Hindi – Is it a Language that Unifies? Posted by Nicole Herbert Dean on Mar 31, 2022 in Culture
The founding fathers संस्थापक पिता of India longed for a united country. They were tired of the divide and rule policies नीतियों of England. They reckoned if they demarcated the borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh all would be well.
However, what they did not account for was the close ties घनिष्ठ संबंध and bonds that language and culture create. As well as the divisions विभाजन based on the same – language and culture.
What they did not take into consideration was that each state had their own language and resulting culture.
Type in the question, ‘Is Hindi, India’s unifying एकीकृत language?” in a Google search and the results are interesting! There are quite a few with calls for a unifying language for India since it does not have one. Unlike France, America, England, China etc.
As recently as Septemeber 2019 on the occasion of Hindi Diwas – which means Hindi Day, Amit Shah, the Union Home minister केंद्रीय गृह मंत्री declared that Hindi should be the unifying language as this is what the founding fathers intended. He also went on to say that this will keep foreign languages at bay, out of the country.
This reveals the sentiment भाव many Hindi speakers do have. However, it also reveals a lack of awareness that the country is divided by specific languages. And it is indeed this diversity विविधता that makes India special. Learning Hindi, Marathi and Punjabi to communicate with one’s neighbors is not only beneficial but it reveals a tolerance and love for diversity and unity.
How can a nation as diverse as India prevent its citizens from experiencing and using what is their heritage? What do they pass onto their children? While Hindi can be one essential आवश्यक language – which it already is – it cannot become the only language, even though today Hindi and English are official languages.
If Hindi becomes the national official language what happens to business done in English with other countries? While there will be a demand for translators and interpreters how will India fare on a global platform in the marketplace?
In recent times, English is the language that displays education and status in society. A cultural goal so to speak for many aspiring youths. Hindi is not cool. English is. That is what many think.
Students in cities, socialites in high circles, Bollywood, and business all believe that speaking English is better than Hindi.
So how will they take it? For students, the question is what about going overseas to study? If they study in a Hindi medium school what would happen if they went to college in an English-speaking country?
For business – especially on the international stage. How would transactions लेनदेन occur?
Is India moving toward more isolation with this strategy? It is highly doubtful that her citizens would accept this unquestioningly.
Then again, if there is a change with the powers that be in the next election, it may revert back to its old stance – two official languages, English and Hindi. No national language.
Let’s hope for the best outcome.
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