While home minister’s remarks on Hindi (rightly) sparked debate, his views on the country’s rich linguistic scene should be welcomed
GN Bureau | September 16, 2019
Home minister Amit Shah’s remark on the need for a single national language has rightly sparked a debate, but the headlines missed much in his speech about language, culture, and identity.
Giving away Rajbhasha Gaurav Puraskar and Rajbhasha Kirti Puraskar awards on the occasion of Hindi Divas Samaroh, Shah on September 14 said unity and diversity is the strength of our nation, but a national language is needed so that foreign languages do not overpower our own. He also said Gandhiji and Sardar Patel, who forged a united India, appealed people to accept Hindi as the national language. He also quoted Vinoba Bhave and Dr Ram Manohar Lohia in support of the argument.
Urging all to get connected with Hindi, he noted there was unanimous consensus for Hindi as national language in the Constituent Assembly, in spite of the assembly’s sheer diversity. He said that this decision was an important factor in ensuring cultural unity of India. He called for greater use of the national language in all aspects of life. He said that only when we understand the importance of Hindi, can it thrive and prosper.
This triggered sharp reactions, from political leaders, especially of the south, as well as twitterati. Many pointed out the fallacy of the one-nation-one-language argument and some recalled Jinnah’s similar views, which led to the bifurcation of Pakistan and the birth of Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, there was more to Shah’s speech than the call for making Hindi the national language. Here are other remarks from the speech worth perusing:
* Hindi is the language of coexistence. Its growth will never be at the cost of any other language. Hindi is the heart and soul of our freedom struggle. Let us make Hindi the most widely used language in the world.
* India has a high degree of linguistic richness; the nation was home to 122 languages and more than 19500 dialects. The richest languages of the world belong to India. The depth of Indian languages is unparalleled, because of the equally unparalleled depth of Indian culture.
* A country that forgets its language kills its cultural existence. Language connects us to the roots of the nation. If we lose our language, we will be cut off from our culture.
* We must get rid of the inferiority complex towards Hindi and our other languages that has set in due to colonial hangover. We must be proud of our language. Noting the role played by teachers in the growth of languages, he said that teachers and educators must instil a sense of pride about Hindi in students.
Meanwhile, speaking on the occasion, minister of state G Kishan Reddy said that while Telugu was his mother tongue, he had equal love for Hindi, and a mother tongue and the national language must go together. Calling Hindi a source of self-pride for the country, he noted Tamil poet Subramania Bharathi’s love for Hindi. He added that Hindi is India’s greatest social and cultural heritage and is emerging as a powerful cultural capital of India. He remarked that even multinational firms were accepting Hindi as a functional language. He noted the growing popularity of Hindi with India's films, and said that the growth of Hindi on the global stage adds to India's soft power. He advocated a greater use of IT for the development and popularization of Hindi.
Survival at Stake: How Our Treatment of Animals Is Key to Human Existence By Poorva Joshipura HarperCollins, 328 pages, Rs 499 With science now recognising animal consciousness, intelligence, emotion, and even morality, there must rise an awareness of
India`s tryst with trade through the Arctic regions, including the Northern Sea Routes (NSR), has become an impact-making endeavor recently. The Arctic of yore is now a pivot – point of geopolitics, of climate change discussions, and for economic opportunities; 40% of oil and gas reserves said to be
Investing Decoded: Simple Path To Building A Portfolio In Millions By Anirudh Rathore Penguin India, 320 pages, Rs 499
Deepfake has emerged as a serious threat to democracy and social institutions across the world. Propagation of deepfake content via social media platforms has aggravated this challenge. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has, from time to time, advised social media in
Two level of roads not enough, BMC to have triple traffic jams through underground junctions There is no shortage of short-sighted traffic experts who believe that creating more vertical space (either above or below the level) in already overcrowded and congested cities will be cou
The Election Commission of India’s persistent efforts have led to a significant and exponential increase in seizures in the five poll-going states of Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Telangana. Seizures over Rs 1,760 crore have been reported in these five states since the announce