure like effectiveviolence thethreat it. in under in Language policy Indiahasbeen forged heatandreshaped tothe pressure. immediate. resolutions generally were thought be ineffecand tive. opposition theofficial to language policy was neither adequately voiced carefully bythegovernment. itis nor noted and significant very people that few suggested itwould helpful sumthat be to the mon Assembly the during agitation. in anycasethere little is scope constitutional parfor protest. Although attention beenfocussed Madras. Strong action taken the was by government a number against ofpopular Tamil newspapers periodicals. tend quickly into violence. op. nowconsider response official We the of policymakers Madrasagitation. more and insistent had a of come from supporters pressure for number years the of to had Hindi. nowpolicy-makers caught the in that dilemma both awkward inaction anyconceivable change and policy to were bound leadtostrong adverse reaction the in North inthe or South. deputations. to escalate and. no large-scale but violence until the had tactics.concessionsthis pressure gradually detonated unprecean and dented in were explosion Madras. the of ernmentMadras not of was willing talk. alone to let negotiate. so many in listens others India. there a gooddealofevidence support a feeling. initiative. is our has on it toremember the Hindi that pressure from diimportant came other against and as interests rectionswell. after police resorted strong-arm The state-wide to hartal the but to the onFebruary wasinresponsea callfrom students. and Whether justifiable cirinthe cumstancesnot. is to such Within theLegislative Assembly.Andthis as or of agitation. that to are favourableHindi very strongly entrenched around seat the the of Union Government inDelhi. student with But leaders. Pacific Aflairs wasa little stone-throwing andfighting. ticularly "Section (prohibiting when I44" processions meetings) in and is or force during National a innocuous methods Emergency. agitation was not limitedby stateor regionalboundaries this for and thusit seriously threatened a timenational political equilibrium. aimofthe The was Parliament the and Government agitation toinfluence ofIndia. itmarks I2 of passing the of agitation ofstudent out control the and mob's seizing the 30 . Unlikemanyotherinstances. normally Even ofprotest become illegal ifusednonetheless. illustrates againthat once government to violence the more than In beginning Govreadily toless drastic forms protest. theprotagonists Government wastherefore policy to The subject countervailing pressures. for to and Petitions. stronger.23 where ofHindiareinfluential.

." Hindu. at no timedid the Government the hold initiative.January i965.on December i964. The Madras to few Government seemed regard agitation thefirst the in daysas a providential opportunitycrush opposition refused to the and any kind of negotiation. See n. Whenit became clear that opposition mounting intensity. Chief this the Minister Madras. 27 The Hindu. before end they of wereaskingfornothing short indefinite the constituthe tionalprotection English-exactly demandbehindthe agitation. lost in of of The first of wavering cameon February whentheChiefMinister sign i. At thebeginning said theagitation arosefrom they entirely baseless but fears. was in Unionand MadrasStateministers repeatedly suggested suspicions theofficial that of policy werebasedsimply on "misunderstandings.Bhaktavatsauntil legislatures all states lamwanted to of the askedfor its English remain The of therefore replacement.of course. February i965. 2." This. February i9."25 might Butone wellsuggest most themisthat of understanding on thepartofgovernment. announced English I3.and Mr. M.obviously by miscalculated strength feeling theSouth. The i8. 24 25 3' . a exacerbated feelings greatdeal and thestudents quickly confidence thegoodintentions theGovernment Madras.DecemberI4. his return of on from Delhi gave an assurance the that interests Tamilnad of wouldin no waysuffer. that wouldcontinue until non-Hindi the states no wereready a change. i9 above. saidhe was nowseeking constitutional amendment secure placeof to the a a Later amendment the as of English. for But thechanges and weretoo late and too reluctant.29 Government Madras boxedthecompass. announced whenHindibecame medium theUPSC examinations.. meeting theChief of A of Ministers thevarious of in states Delhi. the in and madeno effort of to modify it policyor present in a favourable lightpriorto the agitation. IO 29 Ibid. 26 "The ChiefMinister said it was purelya questionof law and orderand therewas no needforhim to meetthestudents. i965.TheMadras Anti-Hindi 1965 Agitation.28 he publicly rejected inadequate draft Official Languages Act whichattempted secure position English to the of untilthree-quarters non-Hindi of the states askedforHindi. anyconceivable since quotawouldreducethenumber places of filled from Madras.27 to Thisfailed assuage to student feeling. Madras It was obvious that the long before agitation the Union Cabinet was The Hindu. needofa change policy. was which tookno steps curb to rash and extreme pro-Hindi statements people in power. at refused meetstuto dent leaders. Bhaktavatsalam. 28 Ibid. Bhaktavatsalam first Mr. I964.24 seems for It that minister seriously questioned line. suggestingwas a matter policeaction it for rather thandiscussion. i965. clear A that indication he was now bending before storm cameon February whenBhaktavatsalam the 9. that a for places wouldbe allocated thevarious to states according a quotasystem.February and II.

