Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Hindi is NOT the rashtrabhasha

OK, let's settle this once and for all. I'm not in the mood to write too much about this now coz there's plenty of material on it. I'll just direct you towards a couple of links.


And if you're wondering what was it that you learnt in school about Hindi being 'national language', like the tiger being the 'national animal', then please read:


Hindi is 'A' national language (along with 22 other languages mentioned under the 8th schedule of the Indian constitution), as opposed to the common perception that Hindi is 'THE' national language.

I rest my case.


rini said...

nice blog..i read through the links really good one's and must say i do agree with you.

Anonymous said...

I hope you'd agree that we need some language which is spoken throughout the country! Which language should that be? The one which is widely spoken. That's Hindi. You'll say the common language can be English. Most of the Indian languages have similarity with Hindi. For majority common people it is easier to learn the language. Why not accept it.... learn and speak it?
We consider opinion of the majority. That's what is democracy all about. It's not that whoever you vote always wins the election. It doesn't mean that you should stop paying taxes or disobey the law and order. We accept it, isn't it?

Karthik Shetty said...

anonymous, going by your logic, we'd have to make the stray dog as our national animal and the crow as the national bird. why should the language that is widely spoken be the common one for those who do not/will not use it? if i travel to the north, I'll learn Hindi to survive there. In the same way, if some one comes down south, let them learn to converse the basics while they're here. Why go out of the way to force a language down the throats of people who may not require it at all? Wouldn't it be better to learn English(for business), your mother tongue (for obvious reasons) and the language of the place you reside in? This seems far more reasonable and logical than forcing people to learn a language they may never have to speak.

As far as majority goes,well,the majority needn't always be right, right?

Anonymous said...

Being from an Army background, and having travelled all over the country, from what i have experienced, Hindi is an integral part of indian culture, and every indian must know it...maybe u dont have to read Dainik Bhaskar, but in an age of global indian, taking the world by storm...i know how it feels like to speak in your language when u r abroad , at that time your whole regional identity dissolves. And consider this ,Hindi is one thing we have in common with pakistan, so based on that we do have a common language binding us.As for me inspite of being a south indian, i prefer Hindi anyday.
(thats also coz my tamil probably sucks!)

Karthik Shetty said...

Firstly, I can't recall saying Hindi is NOT part of Indian culture, so I don't know where that came from.As an Indian,we must be proud that ours is the only country with the no. of languages we have,each giving unique identity to it's speakers.It's this unique identity that each individual has that makes our country rich in it's diversity.By making everyone speak a language that may never be of any use to them is nothing short of a wasted excercise.I studied in Army School all my life(lkg-12) and met ppl from various defence backgrounds.True,hindi is understood by the majority of the ppl coz apart from the 4 southern states,all other langs share a similarity with hindi-but this doesn't mean we impose it on all.By your argument,one would think only the travelling ppl(like defence personnel)would require a common lang,not the rest of the junta.When I travel abroad,as an Indian,I don't want to say that I have a mother tongue (Tulu) which is different from what the majority ppl speak,and hence I am forced to learn it.Sorry,doesn't make sense to force a language upon a ppl who enjoy the diversity of this country-a diversity that our Constitution respects!

mad angel said...

being sarcastic doesnt always serve the purpose, hindi isnt being forced on anyone, its something u r born into, like your family, u may rebel as u like, but at the end of the day, u dont have much of a choice, u have to accept them....likewise with hindi!

Karthik Shetty said...

i have no problem in accepting it as the official lang used in parliament coz it found mention in the constitution at the time of independence. however, what i am opposeed to is the fact that despite it NOT being the rashtrabhasha, our textbooks still mention it to be so. how can u say i was born into hindi? being a Mangalorean, i was born into the language of Tulu, not Hindi. Are u trying to associate speaking Hindi to being Indian? If so, all i can say is ur crazy! If not, I didn't understand what u meant.

Anonymous said...

