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Centre’s move to award Hindi writers draws flak

By July 24, 2018No Comments

Source : New Indian Express

In a clear case of linguistic discrimination, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has announced awards ‘only’ for Hindi authors, who penned books.

CHENNAI: In a clear case of linguistic discrimination, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has announced awards ‘only’ for Hindi authors, who penned books on subjects relating to the environment. The ministry has passed a resolution and gazetted it on July 9, which says cash awards with a citation will be conferred upon Hindi writers under the scheme titled “Medini Puraskar Yojana”, which is meant to encourage Indian authors to write books originally in Hindi on 12 environment topics that include pollution control, environmental impact assessment, ecological restoration and development, forest conservation, forest resources and development, protection of wildlife, bio-diversity and climate change. They can also write about the conservation of nature and biosphere reserve and environment education.

This is likely to stir a major controversy and Tamil writers have already condemned the move, saying it is ‘disrespectful’ towards other languages and asking how a Central scheme can promote only one particular language. “The Central government is deliberately sidelining other languages and aggressively promoting Hindi and Sanskrit. Even in the national library, an online repository of published works in India, you find only Sanskrit works. There are no Tamil books. This is unfair. Tamil is a classical language having rich history dating back to over 2,000 years. There should be a level-playing field for writers from all languages,” said Manushyaputhiran, Tamil writer and publisher.

The Central scheme will have four awards starting with cash prize of `1 lakh, `75,000, `50,000 and a consolation prize of `25,000. The document says any originally published work in Hindi in the last three years shall be considered for award and will be assessed by an evaluation committee to be constituted by the ministry under the chairmanship of additional secretary.  Interestingly, the resolution says officers and employees of the ministry and its subordinate offices under its administrative control are also eligible to participate. The ministry said the scheme will be a regular annual feature commencing this year and depending on the response, the continuity of the scheme may be reviewed.

Wildlife conservationist S Theodore Baskaran, who penned several books on environment in Tamil, also took an exception to the ministry’s decision. “It is the duty of the Central government to encourage discourse on subjects like environment in all regional languages to reach wider audience,” he said.

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