Amid a new line by HDK, News18 reads in the politics of the world’s third most spoken language
The Hindi controversy is back in the news as JD(S)HD leader Kumaraswamy penned a letter to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday urging his government not to celebrate ‘Hindi Diwas’ using taxpayers’ money.
The former chief minister has said that celebrating Hindi Diwas, which happens to be on September 14, with force would amount to an “injustice” to the people of Karnataka. Congress leader Priyank Kharge also joined them in attacking the center saying “they can’t impose Hindi on us”.
Hindi Diwas is celebrated nationwide on September 14 and is dedicated to honoring the importance of language. The language is the third most spoken language in the world in 2019 with 61.5 million speakers.
The controversy comes amid renewed debate over imposing Hindi and whether to make it the national language. Again this year there were two major controversies over the Hindi language, the first being Twitter between Ajay Devgn and Kiccha Sudeep and second, Amit Shah’s statement that Hindi should be accepted as an alternative to English .
Ajay Devgn vs Kiccha Sudeep
The debate began with an exchange between Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn and Kannada actor Kiccha Sudeep on Twitter about the status of Hindi as a “national language”.
Kannada actor Sudeep had said: “You said that a pan-Indian movie was shot in Kannada. I would like to make a small correction. Hindi is no longer a national language. They (Bollywood ) are making pan-Indian films today. They struggle (to find success) by dubbing in Telugu and Tamil, but it doesn’t pass. Today, we make films that go everywhere.
In response, Ajay Devgn tweeted in Hindi: “Kiccha Sudeep my brother, if Hindi is not our national language according to you, then why are you releasing films made in your mother tongue after dubbing them into Hindi? Hindi is our mother tongue and our national language, and always will be. Jana Gana Mana.
Many people have pointed out that India does not have a national language. Sudeep then clarified that the context in which he spoke was “entirely different”, and added that he loves and respects all languages in the country.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had come to support Sudeep and said there should be linguistic diversity.
“Everything Sudeep has said is correct. After the formation of states on a linguistic basis, languages have gained prominence in them. This is supreme. The same was said by Sudeep, who is right. Everyone everyone should accept and respect it,” Bommai said.
Amit Shah’s statement rages
In April this year, a controversy erupted over the issue after Amit Shah declared that Hindi should replace English as the language that brings together the different states and cultures of the country.
While announcing compulsory teaching of Hindi in the eight northeastern states up to class 10, Shah also said that 70% of the cabinet agenda was prepared in Hindi.
The statement was met with a scathing response from MP Stalin who voiced his disapproval. “The Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, asking people to use Hindi instead of English is an act that will harm the unity of India. The BJP continues to engage in its work of eroding India’s diversity. Does Amit Shah think that only Hindi speaking states are enough and other Indian states are not needed? asked Stalin.
“A single language will not help unity. And uniformity does not breed unity. You (BJP) are making the same mistake. You will never succeed,” the CM added.
Music composer AR Rahman had also strongly expressed his opinion on the matter.
Also earlier in 2019, Shah on the occasion of ‘Hindi Diwas’ proposed that Hindi should be part of Indian identity.
भारत विभिन्न भाषाओं का देश है और हर का का अपना महत्व परन्तु पूरे देश की एक भाषा होना अत्यंत आवश्यक विश्व में में में. पहच्यंत आवश्यक है जो. आज देश को एकता की डोर में बाँधने काम काम अगर कोई भाषा कर सकती है तो वो सर्वाधिक बोले जाने हिंदी भाषा है।।।।।।।।।।।।।।।।।।।।।।।।। pic.twitter.com/hrk1ktpDCn
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) September 14, 2019
“India is a country of different languages and each language has its own importance, but it is very important to have one language which should become India’s identity in the world. If any language can unite the country today, it is the widely spoken Hindi language,” Shah said in a tweet on Hindi Day.
PM Modi Fights for Diversity
A few weeks after the controversy over Amit Shah’s statements, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that linguistic diversity is the pride of the country and added that attempts were underway to stir up controversy over it.
“In recent days we have seen attempts being made to stir up controversy on the basis of languages. The BJP sees a reflection of Indian culture in every regional language and considers them worth revering… It is a link to a better future for the country,” Prime Minister Modi said earlier this year. in May at a party meeting in Jaipur.
Is Hindi the national language?
The constitution does not specify any language as a “national language”. According to the Eighth Schedule of Indian Constitution, there are 22 official languages including Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri , Marathi, Maithili, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.
However, the Official Languages Act 1963 designates English and Hindi for the official purposes of the central government, including the business of Parliament, for central and state laws and for other purposes, according to a report from The Indian Express.
Is the protest new?
No, time and time again, the controversy over the Hindi language and its ‘imposition’ continues to erupt.
Food delivery app Zomato has come under fire after a customer service manager told a customer from Tamil Nadu that Hindi was the national language. The delivery app was quickly forced to apologize.
Similarly, a hospital in Delhi had issued a circular, which became a subject of debate, prohibiting staff from conversing in Malayalam because patients did not know the language. Again, the circular was withdrawn and criticized.
The initial debate on the issue dates back to pre-independence, when in 1937 the Indian National Congress attempted to teach Hindi to the Madras Presidency. Protests against Hindi taxation had by then lasted three years.
When the Constituent Assembly first met in December 1946, it was decided after much debate and discussion that the proceedings of the House would be conducted in Hindustani and English.
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