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Practical governance - need of the hour!

We've all been evidence to this. All of us might have stumbled upon this at some point of time.

India is a union of linguistically formed states, and hence governance in India is a matter of managing people of different languages/identities. Even though these remain written truths, there're subtle ways in which our identities have been forcibly compromised with, and attempts to mask various identities under one off identity have been made almost everywhere in the past 61 years of India's existence.

Be it the central government's declaration of Hindi as the official language of the central govt. and also of all the official communication between the center and states, and among states as well.

Or be it in the various investments the central govt. is making (and forcing states to make) in promoting and developing only one of the many regional languages of India - Hindi i.e. Language being the key atomic identity of every single Indian, giving unfair attention to one as opposed to another is like creating an inequitable atmosphere where contributions of one people is fetching them no returns, while fetching more returns to the people of another identity. This biased atmosphere hinders growth and can therefore decelerate any attempts at real growth of the country.

For instance, look at the investment the center is making to celebrate Hindi Day (on Sept 14th) - by celebrating the entire week leading to it as Hindi week.. soon it'll be a Hindi month. But the point here is do we need this differential treatment to only one language, and thereby its identity? Do people of all other languages need to bear its burden (tax)? What return will people of Karnataka, say, get by this celebration of Hindi day/week by the center? What benefit will the employees of state as well as central govt. offices in Bengaluru get by this celebration? Of course there's a benefit there if one learned Hindi - but why is there no similar benefit if one learnt the local language well, did an arts course in Kannada and so on? Why Hindi?

As responsible citizens, we at Praja need to take note of this biased spending of money and efforts by the governing bodies and urge for a equitable spending on all states. Only then could there be meaningful and pratical governance possible in this setup. India needs to mature to the fact that there cant be a SINGLE language which it can appease and feel it has treated the entire of India, at once. It cannot be made simple, sorry! Governance in India will have to be a complex equation of managing a good balance between all its constituent (at least 24) languages.

Would love to hear from everyone here on this matter..

In the meanwhile do take a glimpse of these pages for examples:


Central websites (ENG/HIN only):



System making kannada pages in Karnataka tough too: --> Why no Kannada version?


Other states: --> Write name in Hindi also!

Railways: -> Signature in ENG/HIN only!

Misc: --> Form fill in ENG/HIN only!


silkboard's picture

taking guard

Well, another language war in the waiting. Regionalism and secularism stuff - almost impossible to find sane discussions on these two subjects anywhere, online or offline. Someday, I want to find a place where ... well. anyway.

Before we begin Hindi bashing here, let me ask some question - whose language is Hindi anyway? Which region owns it? How old is it? If not very, then why do so many people speak it today? any idea of history of other languages and dialects in North and East India? How 'distant' from Hindi do you think are Gujarati and Marathi, and Bengali? Haryanawi, and Avadhi? Why is it that 4 languages have 'survived' in silos in the South, but not so much in the North? Or is that not true - North has silo languages that we either don't know of, or were recently subsumed by Hindi?

If we want to have a discussion, lets try put it all on the table.

nijavaada's picture

making a change, not war!

Do all language discussions on Praja have to end up in a war?! I guess not.. 

I'd say it is not Hindi, but it its imposition upon other languages and the unfair imperialization of Hindi in the Indian polity that NEEDS to be bashed up, or at least fairly argued wrong, unjust, and as a serious impediment to our real growth. But if there's a fear of having no sane discussion on this thread, let us team-up to prove this fear wrong.

To give some trivia:

  1. There's no single place where Hindi belongs, but going by first principles of belongingness, UP's hindi speaking people (forming 16% of Indian population) seem to be Hindi's owners, today! BTW, Hindi is spoken by around 29% of Indians according to the '91 census.
  2. Hindi records a history of only about 800 years, pretty recent compared to the antiquity of some other Indian languages running into a couple of millenia.
  3. Hindi is one of the descendant dialects of the Indo-Aryan Prakrit clan. It is the same clan that Gujarati, Marathi, and other such languages prevalent in north India belong to. 
  4. But it is a matter of fact that each of these stands tall as an independent language with a lineage of culture standing beside as supportive evidence.
  5. The south Indian languages however are of proto-dravidian clan, and are believed to have had no known influence of their Indo-Aryna counterparts.

