Published: 08th January 2020
The NRC is unimplementable: Former IAS Officer MG Devasahayam said vehemently
Indian National Congress MP Jothimani reflected his views and added that India’s biggest strength is its rich diversity
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is not only extended throughout the length and breadth of the country for the sole purpose of unleashing anarchy but is also unimplementable administratively, said former IAS officer and civil society activist, MG Devasahayam.
He was speaking on the topic ‘Who is an Indian: Is Hindi an Imposition?’ on the first day of the two-day ThinkEdu Conclave 2020 by The New Indian Express, held in the city on Wednesday. “If you had asked me a month ago (about my identity as an Indian), I would have answered as a proud Indian but today, I really don’t know if I’m Indian at all. They say my passport, Aadhaar and even voter ID is invalid,” said Devasahayam, a former army-infantry officer, during a panel discussion alongside Congress MP Jothimani and academic Madhu Kishwar, chaired by senior journalist Kaveree Bamzai.
He said that as a former administrator himself, he believed that the NRC was not required from an administrative perspective and was impossible to implement throughout the country, having ‘flopped’ even in Assam. It is being used simply to strike terror among the minorities, he added.
Indian National Congress MP Jothimani reflected his views and added that India’s biggest strength is its rich diversity. “The NRC is in the BJP’s manifesto. Now, the people who are saying that they are going to stop with the CAA (Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019) are either lying to you or are playing into the hands of BJP’s divisive agenda,” she said.
Conservative commentator and academic Madhu Kishwar also said that the bureaucracy ‘doesn’t have the competence’ to pull off the implementation of the NRC country-wide.
Shifting to the topic of Hindi imposition across the country, Devasahayam — quoting BJP founder Syama Prasad Mukherjee — said, “He said in a Constituent Assembly speech that ‘unity in diversity is India's keynote and must be achieved by a process of understanding and consent and for that a proper atmosphere has to be created’.”
He added, “Although it is true that Hindi is spoken by the largest single majority in the country, the numbers of 54% that the government is peddling is false. It is also the mother tongue of only 25% of people,” he said. However, he stated that a language spoken by the largest single majority does not automatically award it a 'worthy' status of an official language, let alone a national language.
“To be an official language, I think the language should have functionary attributes like facilitating political unity, economic growth, social cohesion, administrative convenience, governance efficiency and academic excellence. Does Hindi have any of these qualities?” he asked the audience.
Madhu Kishwar weighed in that the current situation in the country is such that many are illiterate even in their own mother tongues and that regional languages in the country are being crushed under the weight of English.