1. What is Hindi Divas? Why is Hindi Divas organized?
Hindi Divas is organized by Government of India on 14th September every year. Hindi Divas is organized at all Central Government offices across the country and general public is encouraged to participate in it. This event is organized to promote usage of Hindi in administration and for general communication by all Indians, irrespective of whether Hindi is their mother tongue or not. This event is funded by the tax payer's money, most of whom are not Hindi speaking.
2. Why do we need to oppose the Hindi Divas / Saptah celebrations? Why should we oppose this official patronage to Hindi?
Although India prides itself as a democracy in the community of nations, it is a sad fact that the Indian constitution calls Hindi together with English as the only two Official Languages of the Indian Union, to the exclusion of the mother-tongues of more than 75 % of India. A close look at India's language policy betrays the sad but dangerous truth of Hindi imperialism, which is but the new face of English imperialism. The very rule that knowledge of Hindi (or English, but preferably Hindi) is an absolute must for entry to Central Govt. jobs is a defeat of democracy. The concept that there should be one and only one administrative language for central government purposes simply does not apply to countries with plural cultures, languages and peoples. Disregarding this basic fact, the central and state governments have geared up to destroy our language and culture, to name our places in Hindi, to use only Hindi in our central govt. offices, to impose Hindi in very way possible, through every available channel, every available medium. Since Hindi imposition is anti-democratic and defeats the pluralistic nature of our country, we need to oppose Hindi imposition. Since Hindi Divas / Saptah are instruments of the Union Government to impose Hindi, we need to oppose this event.
3. Is Hindi the "National language" of India?
India as a nation comprises of various languages and cultures. Every individual represents his language and culture likewise language and culture are symbols of ones identity. India considers itself a federal republic because it comprises of different states which have their own language and culture. There was a strong cultural and administrative reason to form the states based on linguistic affiliation, because of the vast diversity in culture and language. Thus each state has its own official language which mostly differs from that of other states'. That language is the lifeline of the people of state and it represents its culture, since language is the media for communication and inheritance of culture.
Hindi was accepted as official language in some states and it represented the culture of only those states. Nowhere in the constitution is Hindi mentioned as the "National language". According to Indian Constitution, 22 languages are accepted as scheduled languages. Among these 22 languages a single language does not represent India's culture in its entirety. A situation where a single language can represent India's culture can only be made possible by suppressing India's diverse cultures. Hence Hindi is NOT the "National Language" of India.
4. Being a strong votary of Hindi as the national language is considered the litmus test to one's patriotism towards the country? Is this right?
This is absolutely wrong. Efforts of Hindi speaking people to force non-Hindi speaking people to accept Hindi as the sole National language is against the national spirit. In fact those who do this are not patriotic. Linking acceptance of Hindi as National Language & the knowledge of Hindi to a citizen's nationalistic credentials is dangerous and unacceptable.
5. How is Hindi being imposed on on-Hindi speaking people in India?
Hindi has been and is being imposed on non-Hindi speaking citizens of India through various means.
The three main vehicles of imposition are:
- Through Administrative system
- Through Education system
- Through Media and Entertainment
1. The central government through its directives has been encouraging central government offices, banks, insurance companies to transact in Hindi. All these were under the control of the Central Government for almost four and a half decades. The control on these institutions has been fully utilized by the Central Government in its attempt to use Hindi for all official transactions / communication. These departments provide incentives for employees who implement Hindi, promote those who ensure Hindi implementation, provide leave to attend special courses in Hindi, etc.
2. Central Government through its three language formula has been systematically forcing Hindi on non-Hindi speakers. Students in the Hindi speaking states never learn a third language whereas students in the non-Hindi speaking states were / are being forced to learn Hindi. Also, wrong information is being taught to students across the country that Hindi is the National Language
3. But the most successful way of imposing Hindi on non-Hindi speaking people has been through media and entertainment sector. For almost four and half decades after independence, due to the socialist moorings of the Union Government, there was monopolistic control of radio & television by the Central Government through AIR and Doordarshan respectively. This has been utilized by the Central Government in providing news and entertainment to non-Hindi speaking people ONLY in Hindi for almost 40+ years. This has resulted in creating a huge market for news & entertainment in Hindi which both the Government and the private sector are NOW encashing at the expense of other language media and entertainment industries.
7. What is the impact of the imposition of Hindi on non-Hindi speaking people in India?
This three pronged approach (through administration, education and media / entertainment) to impose Hindi has met with success to a considerable degree in some of the states of India. Many of the languages like Bhojpuri, Maithili, Santhali, Rajasthani, Haryanvi, etc have been systematically reduced to "dialects" of Hindi. Many other languages like Punjabi, Marwari, Gujarati, Bengali, Marathi have lost their entertainment industries and are happy entertaining themselves in Hindi, an alien language to most people living in those states. Students in most of the states have been brainwashed that Hindi is the national language of India. Loyalty and patriotism to the nation has been reduced to acceptance of Hindi as the sole "National" and "Link" language. Any Indian having a different opinion on this is branded as not being nationalist enough! A bigger problem this has created is the false sense of superiority in the Hindi speakers. Their expectation that the whole of India speaks Hindi, their reluctance to learn the language of the place they settle in, arrogance that they display in their interaction with fellow non-Hindi speaking Indians is the biggest threat to national integration.
8. I never knew all this was happening. I am aware of this issue now. What should I do?
• Be aware that Hindi is not the ONLY national language of India. All the languages spoken in India are National languages. Please create this awareness in people around you.
• If you are residing in non-Hindi states, ensure that you conduct all the transactions at central government offices and banks in the language of the land or English. Do not use Hindi.
• Boycott Hindi films and music in non-Hindi speaking states. Encourage the media and entertainment industry of the place you live.
• Boycott schools and colleges that teach ONLY Hindi and not the local language in non-Hindi states.
• In non-Hindi states, converse with Hindi speakers in the language of the land or English. Do not converse / transact with them in Hindi.