Why most Indians shrug off government attempts to impose Hindi

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Ray, Jun 23, 2014.

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  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Speaking easy

    Pratik Kanjilal


    What is the Hindi for “yenna rascalla”, the battle cry of enraged 20th century Tamil gentlemen? How does one translate “aapke muh mein ghee-shakkar”, which Narendra Modi turned sarcastically upon Sonia Gandhi during the election campaign, and which sounds literally unpalatable outside the Hindi belt? Such linguistic specificities help to explain why language issues reach smoke point so rapidly in India: our identities are natively rooted in speech.

    Last week, tempers rose over a notification prescribing the use of Hindi in the government’s social media communications and offering laughably tiny cash incentives for using the language in official business. Flashpoint was averted by the discovery that this was only a UPA notification warmed over.

    So the ham-fisted promotion of Hindi is just another bad habit inherited by the NDA from the UPA, along with nebulous anxieties about NGOs and foreign money, but the issue singed the government. Very rarely does a procedural notification cause national irritation, from Urdu-speaking Kashmir to Tamil-proud Kanyakumari. Even the NDA’s allies, present and potential, were incensed.

    The language issue is older than the Union of India. In the 1920s, the Congress had resolved to pursue the linguistic reorganisation of states, to strengthen language identity at the expense of violence-prone markers like caste, community and religion.
    Linguistic demarcation was written into law in the States Reorganisation Act of 1956 but sadly, unhealthy identity markers continued to flourish.

    Rootedness in language is not exclusively an Indian phenomenon but possibly a subcontinental feature. We identify the language wars with Dravidian politics, but neighbouring Bangladesh offers a different scale altogether. It owes nationhood to a language movement opposing the imposition of Urdu by West Pakistan. The killing of students in Dhaka University on February 21, 1952, is commemorated as Bhasha Andolan Dibas.

    It is the most important national holiday since the spark lit by the movement burst into flame 19 years later in the Liberation War, which redrew the map of South Asia and reordered the relationship between India and Pakistan. In recognition of the profound historical and geopolitical influence of the movement, the UN celebrates February 21 as International Mother Language Day.

    In South Asia, trying to valorise one language over another is always a fraught experiment, and the results of imposing a language can be catastrophic. Or ridiculous, which is worse. The organised state promotion of Hindi began in the Indira Gandhi era, with the establishment of the Department of Official Language in the home ministry in the 1970s. Its most palpable impact was the development of a shamelessly pseudo-Sanskritic pidgin, which actually consisted of back-constructions from English.

    The phrase “kaam pragati par hai” is an exact replica of “work in progress” but sounded meaningless and peculiar when it was coined. India names its daughters Pragati but significantly, no British or American women are named Progress. “Bhoomigat paidal paar path” replicates “pedestrian underpass” but to a native Hindi speaker, it sounds like machine-generated garbage that escaped the spam filter. Mrs Gandhi’s synthetic garbage language is still visible on public signage and, at the time, was piped into homes via state television. Fortunately, people generally shrugged it off as yet another elaborate joke at public expense.

    To return to the present notification promoting the use of Hindi, Tamil Nadu’s political establishment has risen in high umbrage across party lines, but what about the Indian people? Are they as fearful of the loss of their regional cultures as they were in Mrs Gandhi’s time? Then, the linguistically defined identities marked by state borders were palpable. You knew precisely when your train crossed an invisible state border. Everything changed — the advertisements, signage, architecture, people’s clothes, the music on the radio. Now cable TV, the internet and cinema have flattened the cultural sphere a bit, and acclimatised people to Hindi too.

    Back in the 20th century, Delhi used to worry about a basic question: could infinitely varied India ever have a national culture?

    Dhanush, among others, has now given us the answer: yes, sort of. His soup song, which was actually a movie promo, was ramped up by cable and the internet. This national culture is not based on language. Rather, it trivialises it. It communicates by lampooning communication, as in the popular Western cartoon shows on TV, dubbed in Mumbai tapori. It embarrasses itself in formal speech. Haven’t you ever been in a flight where the cabin crew was inarticulate in three languages?

