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HC notice to J&K Govt on PIL on Hindi as official language

Urdu was the official language in the state before its special status was scrapped in 2019

Sabrangindia 10 Jul 2020

Urdu

A division bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has issued notices to the Jammu and Kashmir Government to reply to a public interest litigation (PIL) to declare Hindi as the “official language of J&K”. The PIL was filed by one Maghav Kohli, stated a report in the Tribune. According to the report there is a provision for official language for the Union Territory under Section 47 of the J&K Reorganisation Act-2019. The petitioner has stated that “this provision is to adopt Hindi as the official language of the UT in order to give representation to Hindi language and also to grant respite to the public at large.” 

The Tribune reported that “the Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar, after hearing advocate Priyanshu Sharma and advocate Aditya Sharma, issued notices to the Commissioner-cum Secretary, General Administrative Department (GAD), Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Principal Secretary, Home Department, and Financial Commissioner, Revenue Department.” They have been directed to file a reply.

Before the state’s special status was scrapped and it was bifurcated into two Union Territories on August 5, the official language in the state was Urdu, however official business was conducted in English. An Indian Express report from then quoted J&K Governor’s advisor Farooq Khan as saying, “The Reorganisation Act is very clear that the new official language or languages will be chosen by the new Assembly. Hindi is the national language so it would be an official language of the Union Territory of J&K. Urdu will also be given its due place. English will also be used as it is being used currently.’’

The state has always been multilingual through the ages. According to the IE report “Dogra rulers recognised Urdu as a state and official language of J&K in 1889. Before Urdu, Persian was the official language of Kashmir for around three centuries. In J&K, Urdu is the language of land and revenue records, courts (especially lower judiciary) and police (FIRs etc are all written in Urdu). It is also the mode of instruction in government schools, especially in Kashmir and the Muslim-majority districts of Jammu and Kargil.”

The other languages spoken in J&K include Kashmiri (Kishur), Dogri, Gojri, Ladakhi, Pahari, Balti, and as IE explained it was Urdu that emerged as a “link language during Dogra rule, especially because it wasn’t the mother tongue of any substantial group.”

Later English took over as more and more, and those who came from other states to work in J&K could not read and write Urdu and preferred English. However, as IE stated, Urdu, “continued to be the main language of the government.” 

In fact in 2018 the PDP-BJP government had constituted the first ever State Council for Promotion of Urdu Language. Because it believed that  “Urdu is not just the official language and spoken in all its regions, it is also a vast repository of the cultural heritage of the Indian sub-continent known as Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb”.

The conversation about Hindi as an official State or as the National language has always fuelled many volatile discussions. One of the biggest controversy on the issue was unleashed in in 2019 when the Union Home Minister had said on Hindi Divas that “India is a country of different languages and every language has its own importance but it is very important to have a language of the whole country which should become the identity of India in the world. Today, if one language can do the work of tying the country to the door of unity, then it is the most spoken Hindi language.”

 

 

After a massive controversy blew up, he later said that he had only meant that Hindi could be chosen as a second language for those who want to. “There should be one language in the country, if you want to learn a second language then let it be Hindi, this was my request,” he was then quoted by Hindustan Times.

Non-Hindi speaking states, especially in South India have always stood together to oppose Hindi being allegedly imposed on them. A  2017 report by CNBC-TV18 had shown how a massive campaign had been launched by the pro-Kannada outfit Karnataka Rakshana Vedike to “fight Hindi chauvinism.”  

In an opinion written for The Week in 2019, Justice Markandey Katju who retired from the Supreme Court had stated, “Hindi is an artificially created language, and is not the common man's language, even in the so-called Hindi-speaking belt of India.”

He added that “Up to 1947, Urdu was the language of the educated class of all communities in large parts of India, whether they were Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and other communities, while Hindustani was the language of the uneducated common man (in urban areas). The British rulers artificially created Hindi through their agents like Bhartendu Harishchandra, as part of their divide-and-rule policy, and propagated the claim that Hindi is the language of Hindus, while Urdu is the language of Muslims.”

Flash forward to the present day, and the argument continues. According to the report in Greater Kashmir, during the hearing, the counsel submitted that in the erstwhile state of J&K, the commonly used language in Jammu was Dogri and Hindi. They added, “Also the people of Jammu have become constant victim of this language barrier which has been slapped over them by the administration in the erstwhile J&K state… The revenue record and police record are in Urdu language because of which people of Jammu have to be at the receiving end always and even as per the High Court rules, a translated copy is required to be submitted which makes it difficult for the judiciary as well as the people.” 
 

Related:

BJP alienating Urdu to alienate Muslim culture?