We must promote ALL Indian languages as well as english becuase English is a neutral language .
otherwise we should replace English with a NEUTRAL language like Prakrit.

Here are some objections against Hindi

1.You cannot take the language of one state and promote it as the national
language. This is the opinion of many people I have spoken to.
It creates an artificial politically induced lopsided development . (I will give you an example shortly )

Tomorrow if we have only Hindi medium schools throughout India , people from 4 hindi speaking states
due to their natural fluency in the language will get higher marks than me. Plus I have to learn an additional
language (Telegu) (which he doesn't) for which I have to sacrifice another subject . This is a double advantage
for a hindi speaker and a double disadvantage for a non-hindi speaker. Within years , people from 4 states will
take away all the Engineering and Medical seats and all jobs if the private sector is forced to operate in Hindi .
This will happen right from Kashmir to kanyakumari. This is not based on merit but a politically engineered differentiation.
This is the end of the day for merit based education in India.

I do agree that English is difficult but it is equally difficult for everybody. That is the point here.
The only problem is that English creates an urban rural divide, but the onus to solve this rests with
the state government. Many states like Karnataka and andhra have already taken steps to
solve this. Where's the legal remedy if you take the language of one state and allow it
to replace English ? This is a perfect recipe for disaster and can even wipe out other
languages in the long run
Otherwise create a new neutral language.

2. Another danger of having one language as the national language are that is encourages
one linguistic group to believe that they are superior to others and are always
in a position to take over the rest of the country. They are also forced
to live in a fools paradise -as a written language Hindi is anyway dead outside the
Hindi speaking states.So, what's the point?

Some people want to make hindi an international language. If we make Assamese an
international language, we have to make it a national language first. What happens
to all other Indian languages then?

3. Can you show me any other non-hindi speaking state which accepts Hindi as one of the official
languages of the state ? None. If tomorrow , West Bengal opens Hindi medium schools in every village
in Bengal , half of Bihar will be in Bengal . That is the end of Bengali culture which even the British or
the Muslims and the british did not touch. We cannot allow the language of one state to replace English as this would undermine
the spirit of the Indian constitution.

Similarly if the the state goverment of Andhra pradesh opens Hindi medium schools in
Vijayawada , it has to open Gujarathi and Marathi medium schools also. That is why
no state government in India allows schools in any language other than the local
language plus English. On what basis should Hindi medium schools be allowed in Vijayawada
and not Malayalam medium schools ? Based on the law of numbers ?

Again, Hindi is the "official language" of the Central government . in Andhra Pradesh,
for example, only Telegu, urdu and English have been given official status .So doesn't
Hindi undermine the federal spirit of the Indian constitution again ? Education is not even a
central subject as per the indian constitution.

4.Can you also show me one hindi sign board anywhere in India outside a Hindi speaking state?
I have yet to come across one in my entire life except in a central government office.

5. Again can you show me one private sector company in India which operates in Hindi ?
The private sector considers Hindi to be another regional language like kannada - period.
So , why force it on the private sector ?

6.Finally, even if you try to spread keep spreading hindi, human nature being what it is,
the chances are that it will fail.So what is the point in spreading it at all if you are ultimately not

Alternatively , you may teach basic Hindi / Hinglish in every state as a spoken language
either in the English script or in the script of the local language, since we do
need one spoken colloquial throught the country.Let us remember only unity in diversity
integrates India in the long run. Hinglish (eg Kal 7'0' clock 100% aaungaa ,sir ) is the local dialect
in many states because it is very simple to learn , but it has no legal status or a written form anywhere.

7. No upto date sociologist will accept the theory that a country needs one national language to stay
united. However Hindi will become one of the countries most important lingua francas in
the long run based on the law of demand and supply.


