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Hindi Imposition and Hindu Nation

Though English is a foreign language, Hindi is equally foreign to people in South Indian states

Shivasundar 19 Apr 2022

Hindi Imposition
Image: ANI

On April 7, Home Minister Amit Shah gave a ‘soft’ order to the non-Hindi speaking states and the people to use Hindi, instead of English, as language of communication between them. While the Hindutva brigade wanted to couch it as innocent attempt to Indianise the intra-state communication, people at large are seeing it as another push by the Modi 2.0 to Hinduise national public space by ‘Hindi’anising the lingua franca of the diverse country.

Just an year ago, Amit Shah had declared on the Hindi Divas (September 14), that it is the national duty of every citizen of this country to use Hindi language so that it becomes the spoken language of large number of people to get qualified as one more language of communication in the UN. Thereby Indians could help Modi government in its effort to get India honourable status among the comity of nations. He also declared that only Hindi has the capacity to unite the people of this country. But since it attracted lot of opposition from the southern states in whose bitter memory the row about imposing Hindi through New Education Policy (NEP) which was still live, the Modi Government could not aggressively and openly pursue his agenda.

But now, the resolve of Sangh Parivar to push all its hidden agenda has got new strength after the success in the recent elections, especially the UP elections. Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan-Cow and Conversion, than the welfarist gimmicks, seems to be time tested agenda to polarise the society to create a semi-permanent Hindu vote bank on which the Hindu electoral majority votes Hindu Rashtra to power again and again. Hence the new round of Hindi offensive on the nation. Modi government has declared that Hindi will be made compulsory till the 10th in the North East.

One of the new alibis is that most of the tribal communities have started to use Devanagari as their script. This devanagarisation of the tribal scripts is aggressively popularised before adventing on the second stage of Sanskritisation and cultural Hinduisation of the tribes. In fact, this form of linguistic colonisation has already killed or killing many indigenous languages of the Northern India. For example, in Bihar, according to the language census of 2011, 31% of the people speak Bhojpuri and another 25% Magahi. Only 21% speak Hindi. But Magahi and Bhojpuri are not listed as Schedule 8 languages. But in the language census only languages in the Schedule 8 re enumerated! Thus, during the language census Hindi becomes the mother tongue of all these speakers whose languages are not listed in Schedule 8. The irony is the Sanskrit language which is listed as spoken by just 25 thousand people is in the 8th schedule but not the Bhojpuri which is spoken by some 2 crore people! It is also observed by some commentators that during the language census the people were asked whether they know Hindi language and not if it is their mother tongue. This is the magic behind Hindi becoming a largest spoken language in this country. According to Linguist and Scholar GN Devy, this process of ‘nation building and national integration’ has already killed 120 languages in the country. Still this linguistic genocide is celebrated as cultural victory of the Unified Indian Nation.

The Assam chief minister has gone a step ahead to circumvent the possible opposition to Amit Shah’s strictures by proposing a four-language formula in the state of Assam! And if the Sanskrit is made compulsory as a part of NEP, one can expect a Five Language Formula! Hindutva at any cost…

Another important alibi for this new aggression is that Hindi is swadeshi and English is phoren! But if one considers the linguistic characters of the southern languages which belong Dravidian family of languages, Hindi is equally a foreign language to Dravidians!

It is for these reasons, mindful of the diversity that exists, the Constitution makers accorded Hindi the status of only of the Raj basha- Language of the State- along with English and not Rashtra Bhasha- National Language. Nowhere in the Constitution concept of Rashtra Bhasha or National language is accorded to Hindi. A committee comprising of KM Munshi (a congress man in the beginning, but a crypto Hindutvavadi who joined VHP in 1963), Gopalasvamy Iyengar went in detail about the possibility, necessity and implication of Making Hindi a sole Raj basha and a Rashtra basha, but rejected both on sound rationale. Thus Articles 343 to 351 in the Constitution accords Hindi the status of language of communication of the State along with English for 15 years.

Later after the Official Language Act of 1963, it was decided to continue English as the official language without any time limit. Article 348 stipulates that the only language of the High courts and Supreme Court would be English. All the bills in the state assemblies are presented in the respective state languages and also in English. The Central bills are presented in both the languages where original draft would be in English.

In one of its Judgements, a division bench of the Gujarat High Court in 2010, made it very clear that there was no category as National Language in the Indian Constitution, and dismissed the plea filed by one Suresha Kacchadia who had appealed to declare Hindi as the national Language.

