Hindi is not our National Language – Setting things right

Hindi is not our National Language. OK. You have read it on the blog earlier. But, how many people around you know this fact? Just practically check it out. Ask people around you and you’ll know.
This is an initiative to spread this lesser known fact.

We had done this blogpost in October of 2007 called “You think you know what India’s National Language is?”, and it is till date one of the most commented posts on our blog.

It’s an eye-opener which talks about the citizens of India being under an hypnotization by the system, which has very widely embedded in the minds of all of us that our National Language is Hindi. Our blog post has got around 4,500 odd views, which is not even 0.01% of India’s Internet population. People have the right to not stay under this hypnotism. The people of India need to know that India doesn’t have a National Language instead of blabbering around that Hindi is the National Language.

This post is an attempt to raise awareness about this fact.

What we need to do is very simple. If you are sitting here and reading this post, you are definitely present on atleast one of these channels on the Internet:

  • Email
  • Chat
  • Social Networks(Orkut, Facebook, etc)
  • You own a website
  • You have a blog
  • Microblogs
  • Lots more…

What you need to do is leverage each of these mediums you are on to let people in your circle know this fact.

  • If you are on email, send this to all Indians in your contacts list
  • If you have a website or a blog, publish this.
  • If you are on Social Networks(most of us are), use the different mediums(scrapbooks, walls, communities, groups, etc) to spread the word
  • If you are on microblogs like twitter, post it there. Retweet it.
  • If you are someone from the media, communicate this fact through your medium(TV, Print, Radio, etc)
  • Make it a part of your dinner-table talks, party discussions, gossips.
  • Most importantly, when you communicate this, insist your friends/readers to pass on the message to their circle/network

  • Motive: JUST SPREAD THE WORD

I hope this initiative takes some concrete form and we can see lesser people living with the misconception.

Yeh hai HINGLISHTAAN Meri Jaan!

A LANGUAGE is dying every two weeks somewhere in the world today. Half of the world’s languages may not be spoken in the next century. This is an extremely serious concern. Hindi is the second-largest language in the world, in number of speakers, after Mandarin Chinese. It’s the dominant language of India, which is also the world’s second largest nation by population.

However, Hindi is not a universal language in India but majority of population has knowledge of this language. Native speakers of Hindi dialects account for 41 per cent of the Indian population (2001 Indian census).

English has enjoyed a special status in India because of the country’s colonial history and still continues to be the second language in India. With the growth of international trade and formation of the United Nations Organisation, the world, increasingly felt the need for one language to converse in. The language took over this role, and many newly-independent nations were also forced to adopt the language.

As the scenario in the country changed, we deviated from Hindi. The deviation may be accredited to globalisation, Internet and various other factors. This holds true not only for tier II cities but also for metropolises where the use of English becomes a class-defining factor. You agree or not, but, this is the fact and there is some non-affinity towards Hindi. But, throughout my academic career I have liked Hindi a lot and have special liking for it because this is the language of Indian masses and is spoken in more than 30 dialects, which makes it even more special. I speak in five dialects of Hindi.

Hindi is being popularised by the global Bollywood, new websites for Hindi poetry, stories etc and the Hindi press. The Hindi press is more popular than the top selling English newspapers among the masses, according to the latest survey.

Hindi blogosphere at the moment, looks like a vibrant, if a bit cautious space. Bloggers’ comment on a range of things and it has become a space for innovation, discussion and sharing. The other interesting aspect of Hindi is that new form of the language, Hinglish, is creating waves in the country. A British expert recently said that Hinglish — a mixture of Hindi and English, widely spoken in India — may soon become the most common form of the Queen’s language.

This is more commonly seen in urban and semi-urban centres of India, but is slowly spreading its root into rural and remote areas via television and word of mouth, slowly achieving vernacular status. Many speakers do not realise that they are incorporating English words into Hindi sentences or Hindi words into English sentences or simple Indian English. This form of Hindi has implanted a compatibility between an only Hindi speaker and English/Hindi speaker. For example, in Mumbai, one is very much aware of the word ’tension’. My hostel watchman one day told me, “Aajkul humko bahut tension hai(Nowadays, I feel a lot of tension).” He understands, and I understand. It really works that way.

As Hinglish is gaining popularity, people belonging to states where different dialects are used, are using it. One day, my friend who hails from Patna, was talking to me over phone. He called me after his first ’date’ and I asked him about the occasion. He said in a very calm way, “it was good, but hum nervousiya gaye thhey(It was good but I became a bit nervous).” There are numerous such statements, which will make you laugh when you think of them. Like, there were dialogues in Hindi movie, Gangajal, “Aapka mind to nahi kharab ho gaya hai!”and “Aapka game over ho jaayega aaj.” I ask my father, “Dad, time kya hua hai?”My bhabhi will always tell my nephew, “Beta, slowly slowly jana.”

