Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Hindi Is Not India's National Language![ हिंदी भारत की राष्ट्रभाषा नहीं है, बल्कि राजभाषा है ! अंग्रेजी भी भारत की राजभाषा है !]

In an intriguing and disillusioning conversation today with my colleagues, during a tea break, I learned that Hindi is not national language of India. Hindi along with English is ‘official’ language of India. Well, just do a search on Google for ‘राष्ट्रभाषा हिंदी ‘and you would find plethora of articles using this term in various newspapers and magazines. Well, what was an eye-opener? It was not something which I wrongly remembered. Years upon years of schooling has inculcated this term ‘राष्ट्रभाषा हिंदी ‘(National Language Hindi) in my mind like in the mind of many others. I was not alone taking the side of Hindi as National Language during the discussion; in fact I was not the one who started the discussion.

What is wrong then? Newspapers, syllabuses of a few state boards and certain writers have wrongly used term ‘National Language’ for Hindi. Indian constitution has declared that English and Hindi are official languages of India. Constitutionally English is as respected a language as Hindi is and there is no national language of India. This discussion proved to be a myth buster for me.

See this excerpt from Wikipedia article on Hindi:
The Constitution of India, adopted in 1950, declares Hindi in the Devanagari script as the official language of India. It should be noted that English continues to be used as an Official language of India along with Hindi. Hindi is also enumerated as one of the twenty-two languages of the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India, which entitles it to representation on the Official Language Commission. The Constitution of India has stipulated the usage of Hindi and English to be the two languages of communication for the Central Government. Most of government documentation is prepared in three languages: English, Hindi, and the official state language.

This is an excerpt from a random article from Navbharat Times:

'जिसको जिन गौरव तथा निज देश का अभिमान है, वह नर नहीं, पशु निरा है और मृतक समान है।' कितनी सच बात है यह। अगर हमारे दिल में हमारे देश के लिए, हमारी राष्ट्रभाषा के लिए, गौरव नहीं है, तो हमारा गौरवहीन जीवन है - हम मृतक समान हैं।  अंग्रेजों ने बहुत सावों तक हमारे देश में शासन किया, हमने उनका रहन-सहन देखा, उनकी भाषा हमारे कानों में समाती रही। हमारे नेताओं ने बड़े संघर्ष के बाद अंग्रेजों को भारत से निकलने को मजबूर कर दिया। वे चले गए, परंतु अंग्रेजियत हमारा पीछा नहीं छोड़ती। 

Just observe that the writer has loosely used term ‘राजभाषा’(Official Language) and राष्ट्रभाषा as synonyms. He attempts to disparage English by saying certain things but does not realize that the term राजभाषा(Official Language) is as applicable for Hindi as it’s for English. This is a flagrant error and it has been committed by many writers over and over. It is not just journalist and writers but also the educators who create syllabuses for children who commit such grave mistakes.

Please remember, Hindi is not Indian National Language. It’s just the official language and in that respect its stature is equal to that of English's.  

 Like any other country, India has many peculiarities which I discover and wonder about so often. It came to me as a surprise that a great mass of Indian population has been wrongly taught that "Hindi is our National Language"; whereas constitution makers had removed any possibility of any National Language in India long ago.

It's not merely a case of misinformation. If you could just be into my shoes for a while you would feel the gravity of the situation such a systematic teaching creates for Hindi speaking zealots. Even very open minded people might at once feel less felicity than expected by those who speak some other language in a region where Hindi is not spoken [ They wrongly set expectations of Hindi getting received with reverence because they have been taught( wrongly) all their lives that Hindi is the National Language of country]. On the other hand Hindi speaking zealots condemn all things 'English' by saying that it's a foreign language and use term 'National Language' for Hindi, whereas Hindi and English have same official standard and there is no ground for criticizing English based on 'National Language' criterion.