    Would the citizenry of such a national culture put their lives on the line for linguistic identity, like they once did in Tamil Nadu and Bangladesh? Kiren Rijiju, whose native Arunachal Pradesh isn’t exactly in the Hindi heartland, and who finds himself in the unusual position of having to defend Hindi as minister of state for home, should consider this question before his Department of Official Language shoots off another notification. And, if only to savour the delightful bizarreness of the language issue, he could also ask himself: what is the Monpa for, “Mind it, rascalla!”

    Speaking easy | The Indian Express | Page 99
    **************************************************************************

    Hindi is understood by most owing to TV, Movies and so on.

    Yet, while non Hindi speakers understand it, it does not mean that they are adept in Hindi capable of reading, writing or speaking it fluently.

    The fear is that because of this deficiency, they will be left behind in the race, if it is the official language, since they will not be able to compete in any employment, be it govt or private, with those who are fluent in Hindi from the Hindi belt. Prowess in communication and communicating your thought is, after all, is a major input to promotional stepping stone.
     
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  3. abhi_the _gr8_maratha

    abhi_the _gr8_maratha Senior Member Senior Member

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    hindi is no national language, and official papers says so.
    .
    all languages are equal and have equal values. Agree hindi is understood by most of indian community but it doesn't makes other languages numb. Linguistics says- if one is spoken by majority and other by just one then also both are equal. Constituent have given all languages equal importance so there is no need to emphasize hindi cause it is no hard to publish papers in all language
     
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  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    As I see it, I wonder if anyone is against Hindi being a Link Language.

    Even if they are against, it still remains a Link language because all see Hindi films and so they learn. I did it that way too!

    And in my profession, I learnt Hindustani and so many of the words I use is Urdu and I am more conversant in Hindustani.

    Interestingly, this caste Hindi is more like Bengali words said in a Hindi accent. That is why Priya Sas Munshi appeared to be versed in Hindi, when he was actually modifying with Bengali in a Hindi accent.

    But Bengalis do have a problems since our words are gender neutral, while in Hindi words are feminine or masculine.

    Where non Hindi speakers get spooked and call it 'imposition' is because, while they are conversant with street Hindi, they cannot read and write and hence at a disadvantage at the work place, where the Hindi speakers will score and the non Hindi chaps will come out second rate.

    Now, who wants to lose out for the fact that they are not fluent. And so, it be fluent, one has to relearn another language in its chaste form, which is a drudgery!

    Thus, the fear of 'imposition'.

    Yes, Hindi is NOT a national language, It is an Official Language alongside English.
     
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  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    \Bury the chestnut that Hindi is India’s national language

    The Centre has wisely backtracked from an attempt to accord priority to the Hindi language in official communication. The ministry of home affairs (MHA) passed two directives concerning the use of Hindi — one in March and the other on May 27, a day after the NDA government was sworn in. The order said that officials of all ministries, departments, corporations or banks “should use Hindi” when using social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. As Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa explained their import in a protesting letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the directives say both Hindi and English can be used, but suggest that Hindi should be “written above or first”. This she concluded “makes the use of Hindi mandatory and English optional”. The order expectedly sparked outrage. DMK leader M Karunanidhi, an old warhorse of anti-Hindi agitations, said the move amounted to “treating non-Hindi speaking people as secondary citizens”. The MHA hastily clarified on Friday that the directive was only a follow-up circular and applied only to Hindi-speaking states.

    The government still has plenty of sensitive handling to do as the controversy may not subside that easily. Many see the directive as an attempt to impose Hindi as the ruling party has long been a proponent of the language. It is best for the government to distinguish the agenda of promoting Hindi and the imperatives of communicating with people all over India. The Modi government is well within its rights to pursue the former but it must realise that the latter demands a measure of sensitivity and reconciling with English as a link language.

    The NDA government will do national integration a great service if it helps bury the old chauvinistic and widely-circulated chestnut that Hindi is India’s national language. Hindi and English are official languages. India does not have a declared national language, a point clearly stated by the Gujarat High Court in a 2010 ruling. Avoiding chauvinism is consistent with the spirit of ‘cooperative federalism’ and the BJP’s ambition of becoming a truly pan-Indian political party.