amendment Official for ofthe Languages wasnotacceptable a number influential Act to of ministers. change policy either of was desirable possible. broadcastthe in same inTamil. while G. There 30 Speechat Patnareported The Hindu.C. and Chagla.Subramaniam C. The same after Cabinet at the of evening. for and a identified himself this with group.Pacific Affairs on divided language Ministers outopenly both came deeply on sides. C. theendofJanuary. by It wasthis dramatic which action forced Cabinet consider posthe to the sibilitymodifying of on language policy. gesan by ended dissension the the within Cabinet. as didmost ministers theSouth from except Finance the Minister.Chagla.hewasquickly joined 0. Although FebruaryLal Bahadur I3 that must reaffirmedHindi become official eventually the language India of andrejected constitutional amendment method pacifying South. policy. he explained oldpolicy reaffirmed more the and once Nehru's assurances that no Hindi would beimposed. Mr. T. Indira Gandhi that had announced she found and widespread well-grounded fears Madras in State. the had for ofthe Nor change-over toHindi. 32 . T. held Individual ministers widely made divergent statements Hindias a on medium competitive for or the examinations. who aloof. 0. quotasuggestion. T. statutory On theunderstanding some that to them suchaction would taken. of the of conNandaandShastri on tinued affirm the to that agitation based misunderstanding was until Mrs. V. in 20. V. as a of the thereafter the heseemed favour to amending Official Languages togive Act Mr. of From Union Sanjeeva Reddy. on and methods protecting intereststheSouth." theHomeMinister. Telugu.February i965.. Minister State Petroleum Chemiof for and cals. and Minister for alarm Food. the Mr. or while Subramaniam. al Ibid. hegave hint a change policy not But of of oranyconcession the on part theGovernment.30 the When Prime Minister broadcast February on ii. be satisfactory Subramaniam Alaand withdrew resignationsFebruary Butthis no means their on i6. L.3' Krishnamachari of T. February i2. Alagesan. Education Minister. late January Prime front of as As 7 the Minister was still of speaking accelerating "Hindi-ization" threatening action and stern Nanda(likeBhaktavatsalam) proclaiming no against was that agitators. and Prime Minister himself called a speeding-up Nanda. Minister Steel Mines.Nehru's assurances force. were ministers more more united on junior any the issue. a stormy meeting which text the Prime was Minister's broadcast considered. expressed at "Hindi-ization. i965. Alagesan. Subramaniam." showed explanations not were enough. handed his in and resignation. wastherefore for Government It difficultthe to ofIndia present a united inface trouble. Krishnamachari (a Tamilian Brahmin). were working a compromise would for which concede ofthe some demands theagitators. the vein If agitation ever based had been on events now that "misunderstandings.

