Undesirable and divisive: on Amit Shah’s push for Hindi

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Undesirable and divisive: on Amit Shah’s push for Hindi

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Bharatiya Janata Party
Promoting greater use of Hindi is fine, but the language of homogenisation is best avoided
It may be customary(प्रथागत/स्वीकृत) for the Union Home Minister, who is also in charge of the Department of Official Language, to make a pitch for greater use of Hindi in official work on the occasion(अवसर) of ‘Hindi Diwas’, observed( मनाया जाता )every year on September 14. However, Home Minister Amit Shah’s remarks this year have raised(उठाया) the hackles(मुश्किलें) of political leaders in some States that do not speak Hindi. The possible(संभावित ) reason for the pushback(पीछे हटाना) from south Indian leaders to his pitch is that he went beyond(परे) the usual general remarks on promoting(बढ़ावा देने) Hindi, and made sweeping(सफाई ) claims(दावे) that Hindi alone could unite(एकजुट ) the country, and it was the language which should become India’s “identity(पहचान)” globally(विश्व स्तर पर). Embedded in his tweets as well as a speech on the occasion was a note of resentment(नाराजगी ) against the continuing influence(प्रभाव) of English. The Kerala Chief Minister dismissed as absurd(बेतुका/असंगत ) the claim that Hindi was a unifying force, and even saw in Mr. Shah’s remarks an attempt(प्रयास) to trigger(वजह/उत्पन्न करना
) a controversy(विवाद ) and to divert(हटाएं) attention(ध्यान ) from real(वास्तविक ) issues(मुद्दों ). Former Karnataka Chief Ministers Siddaramaiah and H.D. Kumaraswamy and DMK president M.K. Stalin questioned Mr. Shah’s remarks and saw in them an attempt to impose(लागू देना/लगाना) Hindi on their States. Few would disagree that imposing a language on the unwillin(अनिच्छा)g is hardly(मुश्किल से/शायद ही) unifying(एकीकृत), but could turn out to be divisive(विभाजनकारी ). Further, national identity cannot be linked to any one language, as it is, by definition, something that transcends(रूपांतर ) linguistic (भाषाई )and regional(क्षेत्रीय ) differences(अंतर).

It is time the Centre realised that the creation(निर्माण) of linguistic States has obviated(छुटकारा पाना/बचना) the need for a campaign(अभियान ) against a “foreign language” allegedly(कथित रूप से) fostering(बढ़ावा) a slave mentality. Regional languages have become the official languages of the States, and the continued use of English has a strong utilitarian(उपयोगितावादी ) value. While the development of Hindi is undoubtedly(निस्संदेह ) a constitutional(संवैधानिक) command the Union government cannot ignore, the manner(तौर तरीका/शैली) in which it is done should not give the impression(प्रभाव/धारणा/छाप) to the States that there is creeping(धीरे-धीरे) imposition of Hindi. It was only a few months ago that the Centre defused(खारिज कर दिया) a controversy when it got a paragraph removed from the draft New Education Policy that indicated(सूचित/निर्दिष्ट) the mandatory teaching of Hindi. The fact that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is seen as a ‘Hindi-Hindu’ party that encourages(प्रोत्साहित ) unbridled(निरंकुश/बेलगाम) homogenisation(एकरूपता) also works against it whenever such controversies(विवादों/तकरार) emerge. It would be disastrous for the country’s famed diversity(विविधता) if the promotion of Hindi is considered(माना जाता है) a step towards a ‘one nation, one language’ kind of unity. Mr. Shah has spoken simultaneously(एक साथ) about the increased(वृद्धि ) use of the mother tongue(मातृ भाषा,), but detractors(आलोचक) would only see it as an attempt to sugar-coat Hindi imposition(थोपना/आरोपण) and the sidelining(दरकिनार करना) of English. According a hegemonic role to the “most-spoken” language in the country may promote cultural homogenisation, but that is hardly desirable(आकर्षक/वांछनीय) in a country with a diverse population, a plural(बहुवचन ) ethos(प्रकृति/लोकाचार) and is a cauldron of many languages and cultures(संस्कृतियों).

