A few days ago, there was an article in Youth Ki Awaaz about Hindi and the attitude of Hindi speakers. My post is to add a bit more to this topic.
Let me start with the argument many Hindi speaking people make, “Hindi is our national Language, so everybody must learn it.”
This is a propaganda spread by the Hindi speaking people, even though the Constitution doesn’t recognise any single language as the national language.
The people who advocate for Hindi as our national language because it is spoken by a large number of people, must not forget that we have more dogs than tigers, more crows than peacocks and more people who play cricket than hockey.
There are some Indian languages which are known as the ‘Classical Languages‘. Can the people of those states argue with the rest of the country and force them to learn those languages because of their ‘classical’ status? No, they can’t. Similarly, the Hindi language can’t be forced on others.
There was agitation in Bengaluru a month ago because of Hindi sign boards on metro stations. If you live in Bengaluru, you might see many people speak Hindi, including the local Kannada people. So we can’t say that people are against the language. You might have even seen a few restaurants or shops owned by Hindi speaking people that have signboards written in Hindi. Nobody protests against this as that comes by choice.
But the issue is different here. There is an effort being made to force Hindi on people which should not happen. The local people feel that their culture and language is being attacked by this. I can cite one more incident when a Facebook page was created by a few people – “Let’s Say No To Kannada”, which was later removed. The mindset of imposing Hindi on people must go.
Let’s look at the acceptance of Hindi language as a connecting language among the people all across the country. This is required for convenience. We can’t expect a person travelling across the country to learn so many languages. Hindi is spoken widely and can be used as a connecting language. But it must not happen by force.
So what can be done to make it more acceptable?
Delhi is the capital of our country. So it doesn’t belong to any language, but Hindi is widely spoken by the people and people from all over the country live here. The capital city has many tourist destinations. There are many roads named after freedom fighters and great personalities. There are sign boards on all of these tourist destinations. We can try to use non-Hindi Indian languages on these boards. Definitely, we can’t use all the twenty-two languages everywhere but a few languages can be used at specific places. For example, one of the non-Hindi languages, such as Tamil or Kannada can be used in one of the tourist places, like Red Fort, along with English and Hindi. Similarly, another language such as Odia or Marathi along with English and Hindi can be used in some other tourist destination, for example, Qutub Minar.
This will help in improving the feeling of belongingness in the country. This will also convey a message to all the people and the tourists (including the foreigners) visiting our country about our languages and our acceptance of all of these languages.
Let the Hindi speaking states also accept that the Constitution doesn’t recognise any language as a national language. The amount of difficulty a Hindi speaking person faces while learning any non-Hindi language is same for a non-Hindi speaking person learning Hindi language. They should also start accepting other languages and welcome them in their respective states by using the non-Hindi languages on sign boards in tourist places.
Lucknow is the capital city of UP and a Hindi heartland. Let the Lucknow Metro authority start printing the station names in non-Hindi languages too.
All these steps need lots of effort, will power and definitely more money. But it will have far reaching positive implications and it is worth doing this.