Given all this, that Hindi with its shorter history still manages to be spoken by many more people is leading us to the matter I wish to emphasize here. The influence of a younger language on a people that spoke an older language (whose dialect happens to be today's Hindi) is not a natural phenomenon, and not observed anywhere in the world. This is unnatural and a manifestation of the imposition of Hindi over other richer languages and cultures in India.

It is an unfortunate fact that Hindi is spoken by increasing number of people year over year, and that this number is spreading into areas that originally didnt speak Hindi. By the way this fact showcases how succcessful our governance has been in ironing out all the diversity there is (was?) in our country with the pretext of making Hindi more popular, and projecting that as one single language that can unite the nation! What crap!? 

Why should one of the regional languages of this country stand out and claim to unite the entire country? And because it is said so, why should an elected governing body then reverse-engineer this idea and ensure the linguistically diverse nation loses its diversity and starts speaking Hindi. The idea of improving unity in India is appreciable, but the method adopted is certainly not going to get us there. This essentially is like saying, for the sake of achieving unity (which BTW, can be proven wrong too) everyone in this country has to sacrifice his/her original identity and succumb to the Hindian identity! Provides reason enough to understand how Hindi has subsumed many a dialect in the northern regions of India.

Now coming South, it is a well known fact that some of the south Indian states have taken serious exception of this imposition of Hindi, giving the policy makers a tough time achieving their goals. Owing to this the policy of official language has been re-phrased multiple times. One can notice the special mention of official language not applicable to Tamilnadu here - which gives any Kannadiga an obvious reason to ponder upon - is Kannada more Hindi-ironable, than Tamil? Or is it because our methods of governance are based on this pull-model which caters to the welfare of a people only after they demand and die for it?! 

This is a big loophole in our governance method. The very fact that our policy makers think there could be one language uniting this linguistically rich nation is laughable. There is no meaning of the term national language in our kind of setup, and believe me, we can aruge this out, there is NO NEED either for a national language. 

Our policy makers need to realise that there cant be any short-cuts when it comes to achieving such tall goals as national unity and welfare. They also need to get out of this rut that the constitution we have today will stand applicable for all times to come. Policy makers of this generation have become so lazy or incapacitated, that they dont dare think on these pratical lines, and that is why repeatedly resort to patch-the-hole kind of amendment measures - which are short-term measures, by design! We need long lasting corrective measure to our governance.. and I urge contributors here in Praja to start thinking about seriously.

Let us not hesitate from this discussion with the fear this this debate could take war-like dimensions, for it cannot as we're talking clear facts here. Even if it did, we're doing this for a greater cause and a (meaningful) language war is the least of the odds on this route!



silkboard's picture

Nijavaada, lost track of this one

N'da, just a comment to say that I did want to try and have a sane discussion on this subject here, but just lost track as well as fell short on time.

BTW, will you be game to steer some "action" on this/related area? Speaking to state government about say that decade old dubbing law? Or to hear from them about language policy in primary and secondary schools? If you already have contacts to initiate some action on this, well and good. If not then, please lead and plan a meeting to get started, we can always find ways to reach the right people.

nijavaada's picture

Missed this one out, big time!

Silkboard, I missed this one out (the last comment that you've posted above) big time! Wonder how it missed my attention. Anyways, I would like to say that I am all ideas to take this issue up, but I hope you do understand that this is not the same kind of issue as the others that Praja discusses all the time. Since the problem is a different kind, the solution too, needs to be unique. Coming to implementation details of this solution, I'd like to hear from you those "ways to reach the right people" - which could perhaps pave way to eventually carving out a solution by working with relevant policy makers. -Nijavaada
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