But it is also true that there was a bitter fight between the Right Wingers, Hindu Mahasabhaites and their sympathisers and the secularist in the Constitution Assembly on many issues including the necessity of making sanskritised Hindi with Devanagari script, as national language. There was also another attempt during late 60’s to impose Hindi on Non- Hindi states which was initiated by the Congress and supported by socialist like Lohia and aggressively campaigned by the RSS and its ilk. But they were not successful at that period of history.

The aggression and vigour of the new round of imposition of Hindi as national language by the Modi 2.0, stems from the successful rightward shift in the polity and the society engineered by the Hindutva forces for over few decades. The reincarnation of Savarkar and consistent effort by the RSS to sanitise his history of surrender and make him a national hero is also part of this new aggression.

Because, it was Savarkar who gave a comprehensive theory of cultural nationalism to Hindutva fascist movement in India. Way back in 1923, even a few years before Hitler wrote Mein Kempf, Savarkar wrote “Who Is Hindu” where he clearly enunciated how and why Hindus are an ancient nation even according to modern requirements. Hindus have a territory, Aryavarta, Sindhustan (For Sindhu means waters not just name of a river) spanning from Himalayas to the sea. Arynas-Hindus are a race because they are the indigenous people, first dwellers of the territory. They share a common culture along with Sanskrit Language which is complemented by Hindi. Thus, Hindi becomes an essential element of this ancient nation. Hence Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan is a war call given by even Nathuram Godse and Apte after the capital punishment was pronounced...

Even though the non-hindutva Indian Nationalism, of and including Dr. Ambedkar and Nehru, was also apprehensive of the diversity of the country leading to fissiparous tendencies in the early days of nascent nation, it did not have vicious designs of Brahminical Hindutva agenda. it is the Modi 2.0, which is agressively pursuing this agenda. A week back Mohan Bhagavat, the supremo of RSS has declared that the making of Hindu Nation is going to be completed in next few years. And the svayamsevakas wield stick not for no reason. Sometimes the “will to abide” might need force...

So, Welcome to Aryavarta, the Hindi land of Hindu nation where the dictionary meanings of Imposition mean Volunteering, stick means flowers, and Hindi means the Rashtra basha and Hindu means India –

*The author is a senior writer and activist.

 

Hindi Imposition and Hindu Nation

Though English is a foreign language, Hindi is equally foreign to people in South Indian states

Hindi Imposition
Image: ANI

On April 7, Home Minister Amit Shah gave a ‘soft’ order to the non-Hindi speaking states and the people to use Hindi, instead of English, as language of communication between them. While the Hindutva brigade wanted to couch it as innocent attempt to Indianise the intra-state communication, people at large are seeing it as another push by the Modi 2.0 to Hinduise national public space by ‘Hindi’anising the lingua franca of the diverse country.

Just an year ago, Amit Shah had declared on the Hindi Divas (September 14), that it is the national duty of every citizen of this country to use Hindi language so that it becomes the spoken language of large number of people to get qualified as one more language of communication in the UN. Thereby Indians could help Modi government in its effort to get India honourable status among the comity of nations. He also declared that only Hindi has the capacity to unite the people of this country. But since it attracted lot of opposition from the southern states in whose bitter memory the row about imposing Hindi through New Education Policy (NEP) which was still live, the Modi Government could not aggressively and openly pursue his agenda.

But now, the resolve of Sangh Parivar to push all its hidden agenda has got new strength after the success in the recent elections, especially the UP elections. Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan-Cow and Conversion, than the welfarist gimmicks, seems to be time tested agenda to polarise the society to create a semi-permanent Hindu vote bank on which the Hindu electoral majority votes Hindu Rashtra to power again and again. Hence the new round of Hindi offensive on the nation. Modi government has declared that Hindi will be made compulsory till the 10th in the North East.

One of the new alibis is that most of the tribal communities have started to use Devanagari as their script. This devanagarisation of the tribal scripts is aggressively popularised before adventing on the second stage of Sanskritisation and cultural Hinduisation of the tribes. In fact, this form of linguistic colonisation has already killed or killing many indigenous languages of the Northern India. For example, in Bihar, according to the language census of 2011, 31% of the people speak Bhojpuri and another 25% Magahi. Only 21% speak Hindi. But Magahi and Bhojpuri are not listed as Schedule 8 languages. But in the language census only languages in the Schedule 8 re enumerated! Thus, during the language census Hindi becomes the mother tongue of all these speakers whose languages are not listed in Schedule 8. The irony is the Sanskrit language which is listed as spoken by just 25 thousand people is in the 8th schedule but not the Bhojpuri which is spoken by some 2 crore people! It is also observed by some commentators that during the language census the people were asked whether they know Hindi language and not if it is their mother tongue. This is the magic behind Hindi becoming a largest spoken language in this country. According to Linguist and Scholar GN Devy, this process of ‘nation building and national integration’ has already killed 120 languages in the country. Still this linguistic genocide is celebrated as cultural victory of the Unified Indian Nation.

