Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Should Hindi Be a National Language?

This post is based on Neha’s reply to my comment on her Blog.Please read her blog post for further Gyan.

@ ZB, why not? why one language cannot be the official language of a country? English - looking at our literacy rate in India, English is not spoken or understood by vast majority..thanks to British people, none of our languages could prosper..they used English as the official language; thus it continued..but we do have our own identity..the major problem is that we are still looking at the smaller picture..tell me, will you ever be able to take the insult of not being spoken with or guided the directions in your own country because you do not know the local language? Don't you think if one language was made official at the time of formation of Constitution; we could all have at least communicated with one-another?

I feel Hindi is not our Identity. Hindi is a modern language which has derived from Khari Boli, Persian and Sanskrit languages. It evolved during the Mughal and British era. Bhojpuri, Gujrati, Rajesthani, Haryanavi etc are much older and purer than Hindi.Devanagari Script was adopted to Standardize the language. Earlier Sanskrit had no script. In south India Sanskrit was written in Tamil.

Forcing down a Language doesn’t make it popular. In Kerala, Hindi is taught from the school level, but people hardly speak the language. If Hindi would have been made our National Language in 1965, it would bring much shame to the language 50 years down the line. It would be shameful for a National Language when half of the population don’t understand a word of it.

Believe me, if I know just Hindi( and not English) and travel the country I would face bigger problems in communicating, Where as English is much more understood by majority. In places like South India or Eastern states, there would be atleast few people who would speak English, if not the majority, but I doubt if it’s the case with Hindi.

Hindi doesn’t mean anything to me in South India.In Kerala for example, all communications are in either Malayalam or English. Hindi plays absolutely no role and its not because its not been taught there in schools.Where as Malayalam is spoken because it’s the identity of the people. Or tamil is in Tamilnadu. So is the case in Eastern States.

Being a lawyer, do you still believe that just because its made a National language of the country as per the constitution, it would be widely spoken by all Indians? Its not Practical and the makers of the constitution understood it much more than anyone else. That’s why it was never adopted.

why only Hindi - then just read the facts mentioned below..

India has two two linguistic families. The Indo-Aryan languages, 11 in number, derived from Sanskrit are spoken by nearly 75% of whom Hindi is spoken by 42% of people..The Dravidian languages spoken by 24% people prevail in Southern India of whom Telugu is spoken by largest group.

In a country with over a billion population, a mere percentage means a lot. 24 % is a lot of people, that’s over 250 million people. Learning Hindi doesn’t really help people securing a Job, does it? On the other hand, if one learns English, Spanish or French its considered an advantage.

Why is a Language which is neither an identity, or technical advantage, forced down upon people as national language?

by making Hindi an official language of the Union, who is saying that other languages will no longer be the official languages?

If you do not want to speak a language; it is alright..but does that mean you will pretend that you do not know the language at all and trouble the helpless?

we all love freedom; but declaring one language as the OFFICIAL LANGUAGE does not take away your freedom from you..the meaning of declaring this language as official does not mean you have to compulsorily converse in that language or learn strictly in that language in school…

Hindi is already an official language along with many regional languages of the country. The question is if it should be made a National Language, for which I oppose. I oppose because it doesn’t truly represent India. It represents only about 50 % of the country.

South India is drastically different from Hindi speaking part of the country. Tamil or local language is its identity. Same is the case in Bengal, Assam or Manipur.

Speaking in a language depends on the comfort level. In my case, I speak in Malayalam to majority of malayalees. I speak in Hindi with my Northee friends.
However, I speak in English with few of my malayalee friends, not because I want to show off or I feel Malayalam doesn’t have enough vocabulary. Its just that to a particular person I can only speak in a particular language. To my cousin sister Sandhya, I can only speak in English though both can speak Malayalam fluently. Hasn’t that ever happened to you?

However, I do feel Hindi should be taught in schools and Karunanidhi style opposition to any language shouldn’t be encouraged.

I feel we shouldn’t have a National language and Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali…ETC should be equally encouraged, as much as Hindi should be.

 Jai Hind and Happy Rupublic day to all.


BK Chowla, said...

I don't know,but surely it will only create a political storm.
Such issues must be sorted out on actual and sensible reality or political understanding.
We lack both.

Rahul Anand said...

The country is so diverse and multicultural that mandating the people to speak one common language is next to impossible. Every region must be allowed to follow its own lingo.

I agree that Hindi must be taught across the country. When English/French are being taught in schools, why not Hindi

HaRy!! said...

hmm interesting ZB, yeah i Think its only fair that we either treat all languages with respect or discard all of them!, I totally agree with yu... Hindi is nothing in tamil nadu and kerala and most of south India... whatsover... blame the politicians... cya around!

