Chennai: MDMK leader Vaiko has protested against a cartoon on the anti-Hindi agitation in Tamil Nadu in Class XII books, saying it depicts Tamil students in poor light.
In identical letters to HRD minister Kapil Sibal and NCERT Director Prof Sinclair, Vaiko said, "The cartoon in the textbook depicts students (of Tamil Nadu) as if they were ignorant and indulged in violence."
"This (anti-Hindi) agitation is a glorious chapter of Tamil Nadu`s political history. But the cartoon in the textbook depicts students as if they are ignorant and indulged in violence. This is a total distortion of history and hurts the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu, maligning the historic Dravidian movement," he said.
The anti-Hindi agitation played a significant role in the Dravidian movement and was one of the reasons for the DMK capturing power in 1967, toppling the then Congress government.
Recalling that the anti-Hindi agitation was launched none other than by Dravidian veteran C N Annadurai, also the DMK founder, and endorsed by another stalwart, the late C V Rajagoplachari, Vaiko said former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had assured that Hindi would not be imposed.
"The assurance given by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru that Hindi would not be imposed was thrown to the winds and Hindi was thrust as the sole official language of India in 1965," he said.
Imposition of Hindi resulted in "discrimination" against non-Hindi speaking people and, therefore, Tamil scholars and people launched "justifiable agitation" against its imposition, even from the 1930s, he said.
"Dr Sunithkumar Chatterjee, Member of the Official Language Commission, strongly opposed imposition of Hindi due to the reasonable apprehension that the non-Hindi speaking people would become second class citizens," he said.
Calling the printing of the cartoon deplorable, Vaiko requested that steps be taken to remove it "to honour the emotions of the people of Tamil Nadu."
Parliamentarians had recently protested against a cartoon on B R Ambedkar in NCERT books.