Thursday, December 29, 2005

India != Hindi

Though, this post was in my mind for quite some time, after reading Thennavan’s post, I squeezed some time for this.

Gandhiji defined freedom as ‘When a young lady with lot of jewels is safe on the streets late in the night, that is when we have attained complete freedom’.

For me, it is ‘When a Native Hindi speaking person, accepts a non-Hindi native speaker as no-less an Indian than him/her, given the fact that, the non-Hindi person does not know Hindi, and does not want to learn Hindi, that is when we have attained freedom.”

Corollary is, “I do not know Hindi, and I do not want to learn Hindi. In such a case, if a guy from North India, does not come to me and give lectures about lack of my respect to the Indian Union, or lack of patriotism, that is when I have attained freedom.”

India is a country with Unity and Diversity and not Uniformity. Imposition of Hindi, is the root cause for the fading away of the rest of Indian cultures.

One language in the country is given a higher preference than the rest of the languages, and the speakers of that language have an undue advantage than the rest.

All countries with the above situation have broken into Civil wars, Sri Lanka, Unified Pakistan.

In India, this does not happen because, there is no One-on-One, that is Hindi is not pitted against any single language. It is pitted against a group of languages and cultures. This leads to group effect.

A Bengali feels that, we are not the only one at the disadvantage; we have Tamil, Kannadigas, and Telugu speakers. And vice-versa. Thus the impossition of Hindi has gone unchallenged, which would not have been the case if there are only two languages in the Countyy, Hind and XYZ.

The Department of Official Languages site says that, if I need to communicate with the federal government of My country, then I can not do it in My mother tongue, but will have to learn the language of some other part of the country or some other part of the world.

To be precise, for me, on the language front, the only difference between before and after Aug 15. 1947, is that I have been given an option of being a slave of. Now, I can choose my master, either English or Hindi.

I am proud of belonging to India, the sense of Indian is tied deeply in me. I consider myself with no less or no more Indianness than any body from any other part of the Union.
At the same time, I do not approve of Hindi being imposed on me. India IS NOT EQUAL to Hindi. Learning and accepting Hindi is not a pre-requisite for being a true Indian.

Hindi is as alien to me as Arabic or Spanish, and if at all I learn Hindi it should be 100% only out of choice.
Putting it the other way, Hindi is as alien to me as my mother tongue is to a native Hindi speaker.

More to come on this.. over the weekend....


At Thu Dec 29, 03:19:00 PM CST, Blogger sukhanya said...

hehehe....welcome to the gang of people being looked down cos of lack of "Hindi".....

there have been a lot of posts about this by other bloggers... and I do agree that we should not be looked down cos of this fact. This is not a evaluation criteria for my patriotism is my arguement :-)


At Thu Dec 29, 05:46:00 PM CST, Blogger Sundar Narayanan said...

enna TJ, pongi ezhundhutteenga..

well, india is becoming a majority country and one of assimilation. culturally i mean..

US'la christianaa illennalum christmas celebrate pannidarom.. adhe maadhiri dhan, indiala hindikaarna illenaalum hindi kaththukka vendi irukku ! from a convenience point of view , knowing more languages is always nice. but i agree with you, no one should be forced to communicate in a language. here all official forms have english/spanish and translators/ other forms are available on request on all govt. material !!

At Thu Dec 29, 06:55:00 PM CST, Blogger Aravind said...

Nice to know someone has thought about the same topic like I did. Few of the observations.
1. Cant understand why we should look for recongition from hindi speakers. We stand on our own excellence.
2. To get/give equal respect for all languages in India is a highly mature concept. Neither politicians nor public are ready just yet.
3. Economy will eventually balance out. They have to come to south eventually for money/brain/development. We will wait till then :-)

At Thu Dec 29, 10:14:00 PM CST, Blogger thennavan said...

Vaangayyaa vaangayyaa
En vazhikku vaangayyaa


(Kilappitteenga Tj, in more ways than one!)

At Fri Dec 30, 02:16:00 AM CST, Blogger WA said...

Well said TJ. I have nothing against any language, the more languages we learn the better. But as you said it has to be a person's choice to do so and and imposed upon.

At Fri Dec 30, 02:18:00 AM CST, Blogger WA said...

And as to celebrating Christmas abroad, it is out of choice and because we all enjoy doing so and what to be part of the community. On the other hand if the US Government insisted that people had to go to church and enforce Christmas on its citizens I am sure that will only lead to discontent.

At Fri Dec 30, 03:24:00 AM CST, Blogger Chakra Sampath said...

