- Whether millions of Indians like it or not, especially from the Southern part of the country, Hindi as a language is not only widely spoken across the length and breadth of the vast swathe of the land but also used in an official capacity in many states as well. Simply because the Hindi heartland states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan where a humongous number of populations call as their homes extensively use Hindi as a medium for official communication and correspondences. As is universally known, India is a country endowed with a diversity of culture, tradition, language, and dialects from one region to another with its distinct identity and flavor. Always found to be different, some subtle and some prominent, as we traverse along.
PC: Sandeep Balakrishna
- The beauty of India is its inherent strength at adaptability, acceptance, acknowledgment, and accommodation of varied cultures including local languages as a movement within the country is substantial. What makes such a situation a unique proposition also stems from the fact that many Indians are quite adept at learning languages wherever their subsistence takes them. No wonder, millions of Indians are multilingual quite conversant in more than two languages, at least. Ask any South Indian as to how many languages he/she can speak fluently, the answer would be more than three for a majority of them. This phenomenon is not only restricted to South India per se but extends across the length and breadth of the country.
- And Hindi as a language holds a somewhat special place by enacting no less than a binding role vis-à-vis commonly spoken dialect amid a slew of regional languages. For the uninitiated, the constituent assembly adopted Hindi in the Devanagari script as India’s official language way back on 14th September 1949. The day is observed as Hindi Diwas never failing to evoke mixed reactions from different corners. There are several states, notably southern, witnessing sporadic protests against supposed Hindi imposition from leaders up north and dutifully supported by political parties, irrespective of party affiliations. The reason is fear of reprisal from the local people.
PC: Yogesh Kuradiya
- Looking back at history, the constituent assembly reached a compromise to avoid a national language but gave Hindi primacy as an official language. Most interestingly, also built-in was the continuation of English for official communication for only 15 years. It’s another matter altogether that English could never be phased out and has only managed to thrive and gain unimaginable strength since then. As it stands now, English has assumed greater importance than Hindi, which is much sought after everywhere, and rightly so. Even though India has 22 languages specified under the Constitution’s eighth schedule, Hindi is accepted as a prominently used language where an increasing number of non-Hindi speakers also learn the same.
- Yes, Hindi has been accorded primacy and similar prominence will be showered on regional languages too. Undoubtedly, India has achieved cohesiveness through a mix of political compromises and the pragmatism of the general populace. Nonetheless, we all need to guard against the resurgence of any form of linguistic extremism that would be counterproductive. Let us all strive to uphold our respective mother tongues dear at all costs but desist parochialism of any hue which will create an environment of distrust and antagonism.