Bollywood has always embraced Hinglish and nowadays we see more number of songs in Hindi+English. There was a time, when Kishore Kumar and Nutan played Tom and Jerry against cat, cat maanebilli and rat, rat maane chooha, arre dil hai tere panje mein toh kya hua,in Dilli Ka Thug. Then, we have so many ad jingles as well. Domino’s ’Hungry Kya?’or Sprite says, ’Clear hai’.

In England, the growth of Hinglish expressions has undoubtedly been accelerated by the popularity of hit movies such as Bend it like Beckham (2002), and East is East (1999), which feature protagonists from the Asian community in Britain. Such films have contributed for instance to popular use of ’innit?’ for (isnt’t?)

Emails, chats, Orkut scraps, all communication on Internet — in the Indian domain — is facilitated by Hinglish. Overall, Hinglish is rocking the world. The way things stand now, the reach and popularity of Hinglish only seems to grow in the future. So, a language that has survived through the centuries by marrying with different dialects and masters, is bouncing back again in India — this time in a new alliance with its greatest erstwhile threat, English.

A British language expert predicts that Hinglish or Indian English, will overtake standard English as the most common spoken form of the language globally.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Hinglish, a rich linguistic curry that is stirring together English with Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi.

You think you know what India’s National Language is?

Do you know what is the National Language of India?

If you thought it was Hindi, you don’t need to feel miserable about it, because a majority of the Indian population is with you. Most of us are/were under the same impression.

Even we were in the same boat and it was really shocking to know that India does not have ANY National Language.

Our previous post on Hindi Divas got a comment from raj saying that India does not have any National Language with some substantial proof. You may like to go through the proofs that he has mentioned. Here’s the eye-opening comment raj posted:

India does NOT have any national language

http://vetri-vel.blogspot.com/2006/12/india-does-not-have-national-language.html

Part XVII of the constitution:
This part 17, defines an OFFICIAL language, NOT a national language.
http://www.astro.virginia.edu/~sk4zw/india-const/p17.html

Article 345: This gives the State govt., power to decide its own “OFFICIAL LANGUAGE”
http://www.astro.virginia.edu/~sk4zw/india-const/p17345.html

Article 343: This defines Hindi in devangari script and English to be the “OFFICIAL LANGUAGES” of union govt.
http://www.astro.virginia.edu/~sk4zw/india-const/p17343.html

DIFFERENCE between National and Official Language:

NATIONAL LANGUAGE: Defines the people of the nation, culture, history.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: A language that is used for official communication

While a National language by default can become the Official language, an Official language has to be APPROVED legally to become the National language.

All languages spoken in India, starting from the most populous to the least are our national languages, because all of them define the people of this nation, culture and their history collectively.

India has NO LEGALLY DEFINED NATIONAL LANGUAGES ONLY 23 OFFICIAL languages as per the constitution.

After finding this out, we started asking all our friends online and offline. Each and every person in our contact had the impression that our Raashtra Bhaasha is Hindi.

We put this question up on the Orkut community “India”. The response is here for you to see:

http://www.orkut.com/CommMsgs.aspx?cmm=370&tid=2560002691870956709

We also put up a poll on the community, and at the time of writing the post, it had 128 votes and 66% had voted for Hindi. The poll is located here:

http://www.orkut.com/CommPollResults.aspx?cmm=370&pct=1192094654&pid=1339647175

Let us just take a look at some facts about this issue.

According to the Constitution of India any language, which will be accepted by all the states of India as their official language will be given the status of national language. In India no language is accepted or spoken by all the states unanimously. Even Hindi, a single language largely spoken by the people of India is unable to attain the status of national language as it is does not fulfill the condition of Constitution of India. Though it is spoken by a large number of people but just 10 states of India have accepted it as their official language.

The Indian Constitution (Article 343) declares Hindi to be the official language of the Union.

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

What is the difference between National Language and Official Language?

NATIONAL LANGUAGE: Defines the people of the nation, culture, history.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: A language that is used for official communication

While a National language by default can become the Official language, an Official language has to be APPROVED legally to become the National language.

All languages spoken in India, starting from the most populous to the least are our national languages, because all of them define the people of this nation, culture and their history collectively.

India has no legally defined national languages and we have 18 official languages as per the constitution.

Though there is special provision for development of Hindi under article 351.

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.

A peek into the History

The constitution of India came into existence on January 26, 1950. Enshrined in the constitution was the status of Hindi and English to be the “Official Languages” of the Central Government of India till 1965 (for a period of 15 years), after which Hindi was expected to take up the pre-eminent position as the sole “National and Official Language” of India irrespective of the state or central government. Hindi and English were the “Official Languages” in every department controlled by the Central Government, which is why Hindi is prominent in Railways, Nationalised Banks etc which come under the Central Government.

