Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Do we need a common national language in India??

As I am not particularly busy at work for the past few months, I thought of doing some study about birth of our civilisation. But, I came across a lot of regional chavnistic posts in the web and started to start a blog - with a vision to unite India!!

BTW, I am from India. I would like to stop it here as I don’t want to be identified as a Punjabi, Marathi, Tamilian …

I did have the feeling that I am Indian while I was in India.But, when I came out for work here (Australia) I started interacting with many other Indians. I realised that when you are out of India, regional identity matters a lot.
That is the reason that many westerners ask me which part of Indian I am from.
They can very well identify the subdivision among us.

I haven’t had a chance to learn Hindi during my childhood and I never felt bad or inferior about it. But, whenever I meet an Indian over here (Australia) and while they try to converse with me in Hindi, I need to say “Sorry, I dunno Hindi. English please!!” .They get so annoyed with my request, immediate response would be “Why can’t you learn the national language of India?”. (There are some people who would respond to my request politely. But, 90% of the time you can expect this type if reply!!). Whether you are from either four of the southern states (AP,Karanataka, Kerala, TN..) or from any other north-eastern states this is the response you would get of you are an Indian who doesn’t know Hindi.

Ok. Fair enough!!

First time I thought, “How come I didn’t even know that Hindi is the only national language of India?”. There comes my quest to find out the answer.Finally, I found the answer, “Hindi is not the only national language of India. There are 23 other national languages recognised as the national languages by constitution of India”. Hindi and English are merely the official languages of India. (Which means it is used by the government for documentation purposes)

So, I am relieved by the fact that what I learnt in my school days is correct. So, at least some factual information regarding the basic language stuff about India is not corrupted in my academics.

My worry didn’t stop there. What I also came across in the web was hatred comments on a regional basis in most of the forums and blogs.Not surprisingly there are chauvinists on both sides (Hindi and non-Hindi). I had the intention to learn Hindi (merely for watching Bollywood movies), but dropped that idea after realising it was merely imposed on non-Hindi states in India.

Ok, here is my justification that you should learn your regional language instead of Hindi.

How many film industries are there in India and how many films do they produce?

The answer that springs to my mind is Bollywood, Tollywood, Kollywood, Mollywood , Bengal, Punjabi, Marathi, Bhojpuri, Gujarati… (ranked based on approx.size..)

As you can see from my answer, number of films produced in north Indian industries is considerably lower except Bollywood. I read somewhere that only 7 movies are produced in Gujarati industry a year in recent times.
Where we like it or not, movies are one of the major factor that contributes to the culture and region. If all the people in southern India knows Hindi basically 4 industries Tollywood, Kollywood, Mollywood,(sorry dunno the name for Karnataka film industry..) will eventually die.

After few years, there will not be any Malayalam songs for a Malayalee to hear, no tamil songs for a tamilian…

One might argue that movies are just a part.
But, movies songs are of a greatest contribution to a language these days.

How many of you read a book with poems written by the greatest scholars who contribute to your language?

I would say it will not exceed maximum of 5%.

If the major factors that contribute to a language die, then language dies.

So, if Hindi is imposed on any other non-Hindi speakers basically you are seeding the death for that language.If you think that is Ok, I think you are not a patriotic Indian as you are not accepting the basic Indian motto “Unity in Diversity”.

If you are learning English, why can’t you learn Hindi?

This is the second question that sprouts to the mind of the Hindi speaking person.
In my opinion, you are not even entitled to ask this question if you are a Hindiwalla who knows English. And, fortunately or unfortunately 99% of the people I interact with know English. If someone asks me this question, my reply would be “If you are learning English, why can’t we?". You want the whole of India to learn Hindi and want to send your kids to learn English. This is simply not a “fair go” policy for any Indian citizen.

Reasons I prefer to learn “English” instead of “Hindi”:

- People prefer to learn English than “Hindi” because simple answer would be “It was never imposed on us”.
- Hindi is as alien for us as English. If English was brought to India by British, same with Hindi from some or other forms of foreign invaders. ( It is less influenced by Sanskrit)
- It is not Anti-Hindi and it is merely Anti – Hindi Imposition. People are free to learn Hindi in all the non-Hindi states if they wish to. Just not compulsory as part if the curriculum

English is only for literates, how about an illiterate?

This might sound like a valid debate. But, let me tell my points:

- Hindi is as (or more) hard for an illiterate to learn as English. From my understanding, Hindi is no way similar to any of the Southern languages.
- If a non-Hindi speaking illiterate need to learn Hindi why can’t a Hindi speaking illiterate learn English

I think these explanations are sufficient to justify why there is no necessity to learn Hindi to be an Indian.

I really support the leaders of Tamil Nadu( thought I am not a fan of their atheistic principles or corruptions) in promoting affinity towards Tamil language among Tamilians. I regret such thing is not done in other regional languages and hence they are in decline. (Eg. Would be the Marathi film industries and literature...). It is time to raise voice to protect it !! ( Of course, without hurting the sentiments of others).

As an Indian, I am happy to learn Hindi if I need to work in UP and Kannada if I need to work in Bangalore and English, if I need to work in India and abroad.

Now, to my dear regional people we can definitely be united in spite of comments from some Hindi people as leaning Hindi is no way related to patriotism.
Try to protect and contribute towards your language!!
We can definitely make India contributing towards various literatures and a vibrant culture.(from different regions of India)

Healthy debates and comments welcome!!
No flaming chavunistic posts here ….