Friday, September 12, 2008

Hindi as the "National Language"?

What's your thought on the whole "national language" debate in India? Any discussion forum talking about this issue is polarized into two groups. One group says the national language is Hindi and it is said so in the Constitution. The other group says there is no national language (or 22 national languages) and that's what is mentioned in the Constitution. Irrespective of the facts, what are your thought's?

Just for the record:
According to the official version of the Constitution, there is no mention of a/22 national language(s). However, there is a directive for development of Hindi...

Note: I am copy-pasting all the comments received in the comments section. It is meant to simulate yahoo answers, where the question was originally asked.


akhi said...

all is ok but in india- hindi -is a primary language ,its a language of comman people.......

manish s said...

simple hindi should be our National language cuz its a common man language,,if we have 22 national languages than we will have 22 nations also..Hindi because this is the nation of Hindus...

Aral ੴ said...

Hindi is not the national language of India , nor is any other language a national language of India.

India recognizes official languages of individual states. i.e. about 22 languages in all. But the total number of languages spoken across India is a lot lot more. Some Indian languages which have a considerable size of native speakers aren't even part of the 22 officially recognized languages.

What hindi is , is the official language of certain parts/states of India including Delhi/NCR region , that is why it is the official language for documents and transactions of the central government. Otherwise hindi is a useful language for communication for people of India who speak various regional languages.

And, to an ignorant fellow answerer, India is a nation of adherents of several religions , people of almost all worldly religions live in India. Of them four world religions were born in India , namely Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism.

Anyway, India is a country of plethora of cultures and speaks hundreds of different languages not to mention the dialects. Each language spoken across India should be regarded with respect. That's how diverse the fabric of India is.

raj m said...

FOR THE PAST 21 years, I have been under the impression that Hindi is
the national language of India. Just a couple of days back I realised
that India does not have a national language. I felt ashamed. How
come I did not know this? Thank God, I am not alone in this. My
friends are also under the impression that Hindi is the Raashtra
Bhasha of India. Also, I can safely conclude that more than half of
India's population is under the same impression. Oh, come on, India!

But now it surprises me to hear that India never had a national
language. This explains why India attached importance to each of its
constituent languages. I do not know who first put this thought in my
mind. There is one very interesting fact about the languages of
India. Though India may boast of being home to many major languages of
the world, this abode of languages, ironically, does not have a
national language of its own. According to the Constitution of India,
any language, accepted by a State of India as its official language
will be given the status of national language. In India, no language
is accepted or spoken by the States unanimously. Even Hindi, the
language spoken by most people, is unable to attain the status of
national language as it is does not fulfil the condition laid down by
the Constitution of India. Though Hindi is spoken by a large number of
people, only ten States of India have accepted it as their official

Article 343 of the Constitution declares Hindi as the official
language of the Un-ion of India. English remains the additional
official language. It is the authoritative legislative and judicial
language. In fact, one could say that English is the official language
of India for all practical purposes. For many educated Indians,
English is virtually their first language though a large number of
Indians are multi-lingual.

Then what is the difference between national and official language?
The national language defines the people of the nation, culture and
history. The official language is used for official communication.
While the national language can become the official language by
default, an official language has to be approved by law in order to
become the national language. All languages spoken in India, starting
from the language spoken by the most people to that spoken by the
least are our national languages. This is because all of them define
the people of this nation, culture and their history, collectively.
India has no legally-defined national language; it has only 18
official languages according to the Constitution. There is a special
provision for the development of Hindi under Article 351, though.

According to article 351, "It shall be the duty of the Union to
promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may
serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite
culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without
interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in
Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth
Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its
vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages".

The Constitution of India came into existence on January 26, 1950. It
said that Hindi and English would be the "official languages" of the
Central government of India till 1965 (for a period of 15 years);
subsequently, Hindi was expected to become the sole "national and
official language" of India. This applied to Central as well as State
governments. Hindi and English became the "official languages" in
every department controlled by the Central government. This explains
why Hindi is prominent in the Indian Railways, the nationalised banks,
etc, which come under the purview of the Central government.

As January 26, 1965 neared, some in the non-Hindi belt, particularly
the Tamils, started voicing their apprehensions openly. The idea of
making Hindi the sole national language was blasphemous to the
students as it involved the simultaneous and complete withdrawal of
English, even as a medium for competitive examinations for jobs and
education! This meant that the northern region would bag government
jobs and dominate the field of education, given the proficiency in
Hindi of the people of the region. Since government jobs were the most
sought after in the pre-1991 era, the measure was seen as an indirect
attempt to deny jobs to the English-educated South Indians. The
non-Hindi-speaking people from South India feared that they would be
discriminated against in government employment and in other possible
ways. Between 1948 and 1961, on an average, every year, close to 24%
of Central government officials had been selected from the State of
Madras (the present-day Tamil Nadu). Uttar Pradesh came second best,
accounting for about 16%.

The 1940s, 1950s and the first half of the

Raj said...

ndians got to understand first, Hindi is not a language of India at all. This language was brought to India by the invading Muslims from Persia. The Persian language mixed with the local KariBoli dialect to form the modern Hindi around 16 century CE. As the language was Persianised as URDU or Arabic, Indians included Sanskrit words to make it a bit Indianised. One should be ashamed to speak in Hindi instead of their own mother tongue or the state language.

Not many states accepted Hindi as their Natiional language for example states like Tamil Nadu and Assam. We cannot lose the rich indiginous state language at the cost of a foriegn language. This is the fact we have to accept, Take pride in talking in your own mother tongue rather than Hindi. Hindi cannot be declared as our national language.

Adras A said...

oh my god it seems, people got new issue for fighting.
if we starting consider that hindi is not national language then what is our national language? and if nothing then for the sake of country don't try to expand this issue, if we can accept that english is global language without legal or documentary records though many nations have their own language,then we INDIANS at least accept hindi as our national language though region wise every region has its own regional language but for the uniformity or at least for records we can say that hindi is our national language because most of the people at least understand it, I hope my brothers and sisters will understand this issue, this is all political game. they want to divide india so that on the number of mass they can rule over it, dividation on any issue like religion,languages,colour,lifestyle.
We should be mature enough to not get into these triffle issues, this not constructive thought for the sake of nation. please try to understand this.

Ragu Iyer said...

hindi is a regional language in India and ENGLISH is our common language (global common language too).

how do you say hindi is spoken by common public, it is spoken only in the north. people in south don't consider it and speak only their mother tongue or english.
for us both english and hindi are alien languages. so guys from north you can continue to use this regional language in north and let us use english all over the country along with the regional languages.

Anonymous said...

Hindi is a north Indian language. Why in hell people will learn some other idiots language unless it benefits them? I don't want to learn Hindi. It is as foreign as English. But, learning English helps me globally. So, I will learn English. What I want to learn is my personal choice. I don't want some trash telling me what to learn. You north Indians can take your lousy fing language and shove it. Get the hell out of our way with your fing language.

Lepsky said...

Some anonymous individual has openly commented against Hindi. Man/woman, I love you! I'm a South Indian (AP), who hates Hindi like a mongoose hates a snake. This is to those lunkheads who want Hindi to be our national language. Finks, who the hell are you to tell me what language should I speak and write. I will never do it, come what may. I want Tamil or Telugu to be our national and official language. Do you dolts agree? Similarly, another person has commented that this is a minor issue. Reply: no this is not a minuscule problem. Forcing people against their will is atrocious. Hindi is a regional language like Telugu, Tamil, and Kannada: it is no different. All you north Indian nincompoops, take your stinking Hindi and shove it down your throats. Get screwed by your Hindi.