Nation Other News 18 Sep 2019 We’re Indians, ...

We’re Indians, not Hindians!

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | DR PROF N. PRABHUDEV
Published Sep 18, 2019, 6:03 am IST
Updated Sep 18, 2019, 6:03 am IST
Every language has its subtle nuances which relate to its unique identity and I think that's what makes India great.
Linguistic hegemony doesn't augur well for a plural society like India.
 Linguistic hegemony doesn't augur well for a plural society like India.

Languages are the window of knowledge. It should be nurtured by love and not by imposition!

India is a museum of tongues! India has managed till now it's astonishing linguistic diversity in spite of Hindi and Urdu being proxies for Hindu and Muslim identity. India is a country that boasts of 1,652 languages and dialects.

 

Slogan of 'Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan' is a direct adaptation to Jinnah's idea that only one who is a Muslim and speaks Urdu can be a true Pakistani. The idea of a unifying language is absurd.

In fact, we from south respect Hindi. What we are against and will resist, is chauvinism of any sort. Linguistic hegemony doesn't augur well for a plural society like India.

Hindi cannot unite the nation. It is perceived as a language of the North India. There is a strong undercurrent of distrust and aversion in the minds of south Indians.

For a diverse India, Hindi push is divisive. Hindi is a beautiful language, as is Tamil, Telugu or Kannada: 'Imposition' narrative must be quashed. We do not need a national language to unite us. Unity behind diversity makes a perfect pitch for national integration.

Every language has its subtle nuances which relate to its unique identity and I think that's what makes India great.

English is not the language of the masses but has prevented the disintegration of the country. Therefore, nothing should be done that would be inconsistent with the ideal of unity behind diversity.

Statistically only 40% of India speaks and writes Hindi. What is erroneously called the Hindi belt, multiple language movements are brewing, each wanting their own identity. Bhojpuri and Rajasthani language movements are at the forefront of these demands.

The three-language formula has helped the country carve a niche for itself in the world as a unique example of 'unity in diversity' and act as a catalyst in bringing about social transformation.

Hindi as a language is not richer or older or more scientific or more authentic than any other language in India, to merit representative status.

Only Sanskrit, Kannada and Tamil have been given the status of a classic language and not Hindi. In fact, Hindi has no script of its own. It is written in Devanagari script!

The Kannada Development Authority has advocated removing Hindi as a third language in Karnataka schools. The KDA Chairman advocates a two language formula- Kannada and English in imparting education.

The author is former VC, Bangalore University

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