Brig K.G.Behl (Retd)
President, All India Consumers Council Uttarakhand
To have a National Language is not only a matter of pride but essential for country’s Status. Inspite of Hindi Day being observed every year, Hindi is yet to attain the status of National Language of India. Everyone knows that Hindi is the only language which can attain that status. Since Hindi is one of the three languages which are likely to attain International status soon, it is pertinent that concerted efforts be made to recognize Hindi as National language of India. However it is heartening to know that more and more people are trying to learn Hindi, especially in non Hindi speaking States. All the same it is desirable that all of us try to speak and work in Hindi all over the country at least for few hours if not for the whole day.
The Constituent Assembly adopted Hindi as official language of the Union on 14 Sep 1949 and since then this Day is being celebrated as Hindi Day. The Indian constitution, adopted in 1950, declared Hindi shall be written in the Devnagari script and will be the official language of the Federal Government of India. However, English will continue to be used as an official language along with Hindi. Hindi is enumerated as one of the twenty-two languages of the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India, The Constitution of India has effectively instituted the usage of Hindi and English as the two languages of communication for the Union Govt.. Most government documentation is prepared in three languages: English, Hindi, and the primary official language of the local state, if it is not Hindi or English.
Article 351 of the Indian constitution stipulates that Hindi language shall be enriched by drawing for its vocabulary primarily from Sanskrit and secondarily from other languages. Article 344 stipulates that official language commission shall be constituted every ten years to recommend steps for progressive use of Hindi language and imposing restrictions on the use of the English language. In practice, the official language commissions are constantly endeavouring to promote Hindi but not imposing restrictions on English in official use. It was envisioned that Hindi would become the sole working language of the Union Government by 1965 (per directives in Article 344 (2) and Article 351), with state governments being free to function in the language of their own choice. However, widespread resistance to the imposition of Hindi on non- Hindi speaking States led to the passage of the Official Languages Act of 1963, which provided for the continued use of English indefinitely for all official purposes, although the constitutional directive for the Union Government to encourage the spread of Hindi was retained.
Each State may also designate a “co-official language”; in Uttar Pradesh, for instance, depending on the political formation in power, this language is generally Urdu. Similarly, Hindi is accorded the status of official language in the following UT, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu and National Capital Territory. At the state level, Hindi is the official language of the states: Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, MP, Rajasthan, UP and Uttarakhand.
Outside of Asia, Hindi is also an official language in Fiji. The Constitution of Fiji states 3 official languages, namely English, Fijian, and Hindi. The dialect of Hindi spoken there is known as ‘Fiji Baat’ or Fiji Hindi. Hindi is spoken and used in many countries of the World, especially where Indians live.
The Government of India instituted the following conventions to standardize Hindi.
Standardization of grammar: In 1954, the Government of India set up a committee to prepare a grammar of Hindi; The committee’s report was released in 1958 as “A Basic Grammar of Modern Hindi”
Standardization of the orthography, using the Devnagari script, by the Central Hindi Directorate of the Ministry of Education and Culture to bring about uniformity in writing, to improve the shape of some Devnagari characters, and introducing diacritics to express sounds from other languages.
National-language status for Hindi is a long-debated theme. An Indian court clarified that Hindi is not the national language of India because the constitution does not mention it as such. However it was expected that slowly people all over the country will start speaking in Hindi and it will automatically become the National language. This is probably the sole purpose of celebrating Hindi Day where everyone should try to speak and work in Hindi alone on that day or that week, in order to propagate and popularize Hindi so that it automatically become National Language one day.
Last year in order to find out as to how many of us speak in Hindi on this day I rang up many of my friends to find out as to how many remember Hindi day or speak in Hindi that day and to my surprise more than 50% replied in English. About 25 percent started in English but either came to Hindi or their own dialect. Surprisingly majority of them did not know that it was Hindi Day today and should try to speak in Hindi. Same was the response when in offices where they celebrate Hindi Pakhwara or week to propagate Hindi and hold various functions but probably forget this aspect that everyone must speak or work in Hindi that day or during the period. We must try to talk in Hindi daily at home as well as in offices and make our notes in files too in Hindi.
Probably they are not aware that speaking in Hindi is one of the ways to raise the status of Hindi to National language. We must have a National language and all of us must try to make Hindi a National Language by speaking in Hindi at home and at our work place.