Hyderabad: The Indian Railways’ announcement of an essay competition in Hindi language irked native speakers of other languages.
On Wednesday, the railway ministry had issued a press note announcing an essay competition on the theme ‘Rail Yatra Vritant Puraskar Yojna’, asking train travellers to share experiences from their journey. Entries were to be only in Hindi. This is the second edition of the competition, with the first one held in 2018. Winners will get a cash prize of Rs 42,000 for winners.
However, the announcement sparked fierce debate on why only entries in Hindi will be allowed.
Prabhaker Budhale, former general secretary of Viveka Vardani educational institutions, which impart education in Marathi, said, “When the Central government is conducting the event, there should be equal opportunity to all other language users too. Our Marathi-medium school students are good in essay writing but they will miss the opportunity.”
Biswajit Mukherjee, secretary of Bengali Samiti, said, “All languages should be given the opportunity to express their skills as well as experiences. The railway board should reconsider it.”
Bhutamapuram Venkata Shiva Kumar, a Telugu writer, said, “When government agencies show discrimination on language or region, this will tarnish the very sprit of integrity. In this country, everyone should get equal opportunity. Railways should allow other regional languages too.”
However, Railways officials were unmoved.
A senior official of South Central Railways said, “This competition’s initiative has been taken by the Hindi department, and this is the second edition of this event. The decisions have been taken by the Railway Board.”