Editorial

Language controversy

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 6/5/2019 1:10:12 PM IST

 It was a strong message to the newly installed BJP-led NDA government under prime minister Narendra Modi, that attempts to squeeze in the draft of a new education policy released by the Centre that made Hindi compulsory will only stir up a hornet’s nest especially in the southern states. The southern states led by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and even Bengal expressed outrage over the new education policy that makes it mandatory for school students to be proficient in either of the three languages that included Hindi. Among several proposals made in the draft National Education Policy (NEP), the one clause that came under fire was the “3-language formula”. According to the 3-language formula, the First language: Mother tongue or the regional language. Second language: Modern Indian language or English (in Hindi-speaking areas) or Hindi or English (in Non-Hindi speaking areas). Third language (not studied as the second language): Modern Indian language or English (in Hindi-speaking areas) or Hindi or English (in Non-Hindi speaking areas).Even in the north east, the draft education policy has the potential of boomeranging into a confrontation. The proposal was seen as a move to impose Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states. After the uproar, the Central government released a revised draft NEP. The new draft has removed the clause that was seen as imposition of Hindi by several states. The new government has also directed that all employees in the national capital should be well versed in Hindi. Moreover, it has also decided to install Hindi software in the systems of government offices all over India. India is a multilingual nation as it has 22 languages. Hindi is the fifth most widely spoken language in the world. Though Hindi is spoken in almost all parts of India, none of the schools in India have made Hindi compulsory till the senior secondary level education. There is no second opinion that Hindi should be encouraged but many do not support it being imposed in any manner. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who was a graduate of Trinity College London and every aspect a westernised Indian, had chosen Hindi as the official language of India in 1965. Even the Indian constitution states that Hindi should be the official language of India. Hindi was adopted as the official language by the constituent assembly on September 14, 1949. On this day, India celebrates it as Hindi day. All these prove that Hindi occupies a very important place among major languages in India. However, the pro-Hindi lobbyists lack understanding that India is not only a multilingual but also a multi-cultural and multi-religious nation of 120 crore people. Even historically and factually, a majority of people in India have a non-Hindi language as their mother tongue. Far from embodying India, Hindi is actually India’s youngest literary language. The dangers of one language seeking to dominate are easy to see in India’s neighbourhood. Sri Lanka went through a bloody civil war after Sinhalese nationalists tried to foist their language on the island’s minority Tamils. Pakistan was split asunder in 1971, as Bengalis found their own culture oppressed by the Urdu of West Pakistan. Therefore, by trying to promote Hindi, those who deem fit that it should be imposed, are only doing a disservice to the language and the national diversity.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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