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India is a complex nation with varied culture and multiple languages. India has the second highest languages(780) after Papua New Gunea (839) according to wikipedia. But according to readmeindia.com , there are as many as 880 languages in 2016 (Total Languages in India – Past and Present , September 10, 2016). Article 343 deals with official language. Estimates of 2001 census, about 41.1% of total population speak Hindi. The Eighth schedule lists 22 official languages .There are many dialects of Hindi.

Recently, the external affairs minister said that UN should adopt Hindi along with other official languages of UN ( India wants Hindi as official language …hindustantimes.com , Jan 3 2018) and is ready to bear Rs. 400 crore as expenses. But as Mr. Tharoor rightly asked in parliament ( thehindu.com) what would be the purpose of making hindi as UN official language. Out of six languages, only two – English and French- are working languages used in UN. It may help the leaders to reach TV audience but not delegates.

Right wing efforts

Since the present right wing assumed office, it has been trying to promote hindu religion globally. The UN celebration of ‘ international yoga day’ started from 2015 also indicates sinister promotion of hinduism globally.

Futility

Though Hindi as a language must be given due importance, it should not be imposed or promoted overlooking other languages. The huge amount proposed to be spent is a wastage of precious money that can be used in other productive work. Moreover, hindi has many dialects. It is often mixed with Urdu in daily usage. If hindi is promoted, people of other languages may start agitating to promote their local language. Also, many tribal languages are becoming extinct. It is the duty of the government to encourage development of these languages. India is not merely a ‘ hindistan’ but a union of many languages and cultures.

Hence, the hegemony of hindi creates sharp differences between hindi- and non- hindi speking population. Equal treatment of all languages is essential in a pluralistic society like India. Hindi and hindu religion are being viewed as higher above others. They are being given prominence in international forums. This does not augur well in a vast diverse nation like India.

Government should work for all languages and people of all religions to foster the ideals enshrined in our constitution.

Sheshu Babu is a writer from anywhere and everywhere

One Comment

  1. Sally Dugman says:

    I agree. Let’s stop promoting uniformity in culture, society, religion, language and other ways. Let’s accept the wonderful diversity that surrounds us!