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.
India has been hitting upwards of 90,000 fresh cases of Covid-19 every day for some time now, as the virus continues to spread amid further Unlock. The recoveries, on the other hand, are also creating new records. The country recorded 96,424 new cases of infection – the highest single-
India once again registered 90,000-plus fresh cases of Covid-19 in a day, even as the number of recoveries too registered a new high – 82,961. The number of those who have recovered so far is now nearly four times higher than the number of active cases. India continues to record a spat
The fall of financial institutions is largely a result of governance failures and company board members must ensure checks and balances for the larger ecosystem, says entrepreneur Shachindra Nath, executive chairman and managing director, U GRO Capital. In an webinar chat with Kailashnath Ad
As parliament on Monday commenced its special session amid the raging Covid-19 pandemic, prime minister Narendra Modi underlined the importance of debate in the house, saying that it is “beneficial” for the country. “Several important decisions will be taken in this session
As coronavirus refuses to abate, Maharashtra has become the first state in India to cross 1 million mark in terms of confirmed cases and stares at shortage of medical oxygen. Every day 2,000-3,000 new patients require oxygen support across the state. Those in a critical condition need 40-60 litres of oxyge
Amid the trend in several countries of granting legal status to marijuana, a team of doctors from the Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, have called for more tests to find out its supposed benefits. “It would be prudent to wait for studies which prove beyond doubt the advantages of marijua