Language movement in India: What Government of India failed to understand

This is a topic on which a research scholar would love to write thousands of pages. This topic can independently bring forth several Ph.D. thesis from millions of student. But in this article I will try to draw my readers kind attention to some points which remains untouched. I will make it short, to the point, easy to understand. Before I proceed I want to share a story of mine, that will make you understand the structures of this article. I think in the March, 2018 I have attended a seminar on National Medical Commission bill organized by WBNUJS. It was the first time I have experienced the excellence of this esteemed institute. I still remember that think which Dr Sandeepa Bhat said on that day- “Public knows what is the problem, we knows what is the problem. That’s why we organize seminar, conference. The main motive always should be finding the missing piece of puzzle. How we can solve this-This is it. All other thing is immaterial.” I am following this principle since then and that’s why in this article I will not go into the history, problems, issues. Because we know it, we are facing it. Instead of that this article will be solution centric, suggestive.

In India, after crossing 50km you will find there is a change of language, accent, culture. Many people, specially people from the West thought that it is impossible to be together when there are so many differences. But we proved them wrong, because we are living together in spite of so many differences we are living together for the centuries. What united us for so long- Is it a religion or a language which made the differences. I think the answer is no. Respecting others thought, expression, belief is the age old tradition of India. Indians never believed in the concept of belittlement. The concept of Indians are lets all the believe, philosophy may grow together to reach our destination which is finding the ultimate truth.

In the eve of our independence, our leaders and the constitution framers thought that India can only be united by a single or monolithic type of governance. Like there will be one type, one of a kind system. They thought that if diversity, differences are not restricted or controlled in a manner this country sooner than later may be disintegrated. They thought that one nation, one system/language/ religion/ culture will be the best fit for new India. But that just ensured sowing the seed of insecurity, fear and mistrust. The secret of the covalent bond of this country’s oneness is the differences. We are different but still we are dreaming together, fighting together to make this country beautiful. India that’s why for me is differently unique and uniquely different. India is bigger and older than any religion. For me India itself is the religion, faith, culture. India was there before Aryan invaded this country, India still there; standing stronger. We may heard of the stories of the language movement of the the then East Pakistan, presently Bangladesh. But do we know many people killed in the name of language in this country too. There is also a bloodshed history of the language movement in India. Many people died protecting their mother tongue. But you may question why people fighting over language. Can you define mother tongue for me. I define mother tongue as the first thing that we understand before we understand anything. Language is an emotional and sensitive issue and should always be dealt with due diligence and utmost care. Mother tongue carries the soul of a race, when it extinct that race got extinct. People felt insecure, so they come up from their house protesting. This insecurity came when something is treated as the only superior and other are inferior. In a country where so many languages are there, one language cannot stand as superior over other. I strongly believe when we are protecting a language, we are protecting the history, heritage, tradition, moral values of India; we are protecting the soul of India. There is nothing regional, everything is national. Government in the centre, and the political parties based in Delhi have to come out from their office to see the reality, to realize the truth. Why after the independence, after the adoption of a Constitution people will face inequality, ill treatment for their mother tongue. So many languages if started to extinct then we will also lost everything associated with it as well.

What can be done:- The main aim should be how there harmony can be maintained, integrity can be strengthen, aspirations can be fulfilled. The official languages of the Government of India are Hindi and English. In these two language, official communications are made between centre and state. Now if all those official communication can be made by the respective language of the state with the help of translator, is not it will be beautiful. Government of India celebrates hindi diwas, but what if all the languages of this country can be promoted, celebrated not only through out this country but globally. India does not only mean hindi and bollywood. There are bengali, tamil, telugu, marathi, kannada and many more flim industries which demands equal attention and promotion. I also feel odia, gujrati, ahamiya flim industries are not getting the attention of the government as it requires. All those flim industries are doing great. In fact we can attract the global attention if we can promote the history and heritage of this flim industries. Let the world know how big, how diverse my country is. This internet era ensures content is the king, languages are not a barrier no more. There are so many modern equipment are available. This is the best time to gain global attention. Union of India should start International flim festival in abroad to showcase our talent irrespective of the language. Naming those national awards in the name of those great personalities of the flim industries will also be a great step to pay homage and respect.

Many people have misconception about regionalism. Demanding linguistic right is not narrow regionalism; I strongly believe when the aspirations and demand of a linguistic group are ensured and secured then the future of this country got secured. Hindi and English are not the mother tongue of more than 60% people of this country. I will love to have ভারতীয় প্রজাতন্ত্র written in the cover of my passport alongwith the Republic of India. This will showcase the unity in diversity of India. There should be a dedicated separate desk for the speakers of those languages listed in the 8th schedule of the Constitution of India in the Indian embassy situated in foreign nation. In abroad, getting help is what matters.

I have learned in my law school that the duty of the ruling party should be listen more, work more and talk less. Government of India should arrange funds for the research of all those languages. A separate ministry for the promotion, upliftment of all the Indian languages will be not only a welcome step but also this is need of the hour for preserving all those languages. To pay respect and give their longstanding dues- this is what people of India wants. Language is like mother, it should be respected by everyone. Like there is a proverb that when you are respecting other, you are respecting your mother.

Union of India should establish cultural hub and research center in Delhi as well as every state to promote and preserve the rich history(Known and unknown) of that region. More excavation of the history will unearth the heaven in the earth.

Upliftment of any language depends on various factors, none will flourish by crushing others. Students leaving hindi medium schools are alarming. If the government really want to promote hindi, then should have clear, concise, concrete vision on it. Lets every language flourish in this country. This is the only way out. I want to conclude this article by quoting Nelson Mandela’s-

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.


4 responses to “Language movement in India: What Government of India failed to understand”

  1. Good article. We have many of these same issues in Canada, with 2 “official” languages (English & French) but so many Indigenous languages that the government tried to wipe out through Residential Schools, plus many large immigrant communities. I am happy to see an increasing understanding by many Canadians that these many languages need to be respected and supported … but we do still have a long way to go, as there are others who are opposed.

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