    Bury the chestnut that Hindi is India’s national language - Hindustan Times
     
  6. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    I also believe that India should not impose any language as the first and mandatory language. If one is given preference then everyone will also start demanding special status.
     
  7. jus

    jus Senior Member Senior Member

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    From above article itself indicates MOST INDIANS(Non hindi) didn't care about hindi imposition except Tamil political parties, tamil public also didn't make an issue(no street protest) ....... gradually so many languages disappear may be in future English and Hindi rule India
     
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  8. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    Well I am sure many Bengalis will also object to any forced imposition of Hindi.
     
  9. jus

    jus Senior Member Senior Member

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    R u really think ANY CENTRAL GOVT FORCED IMPOSITION of Hindi in any state in India forget about Big states even in small states

    i mean to say people voluntarily leave some languages (In India 100 languages are disappearing per yr)
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
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  10. jackprince

    jackprince Turning into a frog Senior Member

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    Frankly I would not mind spread of Hindi as long as it is not forced.

    Fact is Suddh Hindi is something no Non-Hindiwala can master! A few days back I had gone to a govt. office where on the door of D.D.O. the Hindi of the same was written - I simply could not pronounce it though I have a passable knowledge of hindi!

    If Hindi is forced on the people (incl. non-hindi govt. officers) it will only increase animosity between Hindiwalas and non-hindilwalas as nobody likes to work with a handicap. Even I get agitated when mostly either a UPwala or a Bihari vociferously advocates abolition of English in Govt. work and replacing with Hindi. I mean there may be a 40% of Hindi speaking people in India and they wish to impose Hindi on others to take unjust advantage! I heard that the examinations for the Central Govt. jobs are bilingual - English and Hindi! It is already a discrimination against all the students who have studied in their vernacular media, and then when they cross the hurdle they would be forced to work with a handicap when people with less merit gets there only because their advantage being born in Hindi-sphere.
     
  11. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    Well there are many corrupted dialects that people/govt consider as languages. Even our East Bengali language is a bit different than the Bengali language I speak here in Kolkata. Yes these dialects which one classifies as languages are indeed disappearing. Also the major languages of India(eg Bengali,Tamil etc) will never go away, so the idea of Hindi/English gaining absolute supremacy in India will always remain a dream. IMO those leaving this so called languages/dialect are only taking up the "shuddh" mother language.

    (Also I do no think 100 languages are disappearing every year. That sounds ridiculous)
     
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  12. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    The point that has been made by jackprince sir is also valid. Both AIEEE and IIT papers are in either English/Hindi. There is no scope for vernacular languages. Consequently those bright students from vernacular/regional boards cannot fathom many of the meanings of the sums given there. As a result they cannot qualify. If the exams were more language friendly then we would have seen more Bengali toppers in this exams.
     
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  13. jus

    jus Senior Member Senior Member

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  14. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Yeh I too find except for tamil Nadu most of south indian states are not anti-Hindi
     
  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    No, all non Hindi speaking people do not want it as the sole official language since they are put at a disadvantage.

    In Bengal too we are not comfortable with the idea.

    I am sure the same will be for Odisha, Assam and the NE since our script too is no where similar to Devnagiri.

    Most states are letting Tamilnadu do the talking since they are the most vociferous.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
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  16. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The article says 'it is believed India today speaks between 850 and 900 distinct languages, though only 122 are recognised in the census and just 22 are scheduled as official languages in the constitution'.

    Distinct language or scattered dialects?

    The article states - 'Uttar Pradesh, there is no such identified endangered language.

    What does it mean?

    That languages are being systematically destroyed by this attempt to impose Hindi and only 22 languages officially recognised.
     
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  17. jus

    jus Senior Member Senior Member

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    ...........................
     
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  18. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    @jus

    High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500–2000 years; a body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers; the literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community; the classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.
    The Indian Government has been criticised for not including Pali as a classical language, as experts have argued it fits all of the above criteria.

    How many speak Pali?

