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....