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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS:  This Hindi – and Hindi alone – counsel is flawed

 

   Source: The Hindu

 

  • Prelims:Current events of national importance, Official Language Act, 1963, Article 343 etc
  • Mains GS Paper I and II:Salient features of Indian society, diversity of India etc

 

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • The 11th volume of the Report of the Official Language Committee was submitted to the President of India.

 

INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE

Context

Mains recommendations in the report:

  • Hindi should replace Englishas the language of examinations for recruitment to the government
  • Hindi should be the only medium of instruction: In Kendriya Vidyalayas, Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and central universities
  • Constitutional binding: It should be constitutionally binding on State governments to propagate Hindi, etc

 

Official language committee:

  • Official language Act, 1963: It is a statutory committee constituted under Section 4 in the Official Language Act, 1963.
  • Duty: To review the progress made in the use of Hindi for the official purposes of the Union and submit a report to the President.
  • Section 4(4):The Act makes it obligatory for the President to issue directions “in accordance with the whole or any part of the report.

 

Constitution and other laws on Hindi:

  • Article 343:It declares that Hindi in Devanagari script shall be the official language of the Union.
  • Constituent assembly:Hindi was declared the official language of the Union and it was also provided that the English language will continue for 15 years from the commencement of the Constitution.
  • Official languages Act in 1963: Continuance of English indefinitely as official language along with Hindi for the official purposes of the Union and for transaction of business in Parliament.

 

Issues with recent report:

  • Hindi should totally replace English as the medium of instruction: The committee is not mandated to recommend the medium of instruction in universities and professional institutions.
  • Parliament has declared by law: English shall continue along with Hindi.
    • A statutory committee constituted under the Act has no mandate to recommend the discontinuation of English.

 

Issues of Hindi replacing English:

  • South Indian upsurges: The provision allowing English to be used indefinitely helped solve upsurges in south India.
  • Emotionally divide people: Language issues have the potential to emotionally divide people.
  • Language used in All India services:Once Hindi replaces English, the language used in the examination for recruitment to the all India services will be Hindi alone.
    • Candidates from the non-Hindi States will face a great disadvantage.
  • Against Article 344(3): The commission on official language shall have “due regard to the just claims and interests of persons belonging to the non-Hindi speaking areas in regard to public services”.

 

Languages in India:

  • Indo-European language group(Hindi)
  • The Dravidian language group:
    • Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.

 

Way Forward

  • Maulana Azad: “we have got to admit that so far as language is concerned North and South are two different parts. The union of North and South has been made possible only through the medium of English. If today we give up English then this linguistic relationship will cease to exist”.
  • The idea of one official language may not foster the unity of the people: It may give rise to serious imbalances in regional representation in the all India services in the long run as well as the personnel structure of the Union government.
  • Address the issues: It is more necessary to address the concerns of the people of south Indian region on account of language.
    • The public opinion in the south is that English should continue as one of the official languages.
  • Natural development: Efforts should be made to ensure the natural development of Hindi in non-hindi states, so as to be able to meet the requirements of modern science and technology.

 

QUESTION FOR PRACTICE

  1. Are we losing our local identity for the global identity? Discuss.(UPSC 2019)

(200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)