    That is a language of India.

    Who is to blame that it is not spoken any more?

    An endangered language is a language that is at a risk of falling out of use, generally because it has few surviving speakers. If it loses all of its native speakers, it becomes an extinct language. UNESCO distinguishes four levels of endangerment in languages, based on intergenerational transfer:

    Vulnerable: Most children speak the language, but it may be restricted to certain domains (e.g., home).

    Definitely endangered: Children no longer learn the language as mother tongue in the home.

    Severely endangered: Language is spoken by grandparents and older generations; while the parent generation may understand it, they do not speak it to children or among themselves.

    Critically endangered: The youngest speakers are grandparents and older, and they speak the language partially and infrequently.


    Language Countries Speakers Status Comments Ref
    A'tong language India Severely endangered
    Adi language India Adi Vulnerable Adi
    Aimol language India Critically endangered
    Aiton language India Severely endangered
    Aka language India, Definitely endangered Hruso
    Anal language India Vulnerable
    Angami language India Vulnerable
    Angika language India, Nepal Vulnerable
    Ao language India Vulnerable
    Apatani language India Vulnerable
    Asur language India Definitely endangered
    Badaga language India Definitely endangered
    Baghati language India Critically endangered
    Balti language India, Pakistan Vulnerable
    Bangani language India Critically endangered
    Bangni language India Vulnerable
    Bellari language India Critically endangered
    Bhadravahi language India, Pakistan Definitely endangered
    Bhalesi language India Definitely endangered
    Bharmauri language India Definitely endangered
    Bhumji language India Vulnerable
    Biete language India Definitely endangered
    Birhor language India Critically endangered
    Bodo language India Vulnerable
    Brokshat language India Definitely endangered
    Bunan language India Definitely endangered
    Byangsi language India, Nepal Definitely endangered
    Chambeali language India Definitely endangered
    Chang language India Vulnerable
    Chokri language India Vulnerable
    Churahi language India Definitely endangered
    Darma language India, Nepal Definitely endangered
    Deori language India Definitely endangered
    Dimasa language India Vulnerable
    Gadaba language (Ollari language) India Critically endangered
    Galo language India Vulnerable
    Gangte language India Definitely endangered
    Garhwali language India Vulnerable
    Geta? language India Severely endangered
    Gondi language India Vulnerable
    Gorum language India Definitely endangered
    Great Andamanese languages India Critically endangered
    Gutob language India Vulnerable
    Handuri language India Critically endangered
    Hill Miri language India Definitely endangered
    Hmar language India Vulnerable
    Ho language India Vulnerable
    Hrangkhol language India Vulnerable
    Irula language India Vulnerable
    Jad language India, Pakistan Definitely endangered
    Jangshung language India Definitely endangered
    Jarawa language (Andaman Islands) India Critically endangered
    Jaunsari language India Definitely endangered
    Juang language India Definitely endangered
    Kabui language India Vulnerable
    Kachari language India Definitely endangered
    Kanashi language India Definitely endangered
    Kangdi language India Definitely endangered
    Karbi language India Vulnerable
    Khampti language India Vulnerable
    Kharia language India Vulnerable
    Khasali language India Definitely endangered
    Khasi language India Vulnerable
    Kheza language India Vulnerable
    Khiamngan language India Vulnerable
    Khoirao language India Vulnerable
    Khowa language India Definitely endangered
    Kinnauri language India Definitely endangered
    Koch language India Definitely endangered
    Koda language India Vulnerable
    Kodagu language India Definitely endangered
    Koireng language India Critically endangered
    Kolami language India Definitely endangered
    Kom language India Definitely endangered
    Konda language (Dravidian) India Definitely endangered
    Konyak language India Vulnerable
    Koraga language India Critically endangered
    Korku language India Vulnerable
    Koro language India Definitely endangered
    Korwa language India Vulnerable
    Kota language India Critically endangered
    Kui language India Vulnerable
    Kului language India Definitely endangered
    Kumaoni language India, Nepal Vulnerable
    Kundal Shahi language India, Pakistan Definitely endangered
    Kurru language India Definitely endangered
    Kuruba language India Critically endangered
    Kurux language (India) India Vulnerable
    Kuvi language India Definitely endangered
    Lamgang language India Critically endangered
