Say Yes to Hindi

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.

92 thoughts on “Say Yes to Hindi

  1. Shan Kumar

    I really do not want to be dragged into an argument. However, since you have misrepresented or hidden some of the facts, I think, this should be put into proper perspective.

    I wish you would appreciate the following facts:

    1. Since you started comparing India and the European nations, let me also do the same. India is half the size of the European Union and the Union recognises as official language 24 languages! And the EU commission very clearly states, that all languages should be encouraged and they have a special commission for spreading multilingualism and not single language, as unfortunately we do! We are grossly mislead by this theory that if there is one language there will be more business! Irrational and no supporting claim at all. It is a concept promoted by Hindi lovers. The UK has two officially recognised languages for communication; France has six. Even the tiny Singapore has four. You will see four languages in every traffic board in Singapore! Have they not progressed? If one language can unite, why did England go for a referendum on Ireland? Why did Telengana split? Language is not the integrator. It is attitude.
    2. On the contrary, China exports to the US and to every other country in the world. Please check how many Chinese can speak any of these languages, including English? Language is not necessary to do business. If you product is good, it speaks. You can keep quiet. Same is the case with the Japanese. They all learnt in their mother tongue and practiced their business in mother tongue. Mother tongue is the best way to speak, learn and practice business. It has been repeatedly proven by educationists that learning mother tongue makes people smarter and more innovative. Example: Japan again.
    3. Divergence of language is not destructive; can never be destructive. How is it so? On one side, my neighbour speaks Rajasthani, I speak Telugu, the other side, the person speaks Tamil, another neighbour speaks Gujarati. We all are friendly and work together. There is no destructiveness in anything. Please do not spread a wrong assumption. Today, there are a large number of north Indians are migrating to the south because there is business. Why don’t they learn Tamil, Telugu or Kannada? Yes, many of them here have done. Some of them speak the local languages better than the local-ite!
    4. I think, government should not promote any language. How can they use tax payer’s money to promote something anti to the tax payer? They should stop pushing Hindi in all forms.
    5. In my opinion, Language is an individual choice. If I want to learn Japanese I learn. If I want to learn Hindi I learn. Like religion, government should have no say in this matter. Individuals should chose their language and study in that language. It will be their mother tongue and they will be learning very well. And what ever other languages he or she wants to study, they should be able to do it. Government should an ensure equality of languages and not promote one language and discourage another!

    Reply
    1. Dr Sunil Gupta Post author

      It was evident and so happened that the article has been elucidated as ‘political’, ‘biased’, ‘chauvinistic’, and so on by many of my capable friends and I respect the thoughts. But can I say that just 500 words backing the use of Hindi were enough to provoke the sentiments. I, in the article itself, stressed upon the failures of not using a common language across India, and steered clear of any intents of promoting Hindutva. Let me assure you that my reason of promoting Hindi is in no way affiliated with adding any sustenance to the drive of RSS, BJP or Hindutva. Can I not as a promoter of Hindi language present my views, or will it ever be construed as endorsing Hindutva? Isn’t it a bare misfortune that backing Hindus in India is interpreted as being communal; however while asking for perks for the minority one can proclaim to being ‘secular’? Likewise, support for Hindi, my friends, is not just a support for Hindutva, or Hindi’s opposition cannot make you an anti-Hindutva. For a very simple reason that I am in the ‘for’ category in this dialogue, can I not link Hindi with development, even when I can back this up with practical explanations? It is agreeable that English is a language of the titans, understood at global platforms but should we completely discard the tailbacks of our education system and limited or no means with the underprivileged families to take lessons on English? Shall I then not support the use of such a language that lies in our senses, which at the same time also glosses the Indian culture and heritage? Why did the constitution makers add such clauses as enumerated in the article? It is very obvious that if every Indian would have had at least moderate acquaintance of Hindi, joblessness for a youth hailing from rural north India and thousands of coaching classes imparting lessons on English to such depressed individuals were nowhere. All of yours’ perusal has initiated a constructive discussion, which I believe can land us to a consensus. Let the rightful win.

      Reply
  2. Ranganathan Venkataraman

    Gentleman, I do not agree to this chauvinism. Today India is recognized because it invested in English. Modi’s logic is flawed and does not deserve to be supported. Modi mentioned that when we move the mouse the whole world dances. This was because South India invested in English and did not cling to Hindi like north India. That’s one reason north is still stagnant. Let us not reduce the USP of India’s success by some parochial attachments. All those who support may not even respect our culture but will talk empty. India is united not through language but through culture. This needs to be respected.

