The fuss about imposing Hindi as national language is not new. Almost everyone in India (north India) is told/brainwashed that Hindi is India’s national language. I was also brought up with the idea that Hindi is national language. Marathi (my mother tongue) is just a regional language. But, when I really did the research I found out that, Hindi indeed is NOT national language of India?
I like Hindi, I write in Hindi, I feel Hindi sounds very good. But, does it mean everyone should know how to read and speak in Hindi? Absolutely not. The Union of India has so many native and regional languages that it is impossible to impose Hindi as a unified language. Even if it is possible it is neither practically nor socially good for the nation. The main reason behind the retaliation against Hindi is not because people hate Hindi but, people love their own native language more.
Language and Culture
India is one of the most diverse countries in the world. The states were created based on linguistic differences. Any sociologist will agree that Language is integral part of the culture. Culture and language have their own path and speed. Any imposition of the culture results in revolt. Unfortunately India was invaded again and again by outsiders.The invasions brought their own language and culture to India. Many of the words were taken from other languages into regional Indian languages.
The inherent nature of Indians do not appreciate imposition of foreign culture. I believe it was the main reason different regions in India were able to keep their own culture and language safe. It is the truth (may be surprise for some) that Hindi is actually a regional language. It’s mainly spoken in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. There is an illusion that Hindi is spoken in whole north India. It’s untrue. Northern India has many different regional languages as Dogri, Punjabi, Haryanvi, Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Rajasthani languages etc.
Pakistan and Media
I just want to take a minute and tell a story. It’s about Bangladesh. Every Indian knows India beat Pakistan and freed Bangladesh in 1971. Many people know Pakistan waged war on India. But, is it really the truth? No. There is more to this story than what we know. Since the independence of India and Pakistan, there was a cautious effort by Pakistani establishment to impose Urdu as national language. Urdu was made compulsory for civil exams, schools etc. Bengali’s opposed it by tooth and nail from the beginning and this imposition of Urdu resulted finally in Mukti Bahini movement and freedom fight of Bangladesh. However history is written in text books the reality is that the dispute began with compulsion of Urdu language by Pakistani establishment.
The same attempt was seen in India when Hindi was imposed by government in establishment. Media opposed and so did the people. I believe the state languages and the native languages must be respected. At least in government activities the native language has to be put first. All the notices and names should be given in state language first. For instance Metro project in Mumbai has not notice boards in Marathi. This not only undermines the state language but also the basis on which states were created. Hindi is not national language, I repeat. And for those who say ‘Be Global .. Be Open’ I ask one question ‘Will ask this to Japanese, Chinese or Germans or French?’
Unfortunately for national as well as international media India means Delhi and 100 km radius area from Delhi. Which is absolutely not true. No matter how much Mumbai becomes a metropolitan, it’s still capital of Maharashtra and Marathi is state language. So, logically I don’t support imposing Hindi in any way. This does not mean I am demeaning the Hindi as language or any culture. I am just saying respect native languages. Finally, every state language or native language must be respected. Imposing Hindi as national language is a very bad national strategy. Not everyone is supposed to know Hindi in India. Using Hindi doesn’t mean the thing became pan-Indian. India needs to learn from the mistake Pakistan did.
The views in this article are my own and must not be connected to my employer Autodesk in any way