ಏನ್ ಗುರು ಬ್ಲಾಗಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಬಂದ "ಭಾರತಕ್ಕೊಪ್ಪೋ ಭಾಷಾನೀತಿ..." ಎಂಬ ಅಂಕಣವನ್ನು ಗೆಳೆಯ ಸಂದೀಪ ಇಂಗ್ಲಿಷ್ ಗೆ ಅನುವಾದ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಸರಳವಾದ ಶೈಲಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬರೆದಿರುವ ಅಂಕಣವನ್ನು ಅನುಮತಿಯೊಂದಿಗೆ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಕಟಿಸುತ್ತಿರುವೆ. ನೀವು ಓದಿ, ನಿಮ್ಮ ಕನ್ನಡೇತರ ಗೆಳೆಯರೊಂದಿಗೂ ಹಂಚಿಕೊಳ್ಳಿ.. - ವಸಂತ
India is a vast country of several peoples, cultures, customs, and beliefs. Politically, after having obtained independence in 1947, several prominent challenges that faced us as a nation were: "How to govern this diverse country of ours? How to keep it united?..." etc.
India stumbled in the very first step
Well before independence, the designs for a post-independent India were discussed in the several sessions of the Indian National Congress. The idea of having Hindi as India's national language too was discussed and debated. Post independence, there were also efforts in this direction. But owing to opposition from non-Hindi speaking areas the idea did not see the light of day. A parliamentarian by name Dhulekar even once commented that "people who do not know Hindustani have no right to stay in India". T.T. Krishnamachari, in a bitter response, had said, "it is up to my friends in U.P. to have a whole-India; it is up to them to have a Hindi-India", and had warned of India's division if Hindi was made the sole national language of India. After three years of exhaustive discussions the Indian Constitution was framed, and brought into effect in 1950.
Approval for Hindi propagation in the Constitution
Though it was not declared in the constitution as the sole National Language, Hindi was given a new special status, 'Raj Bhasha', thus declaring it the official language of communication for the Government of India, along with English for the next 15 years. However, those non-Hindi speakers who fought against the National Language tag for Hindi were relieved by the fact that the Indian constitution had not used the word 'National Language', when referring to Hindi. But the fact that Article 351 of the Constitution makes it the duty of the Union Government to promote the spread of Hindi, clearly reflects the character of language policy adopted in India, and in reality the Union Government by then had already laid the foundation stone for the grand establishment of Hindi in every Indian home. So, the relief was only limited to the fact that Hindi was not given the National Language tag.
It was written in the pages of the Constitution that "it shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language" (Article 351) throughout India. With the objective of making Hindi the sole official language and help its spread across India, it was mandated that a commission be constituted for the progressive use of Hindi and restrict the use of English (Article 344). And communication between the states and the Union, and among the states was mandated to be in English or Hindi (Article 345).
Programs for the spread of Hindi
Whenever possible, efforts were made to establish the supremacy of Hindi. By appointing a language Committee, in 1963 efforts were made to remove English as an official language and to retain Hindi alone in that position. But when there was wide-spread opposition to such a move in Tamil Nadu, an amendment was made in 1965 to continue to retain English in that position. So what? Hindi was given the special privilege for propagation across India, that was denied for any other language. Several hundred crores are being spent from the taxpayers' money for the spread of Hindi. On the other hand 'Hindi Prachar Sabhas' were established in every nook and corner of the country. Thus it became India's official policy to spread Hindi through persuasion, incentive and goodwill.
Department of Official Language
For the purposes of meeting such an objective the Department of Official Language was opened. Through this department designs for the establishment of Hindi in the institutions under or affiliated to the Central Government were formed and the rules for the use of the official language for communication in India were formulated. The specifications of The Official Languages Rules, that came into effect in 1976, seemed to provide more velocity to the efforts of the establishment of Hindi. But the discriminatory nature of this law was very apparent. Because the very first lines of this law mention that it is not applicable to the state of Tamil Nadu. The fact that this law mandates that any letter written in Hindi in a Central Government office in any corner of the country should be replied to only in Hindi, clearly reflects the Hindi-Colonial mindset.
Recognition for Hindi alone
It is clear that the overall language policy of India is to give exclusive encouragement for the development of Hindi. If this encouragement was limited to the Hindi speaking regions we could have asked for the same kind of encouragement for our languages too. But the Union Government's efforts towards encouragement of Hindi are focused at establishing it in our state. This discriminatory language policy is clearly against the United Nations' language policy. So then, India's language policy should be such that....
Language Policy that is apt for India
The language policy for a pluralistic India should be such that it should help retain and develop plurality and diversity. The language policy should be such that it should provide every language group their rights, that is their linguistic rights as specified in UNESCO's Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights. Let the status of Official language be given to every language of India. Let the communication among states happen in languages of those states. Let there be a language policy that allows every state to use its language in government, education and for the purposes of building livelihoods of their people. Thus India's language policy needs to be reformulated such that every language, belonging to a particular region, is ensured a supreme status in that region. In effect, all languages defined in the Eighth schedule of the Constitution should be given equal rights and status. India's language policy should be so formulated that it should enable the participation of every person, people and language group in the path towards development, it should not affect linguistic diversity, it should aid in the achievement of effective communication and cohesion, it should help create an environment where it is possible for every language group to conduct itself in a way that complements the all round development of all other language groups, their environments and cultures.
There is nothing wrong in amending the Constitution so that it facilitates the development of a language policy that is apt for a country like India, which is comprised of linguistically diverse regions.