Language, religion, etc. appeal strongly to our emotions. If they are forced on someone, the reaction will almost always be to oppose it. As far as Hindi is concerned, provide all facilities for people to learn. Those who want to, will learn it. Imposing it is the worst thing, as was shown during the fiasco of the 60’s. It will only make people hate the language and view it as a symbol of hegemony. After one nation, one poll the attention is now on one nation, one language. Don’t forget that Hindi became the national language of India by one vote–the casting vote of the then President Late Dr. Rajendra Prasad. Why this Kolaveri di on Hindi?
Hindi should be promoted as link language instead of English. Hope our South Indian brothers and sisters co-operate instead of just crying for each and every move by the Government. It is good for the present generation of youngsters. As a student of 1960s, I suffered a lot studying in Chennai (Madras). When I joined a nationalised bank in near Delhi, I was the odd man out and found it extremely difficult to converse in Hindi and failed to respond my valuable clients. Hindi definitely is a link language of common Indian and a necessity, if one moves out of state but implementation must rest with state.
Recently, ISRO chairman said he is Indian first Tamilian next. You tell me what do you think that makes a Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam guy feel like an Indian. Don’t tell it is Hindi. Nowhere in our minds Hindi contributes to nationalism. When you say Hindi unites India, it is nothing lesser than insulting South Indians because we inherently and proudly feel as Indians. And we do it better with our own languages. But the people from Tamil Nadu pick Hindi late and hence hate the language. Whereas people from Andhra, Kerala and Karnataka pick the language rather easily because of their Sanskrit background. What a curse for Tamil speaking people? At the same time, Hindi pictures are running to packed houses in Chennai and other parts of the state.
Is the use of a single language, alien to the majority of the different language speakers a unifier or a divider? No two countries using one language are so divided as the US and UK Unity of a nation is an emotional binding more than a rational edifice. That desire to stay together is the binder with the advanced technologies it is always possible to retain unity in diversity without the uniformity measure. Use of a single language may be inexpensive but use of the local language for major purposes is worth investing in for there is unity in diversity more than unity in uniformity thrust down unwilling throats. These cannot be decided by the ruling caucus. Such decisions must be bottom up than top down. Use of the mother tongue is more beneficial than the use of a tongue quite unfamiliar and yet to be learned. Global institutions permit the use of recognised languages, the native languages of the user countries. Mother tongue accelerates rapid development. Examples are legion.
Sheer statistics support the view that Hindi can serve well enough as a link language for all the Indian people whatever be their mother tongue. A decision to this effect is simply a matter of practical approach and common sense. By no means it would lead to the inference that all other languages are inferior to Hindi. India presents multiple identities to the world through the Bengali, Maharashtrian, Telugu, Tamil and so many other linguistic cultures. Of course, Hindi also has a role in all this as an equal, but not a superior. Other nations of the world already look at India with awe because we present multi-lingual and multi-cultural facets to them, yet remain one united nation. This is not seen anywhere else in the world. To represent India through one Hindi language will be demeaning to the nation as well as to the various groups that reside here. It is also an insidious step to replace the various cultures in India with one kind of culture driven by the Hindi heartland, and we all know how that heartland is at the lowest rung in social, economic achievement and is well known as a hotbed of lawlessness.
One Nation concept is still in existence in India. There is no second opinion. Unity in diversity is our motive. It may mean, culture, tradition, language. There may be link language but not the only one language against the riches of other languages. Unity in diversity is the essence and foundation of India. It is proud of its pluralistic character.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)