New Delhi: Days after landing in a controversy over ‘Hindi’ remark on the occasion Hindi Diwas, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday clarified that he had never asked for imposition of Hindi over other regional languages.

Saying that he had only requested people to learn Hindi as second language after the mother tongue, Shah said he himself comes from a non-Hindi state.

“I never asked for imposing Hindi over other regional languages and had only requested for learning Hindi as the second language after one’s mother tongue,” he said.

“I myself come from a non-Hindi state of Gujarat. If some people want to do politics, it’s their choice,” he further added.

On the occasion of Hindi Diwas on September 14, the Home Minister had said that the Hindi language can unite the country and there is a need for India to have one language so that foreign languages don’t find a place.

“Diversity of languages and dialects is the strength of our nation. But there is a need for our nation to have one language so that foreign languages don’t find a place. This is why our freedom fighters envisioned Hindi as ‘Raj bhasha’,” Shah said.

However, the Home Minister’s remark on Hindi didn’t go down well with many political leaders from South Indian states as for many years they have been opposing the idea of imposing Hindi as language on them.

Karnataka BJP leader BS Yediyurappa had opposed Shah’s pitch, saying, “All official languages in our country are equal. However, as far as Karnataka is concerned, Kannada is the principal language. We will never compromise its importance and are committed to promoting Kannada and our state’s culture”, Yediyurappa had said.

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan too opposed the idea of ‘one nation, one language’, saying “No Shah, Sultan or Samrat can suddenly break that promise. We respect all languages but our mother language will always be Tamil. Jallikattu was just a protest. The battle for our language will be exponentially bigger than that,” Haasan said.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president MK Stalin too slammed the Home Minister for his ‘one language’ comment.

“We have been continuously waging a protest against the imposition of Hindi. Today’s remarks made by Amit Shah gave us a jolt, it will affect the unity of the country. We demand that he takes his sentence back,” Stalin said

Apart from South Indian leaders, many other mainstream political leaders too did not appreciate the Home Minister’s idea of ‘one nation, one language’.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimee chief Asaduddin Owaisi slammed Home Minister Shah for his Hindi remark and said India is much bigger than ‘Hindi, Hindu, Hindutva’.

“Hindi isn’t every Indian’s mother tongue. Could you try appreciating the diversity and beauty of the many mother tongues that dot this land? Article 29 gives every Indian the right to a distinct language, script & culture,” he said in a tweet.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi also slammed Union Home Minister Amit Shah over his ‘one nation, one language’ call, saying “India’s many languages are not her weakness”.