Friday, 24 February 2017

Letters 


On Hindi Language


Sir,
This is in response to Mr.M.C.Linthoingambee's article "Hindi on the fast lane"(June 22).

It is absolutely irrelevant whether the NDA Government has adopted a "new" policy to propagate the use of Hindi nationally or merely implementing an "old" circular put out first by the earlier UPA dispensation. The fact remains that the Union Government, led by parties of whatever political affiliation, has all along been barbarically imposing Hindi --- the language of few North Indian states --- upon this multi-lingual democratic nation; thereby treating non-Hindi speaking people as secondary citizens as rightly said by that man of utmost self-respect --- M.Karunanidhi. Along with the Central Government, the North Indian politicians of all political hues are also practicing barbaric Hindi imposition in the Parliament since the dawn of independence and trying to Hindi-ise this heterogeneous nation through the "unifying force" of "National language"!

But the fact remains that no language has been solely declared as the "National Language" of India. If Hindi is the only "National Language" of India; then what is the status of Punjabi, Marathi, Tamil, Bengali, Assamese, Kashmiri, Konkani, Tulu, Santhali or Monpa? "Anti-national"? "International"? "Alien"? Along with the aforesaid non-Hindi languages, Hindi is also another language of the multi-lingual democratic nation named India; the latter's right over the country is neither superior nor inferior to the former group of languages. This is the very reason why the Constitution has not declared Hindi as the "national language" and the division bench of Gujarat High Court comprising of Chief Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya and Justice AS Dave has categorically stated that there is no national language in India. Moreover, since India is a conglomeration of different regions, each possessing a distinct cultural and linguistic identity of its own; Hindi cannot ideally enjoy more importance than the indigenous languages in the concerned regions. Again the enlightened and Honorable High Court of Gujarat has delivered an extremely praiseworthy judgement regarding this particular issue. The bench, comprising of Justice VM Sahai and AJ Desai, has opined that Hindi is nothing but a FOREIGN LANGUAGE for Gujaratis who were protesting against the National Highway Authority of India who had dared to issue a notification in Hindi only right on the soil of Gujarat. This directly proves that the indigenous languages in the non-Hindi speaking regions are superior in status than Hindi which is actually nothing but a mere regional language spoken in the North Indian states, but absolutely foreign outside it. Thus, those who zealously project Hindi as the "national language" are merely assaulting the very basis of the Constitution and the powers who are imposing Hindi upon the non-Hindi speaking population are actually demeaning the esteemed judiciary.

Hindi is also barbarically termed as "Rajbhasa"! This directly implies that either Hindi is the language of the "Rajas" or it is the "Raja" of the languages! By which democratic, moral or Constitutional authority do the Hindi-imperialists dare to insult the non-Hindi speakers(who form more than 60 percent of the Indian population) and their respective mother tongues by relegating them as nothing but "subjects" or "prajas"? As if brute imposition of Hindi on non-Hindi speaking regions, that too often by eradicating the indigenous languages, is not philistine enough; the linguistic fundamentalists even hold audacity to declare through posters, displayed in Railway stations and banks, that only knowledge of Hindi will enable all to appreciate the essence of India! That means those who are ignorant in Hindi are completely in dark about national affairs! If this is not a supreme insult to the non-Hindi speakers and their languages, then I don't know what is! Despite being a democratic country where all races, religions and languages demand equal respect and treatment; the annual fund earmarked for promotion of Hindi is infinite times more than the fund allocated to all non-Hindi languages put together! As if awarding cash prizes, increment or promotion to those who learn or work in Hindi in Government sector is not inequality enough, the linguist fanatics feel no qualms in directing the schools to be extremely liberal while providing marks in Hindi language papers, but remaining tight-fisted for other languages so that non-Hindi speaking students are lured to opt Hindi in hope of better marks at the expense of their own mother tongue! What a barbaric process to popularise the language of certain North Indian states by taking resort to bribery, treachery and posing a direct assault on the right of survival and prosperity of other Indian languages!

The junior Home minister Kiren Rijiju has commented that by promoting Hindi, the authorities are not discouraging regional languages! But the hard reality remains that Hindi is being promoted by throttling the indigenous languages of the concerned regions. However it is entirely expected; after all how can the mission of Hindi imperialism get fulfilled unless the non-Hindi tongues get eradicated from respective soils! In the Computerised daily tickets issued from Railway stations of West Bengal as well as in the tickets for Reservation in long distance trains, the names of the starting and destination stations are printed only in English and Hindi! By which moral, democratic or Constitutional authority can the Railway Department eradicate Bengali right in its own backyard and rob the Bengali passengers of their linguistic right? In many Railway stations of West Bengal, Hindi libraries can be witnessed, but never a Bengali one! Bengali employees are often forced to work in Hindi not only in Railway sector, but in many Banks or other Centralised sectors located in West Bengal as well. Often it gets witnessed that a matter as personal as signature has also not escaped the fangs of Hindi imperialism, the signature of the concerned authorities in Devanagri script in various official documents attest to the fact. In the Kendriya Vidyalayas established in West Bengal; not only is Hindi compulsory for all, Bengali students are also deprived of learning their mother tongue as a subject. Thus far from "not discouraging" regional languages, the principle of linguistic equality is being obscenely trampled under the marauding feet of Hindi imperialism. The Centre might not acknowledge it; but its policy of Hindi imposition, that too by eradicating indigenous languages of concerned regions, really point out to the fact that indeed it treat the non-Hindi speaking people as secondary citizens.

