Mumbai: Sanjay Raut, a Shiv Sena leader, made a push for "one country, one language" on Saturday, saying Hindi is spoken across India and is widely accepted, and that Union Minister Amit Shah should meet the challenge of having one language in all states. His statement comes after Shah said that Hindi should be accepted as an alternative to English rather than local languages, a statement that was vehemently criticised by several prominent political leaders in southern states, who said that forcing Hindi on people was unacceptable and that it was part of a plan to weaken regional languages.
Raut made the statement while speaking with reporters in Mumbai. The remark was in response to a question concerning Tamil Nadu Education Minister K Ponmudy's remarks the day before, in which he denounced any attempts at purported Hindi imposition and questioned claims that studying the language would lead to job opportunities. The Tamil Nadu minister also inquired who is selling 'pani puri' in Coimbatore presently, a clear allusion to the largely Hindi-speaking sellers in the sector.
Commenting on the remark made by the Tamil Nadu minister, Raut stated his party has always valued Hindi. "I speak Hindi whenever I have the chance in the House." Because it is a country's language, the country should listen to what I have to say. He claims that Hindi is the only language that is widely accepted and spoken throughout the country.
The Shiv Sena leader further stated that the Hindi film industry is important in the country and around the world to emphasise his point. As a result, he added, no language should be disrespected.
"Union Home Minister Amit Shah should take the challenge that all states should speak the same language. There should be one country, one constitution, one nishan (emblem/symbol), and one language," Raut said.