Hindi ‘wars’ unlikely to deliver political gains to opposition
While the embers of Hindi ‘Imposition’ have been burning since the Karnataka election, it was quite unusual to see Mamata even bring up the topic of Hindi in her already aggressive discourse. It remains to be seen if IPAC will use this to push BJP back to the northern reaches of Bengal during the Assembly election in 2019.
Most people misunderstand Hindi Imposition like it has to do with the Hindi Language. A lazy youtube search will tell you that the real issue is ‘North Indian Domination’ and in reality it is a small issue. Hindi language issue at best is an irritant. Now, culturally one would imagine that both Hindi and North Indian domination could become major issues in the South and East. But they aren’t, why?
- Almost all the economies are doing well, unemployment if any is seen as a function of governance, not due to domination of one or the other community
- When one applies the domination rules narrowly, it is likely that one will find evidence of so called north Indian domination. But the reality is that the crowd as whole does not see or experience it. In fact, South Indians and Bengalis are well represented in Businesses either as owners or senior management. In Odisha for example, many large sectors are fully run by locals.
- Most South Indians come from OBC and SC/ST communities. They are first in their families to do many things, so anything achieved already is a big bonus. There is no sense of failure or loss
The central theme of the above arguments is the economy and income growth are doing alright in all the non-hindi speaking states, so any argument or angst around Hindi/North Indian domination will not work. Cultural issues get the most support when the economy starts to struggle. The real issues are around quality of life (Local commute, Water, Healthcare costs given older and more affluent population, College education costs, employment for higher educated etc) . The BJP manifesto is more focussed on these issues for 2019-24. That said, the 15th Finance Commission is a potential time bomb.
The Opposition parties might wish to keep this burning to push back Modi and Shah but they will be in a much better position if they use Governance levers to deliver excellent quality of life for their citizens. Highly satisfied voter is a repeat voter, nothing complicated about it.
Pic Courtesy: The Hindu