33 guarantees to meetingof the leadersof the variouspartiesin Parliament inconclusive appear to have been made to discussthe language issue. Hindi lobby in tionof languagepolicywas mentioned official MPs swung into action. gressPresident. 22. Strenuousefforts for on of discussed the floor Parliament. Partyfoundthelanguagequestionveryhot to handle.On Februaryi6. March i3. TheMadras Anti-Hindi of As withinParliament. of Languages Act but MorarjiDesai.The Three-language and the proposalthat it enforced eitherin Madras or in the Hindi states. althougha delegationof Madras MPs finally statutory assuredthatsatisfactory Shastrion March I2 and were apparently On March 22 the Prime Ministercalled an would be given. Such meetings meetings "The GrandCouncilof the Republic. Jagjivan amendment theOfficial finally opposedhim..ChiefMinister Mysore. of ChiefMinister Madras. February and 20. 35Ibid. " Ibid. When January at Committee Durgapurfrom of theAll-IndiaCongress becameobvious.Nijalingappa.On February and continued exercise Kamaraj called for of the CongressWorkingCommittee. former and of Sanjeeva ReddyfromAndhra. February have been labelled by Brecheras 23. 24 and 25.. February i965.joined with K.5 Unionministers endorsed Strong But thisdid not mean thatthe issue was now closedand settled.thatthethreethatNehru's assurances in enforced all states. soon as the possibility an alterawas no consensus the quarters. i2 33Ibid. intooffice whichhad put Shastri These men werethecoreofthe"Syndicate" in to greatinfluence nationalpolitics.while one fromMaharashtra on hundredand six CongressMPs requestedthe Prime Minister February a Madras maintained strange MPs from Congress 25 notto amendtheAct.and on Februaryi9 MPs of public theirdisapproval any statutory and Gujarat went on recordagainstchange. i965. at a meeting Ram.1965 Agitation.and The Congress in forthisreasonit had not been considered any detailat the annual session 6-io. i965.34 language his about to of Ghosh WestBengal express concern Atulya 33 . i. fifty-five fromeight statesmade change.The Condeep rifts the events forced issue upon theparty. at opposedto any concession all groupsin the Northwere bitterly pressure Formulawas in factnot strictly to thenon-Hindiareas.32 silence.. 32 Ibid. and that places in the public services allocated accordingto a metwiththe of On 24 quota system. be strictly language formula be held in all the regionallanthat examinations be reaffirmed.None of themspokein the debateon thelanguageissue in theLok met Sabha on FebruaryiS. not stoptheissuebeingthoroughly only Congressbut most of the otherpartiesdid not wish to make public seemedunableto playa conParliament on divisions thismatter. Kamaraj. their bitter the role structive in resolving crisis.The WorkingCommittee and Ram Subhag vehemently be that recommended thepace of Hindi-ization sloweddown.. competitive be guages." of policy. i965. February theChiefMinisters thestates these and proposals.

Pacific Aflairs should "strictly be enforced" rather confession faith was of thana callfor a action. impracticable probably and undesirable well. Patilthat remain jointlinklanguages as Hindiand English should untilthe majority the non-Hindi of states askedforthe replacement of English. I965. wholeissuewas shelved the indefinitely India turned atwhile her tention theconflict Pakistan. and The proposals for changes thesystem recruitmentthepublic in of to services in theopinare. Nanda. in viewofthePunjabi Suba agitation theKashmir and crisis. and attempting guarantee placeof English administration as long to the in for as this was desired non-Hindi by states. The Hindu. May 25. Madrasgovernment No couldin present circumstances the make studyof Hindi in schoolscompulsory survive. sensus languagewas finally 36 37 34 . Sen. encouragement Hindi and of regional languages. butneverthelessseemed find extremely to reachagreement. June3. The sub-committee unhappy was aboutthequotasystem the and use suggested ofso many a mediafor UPSC examinations. still although June on i5 a draft Official Languages(Amendment) was made publicpermitBill tingtheuse of English inter-state state-Union in and communications. session. i965. theuseofregional and languages wellas English as and Hindias media UPSC examinations. to with followed thedeathof Mr.37 for The question legislation however." wouldquestion judgement. K. Butthisproposal ran immediately intostrong opposition Parliament. givenbeingthat. cit.M.p. Brecher. A. early In of April. admitted theSpeaker August butwithwas by on 25 drawn after bitter argument August thereason on 28. K. of was. general in reaffirming earlier their decisions strict on enforcement theThree-language of Formula. sub-committeethe Cabinet.incorporating surances explicitly. the considerable To relief of many.. K. The issuethen went backtothemeeting theCongress of ComWorking mittee theChiefMinisters June This meeting whatBrecher and on i.MahavirTyagi.And thatwas thelast of an thathas beenheardof Bill and resolution. of calls"The Grand Council theRepublic" of approved elaborate an resolution on language policy. to Chagla.The onlyreal as concession theSouthwas theunderstanding theOfficial to that Languages Actwouldbe amended givestatutory to Nehru's to assurances the on force in language issue. i64: "It was an historic I this on reached. ion ofmany. it produced But draft amendment theOfficial of Nehru's asLanguages Act. Patilwas setup to givedetailed and considerationthelanguageissue.together a resolution The with on language policy.for a conop. Ibid. open. time the was infor opportune thediscussion so delicate issue. Bill.recommending proposals back on the ofS. C. cf.. L.None of thesub-committee's members the camefrom South. Shastri by andtheselection a newPrime of Minister. S. Satyanarayana Sinha. it It to it hard finally reported totheCabinet 24 May. a of consisting G.