Interesting to note how two great souls define freedom. ;)

I agree with you in full TJ.

> I am proud of belonging to India, the sense of Indian is tied deeply in me. I consider myself with no less or no more Indianness than any body from any other part of the Union.
At the same time, I do not approve of Hindi being imposed on me. India IS NOT EQUAL to Hindi. Learning and accepting Hindi is not a pre-requisite for being a true Indian.

- very well said.

At Fri Dec 30, 04:32:00 AM CST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear TJ,
Happy New Year


At Fri Dec 30, 06:18:00 AM CST, Anonymous Dubukku said...

well said. Happy New year TJ !!
(indha varushathoda bachelor hood tholaiyattum ungalukku angaiyum wishes sonnennu sollunga :P )

At Fri Dec 30, 01:11:00 PM CST, Blogger Jagan said...

maams me , my friend was talking in similar lines . I had never had any issue with hindi bcos i kno hindi and had never experienced such a situation.

BTW ..jan 20th enna visasham? treat maamu ...

At Fri Dec 30, 11:16:00 PM CST, Blogger WA said...

TJ - Wish you a very happy new year. Dubukks & Jaganoda comments paatha it looks like somethings going on, whatever it is, Good Luck & enakkum treat?

At Sun Jan 01, 01:57:00 AM CST, Blogger TJ said...

I had been in this gang for long, and your argument seems very similar to mine. ;)

Aamam saar, konjam unarchi aaiduthu... :P
The amount of assimilation should be reverse as well.
Also, the % of christians in USA and HindiNativeSpeakers in india are much different illiyaa??
But yes, i get your point that, Hindi is projected as a national identity.

I agree that, there is no need for any recognition from somebody else for my patriotism and yes, economy will level out.

Thalaivaa, neenga kaatina vazhiyla nadandhundu irukkom :P
Vishyathla kudhingaa.. seekram!!

At Sun Jan 01, 02:13:00 AM CST, Blogger TJ said...

I too dont have anything against any language, and i am just expecting folks to give the same respect to my language.

And regarding christmas, it is an open secret that Jesus was born sometime in April, and the dec.25 thing is just a vatican way of overpowering the pagan festival of solstice. So yes, it is just a community festival.

Anna, aedho adhigama pesi irundha mannichukkanum!!;)

A happy new year to you as well sir.

Enjoy a very happy and prosperous new year. [ellorum serndhu sadhi panni indha varusham aapadikardhunu mudivu pannitanga:(]

I too know hindi well, but the point is that, i will not use my hindi unless and until i know the other person doesnot know a common language or my language, and wants me to accept his superiority by talking his language.
Jan.20, pongal mudinju aruvadai panna poranga, adhukkappuram nimirave mudiyadhu :(

Happy new year wishes to you as well, hmm.. Dubukku and Jagan solra maadhiri aedho india la sadhi nadandhuttu irukku, muzhu thagaval kidacha udanay immediatea update panrein ;) Thanks for the wishes and treat, unga oorukku vandhu Delft pancake saapdnum pola irukku. :)

At Sun Jan 01, 10:11:00 PM CST, Blogger Viji said...

rem acu tetigisti :)
One of my colleagues got it into her head that the best way to make me learn Hindi is to talk to me in Hindi... A serious blunder, I should say, because I started responding to her in chaste Tamil ! Needless to say, she never spoke (to me) in Hindi again.

At Mon Jan 02, 02:33:00 AM CST, Blogger sukhanya said...

hmm..whts cooking here?? pongalkku appuram enna visesham?? idhellam sollradhu illaya???? aniyaayam...engallukku treat eppo sir?? andha ponnu yaaru??? enna NAK????? LOL...


At Thu Jan 05, 08:50:00 AM CST, Blogger ~/rajesh/~ said...

Hindi is 'rashtrabasha'. So it enjoys some advantage in government offices and we have 16 many approved languages to be used simultaneously.
But on a social side definitely
"India != Hindi"

Do non-tamils consider this a bother?

At Wed Jan 11, 11:10:00 PM CST, Blogger mysorean said...

Hi TJ,

I don't understand what the frustration is against?

Hindi has been recognized as our country's National language. And it needs to be treated like one. That doesn't mean you need to go about compulsorily learning Hindi.

I agree with you on one thing, relating patriotism to the knowledge of one particular language is not right at all! But I also would like to point out that disrespecting a language designated as our "National" language is also not right. I guess you crossed the line when you said, "Hindi as alien to me as Spanish or arabic". Come on TJ, Hindi is a language of OUR country. Let's atleast accept that. It's not alien.

