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Imposing Hindi not easy as doing away with Article 370

Imposing Hindi not easy as doing away with Article 370
Highlights

Home Minister Amit Shah’s idea of ‘One Nation, One Language’ policy which he announced on Saturday, on Hindi Diwas, has opened up a can of worms with social media instantly flooding with strongly worded comments condemning his statement.

Home Minister Amit Shah's idea of 'One Nation, One Language' policy which he announced on Saturday, on Hindi Diwas, has opened up a can of worms with social media instantly flooding with strongly worded comments condemning his statement.

Leaders of various political parties from non-Hindi speaking States have already decried the move, accusing the RSS of trying to divide the country in the name of languages and ruin the country's cultural fabric.

The outcry against Shah's proposal in southern States of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu has been getting shriller with several leaders coming down heavily on the Home Minister, some of them even stating that 'if India has to be a country of Hindi alone, then only Hindi-speaking States would be part of it and not several others like Tamil Nadu and the northeast.'

Though India has 22 recognised languages, with Hindi being the largest spoken one, the fact is only 45 percent of Indians speak Hindi.

For the non-Hindi speaking populace, their mother tongues have been considered as the most glorious language and they have always tried to uphold the greatness of their own lingos.

'Unity in diversity' in our country is obviously one of most enviable traits that foreigners always look upon with awe. India's pluralistic culture and its secular framework make the nation unique. As per the eight Schedule of the Constitution, all languages should be nurtured with equal importance.

Only because a large chunk of population speaks Hindi, it can never be India's global identity. Being a multi-lingual society, people in India give first preference to English as the common language for communication as it is comparatively easy to learn and comprehend for people in southern and northeastern States.

Earlier in several occasions, there were widespread protests, some even violent, against imposition of Hindi in States like Tamil Nadu where hoi polloi is extremely culture sensitive. Voices of dissent have started echoing from the States like West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and others.

When the BJP government took measures like strong stand against growing terrorism and belligerent neighbours who fostered terror outfits, the whole nation came together to buttress Prime Minister Narendra Modi which resulted in him coming back to power with a thumping majority for the second consecutive term.

Many of his welfare measures have been appreciated by all and sundry, there is no dispute. However, Amit Shah's pitch for making Hindi as the common language has not at all gone well with the non-Hindi speaking belt, that is, in a way, bigger than the Hindi belt.

Secular forces in the country perceive Shah's move as something that will 'erase' India's cultural identity that has been celebrated since time immemorial.

It is anybody's guess that if the BJP government goes ahead with its proposal of imposing Hindi on non-Hindi speakers in the country, there will break out a huge revolt, which even the Centre, with all its oppressive machinery, may find it difficult to control.

Shah's views are against the pluralistic tenets of Indian Constitution. It will sure infringe nation's integrity. Though the Constitution says there should be one official language, India being multilingual country, no hasty step should be taken.

This should not be viewed as simple as doing away with the provisions of Article 370. May wisdom prevail upon Modi-Shah combine.

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