Published: 13th September 2019
Will Kerala CM meeting PSC chief stop Malayalam activists' 15-day hunger strike?
Malayalam activists have been on hunger strike in front of the Kerala PSC office, demanding a provision to answer the exam in Malayalam, Kannada and Tamil
This year's Onam was quite peculiar for the activists associated with Aikya Malayala Prasthanam. While the rest of Kerala celebrated the festival in much frolic and ate their heart's content, them activists, along with many poets, academics, artists and Malayalam literature enthusiasts were on a hunger strike in front of the Kerala Public Service Commission office in Thiruvananthapuram. They only had one demand — make a provision to write the PSC and Kerala Administrative Service exams in Malayalam, Tamil and Kannada, along with English.
It's been a little over two weeks since the activists started their strike. After two activists were arrested a week later, owing to their deteriorating health, Subhash Kumar, a member of Vidyarthi Malayala Vedi, the organisation's student wing is fasting now. At the same time, it wouldn't be quite right to say that hope is all lost for them. The Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has agreed to meet the PSC chief on September 16 and discuss the issue.
"They'll probably be meeting us after 16th," says Dr P Suresh, a member of the group. "We're hopeful that they come up with a decision in our favour. There are a couple of reasons to believe so. Recently, the Kerala government made Malayalam the state's official language. Filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who supports the cause had recently met the CM and he had promised a favourable decision. Also, the ruling CPM had this in its agenda," he adds.
It will be unrealistic to say that the entire state is in accord with the activists' demands. There are criticisms too. There have been arguments that this would alter the educations system in the state and make the future generations unable to communicate with people who do not know their mother tongue. However, Suresh says that this is a result of a miscommunication. "We never said that it should be only in Malayalam. We are merely asking for a provision to answer the questions in multiple languages," he says. He also says that there is a need to employ experts in Malayalam and English who can translate technical and scientific terms in both languages. " In school exams, you have questions in English and Malayalam We just need that right to choose," he says.