TNR on ‘cleanliness drive’ on Sunday, cultural hegemony

Kohima, October 1 (MExN):  The Naga Rising has called the recent controversy over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a ‘Nationwide Cleanliness Drive’ on a Sunday as the latest instance in a series of the “BJP’s subtle moves to advance its Hindu-Hindi nationalist expansionism.”

The deliberate attempt to downplay the significance of sacred days of Christians is in complete disregard for people’s sentiments in Nagaland and only creates suspicion and distrust, it said. 

The TNR further pointed out that under the direction of the Government of India (GoI), it has become routine to hold official events on Sundays.
“Only recently, the Government of Nagaland hosted a Union Minister to launch the ‘PM Viswakarma Yojana’ in an event held in Kohima on a Sunday,” it maintained. 

Accordingly, it termed such initiatives as multipronged strategies of the “Hindutva forces within the BJP” establish a “Hindu cultural hegemony.”

The TNR further accused the government of pushing for laws and policies that support its cultural expansionist agenda and claimed that since 2014, “official documents, naming of laws and government policies and programmes are invariably in Hindi.” 

The recent introduction of three bills to overhaul criminal justice system – the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023 and BharatiyaSakshya Bill, 2023 respectively replacing  Indian Penal Code 1860, Criminal Procedure Code 1898 and Indian Evidence Act, 1872 was such actions, it maintained.

Likewise, all  the Prime Minister schemes are in Hindi including Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY), Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) etc, it highlighted. 

“One even wonders how many people in Nagaland, including the cabinet ministers, know the meaning of the word Viswakarma in the PM Viswakarma Yojana that was recently launched in Nagaland,” the TNR posed. 

By raising this issue, it is not to say that we are anti-Hindi as a language. However, learning Hindi language should be a matter of choice, not an imposition, it asserted, likening the naming of government laws and schemes in Hindi a 'form of imposition on those who do not know the language.'

In this connection, the TNR stated that the Nagaland Government “must object to moves of the BJP-led government that disrespect our faith and way of life.”

‘Official documents should be in languages that we can read and understand. The State Government should insist that all laws, policies, central schemes or programmes must be provided with alternate English names, it added. 

“Our silence would be read as our acceptance to legitimize the Hindutva forces. It is high time to voice out against all such attempts to establish a Hindu cultural hegemony in the guise of politics and development,” it added.