Lots in a name: Order to rename ‘Curd’ goes sour as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka milk producers protest

A directive from India’s food safety authority, The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to rename curd packets as ‘Dahi‘ in Hindi was taken back on Thursday, after it sparked a backlash from Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister and milk producers, who see it as an attempt to impose Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states.

Dairy producers maintain ‘curd’ is a generic term but ‘dahi‘ would be a specific imposition.

The directive to the federation of milk producers in Tamil Nadu, meant producers would have to rename curd packets from ‘Curd’ in English and ‘Thayir‘ in Tamil.

The directive also applied to other dairy products such as butter and cheese, but the FSSAI later announced it was changing the directive, after protests.

Milk producers in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Karnataka, wrote to the FSSAI to let them continue using their regional languages for labelling purposes.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, MK Stalin, said: ‘The unabashed insistences of #HindiImposition have come to the extent of directing us to label even a curd packet in Hindi, relegating Tamil & Kannada in our own states. Such brazen disregard to our mother tongues will make sure those responsible are banished from South forever.’

State BJP chief, K Annamalai, also said he had demanded a rollback of the directive, saying it was not in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy of promoting regional languages.

Tami Nadu has a long history of anti-Hindi imposition movements dating back to the 1930s. Mr Stalin’s party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) came to power in the wake of anti-language imposition movements in the 1960s.

Then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had assured English would be used as a link language as long as non Hindi-speaking states accept Hindi.