    Reply
    1. Dr Sunil Gupta Post author

      It was evident and so happened that the article has been elucidated as ‘political’, ‘biased’, ‘chauvinistic’, and so on by many of my capable friends and I respect the thoughts. But can I say that just 500 words backing the use of Hindi were enough to provoke the sentiments. I, in the article itself, stressed upon the failures of not using a common language across India, and steered clear of any intents of promoting Hindutva. Let me assure you that my reason of promoting Hindi is in no way affiliated with adding any sustenance to the drive of RSS, BJP or Hindutva. Can I not as a promoter of Hindi language present my views, or will it ever be construed as endorsing Hindutva? Isn’t it a bare misfortune that backing Hindus in India is interpreted as being communal; however while asking for perks for the minority one can proclaim to being ‘secular’? Likewise, support for Hindi, my friends, is not just a support for Hindutva, or Hindi’s opposition cannot make you an anti-Hindutva. For a very simple reason that I am in the ‘for’ category in this dialogue, can I not link Hindi with development, even when I can back this up with practical explanations? It is agreeable that English is a language of the titans, understood at global platforms but should we completely discard the tailbacks of our education system and limited or no means with the underprivileged families to take lessons on English? Shall I then not support the use of such a language that lies in our senses, which at the same time also glosses the Indian culture and heritage? Why did the constitution makers add such clauses as enumerated in the article? It is very obvious that if every Indian would have had at least moderate acquaintance of Hindi, joblessness for a youth hailing from rural north India and thousands of coaching classes imparting lessons on English to such depressed individuals were nowhere. All of yours’ perusal has initiated a constructive discussion, which I believe can land us to a consensus. Let the rightful win.

      Reply
  3. ANIL KEDIA

    ITS THOUGHT PROVOKING AND WORTH PONDERING WITH A SERIOUS ACTION AND WILL POWER BUILDING TO ACCEPT THE FACT, BUT OUR OBSESSION FOR ENGLISH PREVENTS US FROM ACCEPTING THE SAME.

    Reply
  4. Manish Khurana

    Agreeable to an extent. It sounds good that every Indian must be able to understand and communicate in one language,
    but is it really possible, that is the question. Sir, your intent may be right but this may end up political.

    Reply
  5. Biswadip

    Better off we are if we either say yes to English all over or Hindi.
    Looking at the facts that our education and social wings are not that fortified,
    I would also recommend promoting Hindi. This is just to bind India.

    Reply
  6. Peeyush Chawala

    Why are we fetching political mileage out of linguistic multiplicity?
    You are right in saying that this has become a tool of luring voters.
    It not, the states would not have parties that emerged only due to regional links.

    Reply
  7. M.N. Tayal

    I was reading some time ago about an accused asking for translation of judicial judgment from English to Hindi.
    Is law then serving its purpose?
    Give one linguistic weapon to all and same should be same everywhere.

    Reply
  8. Rajesh

    Many people and I think all those who will consider this article worth reading will presume you as an RSS or BJP activist who knows politics and just politics.
    But your attempt is loyal to the extent that one language can enrich Indians.

    Reply
  9. Surender

    I am not a Hindi speaker and when I try the same I rather insult this language,
    which even north Indians do with Hindi or Tamil.
    It is better then that we adopt a single language which
    I also support should be Hindi as a language for all.

    Reply
  10. D.K. Sinha

    Narendra Modi has nothing to do with promoting Hindi,
    it is just his dexterity and love for this language I believe.
    The MHRD, however, can think of your suggestions,
    but do you think sir that the states would agree?

    Reply
  11. Hari Krishan

    It is right that China and some other nations are using more or less single language within their borders.
    India can also think of the same.
    After all, until when we would combine English with modernity and skillfulness?

    Reply
  12. K.K. Tiwari

    Today when non-English speakers receive nil opportunities in the corporate world,
    it is just because we have people who can very well deal with English.
    Then why not uplift our education system rather than just thinking of promoting Hindi.

    Reply
  13. M.S. Chauhan

    I cannot buy all that you recommend sir,
    but yes Hindi should be taught to the extent that at least language barriers are overcome and
    interpretations within India do not hold back growth.

    Reply
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  42. Ghansham Das

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    Reply
  43. Manak Agrawal

    Good article Doctor Sunilji. Factually, every educated citizen in India already know the facts but mass votes are not from them. Regional politics by small parties…..

    Reply
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    Reply

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