India's biased Language policy and attempts to make Hindi as an official language of U.N
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India's biased Language policy and
attempts to make Hindi as an official language of U.N
"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a
troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be
left to irresponsible action."
George Washington, in a speech on January 7, 1790
A language is not just a medium for communication but represents the
tradition, culture and history of that linguistic group. With this in mind,
we have created this petition opposing the Indian Government's policy to
promote Hindi as another UN language.
India is a country of linguistic diversity.
This diversity is showcased by these figures:
216 different languages are claimed to be the mother tongue of different
linguistic groups with more than 10,000 speakers, 51 languages have more
than a million speakers, and there is a total of 1652 languages and dialects
Some of these languages like Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Tamil and Telugu are
more than 1000 years old and possess its own unique history and culture that
would not be represented by Hindi. Repeated attempts by the centre to make
Hindi as the "National Language" of India was defeated by other linguistic
groups in 1937 and 1965 .
As of now, India has no National language but
only 23 Official languages .
The new Constitution of India, which came into force on 26 January 1950, made India a sovereign democratic republic.
The new republic was also declared to be a "Union of States"
Article 1 of the Constitution states that India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.
In India , States are linguistically reorganised ones.
The States Reorganisation Act of 1956 was a major reform of the boundaries of Indian states and territories, organising them along linguistic lines.
Indian languages belong to four of the world's major language groups: Indo-European, Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman.
Representing India with one language is completely false, discriminatory and lying to the world.
Out of 28 constituent states and Union
Territories in the Indian Union, only 10 States and 3 Union Territories have
Hindi as one of the Official Language.
India is a multi linguistic nation and that's what it should try to represent itself as at world platform like U.N instead of presenting India as a nation of Hindiwalah (Hindi people).
While Khadiboli(Hindi) does not represent more than 75% of the people of India ,and is geographically limited to only 1/3rd of the total landmass, it should not be allowed to represent the Union of India.
The present day situation is not much different from 1965 as seen in the
stand taken by the political parties in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
We sincerely believe that the Indian government is a
representative of the many linguistic groups and hence its policies should
reflect this diversity. After all, the motto is "Unity in diversity" and not
"Unity at the expense of diversity".
Moreover it sends out a wrong message
to people that all Indians speak Hindi and that it is the only national
language whereas the picture is completely different, even as per the Indian
The promotion of one language over the others would lead to a slow but
steady erosion of other languages as pointed out by Robert Phillipson and
Tove Skunabb-Kangas (1996). They have stated that many Indians are deprived
of their cultural heritage because of non-familiarity of their mother
tongue. This is exacerbated by the macabre policy of the Central government
which provides economic incentive to Indians to learn Hindi irrespective of
their mother tongue. Further more, this is being justified as "people's
will" since India is a democracy. This is a fallacy since India is a
"Democracy based on simple majority" and the Hindi politicians use their
advantage in numbers to impose Hindi on the other linguistic groups (59-75% of Indians) which are lesser in number as a group but together out number
the Hindi natives (25-41% of Indians).
No comprehensive linguistic survey was ever conducted by the Union Govt of India after the first comprehensive survey in 1928 by British India.
There were many complaints of methodological mistakes. Local Language teachers and Govt officials were made as informants instead of laypersons for collecting the linguistic data from the public. We are still dependent on the language survey carried out by the population Census Board 1971, 1991 and 2011 with a limited objective.
Perhaps, the Govt is under fear of losing the status of Hindi if comprehensive Linguistic survey is carried out duly rectifying the methodological mistakes committed by the British survey at that time.
The broad definition of Hindi is one of the ones used in the Indian census, and results in a clear majority of Indians being reported to be speakers of Hindi
•According to the 2001 Indian census, 258 million people in India (25% of the population) regarded their native language to be "Khadiboli Hindi".
•The government, however, counted 422 million Hindi speakers (41% of the population) by including people who identified their language as
Sadan (Sadri), as well as numerous other languages with fewer than 2 million self-identified speakers.
The numbers are also not directly comparable to the table above; for example, while independent estimates in 2001 counted 37 million speakers of Awadhi, in the 2001 census only 2½ million of these identified their language as "Awadhi" rather than as "Hindi".
Indian Central governments' policy of ignoring the linguistic diversity in
India by not acknowledging the "Equal Official Language" status of the
different languages and by not promoting the different languages at the
International level is a covert means to linguistically and culturally
subdue the non-Hindi linguistic groups, to artificially create a nation of
At present Members of Parliament can speak only in Hindi or English in Indian parliament though there are 22 recognised Languages in Constitution.
The members have to give prior notification to speak in other languages.
Even with notification, they will not be allowed to ask secondary questions in their mother tongue. Indian Govt is willing to spend crores of rupees to make Hindi in UN but unwilling to appoint regular translators enabling people representatives to effectively participate in the democratic process of parliamentary affairs.
