Hindi An Imposition But Not English?
Intro: The UP budget for 2014-15 earmarks a whopping Rs. 556 crores for two foreign languages, viz., Arabic and Persian, and Rs. 1.50 crores for Urdu, whereas a meagre sum of 20 lakhs has been allotted to four state-level languages- Brij, Avadhi, Bhojpuri and Bundelkhandi. The objectionable thing is that India”s classical language Sanskrit has not been given even a paisa. Everybody knows that the lion”s share meant for Arabic and Persian will go to Azam Khan”s pocket university at Rampur ?
It is unfortunate that the suggestion by Central Government to give importance to Hindi language (adopted as the official language of the Union under Article 343(1) of the Constitution) is being opposed by a few as an imposition. Hindi had been projected as the ‘Rashtra Basha’ during the freedom struggle under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and, as early as in 1930’s Dakshina Bharat, a Hindi Prachara Sabha was established for making Hindi popular in Southern part of the Nation also.
It is strange that six decades after the English rule ended and Hindi with Devanagari script was adopted as the official language of the Union under Article 343(1), there are some people in the Country who think that Hindi is being imposed on them but not English. The credit for this should go to Britishers who were astute rulers and in particular to Macaulay who imposed the English language as the official medium of instruction in India.
Under clause (2) of Article 343 English language was permitted to be continued for a period of 15 years as a transitionary measure as it was in use as the official language of the Centre during the British rule and any sudden change would create some practical difficulties post independence. Immediately after the commencement of the Constitution, it was the bounden duty of the Central Government to evolve a language policy consistent with the declaration of Hindi as the official language of the Union Government and the declaration that provincial language should be the official language of the State concerned. It is because of the failure on the part of the Central Government to evolve a National policy regarding the scope and area of operation of the official language of the Centre and official language of the States, the confusion has been created.
The object and purpose of declaring Hindi as the official language of the Union meant that it shall be a link language between the Centre and the States. And as far as the States are concerned, the entire administration of the State would be carried in the official language of the State and consequently there would be no conflict.
Had this demarcation been there would have been no problem at all. Because of the failure to evolve a National language policy by the Central Government and rousing of regional and parochial feelings among the citizens for political gains, National integration has suffered very much. The aspect was highlighted by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court as early as in the case of Pradeep Jain vs. Union of India –AIR 1984 SC 1420, Para-1
“We find that today the integrity of the nation is threatened by the divisive forces of regionalism, linguism and communalism and regional linguistic and communal loyalties are gaining ascendancy in national life and seeking to tear apart and destroy national integrity. It is time we remind ourselves what the great visionary and builder of modern India Jawaharlal Nehru said, “Who dies if India lives; who lives is India dies.”
Despite the words of warning by a Constitution Bench as above made as early as in the year 1984, no steps have been taken to evolve a language policy applicable to all the States. It is indisputable that all the languages spoken in India including those incorporated in the 8th Schedule to the Constitution are National languages. In fact in the Constituent Assembly Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the principal architect of our Constitution wanted Sanskrit, the oldest and the richest language in the World to be the official language. Many of members of the Constituent Assembly most of whom belonged to Tamil Nadu had given their consent and support to it and to let Hindi be the official language of the Centre by the Constituent Assembly as large number of people had Hindi as their mother tongue.
In fact, as I felt that learning of Devanagari Script as a matter of duty by all the citizens of this Country at primary level would go a long way in strengthening our National integration and unity, I had introduced a Bill titled “The Learning of Devanagari Script (for National Unity) Bill 2011 in the Rajya Sabha to make it obligatory for every citizen of the Country to learn Devanagari script if not Hindi or Sanskrit as a language at primary level. But it was not taken up. However, the same suggestion has now been given to the present Government to bring in a Bill on the same lines.
-M Rama Jois??