Friday, March 24, 2023

Hindi as compulsory subject : DoSE clarifies; NPF, NPCC, NIPF, NSUI oppose

Department of School Education(DoSE) has issued a clarification to statements where the state has been accused of acquiescing to allow Hindi to be compulsory till class X.
DoSE in a clarification issued by Principal Director Shahnavas C. explained that the Nagaland follows a three-language formula up to Class VIII and Hindi is already a compulsory subject up to Class VIII. Shanavas said students were given the liberty in classes IX and X to study either Hindi or anyone Modern Indian Language (MIL) – Ao/Bengali/Lotha/Sumi/Tenyidie or Alternative English – as the Second Language.
He explained that the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 advocated adopting three-language policy up to secondary level and which did not impose any language on States. As per NEP, the three languages to be learned by children would be the choice of the State, region and of course the students themselves. Shahnavas also mentioned that as the time line for implementation of NEP 2020 was 2030 the Union Ministry of Education had not issued any instruction for making Hindi compulsory in the secondary stage, he claimed.
He quoted Policy No. 4.13 of NEP, 2020 on the three-language policy which stated that “the three-language formula will continue to be implemented while keeping in mind the Constitutional provisions, aspirations of the people, regions, and the Union, and the need to promote multilingualism as well as promote national unity”. The policy also provides a greater flexibility in the three-language formula, and no language will be imposed on any State. Further, the three languages learned by children will be the choices of States, regions, and of course the students themselves, so long as at least two of the three languages are native to India.
The policy also stated that students not wishing to change one or more of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6 or 7, as long as they are able to demonstrate basic proficiency in three languages (including one language of India at the literature level) by the end of secondary school.”
Meanwhile, political parties and various other organisations in the State continued to criticise the reported move to impose Hindi in the North-eastern States.
NPF against imposition: NPF president Dr Shürhozelie Liezietsu said he was aware that Hindi was the national language but that Hindi cannot be imposed upon people without first putting effort to make people who are not conversant with it to learn it. He said this will lead to alienation, which might not certainly be in the interest of the nation.
Reiterating that he was not against Hindi, Dr Shürhozelie asserted that NPF could not agree at the moment to use Hindi as an alternative to English in Nagaland because it was impossible to do so. He claimed that this was the ground reality and could not find any other option at the moment.
He noted that even after 40 years Nagaland still remained almost in the same position because no serious efforts were made by the Central government towards development of the language.
He also narrated that former Prime Minister Morarji Desai, who held Education portfolio in 1979-80, in his inaugural speech at the Education Ministers’ Conference in New Delhi said “Hindi should be used from the beginning to PG level in education”. Dr. Shürhozelie said when views were sought by then Union Minister of State for Education Shilla Kaul from the participants, Nagaland had expressed its inability to do so.
He said Morarji Desai in threatening tone wanted to know why and to which he (Liezietsu as then education minister) explained that Nagaland state wanted to learn Hindi but that Naga people do not know Hindi because no one has taught them the language.
He said Hindi teachers in Nagaland then were mostly ex-servicemen from Assam Regiment and therefore, if the PM visited Nagaland, he (Desai) would not be able to understand “our Hindi in as much as we cannot understand your Hindi in Delhi.”

Unacceptable, says Congress: Declaring that imposing Hindi as a compulsory subject was unacceptable as it is optional, NPCC president K Therie in a press release insisted that it could not be forced.
He said the State government’s action (of accepting the imposition) had compromised the spirit of Article 371(A).
Noting that the State had 32 languages and maybe upto 100s dialects, he regretted that “we are unable to develop and protect our own languages” although the Centre had provided to protect and develop them even if the language was used only in one village.
He warned that bringing Hindi as a compulsory subject would be the last nail to the coffin of identity.
Therie alleged that 20 years of Neiphiu Rio’s rule in alliance with BJP had changed the value of Nagaland before the World. He went political by accusing Rio of first sharing 20 seats with BJP, then giving it 50% of the Cabinet and thenthe lone Rajya Sabha seat of Nagaland.
“Now, he has conceded Hindi language as a compulsory subject in the curriculum. Looking at corrupt money, the 48 regional MLAs are voiceless,” the release stated.
Noting that the Centre had already come to know that political issues were no more with Naga national workers, the NPCC president said it was now between the Centre and Rio.
Though the Centre wanted to implement the agreements, he accused Rio of never having given any recognition to these deals.
He said Rio still wanted to continue although corruption and extortion had already finished culture, economy and basic needs.

NIPF opposes move: Nagaland Indigenous People’s Forum (NIPF) said the statement of Shah, who was also chairperson of the Official Language Committee, that Hindi would be made compulsory till Class 10 in the eight North-eastern States was highly condemnable and should be opposed by all indigenous people for whom Hindi was a foreign language.
Mentioning that all citizens knew that Hindi was never the official language of the Indian Union that comprises of different people groups, different regions, different cultures, different races, etc, the forum in a statement declared that the coming together of these people as one nation had made India unique.
However, it warned that the recent move of the BJP government at the Centre to forcefully include Hindi as a compulsory subject up to Class 10 was a threat to the people of India in general and the North-eastern States in particular.
Terming the move by the BJP government at the Centre to impose Hindi in all schools of the Northeast up to Class X as a compulsory subject as an invasion into the educational system of the country, NIPF declared that it would not accept such imposition and invasion of the educational system by any political party even in the future, as such move was more dangerous than political invasion.
The forum also questioned the silence of leaders of NEDA and UDA over the statement of Shah. Or, it wondered whether these leaders had given their consent to the move and if they had, then it wanted to know when they had consulted the people.

NSUI raises objection: National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) Nagaland unit has also raised strong objection to Shah’s statement.
Clarifying that the union was not averse to anybody willing to learn Hindi, its State general secretary Mulato Khujumi however insisted that it should be optional and not compulsory.
He stressed that a diverse country like India with different culture, traditions and languages should not be diluted with such cheap tactics.
Claiming that NEP 2020 clearly stated that “No language will be imposed on any State”, he said education was a State subject and the Centre should not try to “test the waters” to disrupt the harmony of the country by going overboard.
He also asked the chief minister and school education adviser to clarify on Shah’s statement.
Referring to DoSE’s clarification that all reports carried by the media were false, he wanted to know whether the Union Home Minister was lying or department was at fault.
Further, quoting 2011 language census, Khujumi claimed that only 43.63% of India’s total population had considered Hindi as their mother tongue.
While promotion of any language was welcome, he declared that imposition of a particular language would not be tolerated at all and would be objected tooth and nail. He also cautioned the State government not to take any such decision that would greatly hamper and affect the career of thousands of students.


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