 

HC notice to J&K Govt on PIL on Hindi as official language

Urdu was the official language in the state before its special status was scrapped in 2019

Urdu

A division bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has issued notices to the Jammu and Kashmir Government to reply to a public interest litigation (PIL) to declare Hindi as the “official language of J&K”. The PIL was filed by one Maghav Kohli, stated a report in the Tribune. According to the report there is a provision for official language for the Union Territory under Section 47 of the J&K Reorganisation Act-2019. The petitioner has stated that “this provision is to adopt Hindi as the official language of the UT in order to give representation to Hindi language and also to grant respite to the public at large.” 

The Tribune reported that “the Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar, after hearing advocate Priyanshu Sharma and advocate Aditya Sharma, issued notices to the Commissioner-cum Secretary, General Administrative Department (GAD), Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Principal Secretary, Home Department, and Financial Commissioner, Revenue Department.” They have been directed to file a reply.

Before the state’s special status was scrapped and it was bifurcated into two Union Territories on August 5, the official language in the state was Urdu, however official business was conducted in English. An Indian Express report from then quoted J&K Governor’s advisor Farooq Khan as saying, “The Reorganisation Act is very clear that the new official language or languages will be chosen by the new Assembly. Hindi is the national language so it would be an official language of the Union Territory of J&K. Urdu will also be given its due place. English will also be used as it is being used currently.’’

The state has always been multilingual through the ages. According to the IE report “Dogra rulers recognised Urdu as a state and official language of J&K in 1889. Before Urdu, Persian was the official language of Kashmir for around three centuries. In J&K, Urdu is the language of land and revenue records, courts (especially lower judiciary) and police (FIRs etc are all written in Urdu). It is also the mode of instruction in government schools, especially in Kashmir and the Muslim-majority districts of Jammu and Kargil.”

The other languages spoken in J&K include Kashmiri (Kishur), Dogri, Gojri, Ladakhi, Pahari, Balti, and as IE explained it was Urdu that emerged as a “link language during Dogra rule, especially because it wasn’t the mother tongue of any substantial group.”

Later English took over as more and more, and those who came from other states to work in J&K could not read and write Urdu and preferred English. However, as IE stated, Urdu, “continued to be the main language of the government.” 

In fact in 2018 the PDP-BJP government had constituted the first ever State Council for Promotion of Urdu Language. Because it believed that  “Urdu is not just the official language and spoken in all its regions, it is also a vast repository of the cultural heritage of the Indian sub-continent known as Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb”.

The conversation about Hindi as an official State or as the National language has always fuelled many volatile discussions. One of the biggest controversy on the issue was unleashed in in 2019 when the Union Home Minister had said on Hindi Divas that “India is a country of different languages and every language has its own importance but it is very important to have a language of the whole country which should become the identity of India in the world. Today, if one language can do the work of tying the country to the door of unity, then it is the most spoken Hindi language.”

 

 

After a massive controversy blew up, he later said that he had only meant that Hindi could be chosen as a second language for those who want to. “There should be one language in the country, if you want to learn a second language then let it be Hindi, this was my request,” he was then quoted by Hindustan Times.

Non-Hindi speaking states, especially in South India have always stood together to oppose Hindi being allegedly imposed on them. A  2017 report by CNBC-TV18 had shown how a massive campaign had been launched by the pro-Kannada outfit Karnataka Rakshana Vedike to “fight Hindi chauvinism.”  

In an opinion written for The Week in 2019, Justice Markandey Katju who retired from the Supreme Court had stated, “Hindi is an artificially created language, and is not the common man's language, even in the so-called Hindi-speaking belt of India.”

He added that “Up to 1947, Urdu was the language of the educated class of all communities in large parts of India, whether they were Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and other communities, while Hindustani was the language of the uneducated common man (in urban areas). The British rulers artificially created Hindi through their agents like Bhartendu Harishchandra, as part of their divide-and-rule policy, and propagated the claim that Hindi is the language of Hindus, while Urdu is the language of Muslims.”

Flash forward to the present day, and the argument continues. According to the report in Greater Kashmir, during the hearing, the counsel submitted that in the erstwhile state of J&K, the commonly used language in Jammu was Dogri and Hindi. They added, “Also the people of Jammu have become constant victim of this language barrier which has been slapped over them by the administration in the erstwhile J&K state… The revenue record and police record are in Urdu language because of which people of Jammu have to be at the receiving end always and even as per the High Court rules, a translated copy is required to be submitted which makes it difficult for the judiciary as well as the people.” 
 

Related:

BJP alienating Urdu to alienate Muslim culture?

 

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