Hindi is the bone of contention!

Hindi is the bone of contention!

Linguistic divide

From being Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s preferred language for diplomatic exchanges to finding prominence in the Union Home Ministry’s advisory to promote its use by giving it priority in their tweets, Facebook updates and other official correspondence on social media platform, Hindi language seems to be making waves.

 But in the wake of open criticism from leaders of non-Hindi speaking states and a surge in social media ire, the government tried to play down the issue saying that Hindi would not be imposed upon the non-Hindi speaking states. 

As news about the use of Hindi on social media came into public light, #Hindiimposition gained momentum on Twitter. Amid the rising clamour around the debate on Hindi language, Metrolife gauges opinions to figure out the two sides of the same coin. 

Elaborating upon the historical heritage of Hindi language, Ramesh Chand Sharma, professor in Department of Linguistics, says, “It goes without saying that many political parties base their existence upon their anti or pro Hindi language stance. But you cannot pin Hindi down to a regional belt because it evolved as the lingua franca.
There was a striking period of time in history where Braj was used in 

Bhakti poetry, even in the now so-called non-Hindi speaking states, be it Punjab, Maharashtra or South of India. Over thousand years, it has borrowed, taken influences from many other languages like Turkish, Persian, Arabic, Tamil etc. to emerge in its current form.” 

Speaking about the idea of language imperialism, Professor Anand Kumar, leader of Aam Aadmi Party and sociologist, says, “It should be noted that not every south Indian state protested against the use of Hindi. 

And Hindi is given no patronage by any of the states in India. So, the protest against its language supremacy is a false alarm, as it has always been used as a weapon of fear for far too long. Politicians cannot hide behind the farce of Hindi language imperialism because inspite of being one of the two official languages of India, the language has been a victim of neglect.” 

“The question that needs to be considered is, do we want to keep the non-English speaking population lag behind the rest of the world by keep on giving patronage to only English?” he wonders.

But a common man’s woes are what a common man knows. Hailing from Kerala, Supreeth Sudakaran paints a contrary picture, saying, “Our understanding of Hindi is purely based on cinematic influences, mostly the ‘mere ko tere ko’ style of Mumbai’s Hindi. It will be a far cry to use it professionally.” 

Chumbemo M Patton, executive member of North East India Against Racism, s
ays, “Most Northeastern and south Indian states are non-Hindi speaking so where then will the present Government’s tall talks and promises of inclusive politics go? Language can make you feel at home and at the same time marginalise you at the same time. And in a place like India which is known to be one the most diversified cultures in the world, how can we allow a one language imposition dispossess and marginalise the majority of the Indian population?”

Hinting at the political agenda behind the controversy, former chief secretary of Delhi, Omesh Saigal says, “Language should be a unifying factor and not at all initiate such an emotional outcry. Though there’s nothing wrong in giving priority to Hindi on social media, the ruling party may be pandering to the interest of its vote bank, but that should not come at the expense of creating linguistic divides.” 

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