Important Vocabulary


1. Allegedly(कथित रूप से

Synonyms: purportedly, supposedly, as stated, assertedly, avowedly

2. Absurd(बेतुका/असंगत
Synonyms: crazy, foolish, goofy, illogical, irrational
Antonyms: logical, practical, rational, realistic, reasonable

3. Customary(प्रथागत/स्वीकृत)
Synonyms: accepted, traditional, according to Hoyle, accustomed, acknowledged
Antonyms: abnormal, different, irregular, occasional, rare

4. Controversies(विवादों/तकरार)
Synonyms: argument, bickering, difference, discussion, fuss
Antonyms: agreement, concurrence, peace, compliment, harmony

5. Defused(खारिज कर दिया)
Synonyms: alleviate, deactivate. lessen, soothe, cripple
Antonyms: increase, agitate, aid, assist, enable

6. Detractors(आलोचक)
Synonyms: critic, censor, defamer, depreciator

7. Ethos(प्रकृति/लोकाचार)
Synonyms: ideology, mentality, mindset, spirit, attitude
Antonyms: body, physicality

8. hackles(मुश्किलें
Synonyms: chop, clip, fell, gash, hew

9. Impose(लागू देना/लगाना)
Synonyms: appoint, charge, demand, enforce, establish
Antonyms: disorder, displace, forget, overlook, prevent

10. Impression(प्रभाव/धारणा/छाप)
Synonyms: consequence, effect, feeling, impact, reaction
Antonyms: beginning, cause, commencement, origin, question

11. Manner(तौर तरीका/शैली
Synonyms: appearance, aspect
demeanor, look, presence, Antonyms: absence, reality

12. Occasion(अवसर)
Synonyms: incident, moment, opening, opportunity, possibility
Antonyms: misfortune

13. Resentment(नाराजगी
Synonyms: acrimony, animosity, animus, annoyance, antagonism
Antonyms: calm, calmness, cheer, comfort, delight

14. sweeping(सफाई
Synonyms: , all-encompassing, broad, comprehensive, exhaustive, extensive
Antonyms: narrow, partial, restricted, superficial, incomplete

15. Transcends(रूपांतर )
Synonyms: eclipse, outstrip, overstep, transform, beat
Antonyms: be inferior, fail, fall behind, lose, surrender

16. Unbridled(निरंकुश/बेलगाम)
Synonyms: unchecked, uncontrolled, crazed, berserk, chaotic
Antonyms: restrained

 

Credit To The Hindu News Paper

It may be customary for the Union Home Minister, who is also in charge of the Department of Official Language, to make a pitch for greater use of Hindi in official work on the occasion of ‘Hindi Diwas’, observed every year on September 14. However, Home Minister Amit Shah’s remarks this year have raised the hackles of political leaders in some States that do not speak Hindi. The possible reason for the pushback from south Indian leaders to his pitch is that he went beyond the usual general remarks on promoting Hindi, and made sweeping claims that Hindi alone could unite the country, and it was the language which should become India’s “identity” globally. Embedded in his tweets as well as a speech on the occasion was a note of resentment against the continuing influence of English. The Kerala Chief Minister dismissed as absurd the claim that Hindi was a unifying force, and even saw in Mr. Shah’s remarks an attempt to trigger a controversy and to divert attention from real issues. Former Karnataka Chief Ministers Siddaramaiah and H.D. Kumaraswamy and DMK president M.K. Stalin questioned Mr. Shah’s remarks and saw in them an attempt to impose Hindi on their States. Few would disagree that imposing a language on the unwilling is hardly unifying, but could turn out to be divisive. Further, national identity cannot be linked to any one language, as it is, by definition, something that transcends linguistic and regional differences.

It is time the Centre realised that the creation of linguistic States has obviated the need for a campaign against a “foreign language” allegedly fostering a slave mentality. Regional languages have become the official languages of the States, and the continued use of English has a strong utilitarian value. While the development of Hindi is undoubtedly a constitutional command the Union government cannot ignore, the manner in which it is done should not give the impression to the States that there is creeping imposition of Hindi. It was only a few months ago that the Centre defused a controversy when it got a paragraph removed from the draft New Education Policy that indicated the mandatory teaching of Hindi. The fact that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is seen as a ‘Hindi-Hindu’ party that encourages unbridled homogenisation also works against it whenever such controversies emerge. It would be disastrous for the country’s famed diversity if the promotion of Hindi is considered a step towards a ‘one nation, one language’ kind of unity. Mr. Shah has spoken simultaneously about the increased use of the mother tongue, but detractors would only see it as an attempt to sugar-coat Hindi imposition and the sidelining of English. According a hegemonic role to the “most-spoken” language in the country may promote cultural homogenisation, but that is hardly desirable in a country with a diverse population, a plural ethos and is a cauldron of many languages and cultures.


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