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If I Don’t Speak Hindi, Does That Make Me A Second Class Citizen In My Own Country?

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By Sanjana Chowdhury

The patriotic fervour of 15th August was a little dampened by the #StopHindiImposition twitter campaign organised by Facebook advocacy group, Promote Linguistic Equality or PLE’s Bengaluru chapter.

Hundreds of twiteratti protested how non-Hindi speakers are forced to use Hindi, despite there being 22 languages recognised by the 8th Amendment of the constitution. On the day when we were all in the mood for “Jai Hind“, the protesters with the hashtag #StopHindiImposition raised thought-provoking messages like: “Bengal to Nagaland flight filled with Bengalis & Nagas, no safety instruction, announcements in Bengali or Nagamese” and “Language imperialism has wounded & broken nations (e.g., Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ukraine etc). Stop hurting India.

indian languages collage
As a Bengali, I felt proud of this protest movement, because as a non-Hindi speaker I too have been annoyed and hurt by Hindi imposition for too long. My language is not merely a “regional language” – it is an integral part of this country too.

Indian, Not Hindian

Despite the fact that Hindi is NOT the national language of India, there is a subtly cultivated notion that Hindi is the “rashtra bhasha“, which is further fed by the current government’s parochial propaganda of “Hindi. Hindu. Hindustan.

I’m a Bengali living in West Bengal, and yet I have to face linguistic discrimination every day of my life. Everytime I go to our local branch of State Bank of India, I’m appalled to see hundreds of forms only in Hindi and English. Even the passbook printing machine has the option of Hindi and English. Yet, most people who come to these local bank branches are not very educated people with nearly no knowledge of English and Hindi. Are they not entitled to banking transactions?

In banks, railways, Swachh Bharat Ads– wherever you look, there is no space for regional languages. Even the safety instructions on LPG cylinders are in Hindi and English – is there no regard for the safety of crores of people who don’t know these two languages?

Mother tongue remains an optional language in the syllabus of schools under the Central Board of secondary Education, while English and Hindi are compulsory. What is the government playing at? Though 60% of Indians have mother tongues other than Hindi, all-India examinations – like, IIT, IAS, NET, government job exams – are all held in Hindi and English. Is the government implicitly trying to take away the job opportunities of Non-Hindi speakers?

Our government intends to spend the Non-Hindian tax-payers’ money for World Hindi Conference and celebrating Hindi Diwas. Our Prime Minister addresses Indians in Madison Square, Sydney and Dubai in Hindi. His speech on Independence Day was in Hindi, and it was not even translated by the regional Doordarshan Channels.
Are we not Indians if we are not Hindians?

Manufacturing Nationalism

India is a country characterised by its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and this innate nature of our country is jeopardised by imposition of Hindi. Yes, India is indeed fragmented, but foisting a single language on us would not solve that problem. The ominous reminder of why Bangladesh was formed is not too far away.

There is a tide of Hindi everywhere that is engulfing other Indian languages and threatening those cultures. This is tacitly endorsed by the government as it attempts to manufacture a unified national identity that does not exist.

I am a Bengali, moulded by my language and culture. For me Hindi will always remain a foreign language thrusted upon me unnecessarily. Hindi is not my language and Bollywood is not my cult. Does that make me a second-class citizen in my own country?

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  1. BK

    Very good article.

    It is mega consipracy by Indian govt to Islamize the country. Hindi language words are mostly originated from middle least/Islamic countries. F and Z sound words in Hindi are almostly coming from Islamic countries. ” Bolly ” wood production movies dont represent Indian culture at all. These movies are being made to represent all India using public funds by means of Air Hindi, Hindi Airlines, Hindi railways etc.

    BJP is proving itself as fake Hindu party by promoting foreign Muslim origin language Hindi instead of Indian languages.

    Private companies are also part of the consipracy, most ads are coming out using Hindi language in English script.

    Imposition of Islamic origin language Hindi is going on in schools for past 50 years, whereas Indian languages have been forcefully regionalized to articial state borders.

    August 15 1947 represents a black day, India became colony of the Muslim origin language Hindi.