The greatness of India is its Unity in Diversity . Follow a unity in Diversity
model . Examples countries following this model are
(a) Switzerland
(b) Singapore
(c) Canada

Each state can select link languages based on popular demand (English and Hindi may be)
and compensate other languages for the loss in other ways - spend more money on other
languages since Hindi has already spread and will continue to do so based on the law of
demand and supply. Only Unity in Diversity sustains National
integration in the long run. You can check out the Switzerland model if you want. You
might also want to know how Unity in Diversity helped Canada from disintegrating.
The Unified Rajbhasha Model was required before liberalization but now common sense
would only indicate based on experience everywhere that a unity in diversity model
is more appropriate.

Take this oft-repeated statement

"Over centralization destroyed India, now liberalization
is reuniting India"

Here is one model you might want to adopt since Hindi has already spread.
The following is my suggestion:
Amend the constitution and
(a) Make all Indian languages National languages as a token of acknowledgement of
the rich diversity of the sub-continent and the
equality of all cultures
(b) Declare English as the recommended Official link language (But leave the choice
to the states)
(c) some states can choose Hindi as a cultural link language if required.
* Hindi enables poorer people across India to communicate with each other since 40% of
Indians speak Hindi versus 5% english , but that is about it : as a
written language hindi is already dead outside of the Hindi belt. In my opinion
people need to learn the mother tongue first followed by English and Basic Hindi
(optional). Hindi is is mainly useful the wholesale , retail trade and the
entertainment industry and for some amount of emotional bonding. It not only imposes
load on some states but gives more preferences for 4 states with repsect to
job) and some states States , of course get to
decide their own cultural policy . This
(a) Role of the mother tongue
(b) Role of English
(c) Role of Hindi
(d) Role of other Regional languages
This will ensure that the local culture gets first preference.
We need to encourage a Unity in Diversity model . I however support a basic knowledge
of ONE Indian language throughout the country
i.e Hindi (as English requires a formal education). It but let the realization come
voluntarily, let it not be imposed. Ideally
a neutral language such a spoken Prakrit
would have been better but now that Hindi has already spread
throughout most of India , it will keep spreading based on the Law of supply and
demand .We can no longer avoid it.
Several formulas are also available to judge
languages based on Historical significance,
Cultural importance, uniqueness, number of speakers etc ( A lot
of research has been done of this in the
past few years and while maintianing
national integration, such formulas can help
determine the budget spend on other Indian
languages). Dilopmas such as
1. master of all Indian languages
2. Master of Classical indian languages
3. Master of South indian languages
4. Master of Sanksrit, Gujarati, Hindi etc
5. Master of North eastern languages

can be awarded by the central government. Members of each language group can be represented
in a new body that is created to promote Indian languages.This will also give a place
to people from all language groups at the central government and promote national unity.

Alternatively , the centre need not promote any language. Leave it to the states.
This model is followed in the European union. However, certain Central government
organizations like the Indian army can use Hindi as one of their working languages.


Anonymous said...

Hey wats wrong wit u man..

Hindi is our RashtraBhasha..
Just accept it... No more arguments..

Abhijith 'Hindi nahi aati' Shetty said...

Congrats Karthik! You've successfully managed to tick off a pro-Hindi bhayya ('anonymous' comment above)....hehe...

aevynn said...

Through all this anti-Hindi effort, all we do is promote English. And in the process, no Indian language gets fully developed to match the needs of the modern world. Every Indian language is beautiful, has a rich history, everything - but none can match up to the advancements of the modern world. We can't deal with science and math in any Indian language. We can't deal with anything technical in any Indian language. (Well, we can but either at a very basic level, or we have to constantly invent new words and the vocabulary is full of holes. And even if there were a complete vocabulary, not that many people can actually follow technicalities in an Indian language. Much of the scientific advancement happens in English anyway.)

I think that's the problem with the anti-Hindi effort. In an attempt to try to "save" every Indian language, we lose them all. In an attempt to retain our regional identities, we instead adopt a vestige of our colonial past. It doesn't make sense.

I honestly wouldn't care that much about the whole language controversy in India as long as, instead of English, some Indian language were the predominant language. But it's not that way.. The only reason I identify with the "pro-Hindi-bhayya"s is because with a plurality of Indians already speaking Hindi, it makes a lot more sense adopting Hindi than it does any other Indian language.

