Controversies surrounding the use of Hindi refuse to end, especially given the increased push given to the official language by the government. Developments in the last couple of days have made it clear that Hindi is in the prime focus of the government.
There are many recent instances where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have advocated the use and importance of Indian languages.
PM Modi on Wednesday said that English is just a medium of communication, not a benchmark of being intellectual. While speaking at the Gujarat government’s Mission Schools of Excellence initiative in Gandhinagar, the PM pointed out that earlier English was considered the benchmark of being intellectual despite being only a medium of communication.
He said that the new National Education Policy is an attempt to bring the country out of the slave mentality and refine talent and innovation.
“See, what was the situation in the country? Knowledge of the English language was taken as a measure of intelligence, whereas language is just a medium of communication.”
The PM said that language had become such a barrier for so many decades that the country could not get the benefit of the wealth of talent in the villages and in poor families.
“So many talented children could not become doctors and engineers because they did not get the opportunity to study in the language they understood. Now this situation is being changed. Now students have started getting the option of studying science, technology, medicine, etc in Indian languages too,” he said.
The PM said that even a poor mother, who cannot educate her child in an English school, can dream of making him or her a doctor and a child can become a doctor in his mother tongue.
“We are working in that direction so that even a person from a poor family can become a doctor. Efforts are underway to make courses in several Indian languages as well as in Gujarati language,” he said while talking about the government’s plan to promote Indian languages.
Before this, Home Minister Amit Shah on October 16 launched the first MBBS course in Hindi in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh and said today medical education is commencing in Hindi and soon engineering studies will also begin in Hindi. The translation of engineering books has commenced in eight languages across the country, and soon students will be able to pursue technical and medical education in their mother tongue.
Earlier, sources claimed that the Committee of Parliament on Official Language in its 11th volume of the report presented to President Droupadi Murmu last month stated that English should be the medium of instruction only where it is absolutely necessary and gradually English should be replaced with Hindi in those institutions.
“Use of Hindi as medium of instruction and other activities should be Hindi in all technical and non-technical institutions in the country and use of English should be made optional,” the committee has recommended.
The committee noted that Hindi can’t be a common language unless the medium of instruction is Hindi in universities, higher educational institutions including technical or medical institutes, claimed sources.
While there are many reports about opposition voices in the southern states, particularly in Telangana and Tamil Nadu, the committee’s deputy chairman, BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab said that these responses are baseless.
“I cannot give my views and feedback on behalf of the committee. These things are baseless Tamil Nadu is exempted under the Official Language Act. There the rules cannot apply. It is not that they do not know this, yet they are raising this issue.
“As for Kerala, Hindi is not being imposed on any state. In the Act which was in force since 1976, both Hindi and English have been languages. It has only been said from our side that the use of Hindi should be increased by the Central Government which are institutions in the category (A). The terminology given by some media is misleading and wrong.”
While the reports say that all states and Union territories are divided in three groups (regions) on the basis of progressive usage of Hindi, the BJD leader said, “We have not made this arrangement. It has been in existence since 1976, when Indira Gandhi was in government. Since that time this system has been going on. No changes have been made to this.”