    Lamongse language India Critically endangered
    Langrong language India Critically endangered
    Lhota language India Vulnerable
    Liangmai language India Vulnerable
    Limbu language India, Nepal Definitely endangered
    Lishpa language India Definitely endangered
    Luro language India Critically endangered
    Mahasui language India Definitely endangered
    Malto language (Paharia language) India Definitely endangered
    Manchad language India Vulnerable
    Manda language India Critically endangered
    Mandeali language India Definitely endangered
    Mao language India Vulnerable
    Mara language India Definitely endangered
    Maram language India Vulnerable
    Maring language India Vulnerable
    Mech language India Severely endangered
    Meithei language India Vulnerable
    Miji language India Definitely endangered
    Milang language India Definitely endangered
    Minyong language India Vulnerable
    Mising language India Definitely endangered
    Mizo language India Vulnerable
    Moyon language India Definitely endangered
    Mundari language India Vulnerable
    Muot language India Critically endangered
    Mzieme language India Vulnerable
    Nahali language India Definitely endangered
    Naiki language India Critically endangered
    Nihali language India Critically endangered
    Nocte language India Vulnerable
    Nruanghmei language India Vulnerable
    Nyishi language India Vulnerable
    Onge language India Critically endangered
    Padam language India Vulnerable
    Padri language India Vulnerable
    Paite language India Vulnerable
    Pangvali language India Critically endangered
    Parji language India Critically endangered
    Pasi language India Definitely endangered
    Pengo language India Critically endangered
    Phom language India Vulnerable
    Pochuri language India Vulnerable
    Pu language India Critically endangered
    Purik language India, Pakistan Vulnerable
    Purum language India Critically endangered
    Rabha language India Vulnerable
    Remo language (Bonda language) India Severely endangered
    Rengma language India Vulnerable
    Rongpo language India Vulnerable
    Ruga language India Critically endangered
    Sanenyo language India Critically endangered
    Sangtam language India Vulnerable
    Sentinelese language India Critically endangered
    Sherdukpen language India Vulnerable
    Shompen language India Critically endangered
    Simi language India Vulnerable
    Singpho language India Definitely endangered
    Sirmaudi language India Critically endangered
    Sora language India Vulnerable
    Spiti language India, Pakistan Vulnerable
    Tagin language India Vulnerable
    Tai Nora language India Critically endangered
    Tai Phake language India Severely endangered
    Tai Rong language India Critically endangered
    Takahanyilang language India Critically endangered
    Tamang language India, Nepal Vulnerable
    Tangam language India Critically endangered
    Tangkhul language India Vulnerable
    Tangsa language India Vulnerable
    Tarao language India Critically endangered
    Thado language India Vulnerable
    Tiwa language India Definitely endangered
    Toda language India Critically endangered
    Toto language India Critically endangered
    Tulu language India Vulnerable
    Turi language India Definitely endangered
    Wancho language India Vulnerable
    Yimchungru language India Vulnerable
    Zangskari language India, Pakistan Definitely endangered
    Zeme language India Vulnerable


    Heard of them?

    How many speak these language?

    Why are they endangered?

    And what are your recommendations to revive them?
     
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  19. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    By insisting that Hindi should be the only language for communication and official work, even the 22 officially recognised language will go into disuse and soon they will be endangered and then vanish.

    Therefore, your 'concern' about 'endangered' language appears to be disingenuous.
     
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  20. jus

    jus Senior Member Senior Member

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    This is called slow POISON every yr English&Hindi speaking people increasing (check stats) means some other language is dying GRADUALLY
    i too don't like it but India/ns are progressing in that way


    U.P is always urdu & Hindi heartland may be little bhojpuri all are not endangered

    means u want to print TEXT BOOKS in 600 languages ........practically not possible it inevitable but at least save those 22 :sad:
     
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  21. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    How come you are avoiding answering to the issues raised by me in the last two posts # 17 & #18 above yours?
     
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