Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya on ‘The Language Problem’: ‘If English goes, its place will not be taken by Hindi alone but jointly by Hindi and the regional languages’
“Nobody conceives that legislative and administrative work in Kerala will be transacted through Hindi instead of Malayalam. But Malayalam cannot come unless English is dislodged.”
English must go
It should be remembered that if English is to go, it will be to satisfy our sense of national self-respect. It is, therefore, no use in permeating the qualities and advantages of English. We could not have kept the English rule, whatever might have been its advantage. That the thirst for Swarajya (self-rule) cannot be quenched by Surajya (good rule) was our common reply to the pro-British elements during the earlier days of our freedom struggle. Similarly, today’s need for a ‘Swabhasha’ cannot be fulfilled by a ‘Subhasha’.
Fight against English
The fact is that the fight against English is not a fight of the Hindiwallahs. It is indeed the common cause of all Indian regional languages. If the British followed the policy of divide and rule to strengthen their rule, the supporters of English are doing the same thing to perpetuate this foreign tongue. If English goes, its place will not be taken by Hindi alone but jointly by Hindi and the regional languages. If English remains, no language in India can prosper. Was it Hindi that displaced Tamil and Bengali and other languages from their respective areas? Nobody conceives that legislative and administrative work in Kerala will be transacted through Hindi instead of Malayalam. But Malayalam cannot come unless English is dislodged.
Our own languages
We cannot breathe the life-giving free air of our own cultural renaissance as long as English continues. Even at the risk of losing access to modern scientific knowledge, we should free ourselves from the clutches of this foreign tongue. Our contribution through our own languages will be much more valuable to us and the world than what we can give by imitating the West through English.
Sanskrit common basis
If we leave out Sanskrit, what will be the common basis of the new terminology for all regional languages? The terms in use are English. If we continue them, there is no question of replacement. It will simply mean replacing a few pronouns and verbs, as the Moghuls did while evolving Urdu out of Persian. Persianised Hindi could not serve the purpose. Anglicised Hindi will not serve it either. The half-educated city people may talk in that language, but it cannot be used for official or literary work.
Sanskrit terminology international
Words with Sanskrit roots may perhaps appear strange and difficult today, but it will be clear in a few days that they are easier for us and are more capable of expressing the nuances of meaning in our minds. A terminology based upon Sanskrit would be useful not only for India but for the entire South and East Asia. Also, among modern terminologies, it alone can become an international terminology.
The Hindi controversy
While there is general consensus on the question of Hindi, the policy of the Government has created a controversy. Why did the Government not prepare a technical terminology for so long? Did Rajaji prevent them? Why were pot the keyboards of typewriters improved? What opponents of Hindi had prevented this? It was not the opponents of Hindi who were the obstruction but the indifferent and dilly-dallying attitude of the Government.
The question of script
The question about the script is also a bit baffling. There is no sense in opposing Gurmukhi. Whatever its origin, it is today widely used by the Punjabi-speaking people. But there are many who demand the use of Nagari script also. Why should it not be accepted? This would help the cause of Punjabi. There are apprehensions that if Nagari is used for Punjabi, the language will not be able to acquire its distinctive character. The fears are unfounded. Marathi has Nagari script, and yet it is a distinct language. Whatever the Government does, I feel that the writers and publishers will growingly make use of Nagari for writing Punjabi because books published in Nagari will definitely find a wider market. As Hindi is the national language, everybody would be learning it. So Nagari script will be known to all. Advocates of Gurmukhi alone want to limit the field of Punjabi,
(Excerpts from the book – “Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya A Profile” edited by Sudhakar Raje)