Justice must be same for both Minister and I.A.S.officer.
Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers MK Alagiri will no longer have to fight shy of Parliament on the ground that he is not well-versed in English or Hindi.
An arrangement has now been worked out by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar by which the minister would be able to face Parliament effectively. The Speaker has told him that he could answer main question by reading out the reply in English and the supplementary could be fielded by his deputy Srikant Jena.
Parliament sources described it as a “fair solution” as it would solve the language problem being faced by Alagiri, a senior DMK leader and son of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi. Alagiri had been keeping away from the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha for most of the time as he is not comfortable speaking in English or Hindi and wants to speak in Tamil.
But at present in Tamil Nadu fresh recruits to the civil services, all non-Tamil IAS officers in Tamil Nadu have to clear 10th class level Tamil exam. And the Tamil department frequently inspects files of various government officers to find out if they write in Tamil. All government offices have been provided with PCs with Tamil keyboards. Chief Minister M Karunanidhi made a fervent appeal to the bureaucrats on Monday to write their file noting in Tamil.
But several non-Tamil officers, mostly north Indians, who comprise over 60% of the IAS and IPS officers in Tamil Nadu, say writing a few words in Tamil is fine, but “writing two or three pages of Tamil” would lead to time delay and “avoidable flaws”.
“When I accept the recommendations of my subordinates, I write “Yerkalam” (can be accepted)” and when I wish to reject, I write “vendam” (no). But beyond that, I would require the help of my secretary. And obviously, it would take a longer time to clear files if we stick to Tamil,” says a secretary-level officer who is from Andhra Pradesh.
Retired Tamil speaking officer, who served in Punjab, said, “Such instructions to write notes in local language will not contribute to the efficiency in administration, for the officers have to be proficient in that language to understand the notes written by his subordinates in Tamil. If he is not proficient then it leads to problems.” When he worked in Punjab, he wrote in Hindi if it was a one-line note but if it was a detailed note, he always preferred English.
Now, some of the north Indian IAS officers too make a conscious effort to put in Tamil words in their files. “However they say, we find speaking in Tamil at public forums is far more difficult than writing in Tamil.” Indeed, at many government functions, when non-Tamil IAS officers rattle off in Tamil, ripples of giggles float around the auditoriums. For most of the officers say “amateur”[அமைச்சூர்] instead of “amaichar” [அமைச்சர்] (minister).
Periar in his magazine “Kudi Arasu “dated 20-1-29 says if a common language is required for India that must be English. Our Chief Minister Kalaignar who is following the foot step of Periar may kindly think over the justice rendered to his son and not to compel I.A.S. officers to prepare statements in Tamil which may create administrative delays and problems