The Assam chief minister has gone a step ahead to circumvent the possible opposition to Amit Shah’s strictures by proposing a four-language formula in the state of Assam! And if the Sanskrit is made compulsory as a part of NEP, one can expect a Five Language Formula! Hindutva at any cost…

Another important alibi for this new aggression is that Hindi is swadeshi and English is phoren! But if one considers the linguistic characters of the southern languages which belong Dravidian family of languages, Hindi is equally a foreign language to Dravidians!

It is for these reasons, mindful of the diversity that exists, the Constitution makers accorded Hindi the status of only of the Raj basha- Language of the State- along with English and not Rashtra Bhasha- National Language. Nowhere in the Constitution concept of Rashtra Bhasha or National language is accorded to Hindi. A committee comprising of KM Munshi (a congress man in the beginning, but a crypto Hindutvavadi who joined VHP in 1963), Gopalasvamy Iyengar went in detail about the possibility, necessity and implication of Making Hindi a sole Raj basha and a Rashtra basha, but rejected both on sound rationale. Thus Articles 343 to 351 in the Constitution accords Hindi the status of language of communication of the State along with English for 15 years.

Later after the Official Language Act of 1963, it was decided to continue English as the official language without any time limit. Article 348 stipulates that the only language of the High courts and Supreme Court would be English. All the bills in the state assemblies are presented in the respective state languages and also in English. The Central bills are presented in both the languages where original draft would be in English.

In one of its Judgements, a division bench of the Gujarat High Court in 2010, made it very clear that there was no category as National Language in the Indian Constitution, and dismissed the plea filed by one Suresha Kacchadia who had appealed to declare Hindi as the national Language.

But it is also true that there was a bitter fight between the Right Wingers, Hindu Mahasabhaites and their sympathisers and the secularist in the Constitution Assembly on many issues including the necessity of making sanskritised Hindi with Devanagari script, as national language. There was also another attempt during late 60’s to impose Hindi on Non- Hindi states which was initiated by the Congress and supported by socialist like Lohia and aggressively campaigned by the RSS and its ilk. But they were not successful at that period of history.

The aggression and vigour of the new round of imposition of Hindi as national language by the Modi 2.0, stems from the successful rightward shift in the polity and the society engineered by the Hindutva forces for over few decades. The reincarnation of Savarkar and consistent effort by the RSS to sanitise his history of surrender and make him a national hero is also part of this new aggression.

Because, it was Savarkar who gave a comprehensive theory of cultural nationalism to Hindutva fascist movement in India. Way back in 1923, even a few years before Hitler wrote Mein Kempf, Savarkar wrote “Who Is Hindu” where he clearly enunciated how and why Hindus are an ancient nation even according to modern requirements. Hindus have a territory, Aryavarta, Sindhustan (For Sindhu means waters not just name of a river) spanning from Himalayas to the sea. Arynas-Hindus are a race because they are the indigenous people, first dwellers of the territory. They share a common culture along with Sanskrit Language which is complemented by Hindi. Thus, Hindi becomes an essential element of this ancient nation. Hence Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan is a war call given by even Nathuram Godse and Apte after the capital punishment was pronounced...

Even though the non-hindutva Indian Nationalism, of and including Dr. Ambedkar and Nehru, was also apprehensive of the diversity of the country leading to fissiparous tendencies in the early days of nascent nation, it did not have vicious designs of Brahminical Hindutva agenda. it is the Modi 2.0, which is agressively pursuing this agenda. A week back Mohan Bhagavat, the supremo of RSS has declared that the making of Hindu Nation is going to be completed in next few years. And the svayamsevakas wield stick not for no reason. Sometimes the “will to abide” might need force...

So, Welcome to Aryavarta, the Hindi land of Hindu nation where the dictionary meanings of Imposition mean Volunteering, stick means flowers, and Hindi means the Rashtra basha and Hindu means India –

*The author is a senior writer and activist.

 

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