Over a week ago Home Minister Amit Shah pitched for Hindi as One Language of the country on the occasion of Hindi Diwas. Shah stressed on the ability of Hindi as a widely spoken language in uniting the country and said that it is necessary to have one language which could represent India in the world.
“India is a country of different languages and every language has its own importance but it is very important to have a language of the whole country which should become the identity of India in the world. Today, if one language can do the work of tying the country to the door of unity, then it is the most spoken Hindi language,” Shah wrote on Twitter.
भारत विभिन्न भाषाओं का देश है और हर भाषा का अपना महत्व है परन्तु पूरे देश की एक भाषा होना अत्यंत आवश्यक है जो विश्व में भारत की पहचान बने। आज देश को एकता की डोर में बाँधने का काम अगर कोई एक भाषा कर सकती है तो वो सर्वाधिक बोले जाने वाली हिंदी भाषा ही है। pic.twitter.com/hrk1ktpDCn
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) September 14, 2019
His statement created a controversy and evoked howls of protest all over the country as many people have gone against him in his view. In as much as language unities people it can also be a source of strife, Shah never has thought of it. Maharashtra, Assam, and Tamil Nadu have always been among the sites of violent linguistic agitators as there have erupted many conflicts based on Maratha language in Maharashtra.
Opposition parties, particularly from the South, accused Shah of running a divisive agenda and foisting the RSS agenda on the country. Leaders like the DMK‘s Stalin and the Congress MP, Shashi Tharoor, condemned the move to impose Hindi.
Demanding retraction of his statement, DMK president MK Stalin said ‘Shah’s remarks will affect the unity of the country. We have been continuously waging protest against imposition of Hindi. Today’s remarks made by Amit Shah gave us a jolt, it will affect the unity of the country. We demand that he takes his statement back.’
But, above all aforesaid, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasized that diversity is the foundation of India’s democracy and the country’s various languages are an important identity of its liberal and democratic society.
Addressing the audience at the historic event ‘Howdy Modi’ in Houston PM Modi said, “India has progressed for centuries with dozens of languages and hundreds of dialects.”
PM Modi won millions of hearts of Indian people when he said, ‘all is well’ in multiple Indian languages from Punjabi to Bengali to Tamil among others. Actually he found the perfect setting at Houston’s NRG stadium to end the controversy generated by his home minister Amit Shah who had called for one nation on language.
India has two official languages – Hindi and English – and 22 scheduled languages but the country does not have any national language. In spite of this, it is fact that multiple languages of India are not the problem for the country rather they encapsulate the beauty of our country. Unity always lies in diversity in India. This is why our constitution clearly respects India’s diversity as it recognizes 22 languages spoken by a large number of people. Although Hindi is spoken by the majority of India but, based on this factor, other languages can’t be ignored as they are also spoken at large such Punjabi, Bengali, Tamil and Urdu. So we also, open heartedly, should respect all the languages.
A language should connect us with each other not to divide us in groups. In a democracy, especially in a knowledge economy like India we must not foster the tendency to discriminate between people based upon their ability or inability to speak a particular language.
By Faheem Usmani Qasmi