While most Indians believe Hindi to be the National language, the facts are lost somewhere. Check out some interesting facts about Hindi language on Hindi Diwas.
As the morning newspaper wished me on the occasion of Hindi Diwas, I started browsing the internet, seeking a good quote to wish my social media friends. That’s when the truth hit me.
Most Indians have been living in a bubble, believing that Hindi is our National language. A false, baseless debate that has been going on since decades. The truth is, neither the Constitution nor the laws of India accord the status of National language to any language in India.
Clause 1 of Article 343 of the Constitution of India states, “The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagiri script.”
In simpler terms, National language and Official language are two separate legal categories and the Constitution of India does not assign the status of National language to Hindi or any other language for that matter.
India is a diverse country with more than 1600 languages. Out of this, only 22 languages have been given the status of Official languages. Under Article 343, both Hindi and English have been declared as Official languages. However, the states have the liberty and power to specify their own official language(s) through legislation.
More than half the population of India does not speak Hindi
Nearly, 60 percent of Indians do not speak Hindi that is more than half the population of the country. Of the 28 states and seven Union territories, only ten states and three Union territories have Hindi as the principal official language.
In 2010, the Gujarat High court said, “Normally, in India, majority of the people have accepted Hindi as a National language and many people speak Hindi and write in Devanagari script but there is nothing on record to suggest that any provision has been made or order issued declaring Hindi as a national language of the country.”
Equal rights for everyone
While the language debate has become never-ending, the Constitution has given the rights to every person to redress their grievance to any authority of a Union or a state in any of the languages used in that Union or state.
Article 345 of the Constitution states, “The Legislature of a State may by law adopt any one or more of the languages in use in the State or Hindi as the language or languages to be used for all or any of the official purposes of that State: Provided that, until the Legislature of the State otherwise provides by law, the English language shall continue to be used for those official purposes within the State for which it was being used immediately before the commencement of this Constitution.”
India, as a country, holds people from different religion, sex, caste and language together. It is important to respect all the languages of different states rather than suppressing the nation to make any language its National language.
“Language has no independent existence apart from the people who use it. It is not an end in itself; it is a means to an end of understanding who you are and what society is like.”
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