New Delhi, 3/4/2023
The blackening of Hindi signage in Tamilnadu is an attack on the integrity of Indianness. It amounts to an attack on the linguistic integration of the country. Add to that it is also an attempt to sabotage the spirit of the three-Language-policy enacted by Parliament in 1963.
I for one strongly condemn the misdeeds of miscreants trying to sully the image of Hindi and India where people enjoy speaking 1652 languages and dialects priding themselves on their linguistic and cultural diversity in the country. Such wrongdoers for deterrence must be immediately booked, tried and punished under the applicable law. At the same time, concerted efforts must be made to steer clear of any misunderstanding about the status and use of Hindi.
A gung-ho passion for one’s mother tongue is acceptable, but not at the cost of the language deemed to be the national one. One may be at liberty to stick to one’s mother tongue. But one doesn’t have the right to either speak ill of any other languages or deface them in any manner. The languages enshrined in the constitution of India have a special status.
Notably, the government in the new education policy (NEP) has already laid emphasis on imparting primary education in the mother tongue, attaching importance to it without interfering with the Tri-lingua formula which has been in practice for over six decades.
Remarkably, India is a multilingual society wherein Hindi is acknowledged as having the potential to link north to south and east to east linguistically and politically as a medium of communication and instruction. However, English has its own standing, position and advantages when it comes to receiving higher education, adopting technology, modern science and career orientation.
We should respect all Indian vernaculars and colloquial languages with the highest respect to Hindi, which connects to the soul of India. Let there be no politics over the use of Hindi. Rather, let’s value it. Let there be no linguistic divide in the country. Unity in cultural and linguistic diversity is India’s identity. No lingo- jingo!
The writer of this piece is Dr Birbal Jha, a noted author and the Managing Director of Lingua Multiservices Pvt Ltd having a popular trademark ‘British Lingua’. He is accredited with having created a revolution in English training In India with the slogan ‘English for all’