As January 26, 1965 neared, some in the non-Hindi, particularly Tamils, started voicing their apprehensions openly. Between 1948 and 1961, on an average, every year close to 24% of Central Government Officials were selected from the state of Madras (present day Tamil Nadu). The next best was Uttar Pradesh with about 16%. The idea of making Hindi the sole National language was blasphemous to the students as it was combined with the complete removal of English – even as a medium for competitive examinations for jobs and education. This would mean that the Northern regions with their Hindi proficiency would dominate the government posts and also education. Since government jobs were the most lucrative positions before the 1991 liberalization, this was seen as an indirect means to usurp the English-educated South Indians of jobs. The non-Hindi-speaking people in South India feared that they would be discriminated against in government employment and in other ways.

The 1940s, 50s and the first half of the 1960s saw many anti-Hindi imposition protests in the form of public meetings, marches, hunger strikes, demonstrations before schools and Indian government offices, and black flag demonstrations before visiting Indian government ministers. Most of these were organized either by the DK or the DMK, and the general public supported them fully. There were several hundred such protests around Tamil Nadu and several thousand people went to jail. Several hundreds were injured when police used lathi charge to disburse peaceful protesters. Lal Bahadur Shastri, then PM, even though supportive of the pro-Hindi group, realising the seriousness, came up with a set of compromises that did not give Hindi any “Sole National Language” status.

To know more, see the source of this peek:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Hindi_agitations

We should eliminate such myths from staying in our society and it is our responsibility to be aware of such common facts about our country and to keep our fellow citizens aware about them.

On checking out the List of Multilingual Countries and Regions on Wikipedia, it was evident that most of the multilingual countries do not have any National Language.

So it does not seem to us that it is such a big issue that India does not have any national language.

What is alarming is that most of us have been under the very wrong impression that our National Language is Hindi.

Why does a majority have this imprinted in their minds? Who is responsible for this?

– by Rishabh Srivastava and Mitesh Ashar

No Hindi Please!!!!

Hindi hamari pehchan hai September 14 is Hindi Divas.

Hindi is a direct descendant of Sanskrit through Prakrit and Apabhramsha. It has been influenced and enriched by Dravidian, Turkish, Farsi, Arabic, Portugese and English languages. It is a very expressive language. In poetry and songs, it can convey emotions using simple and gentle words. It can also be used for exact and rational reasoning.
More than 180 million people in India regard Hindi as their mother tongue. Another 300 million use it as second language. Outside of India, Hindi speakers number 100,000 in USA; 685,170 in Mauritius; 890,292 in South Africa; 232,760 in Yemen; 147,000 in Uganda; 5,000 in Singapore; 8 million in Nepal; 20,000 in New Zealand; 30,000 in Germany. Urdu, the official language of Pakistan, spoken by about 41 million in Pakistan and other countries, is essentially the same language. These are the facts concerning Hindi which is the third most-spoken language in the world. Our identity is Hindi but of late Hindi is getting step-motherly treatment from Indians themselves.

It is a paradox that is indicative of an emerging trend in Bollywood – the country’s pan-Indian film industry may make its movies in the national language but prefers to have its scripts written in a colonial one. In other words, no Hindi please, we prefer Angrezi.
“When VVS Laxman walked in to discuss the first day’s play with the media on Friday evening, there were audible groans — bowlers were the stars of the day, and the reporters were hoping to chat with Zaheer Khan. Minutes later, leaving Laxman mid-sentence — he was answering a question in Hindi — one by one, the British journalists walked up to the table, picked up their voice recorders and walked out.”

Now I narrate an incident which took place a few days back. I was commuting by a local train, when a woman asked me in English if I could make place for her. Why she could not have asked me in Hindi, I wondered. Was it necessary to use English? Wherever I go, people choose to speak English, though most of them are fluent in Hindi. Even the educational system has adopted English as the medium of instruction. Should not Hindi have been given priority?

I am surprised that politicians use English in Parliament and even in Republic Day and Independence Day speeches. I have seen youngsters who are proudly declare that they do not know their national language. The use of Hindi has been reduced to the use of slang. Parents feel inferior if their child is unable to converse in English. There are so many English-speaking classes conducted, but not a single Hindi-speaking class.

We are in the 60th year of our independence, but how independent are we? All industries, including the media, fashion and management communicate only in English. Pilots have been fired because they do not know English. I do not wish to insult English. But people should be bi-lingual and speak both Hindi and English fluently. English is the pair of spectacles, while Hindi is the eye. If people do not have eyes, of what use are the spectacles? I feel proud when Indians do not feel inferior while communicating with foreigners, but what if they are asked to speak Hindi? Do the Japanese or Chinese face similar problems? They have come a long way, but do they really need to depend on a foreign language like our youth do?

It is always good to know a foreign language and culture, but not at the cost of the local language. I would like to conclude by quoting Bapu, “There should be no use of foreign language between two people knowing the same language, the use of the other language then, should be punished.”

The world is changing and it is always sensible to change with the changing situation. But we cannot afford to forget Hindi and its rich culture because it is the pillar our country rests on. If this support were to weaken, it would lead to a catastrophe. It is high time we respected our mother tongue national language. The Hindi Divas should not be the only day when we remember our identity, i.e. Hindi.