It's embarrassing honestly, that the beauty of Indian languages is confined to history and philosophy and things. It shouldn't be that way - they should each be full-fledged languages that can match the needs of the modern world.

I think that, even if Hindi were adopted as "rashtrabhasha," individual state governments can continue to develop their own languages. Allowing English as a medium kind of deprives states of a reason to develop their own languages - there's the mentality that, if English is already there, what's the point. If Hindi were allowed to operate as the rashtrabhasha, obviously Hindi would become more complete. Individual states though clearly wouldn't want their languages to fall behind Hindi, and they would keep up. The same would happen if it were some other language instead of Hindi, but again, Hindi just makes sense because of the plurality.

I don't know. I think we should have pride in our mother tongues. The way to do that is to use them, not to defer to English as an alternative.

Anonymous said...

Hello everybody, I have a lot to say as I can see haters on both the sides. But my inclination should suggest I m a Hindi speaker. I am also very sure of stupid wayward comments coming along after mine! Let me ask you all one question first?

Q:- Are you Indian or Kannada or Tamil or Punjabi or Bengali or something else, first?
Ans: Hello! I am an Indian. I don't think most of us are! Most of us are so lighthead that they never turned the pages of History and if they did they never learnt anything from it.(English people romped us on our own turf using many of similar stupidities residing in our heads!!!!) Most people who really mattered in a good way never cared about things too local or regional. Better learn from it or you ll never learn anything.

(Extras: I think we should DO what we do RIGHT. And become a better thinkers which would help improve something in our life and people around instead of bantering in vain about our regional languages being superior to Hindi or Hindi being superior to regional languages.)

Somebody just brought in “regionalism” in their big shit like explanation about, "Why Hindi shouldn't be there?", that if there were Hindi medium schools in Bengal there will be a big inflow of Biharis in that state. That's again too shit of a comment to put here. The person might just feel like jumping online and put some abuses in backlash BUT AS IF I WOULD EVER CARE about such "ONLINE" SHITHEADS! I had plans to keep this comment short but WELL let me say it whatever comes in my head. Mr. Author the great software engineer from Bangalore who probably is already believing himself to be the "elite" to give such topics a thought instead of trying to bring in some solutions for the societal problems and become really great.(Again you can rant like a bitch here against my comments and some clown will give you kudos with an “online laugh” but like I told earlier I give a SHIT to the dummies!)

According to his theory of national bird as Crow, which actually came from some Tamil leader(I won't name here) on the issue of making Hindi a national language!(To tell each one of us from the "terribly soft nation", Hindi is India's official language not national language as much as I know about it.) But then if it were it would have been only for the most number of people speaking it which according to author is a wrong thing because majority is not always correct. Because that will make crow our national animal. Let me tell you my take, when it is about ANIMAL or a THING we choose to show something which shows off our status. It becomes a symbol or something like your favorite painting on your wall. The same way when it concerns HUMANS directly, we choose to go for what most of us like. Like what food your mom will cook which everyone will like.

Now one more thing, Mr. Shetty just meant people are forced to learn Hindi, which is again bullshit. Nobody is! But then I ll admit the fact sometimes some people up north make mockery of South Indians speaking in their language or with an accent, the same way people in South India do. Its the same way somebody in Delhi laughs at someone from UP or Bihar or WB for their Hindi accent. Its the same way as an American mocks at you for your heavy accent. Many people don't know how to speak English will require you to speak in Hindi in North India the same way we learn a couple of words daily when we live down south. Everyone learns to live with it and so does every South Indian who lives in North India. There is nothing to make a big deal about it. One should just enjoy the experience and live with it instead of create such a fuss!

