While the issue of linguistic states dominated Indian politics in the decade of the 1950 s the major issue of 1960’s was the official language question.
Because of the linguistic diversity of India, the problem of national link language was extremely critical. During the national struggle for independence, English served this function. The major claimant for the status of a link language to replace English was Hindi.
Mahatma Gandhi has insisted that India must shake off the bondage of English language and demonstrate its unity through language a national language, acceptable to both Hindus and Muslims. The lingua France termed Hindustan’. The constitution makers started with this proposition but it was steadily eroded.
After a heated and prolonged debate on this issue, the constituent Assembly adopted a clause in the constitution which specifically acknowledged that the official language of Indian union should be Hindi in Devnagri script with international numerals.
Hindi was initially conceded the status of ‘official language’ while others are regarded as ‘regional languages’. English was to be used as the language of the union govt, and as a link language for a limited period, then it was to be replaced by Hindi.
The position of Hindi as official language collided with the emotions and aspirations of those Indians who spoke other languages. It also as a disadvantage. The union Govt, wisely responded to the agitation by removing the deadline for replacing English with Hindi.
Resolution was passed authorizing a three language formula for school system and a regional language policy for civil service exams. The resolution of the major linguistic conflicts has been a pluralistic one. It is reflected both in official policy and its implementation.
As for the official language of the Indian union, the Govt, of India has settled upon, what amounts to an indefinite policy of bilingualism. with English and Hindi being alternative official language at the centre and alternative link language for communication between the centre and the states. No doubt, the ideal of transforming Hindi into the role official language of the country exists in the official language Act of 1963.
Resurgence of English:
There is increasing evidence that Hindi has in fact been spreading quite rapidly as a second language in non-Hindi language areas. But the growth of Hindi has been accompanied by a resurgence of English.
The continued preeminence of English, writes Paul Brass, is a mark of India’s pluralism, for it distributes the burden learning the principal language of official communication at the central, and inter governmental levels equally between Hindi speakers and non-Hindi speakers; The objection to Hindi might in a small measure be carried over to English which was been an imperialist language.
However, it is difficult to ignore the impact of politics on the position of English in free India. The importance of state politics has been increasing partly because of the nationality variations in the level of developmental and education and partly because of the growth and consolidation of nationality identity culture and language. All these factors impinge on the political implications of English vis-à-vis the Indian language.
Hindi – Its current position:
Among the Indian languages, Hindi claims to be the language of the largest numbers in India. Hindi films and the imaginative use of the TV combined with a system of incentives for non-Hindi speakers to learn Hindi and these of modern techniques of languages teaching all are contributing to its popularity.
But the Dravidian linguistic Zone of southern India has developed an intense antagonism towards this language. He believed Hindi is regional language. Purists demand a return to Sanskrit sources, other prefer standardization.
According to some critics it is a regional language confined to the Hindi Zone. It is a language of the market place than a literary language. As a result Hindi has failed to gain ground as the principal link language of the country.
Dominance of Regional Languages and cultures at state level:
With the formation of the linguistic states, there has been a tremendous upsurge of the regional languages and cultures, (i) The regional languages have become increasingly dominance as the official administrative languages (ii) as the medium of education in schools and colleges and (iii) as the languages of communication on the printed media. The politics of cultural dominance seems to be at play in many states.
English continues to be an important medium of higher education and of the elite communication. In printed media, the dominance of the regional languages impinges not only on the linguistic minorities but also on the position of Hindi as the All India Language.
Our mother tongues have rich literatures and proud-antiquity. The Indian democracy can be real only if politics is conducted in the mother tongues.
Status of Minority Languages:
The status of minority languages, religion, and ethnic groups is one of the major problems within the linguistically reorganised states. The status of Urdu continues to be a controversial issue in some of the Hindi speaking states.
The Muslims of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar demand that Urdu be given the status of second official language in their states. Their deputations have, from time to time appealed to the central govt, to invoke Article 347 of the constitution to protect the rights of the Urdu speakers.
In relations to the internal linguistic and ethnic conflicts in the states the central government has usually played the role of the protector of the rights of linguistics and religious minority population.
The 3-Language formula:
It was during the Nehru’s regime that the 3-language formula was evolved to satisfy the conflicting claims of various language groups in the country.
The students of all secondary schools in India were required to study as compulsory part of the school curriculum the following languages.
(a) The regional language and mother tongue when the latter is different from the regional language.
(b) Hindi or in Hindi speaking are as another modern Indian language preferably of the south Indian group.
(c) English or any other European language. At the meeting of Chief Ministers in 1961 Nehru had said that he knew six languages and that learning of three languages at the secondary school should not be difficult.
Protectionism Hardy Desirable:
While the love of one’s language is legitimate and natural linguistic fundamentalism is hideous and harmful no less than religious fundamentalism.
We should be aware of anything that narrows the economic and intellectual opportunities open to our young people. Moloility is the secret of a nation’s success and a nation’s growth.
Let our students have knowledge in more languages than one so that they may be able to make their way in any part of the country and any country of the world. Critically selected and edited and critically introduced anthologies of stories and poems will go a long way in creating a consciousness of Indian literature.