could be obtained.Shastri's of Nehru. long. seen.agitation leadership. was to against and WestBengal. not had but into nothing. attheheight hispowers. 8.V. independent and and incisive in bud trouble the bysome been tonipthe able might have well and slowly undramatically. off. TheMadras of of showed many the up controversy The treatmentthelanguage dea He leadership. other C. Certainly position Congress Madras of as handling theagitation nowas secure onceit was. to preferredproceed action. Republic 26 January. sparked as we have The ofresponsibility." that consensus was that allthis toreveal there no"middle was was the with Hencetherelief which issue shelved. 41 Ibid.. March28. May I2.. the between Congress and inconclusive of consultations series of The and Chief Ministers. Council Shastri. 39 Ibid. I965.38 hispersonal all of to the seemed play part a refprocess decision-making wasminimal-he ofcollective machinery complicated else. Alagesan. others. population the of in State not is the to mains be seen.. of ofa number student Government large arrest the by Madras on met Council" inBangalore JanStudents' Agitation "All-India Anti-Hindi the tomake English amendment for uary i966. i965. eree than rather anything Andthe the to made hard determine locus it death Nehru of set leadership uponthe a bitter. in studentsMadras official There among trouble sole language. from also i8 andi9 which attended byrepresentativesMysore. Andhra. wasfollowed a two-day 2.40 wasa little of held around i966.andcalled a constitutional 7.4' Congressthe General section student a has alienatedconsiderable ofthe Theagitation certainly much willaffect rethis votes from Congress Buthow Party.January i966. a delegation states. Submet Agitation this Tamilnad Students' Anti-Hindi student strikes Sporadic in 0. which called uponstudents campaign and in i967 Elections. 38 of satisfied themaintenance thestatus with quo.39 met were bythe anda threatened in of resumptiontheagitation August An leaders. cisive. i965. and ramaniam. result the the Parliament. decision-maker. on Agitation Council FebAnti-Hindi Students' Madras theTamilnad by on in Thanjavur June conference by ruary i966. 40 Ibid. I966. Kamaraj been power Madras could The Hindu.i965 Anti-Hindi Agitation. and of strengths weaknessesMr. wasseeking consensus a middle on influence the But to would satisfy parties thedispute. state a and course. Cabinet.Bhaktavatsalam's in in he still Had wasmost injudicious. The Southwas hardly 35 . wasnot bold. Juneig and 20. Chagla Delhi. ithadbrought beTheagitation apparently achieved in with and movement Madras student ingan influential well-organized from contactsmost in non-Hindi On Mayii. A conferencestudents in Day. spectacular Shastri parties all attitudes allowing interested to have and out sounding opposing of onthe reflection dangers a oneof for their say plenty time sober full and which and course He a sided settlement.

Indira in of Gandhi Lal as Bahadur's successor. even the and afterwards it is probable the that forces remain evenly will so balanced the that question of official language require begradually will to adjusted a long over period of time rather solved than overnightan ukase by from Union the Government. byIndira general but led Gandhi Kamaraj. hasalsorevealed serious It the weakness thesystem collective of of and leadership "decision compromise" after death Nehru.Butas it was. Ibid.. Madras Christian College 42 Assembly constituency. and theCon- ponent. is to question sure bean issue the in forthcoming elections Congress. Polling tookplaceon Aprilio. in a relatively position thenon-Hindi and is in strong states may and wellwipe atleast part. great efforts theagitasince tion restore position Madras. reputation ineptitude out. thelanguage of is but But crisis which wasoneexpression it remainschronic a affliction ofIndian politics. intervention crisis shown to be a Her in the had her leader courage independence wonher confidence nonof and and the ofthe Hindi areas. which Shastri never Thelanguage had had.theagitation with threatened popular in Madras which the base on Kamaraj's amazing national influence ultimately He hasmade rests. straw the One in wind which tends suggest the to that agitation may have little on influencevoting the was by-election inDharmapuri Legislative gress candidate a seatwhich previously heldby an indewon had been pendent. in the for which highlightedtheagitation. a leadofmore with than thousand over DMK opten votes his Theagitation asyet tonosignificant ofpolicy. notforgotten. i965. 36 . of by set the up It was probably alsoa factor theselection Mrs. TheMadras agitationover.42 April I2. further was by No action resolve to the underlying dispute likely is before elections. i965. has led change although it hascertainly taught Government theCongress to tread the and Party delicately.Affairs Pacific probably kept peace have the through extraordinary tocapture his ability the confidencethose of whodisagree him. hewillcertainly much to the in and devote attention securing to another Congress victory thestate in which would restore prestige hisparty ensure own the of and on national his position the stage.

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