Chidambaram was replying to a calling attention motion on the need to include Bhojpuri, the native tongue of Bihar, in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution to accord it the official language status.
"Hum sabke bhawna samjhat bani (I understand the sentiments of all of you)," Chidambaram said during his reply to stunned silence from the members.
P Chidambaram (File photo)
But after a moment for it to sink in, the house erupted into surprised elation and thumping of desks by the members.
Chidambaram promised to expedite the process of considering the reports of two committees with regard to Bhojpuri and for a quick decision thereafter.
This brought in appreciation from Meira Kumar, who said it is a matter of great joy that Chidambaram, whom she has never heard even speak in Hindi, addressed the house in Bhojpuri.
Kumar expressed the hope that the home minister will return to the house soon with the "happy news" of Bhojpuri being accorded official language status.