I hope I am understood in the right manner!

At Thu Jan 12, 07:39:00 PM CST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nalla Sonneenga TJ !!

Saapatu Raman

At Thu Jan 12, 09:01:00 PM CST, Blogger TJ said...

Yeah! I got what u wanna say. You might also be interested in reading the second part of the sequel which i have posted today.

Thanx and welcome :)

At Thu Jan 12, 09:05:00 PM CST, Blogger TJ said...

Tit fot Tat eh?? :)

Andha NAK kooda chicago la dhaan irundha. Neenga inga varumbodhu Treat vechukalam :D

Non-tamils donot consider this as a bother, coz they think their cultures and the Hindi culture are same and dont perceive a threat from Hindi. Where as Tamil and its culture is earlier even than that of sanskrit, and nethikki-vandha-podippaya Hindi can ne'er can be forced on us. adhaan..

At Thu Jan 19, 12:07:00 AM CST, Blogger pratima sharma said...

Dear TJ and all commentors,

Have a great year ahead.
I agree with the point, but would also like to clear one thing here, that HINDI is suppose to be the national language, that is all. Now it doesn't mean that ur a slave of the language. Our fundamental Rights clearly mentions the freedom to speech, but all the great leaders of the nation gives emphasis on Hindi only to convey the message that the complete India within boundary is one, u see Unity in diversity. We Indians have so many cultures, languages and customs so what we want is a commonness and for this purpose we want a common way to express ourself, and that could be Hindi coz its the language of majority. It doesn't mean that one segment is neglected, but the question is only of unity. U know that Germans use only Germany as official language, Russians use Russian and so with chinese. so can't we have a common language other than English? No one is questioning the patriotism here. The south Indians, North Indian all r together making a beautiful country India. And tell me one thing is it gud to call one as south indian or north indian? well we all r Indians first and we should be proud on that. Hindi is a language of commons spoken in max. part of India and if we want to communicate something we cannot communicate in english or any other regional language.we can't learn all the 18 languages, but aisa hota to accha tha, master of so many languages, a record in itself isn't it.
Its completely ur choice to learn a language but being Indian and feeling proud on this is our duty, again not forced but on moral ground. Even if we r living abroad or we r professionals like engineers or doctors we can never forget our parents or motherland, similarly we can never ignore Our nation as well.

We r still not completely free, still, I feel, r ruled upon by Britishes. Forms r available in English, but I'm telling u one thing in North too people speaking in Hindi r treated as if they r illeterates , now tell me is it right? R not we slaves of that british culture? We should be proud on being Indian. I'm a lecturer (MBA's) and communicate in English, ok its a universal language, but mother language is only and only hindi, not bcoz I'm from North but B'coz its a beautiful language.

Waiting for the reply, plz do not delelte it. let others read it. and comment after thinking on it a while.

At Tue Jul 04, 07:19:00 PM CDT, Blogger John Morris said...


Nice blog. I am an american guy who lives in Pittsburgh so I don't claim to know much. But, I think people should discuss an issue like this as a purely practical matter. One common denominator language is just more practical and can act as a uniting factor. India is still a poor country so the issue of practicality should loom large.

Good luck to your amazing country and all it's people

At Mon Aug 21, 01:00:00 AM CDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...


My linguistic identity is Tamilian - hence Tamil is more important.

If it is essential to have a single Indian link language - let it be Tamil, the living classical language.

At Mon Aug 21, 01:01:00 AM CDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hindi is NOT the National language – India has only “Official Languages” including Tamil, hindi, English.

While hindi is the official language of the central govt and a few states, Tamil is the official language of TN and Pondicherry apart from Singapore, Sri Lanka and officially reconised by the constitution of South Africa.

While the central govt sends its communication in hindi and english, TN sends its communications in Tamil and english. Every other state sends its own official communication in its own language accompanied by an english translation.

Please do understand that India has NO National language - only 23 Official languages.

Bottomline – both Tamil and hindi are “OFFICIAL LANGUAGES” – not NATIONAL languages as defined in the constitution of India.

I dont undersand why ppl cant understand this simple fact !

At Mon Aug 21, 01:02:00 AM CDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

part XVII of the constitution:

Article 345: This gives the State govt., power to decide its own "OFFICIAL LANGUAGE"

Article 343: This defines hindi and english to be the "OFFICIAL LANGUAGES" of the union.


NATIONAL LANGUAGE: defines the people of the nation, culture, history.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: used for official communication

While a National language by default can become the Official langauge, an Official language has to be APPROVED legally to become the National language.



Post a Comment

<< Home