After receiving a severe backlash from southern states, the Centre finally dropped the controversial clause in the new education policy to impose Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states. Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK) and other regional parties in Tamil Nadu had raised objections against the three language formula and said that it was a move to thrust Hindi among the residents of the state. DMK chief MK Stalin had termed the move as ‘throwing stones at beehive’ and party leader T Shiva had stated that the government was playing with fire with such a decision.
Even Congress leader T. Siddaramaiah had stated that the centre was imposing Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states. He posted on Twitter, “Ours is a land that exhibits unity in diversity. Peaceful co-existence is the need to establish harmony and any force shall work against the laws of society. For us, Kannada is an identity & learning any other language should be by Choice & not by imposition.”
When Afternoon Voice spoke to Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe, he said, “Any language is a part of the culture. Language doesn’t come out all of a sudden from anywhere. English has become a part of our culture and then it becomes a language. So, if you want to inculcate a language then you should do it slowly, softly without touching cultural values.”
“The moment BJP got a majority in Hindi belt, they thought that if they implement Hindi in the south then they can make political inroads in the region. This might be the reason south Indian people opposed them. Three language formula existed since 1965 but it was not enforced on anyone. So, we should wait for the proper time to implement it,” he added.
In the draft of National Education Policy (NEP), the panel had proposed to make Hindi as a mandatory third language to be taught in schools.
Students, who wish to change one of the three languages they are studying, may do so in Grade 6, so long as the study of three languages by students in the Hindi-speaking states would continue to include Hindi and English and one of the modern Indian languages from other parts of India, while the study of languages by students in the non-Hindi-speaking states would include the regional language, Hindi and English.
Social activist Kumar Saptarshi said, “The equality can be maintained if Hindi speaking states learn one language from south India. As per three language formula, Hindi speaking people should learn Hindi, English, and one south Indian language. On the other hand, south Indians should learn English, regional language and Hindi. Hindi speaking states are well versed with Hindi. Thus, they have to learn only two languages. English should be made compulsory.”
After the massive uproar of the compulsory teaching of Hindi as the third language, the panel made changes in the draft of NEP. The new draft now mentions that the students, who wish to change one or more of the three languages they are studying, may do so in Grade 6 or Grade 7, so long as they are able to still demonstrate proficiency in three languages (one language at the literature level) in their modular Board Examinations sometime during secondary school.
BJP spokesperson Madhu Chavan said, “The Hindi language should be implemented across the country. The Congress government under Nehru’s reign had taken initiative to make Hindi as the national language of India. However, he withdrew the plan after southern states protested against it. He should have strictly enforced Hindi at that time. To bind the nation together a single language is necessary to be made national language. Either it can be Sanskrit or Hindi but not English.”
This is not the first instance when southern states have raised objections against mandatory imposition of Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states. In the year 1965 massive protests were witnessed in Tamil Nadu against the centre’s proposal to make Hindi as India’s official language. Tamil Nadu has always resisted the compulsory imposition of Hindi.
Social activist Medha Patkar said, “Hindi should be made national language. However, it should not be imposed on anyone. At the same time, regional language should also be promoted. In Tamil Nadu, advocates want to use Tamil as a language for communication. A multi-language formula should be followed. When people learn the advantage of learning that language, then they will definitely learn it. National language should bind the nation together instead of dividing it. It is necessary to start translation facilities everywhere.”
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said the solution to the three language formula is not by abandoning the proposal but through its proper implementation. Tharoor made these remarks in the aftermath of massive protests witnessed in Tamil Nadu pertaining to the proposal in draft National Education Policy promoting Hindi as a mandatory third language in schools across the country.
“The solution is not to abandon the three languages formula but to implement it in a better manner. Most of us in South India learn Hindi as a second language but nobody in the north is learning Malayalam or Tamil,” Tharoor spoke to reporters.
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy stated that one language should not be imposed on others in the name of three language formula. BJP’s ally PMK too alleged that the proposal of three language formula was the imposition of Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states and called for its withdrawal.
Hindi is the official language of the central government for communication and administrative purpose along with English.
As per the constitution of India, Hindi is one of the two languages that can be used in the parliament, other being English. It can also be used in legislative assemblies along with official languages of the respective states & English. It has a role in the judiciary as well, wherein Hindi is one of the languages that can be used for all the official purposes in the Supreme Court as well as the High Courts for official communication with the central government along with English. It can also be designated as an official language by respective states.