Neha said...

in my post, my point was simply to have one common language in place so that we do not face any problem while communicating with people of our own country..

it was just a proposal - my opinion..

and you are talking about 24% being a huge number; then the 24% includes all the Dravidian languages; while the 42% includes hindi only..

this argument will go on and on..I am glad you expressed your point of view..I did the same thing too..

PS: my comment on my blog was more of a gyaan than my post :) take care buddy :)

Anamika sureka said...

Well Its too controvercial ZB.I am from Delhi and I only see people communicating in Hindi and your post made me think..

BK Chowla, said...

It is important to communicate,what does it matter which language

ZB said...

@Chawla Ji: You are right. We need a language to communicate and express ourselves. What does it matter. Every language is the same its just that it sounds different to different ears. TC. Thanks :)

@Rahul: I agree with you completely.:)

@Hary: YEa buddy.

@Neha: Thanks Buddy. I understand your point. Its so true what you have said. Its that its not just possible, coz we are so different.

@Anamika: ANd i am from Kerala and i see people only speaking in Malayalam. I wonder whats Hindi going to do here in kerala. people talk about it being a National Language, when hardly anyone speak a word of it. So in Reality Hindi is not a National language. Thanks :)

sfauthor said...

Nice posting. Do you know about these Sanskrit books?


Aparna said...

ZB, languages are for creating bonds, not erecting barriers.
I do feel that a country as huge and as diverse as India should have an official/national language. What is wrong with hindi? Even if it spoken by 42% of the population? Isn't this still better than English being the main language? After all English is a foreign language. If we do not feel ashamed of learning a foreign language, why should we feel angry or ashamed of learning a language which is a part of our country?
My children speak hindi and bengali equally well. They can not read bengali though. I seriously do not mind. I do not think a language is the only aspect of a culture. There are many, like food, customs,festivals, clothes, music, dance...
The rest of India may not have made much effort in learning and embracing dravidian languages, but we do love the food, the music, the dances, the architecture. We have grown up laughing at the cartoon of Laxman's common man, we have loved Kamalahasan's movies, we love Rahman's music and idli-dosa-vada-sambhar are a favourite of many. Vishwanath and Shrikant have been the cricketing idols of many, all women across India have Kanjivaram sarees in their cupboards. Kerala is perhaps the most favoured holiday destination of Indians. I know many in South resent the imposition of Hindi. Bengalis did too. For a lot of Bengalis, the language is God's greatest gift to mankind. It saddens me. Because all of us belong to one nation.
Till the time we let go of our prejudices and learn to love all the communities, we can not be a progressive nation. I pray that the day comes soon.
This comment of mine is nothing about your post. This is what I feel inside.

R. Ramesh said...

buddy hi ya how u doing ya?:)

Antarman said...

I dont understand one thing..when we can accept english why so much resentment towards Hindi?

And practically now there is a sea change in south also....I came here 10 years back and now I am living...now many people know Hindi.even I went to Madurai..one guide and one rikshawala, both asked me to speak in Hindi as they know it.

But I want to learn Tamil also...I know a little bengali, can undesrtand a conversation.

Yes imposing anything is not good, but there is no harm in teaching Hindi with mother tongue.

Rajesh said...

Here are my 2 cents on this contentious issue...

People from other states (Tamilians/Marathis/Bengalis/Gujratis etc, etc.) speak in their respective languages only with people from the same state. I think even this is slightly impolite when you have some persons around who do not understand the language.

But Hindi-speakers INSIST on speaking in Hindi even with people from non-Hindi speaking parts of India. In fact, they don't stop at that; they want people from other states to use Hindi (& forget their respective languages) even in their day-to-day interactions, so that they(Hindi-speakers) do not have to put in the effort required to understand the local language/culture. And these are the VERY people who will acquire an ACCENT and the local lingo, within 2 weeks of landing in a Western country.

This is not just rude; it is downright arrogant, domineering & displays a shocking ignorance of & insensitivity towards, languages/cultures that one is not accustomed to. In fact, such intolerance & narrow mindset only reflects their ignorance & lack of education(Please don't confuse literacy with education.) And this kind of DOMINEERING behavior is the REAL reason why Hindi and Hindi-speakers are actively resented in many parts of India.

Vasant Prabhu said...

Hi dropped in from Nona's Blog. The subject of your blogpiece is certainly contentious and there is no silver bullet to address this. Taking the underlying argument I wonder what would happen if
> the Asiatic lions in India's forest took exception to Tiger being the national animal, their dwindling numbers do not justify that
>or the Great Indian bustard too offense to Peacock being the National bird for its of the rarer exotic variety
Thankfully they go about their business and bring rich variety to India's wild life

好生活 said...


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