We do not intend to torpedo any move by a linguistic group to promote their
language but we take offence at the fact that the Indian government which is
supposed to be the representative of all the languages of India is
selectively promoting one language while ignoring other languages. This is
highlighted by the biased funding and policy that has been the mark of Hindi
politicians by throwing their weight of numbers to drown the voice of
linguistic minorities in India .
Also, we do not see the need for
having Hindi as the link language in India since English is an essential
requirement for a Hindi and a non-Hindi native in India for educational,
Hindi has not yet become versatile and developed into Science and Technology to such extent that it can easily phased out English from India.
Almost all Higher studies of Science & Technology, Law Education etc are in English.
English is the sole Official Language of Indian Higher Courts.
Today English is the second biggest language of instruction in primary schools after Hindi and is likely to become Number one.
Highest growth in English medium enrolment is in the Hindi-speaking states.
Indian States like Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland – have made English as the main medium of instruction in all schools, public and private.
More and more states offer English-medium as an option in existing state Govt schools.
Even people gone to the extent of begging on streets to start rural English medium schools across villages in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Bihar.
In 2014, Home Ministry ordered that “government employees and officials of all ministries, departments, corporations or banks, who have made official accounts on social networking sites should use Hindi, or both Hindi and English but give priority to Hindi”.
This move was immediately opposed by all the political parties in Tamil Nadu.
Terming the move on use of Hindi as being "against letter and spirit" of the Official Languages Act the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa cautioned that this direction may “cause disquiet to the people of Tamil Nadu who are very proud of and passionate about their linguistic heritage.” and asked the Prime Minister of India to suitably modify the instructions to ensure that English was the language of communication on social media.
The major opposition party Indian National Congress advised prudence, expressing fear that such directions may result in a backlash in non-Hindi states, especially Tamil Nadu and also said that the “Government would be well-advised to proceed with caution,”.
These protests ensured the continuous official usage of English.
There were many Linguistic conflicts in India and many are still remained unresolved. Tamil Nadu Government had passed a resolution opposing Hindi as the official language of India and is following Bilingual Education policy Tamil and English since 1967.
Since last five decades Kosli Language movement is going on in western Orissa. Since 1947 Rajasthani language movement has been campaigning for greater recognition. Rajasthani is still officially considered a dialect of Hindi.
Marathi is now being used as strong instrument to drive out Hindi domination in Maharashtra.Of course, Hindi isn’t the only language in Uttar Pradesh. Braj Bhasha of western Uttar Pradesh is a language with a long history as a literary standard.
Awadhi language has an estimated 40 million speakers. Same is the position with Bhojpuri.
There exists a linguistic apartheid with the Union Govt which puts 2/3rd of the citizens at inconvenience by denying the Union govt services in the respective native, scheduled, state official languages.
This has led to hegemony of Hindi on other native , richer, older languages of the Union.
According the official status at UN would further this linguistic hegemony.
If Hindi is considered as Official Language of UN, it would embolden the Govt to continue with more vigor Hindi imposition and Language discrimination.
While we reaffirm our stand as Indians, we believe that it is our right to
voice our opinion to the world that we do not condone such a blatant move by
the Indian government to promote one language (Hindi) while ignoring the
other Indian languages. We also sincerely hope that this petition is read by
fellow Indians who advocate promoting Hindi(Khadiboli) which is the native language of only 25% of Indians.
We Indians, who do not represent the Hindi speaking region, are appalled by
this move initiated by the Indian government to promote Hindi as the
representative language of India at UN.
Please consider this petition as the
voice of our dissent against the biased linguistic policy of the Indian
government. We hope and believe that the UN will not condone such abrasive
and imposing behaviour on the part of the Hindi politicians who have a vested
interest in promoting Hindi at UN to cater to their vote banks.
We therefore strongly feel that when English is already an official language of both India and United Nations, making Hindi as Official Language of UN is redundant and affront to other Indian scheduled Official Languages.
UN should not allow Language discrimination and unnecessary duplication.
The People Of INDIA.
Regards & Thanks,
Campaign for Language Equality and Rights (CLEAR), The forum for language rights in India. &
Promote Linguistic Equality: Hindi is Not National Language of India (PLE)
. Aman Sharma (17 June 2014). "Home Ministry asks bureaucrats to use Hindi on social networking sites". Economic Times. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
. "Tamil Nadu parties, including BJP allies, oppose Hindi". Business-standard.com. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
 .Kalra, Aditya. "Modi's push for Hindi struggles to translate in some states". In.reuters.com. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
 . "Ensure that English is used on social media: Jaya to Modi". Economic Times. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
. "Hindi issue: Cong advises caution, says backlash in non-Hindi states". The Hindu. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
. "Modi govt softens stand on Hindi diktat after row". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
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