  2. tx4y

    So exactly how are you being treated as a second class citizen? You don’t make any sense and sound supremely like an elitist brat sorry. Yes documents should be available in more languages to
    make them accessible but do not call yourself a second class citizen just because you are too lazy
    to attempt to learn the language commonly spoken. Yes while it isn’t their mother tongues, people all over the country still learn it. So if you can’t understand things in Hindi, that’s your fault, not theirs. A second class citizen in India is someone starving in the streets, a leper, a dalit, or an
    orphan.You aren’t mistreated by anyone, you have lived a good life and had an access to a good
    education unlike other rural women etc. Just because you purposefully chose not to learn any
    Hindi when it’s clearly useful to you, it doesn’t make it someone else’s problem.

    1. Q12

      Why the Muslim origin language is imposed in schools? Why cant Indian language be studied anywhere? WHy Indian govt dont want to make Indian languages official?

      Why the Hindians dont like Indian languages?

    2. Ashok

      Second class citizens are citizens denied basic services in their language which are actually more Indian languages than Hindi (which is outcome of foreign invasion of India 500 years back). Second class citizens in today’s CBSE, ICSE and state schooling system dont have opportunity to study their native languages which people whose native language Hindi are allowed.

      Also second class citizen also refer to non-Hindi states who now face higher cut off marks than Hindi states for the same entrance exams, besides being denied question paper translation in their language, which is presently restricted to only Hindi alone.

    3. Avinesh Saini

      I studied in a school affiliated to CBSE board. I studied my mother tongue ( Bengali) till the twelfth standard. I have no idea what you are ranting about. Nobody is forcing you to learn Hindi in case you choose not to do so.

    4. KP

      It is the standard lie propogated by the Hindians or the Hindi leftists.

      You are asked to switch schools if the child does not take the Islamic origin language Hindi.

      Also why the Muslim origin language Hindi the only offered languaeg across India while Indian languages are not allowed. It is official CBSE and ICSE policy that the Islamic origin language Hindi has to one of the languages, that is very much imposition.

    5. Selva

      Avinesh,

      Your statement is incorrect, try telling that to a CBSE or ICSE school in TN, Karnataka or anywhere where native language is NOT Hindi at the time of admissions. You will be asked to leave at once.

      Special priviledges to only Hindi language content while forcefull regionalizing other languages must first stop. For eg. no radio can air Tamil or Bengali content out of TN or WB regions, BSNL allow Hindi alone as option while other languages only restricted to particular regions.

      Remember Hindi is first of not even the historical native language of India, it was nativized using tax payers funds for the last 60 years, with propogation of so-called CBSE, ICSE school among other methods. Any language which uses an entire nations public treatury of the 60 years will be prominent eventually, that is the advantage which Hindi is having, but it at at the cost of India languages after looting their tax money.

      Airline announcements in state official languages are actually done by foreign registered carriers, not so-called Indian carriers.

      Please refer to the photographs posted in the various movements against this.

      Now Hindi native states have low cutoffs in IITs even after the questions paper gets translated in their language (while not in other languages of India).

      What more proof do you want?

    6. Ballack

      If i can’t understand it’s not my fault u moron. It’s the govt’s fault. The govt should speak to me in my language

    7. karma

      Okay are but nobody has any hang-ups speaking english right? Isn’t that not “your language” friend? Or it only applies to hindi is it. Yeah I’m waiting for morons to thumbs me down for saying something logical and obvious

    8. NJ

      Yeah only applies to the Islamic origin language Hindi as Muslim language Hindi states dont learn Indian languages, but Indian language states have the Islamic origin language Hindi is dumped on Indian language speakers. English is at least neutral language for everyone in India.

    9. Akhila

      Good. You admitted that you have dumb biases. I’m glad everyone is on the same page. You’ve just admitted that you are terrible at history also. Cool.

    10. NK

      @ Akhila. THe Islamic origin language Hindi is not historically even Indian language. Name-calling will not change this fact. HIndians speak foreign origin language and twist history to suit their need. It appears they are upset by the pointing out the truth.

    11. Jishnu

      So a remote village farmer in kerala should learn Hindi and use it in bank and other daily transactions? Try to see beyond your keyboard..

    12. Suva

      You might me a retard. Tell me why should we learn Hindi when 90% of the state don’t use it at all in their lifetime. Tell what is the use of printing documents in fu**ing hindi when almost all customers know the local language.

