Karnataka chief minister Basavraj Bommai on Thursday joined the chorus of voices – which includes opposition leaders HD Kumaraswamy and DK Shivakumar – backing Kannada actor Kiccha Sudeep in a row with Bollywood star Ajay Devgn. “What Kiccha Sudeep said was correct. A regional language is the most important as a state is formed on linguistic bas(is),” Bommai told reporters, “Everyone should understand and respect what Sudeep has said.”
Controversy erupted after Sudeep’s response to a question about ‘K.G.F: Chapter 2’ – a Kannada film – being called a ‘pan-India film’. He said Hindi was not a national language and asked Bollywood to make films for the whole country.
To this Devgn responded (in Hindi): ‘.. according to you if Hindi is not our national language, then why do you dub your mother tongue movies in Hindi… Hindi was, is and always will be our mother tongue and national language’.
Sudeep then underlined India’s cultural and linguistic diversity, and also politely wondered if the Bollywood would have understood his comment had it been in Kannada and not English.
‘Don’t we too belong to India sir…’ he asked.
The exchange has prompted furious debate in cinematic and political circles.
Earlier today two former Karnataka chief ministers – the Congress’ Siddaramaiah and Janata Dal (Secular) boss HD Kumaraswamy – spoke up.
Kumaraswamy said ‘Hindi is not a national language…’ and criticised Devgn for his ‘ludicrous behaviour’. He called him a ‘mouthpiece of BJP…’
He also ripped into the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and said ‘a seed sown… has become contagious (and is) dividing the nation. This is a threat to India’s unity’.
On Devgn-Sudeep’s ‘Hindi national language’ row, Kannada leaders unite
“Hindi was never and will never be our National Language. It is the duty of every Indian to respect linguistic diversity… Each language has its own rich history for its people to be proud of. I am proud to be a Kannadiga!!” Siddaramaiah said.
The Congress’ state unit chief, DK Shivakumar, also tweeted, pointing out there were nearly 20,000 languages in India and that none should dominate another.
“There are 19,500 mother tongues in India. Our love for India feels the same in every language. As a proud Kannadiga and proud Congressman let me remind everyone Congress created linguistic states so no language dominates.”
With input from ANI