The Guajrat High Court’s decision that Hindi is not the national language of India has opened can of worms. “The court also observed that in India, a majority of people have accepted Hindi as a national language and many speak Hindi and write in Devanagari script, but it’s not officially the national language.” So the difference between “official language” and “national language” baffles all of us. The court failed to issue mandamus on manufacturers or governments for usage of Hindi to mention the details on the packages.It stated that government has not issued any notification in that regard,keeping in mind the fact that Hindi is merely the official language.
This decision is shocking for those who till now believed that Hindi is the national language of India.After all, the common people have read so many times on the walls of banks and Railway station that Hindi is our Rashtrabhasha.So have we been fooling the people of this nation since independence ? After all,it’s hard to believe that this nation that has national animal ,national flag and national flower has no national language !!! How many big countries like India present such a ridiculous scenario ?
I don’t know how many of us are aware of the fact that Hindi’s “official language” status differs from its “national language” status ? I am sure even people who have bothered to read pages of Consitution will find it hard to explain why Hindi that’s “official language ” can not be treated as “national language”.If what came in way was lack of notification on part of government why nobody issued a notification in that regard by providing Hindi the national language in clear terms in pages of Constitution.Doesn’t the dubious approach of governments since Independence in that regard smacks of appeasement and double standards ?
The inability of governments to provide Hindi status of national language is great insult to the dreams of Father Of The Nation Mahatma Gandhi. Interestingly, we find a great parallel between language and reservation policy.Both of them were placed within certain time period by their policymakers but in case of reservation we find that they were subsequently extended for every 10 years through constitutional amendments and in case of ending of usage of English language after 15 years the government ensured its usage by introducing Official Languages Act, 1963 !!!! ” Unless Parliament decided otherwise, the use of English for official purposes was to cease 15 years after the constitution came into effect, i.e., on 26 January 1965.” ( Articles 343(2) and (3))
There are some wise souls in India who feel that English being the global language be not only promoted but also if possible provided the stature of national language.Well, have they bothered to turn the pages of Constitution they would come to know that having such dreams is purely unconstitutional.The makers of Constitution were unambiguous at least in this regard that usage of English language be not only ended but also that Hindi be promoted. I am presenting some sections from Constitution to show that who think promoting the use of Hindi smacks of chauvinism are very much the traitors for that is against the Indian Constitution. I am also presenting the views of Gandhi to show that our leaders wished to see Hindi as national language.In fact,Gandhiji stated that only Hindi and never English can be national language of India.
Let’s see what constitution says:
343(2) Notwithstanding anything in clause(1) , for a period of fifteen years from the commencement of this constitution ,the English Language shall continue to be used for all the official purposes of the Union for which it was being used immediately before such commencement . ..
Article 344(2) It shall be the duty of the Commission to make recommendations to the President as to –
(a) the progressive use of the Hindi language for the official purposes of the Union .
(b)restrictions on the use of English language for all or any of the official purposes of the Union .
CHAPTER IV -SPECIAL DIRECTIVES
Article 351 -Directive for development of the Hindi language – It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language , to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expressions for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius , the forms , style and expression used in Hindustani and in other languages of India specifies in the Eighth Schedule , and by drawing , wherever necessary or desirable , for its vocabulary , primarily on Sanskrit or secondarily on other languages .
Now what Mahatma Gandhi said :
”For example, he wrote in his book, Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule, published in 1909 (or 1906?) that,
a universal language for India should be Hindi, with the option of writing it in Persian or Nagari characters. In order that the Hindus and the Mohammedans may have closer relations, it is necessary to know both the characters. And, if we can do this, we can drive the English language out of the field in a short time.”
CAN ENGLISH BECOME OUR NATIONAL LANGUAGE?
Raising the question ”whether English can become our national language,” Gandhi listed the following criteria for any language to become ”our national language,” in his presidential address at the Second Gujarat Educational Conference at Broach in 1917 (Gandhi 1956:3).
1.It should be easy to learn for Government officials.
2.It should be capable of serving as a medium of religious, economic and political intercourse throughout India.
3.It should be the speech of the majority of the inhabitants of India.
4.It should be easy to learn for the whole of the country.
5.In choosing this language considerations of temporary or passing interest should not count.
Gandhi concluded that:
English does not fulfill any of these requirements …… We shall have to admit that it is Hindi..… There, now remains the question of script. For the present, Muslims will certainly use the Urdu script and Hindus will mostly write in Devanagari.…. No other language can compete with Hindi in satisfying these five requirements.…. Thus, we see that Hindi alone can become the national language. No doubt it presents some difficulty to the educated classes of Madras. …. If Hindi attains to its due status then it will be introduced in every school in Madras and Madras will thus be in a position to cultivate acquaintance with other province….. In general, however, the ways, which have been suggested for the promotion of the Mother tongue, may with suitable modifications be applied to the national language. The responsibility of making Gujarati the medium of instruction will have to be shouldered mainly by us but in the movement to popularize the national language the whole country must play its part (Gandhi 1956: 3-7).
Gandhi too talked about love for people to have respect for their mother tongue but not at the cost of ignoring Hindi.That’s also echoed by Constitution.Respect regional languages but be enthusiastic towards promotion of Hindi.Now I wish to say something in Hindi in the last part of my article.
यह राजभाषा और राष्ट्रभाषा की नौटंकी बंद होनी चाहिये.हिंदी अगर राजभाषा है तो फिर राष्ट्रभाषा का दर्जा देने से ऐतराज क्यों है ?यह राजभाषा और राष्ट्रभाषा का फर्क दिखाकर कुछ लोग साबित क्या करना चाहते है ? सवाल यह है की सबको हिंदी आनी चाहिए ,सब हिंदी में बोले और हिंदी राष्ट्रभाषा हो सिर्फ राजभाषा नहीं (उनके लिए जो बार बार हमे राजभाषा और राष्ट्रभाषा का फर्क समझाते है ) पर इतने सारे लोग बिफर क्यों पड़ते है ?क्या हिंदी की वकालत करना गुनाह है ? तो फिर ऐसा क्यों है की हिंदी का प्रचार प्रसार दक्षिण के लोगो को खल जाता है ? क्यों थोपने जैसा लगता है ? जब अन्ग्रेज्ज़ी को एक बार खत्म करने की कोशिश हुई तो इसका जमकर विरोध दक्षिण वालो ने क्यों किया था ?
(This distinction between official language and National language must end now. If Hindi is the official language of this nation then why the government is not interested in providing it a national language status in clear terms in our Constitution ? Well,all should know Hindi, all should speak in Hindi and Hindi be our national language and not just official language makes some go berserk.Like to know why that happens ? Is advocating the cause of Hindi some crime ? Why some people treat such gestures as forceful imposition ? The dominance of English was given a big jolt but then protests from the southern states provided English a new lease of life.)
Well,I would just like to ask policymakers of this nation that arrangements have been made to continue reservation and usage of English then what’s preventing the government from turning Hindi into a national language ? Any answers ?