When the new Indian PM was addressing the Madison Square Garden and even the UN General Assembly, were we bothered that the speech was in Hindi? No. But the world bothered. I could read many foreign dailies urging people to learn Hindi if they wanted to understand the words of world’s one of the most popular political figures, the Prime Minister of India. Ok, enough with the political aspect. Isn’t easy and quick exchange of thoughts a must for the society to develop? One man can never bring prosperity to the entire nation. Now to engage others in the same task, conversation is desirable. Are we then heading towards the path leading to success with citizens of the same nation not even capable to exchange opinions due to linguistic variances? English, Chinese, and French are the languages that have preserved the unity of respective nations intact. But the linguistic diversity of India, though something we are proud of, is a key hindrance if we talk of unity, prosperity, and all-inclusive growth.
There are as many as 22 official languages in our country. Imagine at least 22 clusters connecting within the group in their own language, and when a north Indian seeks to connect with someone from the south, add to it the unskillfulness in English language. Would the economic domain develop then? Here is some more data. About 400 million Indians are Hindi-users, while 70 million, 61 million, 74 million and 83 million use Urdu, Tamil, Telugu and Bengali languages as a medium to communicate. Doesn’t this appear destructive? Yes, the prevalence of one common language throughout the country will eat up the jobs of translators, but are they adding to our output? Wouldn’t it be quick and economical for me to discuss work with one of my professional peers in the South if we could speak and understand the same language? I was wondering how the USA and UK managed to touch such heights. Was it the political dexterity or the entrepreneurs that helped? Anything it is; was it possible if one from London could not understand the words of another from Edinburgh?
Article 344 of our constitution speaks about constituting Official Language Commission every ten years that should aim at stimulating the use of Hindi throughout the country and imposing restrictions on the use of English for all or any of the official purposes of the Union. Would you believe that the 2011 census recognized 1635 rationalized mother tongues in India? If we talk about large clusters, 28-30 languages are in use by groups with more than a million native residents. Now would you call this as linguistic diversity or linguistic paralysis? In the quasi-federal form of governance, the Union has adopted Hindi and English as the official languages for work, while states have their own set of languages. So, not only you need to have the know-how of corporate laws of overseas nations while doing business, but you should also learn Marathi, Bengali, or Punjabi in case you are aiming at markets of two or more regions. And in the same scenario, feel the pain of foreign stakeholders having business interest in India. Political leaders must recognize this basic fact rather than promoting just regional languages to lure voters.
Let us come to those now who are advocating the use of English. Foremost, English in India is an adoption, not a creation. Hindi, on the contrary, is the language that backs the name ‘Hindustan’. Infused in our roots, Hindi is the language that we can call as the language of the nation, though we do not have any declared national language. Yes, it is agreeable that English is a widely embraced language hence expansion of economy is directly linked to English. But then why do Chinese and French speakers rarely care for this ‘language of the titans’? Also, what comes first- national consensus or cross-border sync? And the ones promoting the use of Hindi across all states of India never ask for a total ban on English, which can be taken up as an ancillary language. Else, translate our ‘Vande Mataram’, ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’, ‘Jai Hind’, and ‘Maa Tujhe Salaam’ in English. You would agree that Hindi is our foundation, and in case this basis is crushed, never dream of an optimistic tomorrow. Politicians, who have been opposing the lessons of Hindi, are those rare anti-nation-builders who can ever think of a developed India.
Agreement of thoughts is indispensable and we are all ‘Hindustanis’ at heart. Then why say no to inclusion of Hindi language in all schools nationwide? And I am not talking of rocket science. While there is no harm in teaching Tamil in Tamil Nadu, something will be lost if Hindi is not taught along with. And that ‘something’ is ‘nexus’ between the Indians despite of the state an Indian comes from. For the new union government, it is advisable that actions be taken to direct every school and even the madrasas to impart lessons on Hindi. How about all state governments according Hindi the label of official language of the state? Tell me; is it feasible to translate a film in multiple languages so that the viewers across the country can uncomplicatedly relish the same? India, indeed, is the only nation where language is a political weapon; you can observe politicians in the state of Maharashtra delivering speeches in Marathi just to appear native. Isn’t then the language gap dividing the country in clusters? Sooner than later, and with a view to binding all the Indians, say ‘Yes’ to Hindi.