  3. Avinesh Saini

    You hate Hindi with a vengeance? Fine. Seems like you do have a profound knowledge of the language English and have nothing against it since you wrote the article in English and not your great mother tongue.
    You have also chosen not to whine about the fact that the great Youth Ki Awaaz doesn’t allow you to poat an article in Bengali. You can always choose to be like one of those Tamil guys who choose to feign ignorance of Hindi all the time.

    1. KP

      English is at least a neutral language, where the Muslim origin language Hindi is not. The Islamic origin language is nativized by the cowbelt statement whose devlopment is in the reverse gear.

      Why do the states using the Islamic origin language Hindi follow only 2-language formula where Indian language states have to follow the 3-language formula.

      It is not vengeance but right questions to ask why some people are treated “more equal” than others.

      What is there to be ignorant or non-ignorant about the foreign Islamic origin language Hindi when India has far MORE GENUINE INDIAN languages like Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya.

      The govt does not want INDIAN LANGAUGES to be official languages, they want the language brought by the Muslims alone to be official languages, so it is absolutely right to ask the govt intentions.

      The consipracy to convert India to a Muslim colony (with imposition of the Islamic origin language Hindi as one of the methods adopted)must be stopped.

    2. Ballack

      He wrote that in English for morons like you to understand. If he had written that in his mother tongue idiots like you wouldn’t have spent time to read this

  4. Mridul

    why should hindi be the only official language of india? Are kannada, tamil, marathi etc., not indian languages? is speaking telugu or malayalam anti-national? why can’t we have multiple official languages like singapore and switzerland, both are developed countries. Why do north indians hate other indian languages? How can you call yourself indian when you hate all indian languages other than hindi? what is the point of diversity when you promote only hindi and kill all other indian languages.

    We can have 22 official languages easily. We can create lot of jobs for translating between languages. North Indians should also study a second indian language, only then will other indians learn hindi. Then every indian would know two indian languages, with hindi as common language. But the real problem currently is the reluctance of hindi speakers to learn another indian langauge (can be bengali, tamil, kannada or any language). Why can’t hindi peakers learn another indian language in school? will the sky fall down if you do? It will make you more indian, since all the other 21 languages are much older and more original than hindi.

    The real traitors of bharat are hindi speakers bcz they want to kill bharat mata’s 21 languages, just like how muslim invaders and british killed sanskrit and prakrit.

    1. NJ

      Acually Muslim language Hindi is not even India language, it is language coming from Iran and adopted by Pakistani govt. India govt must be getting money from Pakistan to impose the Pakistani language Hindi.

      We dont need a common Islamic origin language, just all Indian languages should be promoted for official use.

    2. Mridul Awasti

      Sanskrit would have been an ideal common language for us. It was discussed in the Constituent Assembly. When it was put to vote, Hindi unfortunately won by a single vote, and that has decided the fate of our country for more than 60 years. Both Ambedkar and some Tamil leaders voted for Sanskrit, and Maulana Kalam Azad had no opposition if Sanskrit got majority. So basically the three main groups who are now against Sanskrit, lower castes, tamils and muslims had supported it then. But it was a Hindi idiot Rajendra Prasad who’s deciding vote defeated sanskrit. It was like making a street dog our national animal instead of the tiger, just because there are more street dogs than tigers (actually comparing hindi to street dog is insulting to the poor street dog).

      If Israel made Hebrew its national language and helped in reviving it, why could’nt we have done the same to Sanskrit.

    3. NK

      Actually Sanskrit words are derived from Tamil language.

  5. Shubham

    She is bisad you know why she does not speak a word against english she wantd to displace hindi with regional language but not english because she want to be feel comfortble i will sugest and she will definately like it that we should adopt 3 language and hindi in india is global than english.

  6. Gulrez Khan

    Did you ask for Bengali forms in UK, USA or Saudi Arabia. Did you celebrated Durga Puja in Mecca as there are more Bengali mazdoor than local Sheikhs. Linguistic diversity makes life hell for migrants.

    1. sujay rao

      IT BEATS ME WHY INDIA IS FOLLOWING A USSR STYLE RAJBHASHA POLICY. ALL SUCH COUNTRIES HAVE DISINTEGRATED LONG AGO. THIS SHOULD HAVE STOPPED IN 1991 ITSELF. I SAY HINDI CHAUVINISM IS THE BIGGEST THREAT FOR INDIA’S UNITY AND INTEGRITY.
      SUJAY RAO MANDAVILLI

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