Instead of popularising Hindi in order to "unify" the country, Hindi should actually be banished from non-Hindi speaking regions and all-India scenario to prevent the country from disintegration. Making Hindi the dominant language has resulted in a particular linguistic group getting an upper hand in all sectors and given its speakers an added advantage in the limited job market, the resultant inequality flouting all norms of democracy. Thanks to the use of Hindi in Railway Recruitment Board Examinations, the candidates from North India were bagging the lion's share of the jobs. Unlike the self-respectless Bengalis; the proud communities like Assamese, Kannadigas and Marathis had protested rightfully on the streets and in front of the examination centres. After assuming the responsibility of Railway Minister, Mamata Banerjee ensured examinations to be conducted in all scheduled languages of India, thereby putting all languages on an equal pedestal. And thereafter the Railway Recruitment Board examinations have started to get conducted smoothly. Thus it has got proved crystal-clear that Hindi merely serves as a tool to divide the Indians.

And no condemnation is enough for the junior Home minister Kiren Rijiju for trying to "merely implementing" an "old" circular of the previous regime at the Centre! Have all internal problems got solved as soon as the NDA Government took over the reins of the nation and "good times" have at last emerged in the Indian horizon? Instead of solving the burning issues like Maoist insurgency, infiltration across the borders, terrorism or the deluge of rapes and atrocities against the women folk across the country; he is lavishly wasting time by meeting Central Hindi committee or constituting "urban official language operational committees"! As a representative of a non-Hindi speaking state, when the need of the hour was to see that all languages of India are placed on an equal pedestal; Rijiju is hell-bent on killing the colourful mosaic named India and reducing it to a mere extension of cow belt so as to exemplify his "nationalism" or "integration" of North-East in the "mainstream"! Why don't Rijiju concentrate on the task which has been entrusted upon him by drawing inspiration from Karunanidhi's advise that the NDA should focus on delivering the economic and social promises instead of trying to "promote" Hindi?

And let the "nationalists" remain aware of the fact that as far as English is concerned; not only is it the language of higher education or the window to reach out to the world; it is also the only language which can link and bind all regions of India. English is the only language which can enable an Assamese to appreciate Telugu literature, a Naga to converse with a Gujarati. Thus only fools and those with vested interests can dare to ignore the importance of English in spheres of national interest. Rather English should be awarded the numero uno status as it is absolutely neutral whereby people of no particular state will be privileged, the way speakers of Hindi now are. And let the Hindi-zealots in the guise of "nationalists" become enlightened of the fact that the language spoken by innumerable Indians of Anglo origin or the language which has a considerable influence on the literature and vocabularies of all premier Indian languages and also which remains one of the official languages of Nagaland and Mizoram is no less an Indian language than Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and others.

While Switzerland places all languages spoken in its territory on the same pedestal, multi-lingual Israel revived the dead language named Hebrew and designated it as the national language so that no particular linguistic group can get added advantage. The world's largest democracy should learn from these nations what linguistic democracy and equality are all about.

Lastly, no kudos is enough for the brave, upright Tamil community which regularly churns out dignified individuals like M.Karunanidhi or Jayalalitha who act as the conscience of the nation and work unitedly, despite political differences, to oppose Hindi imperialism. Also CPI-M and CPI also needs to be thanked for opposing Hindi imposition. Last but not the least. If a certain high profile leader religiously uses Hindi while addressing this multi-lingual country or while representing this hetrogeneous nation abroad, it is his personal matter; though it directly assaults the sentiments of the non-Hindi speaking population. If renaming of 'Calcutta' or proposal to rename 'West Bengal' according to the linguistic heritage of the soil gets immediately dubbed as "Bengali imperialism" and "insult to the non-Bengalis", there lies every reason to suggest that address to the nation in Hindi ie language of few North Indian states or use of that North Indian language in international forum amount to Hindi imperialism and grave insult to all non-Hindi speakers of India. Still the matter can be excused as an individual's "freedom of speech" and also because of the fact that the said speech would not affect their lives directly in an adverse manner! But by drawing strength from of a leader's blind admiration of Hindi, his "comrades" hold absolutely no right to impose Hindi upon the non-Hindi speaking electorate; else it would be rendered as an unpardonable act.

Thanking You.

Yours faithfully,
KAJAL CHATTERJEE,
D-2/403 PEERLESS NAGAR,
KOLKATA-114.

2-Jul-2014 / IFP Letters / 0 Comments

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