I would just try to counter Mr. Author's logic with his own logic. Like for our ubiquitous crows everyone uses English as a business language ubiquitously. But then you shouldn't follow what majority does, right? Start a movement with your foolishly forever-nodding friends to make your regional language the business language all over the world. What majority does is not always true and this is just drawn from your example of crows vs Hindi. On an international level it can be drawn to Crows vs English. Just made me laugh! (I am using the same analogy of ANIMAL and LANGUAGE as you used! Damn I feel everyone will disagree with my analogy. So do I my friend. Understand this and start working on the project you are working on. The times are bad all over in this recession and we all should be saving our asses. I already am so should you.)

Karthik Shetty said...

Dear anonymous, not that I don't respect your privacy, but it would be nice to leave a name to refer to you by, rather than anonymous, which there are plenty of! Nice to hear you hate people ranting the way they do, but then you end up doing the same yourself. Nowhere did I mention the language A was better than B; I merely stated that Hindi was NOT the rashtrabhasha as many of us are made to believe when we are young. And neither do I consider myself among the elite (whoever they are); I'm part of the great Indian middle class and I'm proud of it.

I don't know why you say it's bullshit no one is forced to learn hindi and don't back it up with proof. The fact that we have Hindi medium schools all over the country, even in parts where hindi isn't spoken is proof enough that Indians are expected to know hindi or they won't be considered to be Indians.

My friends are neither foolish, nor do they nod their heads for everything I say - that's why they're my friends, because they can think on their own just like me. I have never said I want my regional language to be made the business language. Given a choice, I think English should be made the official national language (rashtrabhasha), and everyone should know to read, write and speak English. Apart from English, learn your mother tongue (or the language of your state - usually the same). That way you know your language and can keep the language chauvinists happy, and know English and be able to succeed in the job front. Thanks for being concerned about my ass, but I'm a lot smarter than you and so my job is guaranteed and I have no fears over losing it. Maybe you should sit for a while and first understand what people are saying and not write crap about what you think people might want to have said. All your points are valid, but not for this post coz I have NEVER said ANY of the things you've accused me of. And I have no idea how you used the crow analogy that I used with hindi to make it sound correct when used with English!

Anonymous said...

O.K, don,t learn Hindi, who,s forcing u anyway,s......Since ages, Sanskrit was the media of communication, during the time of Rishi,s & Muni,s.....Then followed various languages...The reason Hindi be-came the media of communication, was due to the fact, that India was Bharath, a Hindu country...Sanskrit was preached & followed.To make it easy, after the epic age, Hindi followed......So I think the best option 2 replace Hindi would be Sanskrit, as Rashtra-bashaa.So on maga learn Sanskrit..............

Anonymous said...

Hey confused fella, you are ready to make English as Rashtra Bhasha and official language of India but BLOODY don't want to learn HINDI .You dont have any proud for Mother INDIA, You better raise an issue related to your Rural people facing tough time.....dont waste your energy in dividing people ...do some thing constructive

Karthik Shetty said...

I wish you anonymous douche bag cowards would at least leave your names so I can address you by your names. In any case, to the latest anonymous person, I have listed out reasons. If you have found a flaw in the reasoning, then please comment, else you're just ending up making a total fool out of yourself by barking something and not providing any substance to your tirade.

Anonymous said...

Why should anyone learn Hindi,or any other language?. Unlike animals we have the ability to speak and express our emotions, feelings etc. For this we need a language and that language is required for communication.

If you speak Hindi in an area where no one understand that language it is same as any animal barking,mooing,or squealing. The same thing happens the other way round.

If you speak the so called great Indian Languages, where in the Indians themselves don't respect them, abroad the situation would be the same.

I don't understand why people go crazy about languages. It doesn't matter whether you speak Hindi, English when you don't understand the other person.

Grow up guys stop fighting on languages, language of the land is always the best.

Karthik Shetty said...

The only thing you've said that can be responded to is that "language of the land is always the best." True, and it makes sense to learn that particular language ONLY if it makes sense, i.e. if you will be using it and if it helps you. If not, it's a complete waste of time, energy, and resources.

And in this case, people will oppose because they are being forced to do something that they (a)won't benefit from, and (b)aren't interested in.

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