Thursday, January 12, 2006

India != Hindi contd... [Part 2]

Continuing from here, we had comments which i had earlier heard from lots of other friends of mine.

First, Hindi is NOT our only national language, it is just one among the 22 languages, recognized as the national languages of the country. Refer here.

Hindi has just been given the official language status, since that is the language with the maximum native speakers in the country. [Hindi is not the Majority language, that is, majority of Indians do not have Hindi as the mother tongue!].

According to the Official language Act, the country is divided into three regions,
f) "Region A" means the States of Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and the Union Territories of Delhi and Andaman and Nicobar Islands;
(g) "Region B" means the States of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Punjab and the Union Territory of Chandigarh ;
(h) "Region C" means the States and the Union Territories other than those referred to in clauses (f) and (g);

And the acts says that, for communications with Region C [=third class??]
3) Communications from a Central Government office to State or Union Territory in Region "C" or to any office (not being a Central Government office) or person in such State shall be in English.

Thus there is no association with using Hindi and being Indian, in the laws of the land.
I stand corrected and say, Hindi is as alien to me as 'Spanish or Arabic Oriya or Urdu' is, or as alien as Tamil is to a native Hindi speaker.

Now, how many of us have heard Hindi Natives saying, “When you talk to somebody in Chennai/Tamilnadu in Hindi, they don’t respond you”. They point is why would somebody come to Chennai and talk to a Autokaarar or a koolikaarar in Hindi?

How does it feel, when is say, 'When you go to delhi/lucknow and talk to a cab guy in Tamil, he does not respond!" ?? Wierd.??

Then,why do i get worked up when people come to me at bangalore/chennai and say 'Hindi is our national language, and you will have to learn it'.

To answer this, we have to go to 1965.
Post independence, the only goal of the students in South[esp Tamils] was to get a central government job. The percentage of Civil servants and in general the percentage of employees in the central govenment offices stand as testimony, though i donot have exact numbers.

All the recruitment exams and interviews were conducted in English. Then out of the blue, came the announcement , 'it is 15 years since the constitution came to force and so, from now on, only Hindi will be the medium replacing english'. This meant,
1. There is an undue advantage for all the native Hindi speakers
2. The people of south had to learn Hindi. Their English skills were not recognized.

It was an indirect message from the North saying "Either learn Hindi and compete with Native Hindi speakers to survive, or just perish".

After a long agitation, the central govenment came down choice was given to either take the exams in Hindi or English.

It was again a decision which put all non-native hindi speakers[a telugu, kannadiga, bengali, tamil...] at disadvantage, but the immediate impact was felt only by the Tamils because the way to earn bread is made lot lot tougher suddenly. [It is like saying from 2006 the engineering entrance exams are to be conducted in Latin]. The decision resulted in the biggest ever language struggle in tamilnadu with lots of students killed by police action, and the resultant political change is history.

But, the students of Tamilnadu intelligently chose to slowly move out of the large scale dependency on Central govenment jobs, got their strong english skills even stronge, started finding newer opportunities rather than learning Hindi and competing on a one sided field.

Then came the banking revolution of 70s which came a good opportunity for South Indians to get a employment without the requirement of Hindi. This was followed by the Middle East boom during late 70s and early 80s.

This is when the Central government services went off the radar of a over whelming number of Tamil students, and were safely in the hands of 'Region A' students. And in a sense, learning Hindi became completely optional for a student in Tamil Nadu, that is the student can have an equally good career without learning a word of Hindi as much as he had by gaining Hindi expertise.

By now, the choice for taking the Civil Services in all the national languages were made available, but it did little to divert the attention back.

And now came the IT boom of 90s and 2Ks where the economy and opportunites in Region-C states increased exponentially. The wheels have turned around in 30-40 years. Majority of the native-hindi speakers now had to migrate south for a career. The knowledge of Hindi as a enabler of a decent career in india became insignificant as compared to what was in 60s.

Now, what is happening!!

I have a native hindi speaker, who has come either to Bangalore/Chennai/Hyderabad, to make a living, and cribbing about the natives not having Hindi proficiency, given the fact that 0% effort is made to learn the local language. Along with this, comes for free, the jingoistic advice 'Hindi is our national language', and you will have to learn it.

Consider this situation,
we were told "Learn Hindi"
"That is the only way you will survive. Learn Hindi and compete in a one sided playing field, or Perish"
We took the threat head on. Worked hard, created opportunities and made those who gave us the option of 'Perish', to come down for a living.

we are told "Learn Hindi"
"Because it is our official language, you will have to respect... blah blah blah..."
What do you think we will do.??, laugh about it and make a post on it in the blog. :)

to be contd....

ps: I would want to make it clear , I do not have anything against Hindi as a language. Also that, I r/w/t/u fluently in Hindi, as much as i do in Kannada, Malayalam, French or Samskritam, also i had put a rough draft of this post much before the comments of the part 1 of the post was made, so this is not written in a direct response to any of the comments.


At Thu Jan 12, 11:42:00 PM CST, Blogger Divya.B said...

I was always wondering about all the stuff you've written...A good post...thought provoking....

At Fri Jan 13, 03:12:00 AM CST, Blogger தமிழ் இடி தாங்கி said...

இந்த விஷயத்தில் என் முழு ஆதரவு உமக்கு உண்டு. தமிழ் குடி தாங்கியும் வெளியிலிருந்து ஆதரவு தருவார் என நம்புகிறேன்.

At Fri Jan 13, 03:33:00 AM CST, Blogger Ranj said...

Yes very true. We can do without that air of superiority and arrogance on their part.

At Fri Jan 13, 03:55:00 AM CST, Blogger view from the fareast said...

ditto for me! hamara arshtriya basha atha nai? People in north used to ask me as if not knowing hindi is being illiterate. If so, why is the 'cow belt' in dismal state? Now we have the last laugh! We earn revenues from the south only to be scandalized by mulayam and laloo for the north. I prefer to learn korean rather than learn hindi not because I hate the language but simply because I don't like people pushing us to learning it!

At Fri Jan 13, 06:24:00 AM CST, Blogger Chakra Sampath said...

same here. i second VP abt the example he/she has given reg. korean..

engerndhu ellamo support varudhe TJ... periya level la edavadhu poraattam plan panni irukkiyaa.. something like Runway la paduthundu poraattam.. andha madhiri?

At Fri Jan 13, 07:22:00 AM CST, Blogger WA said...

Wonderful post TJ. Chakra solraa maadhiri poraadura plan irundaaa ennoda muzhu aadhaaravum ungalukke dhaan. Neenga thandavaaLatha maRichu poraadunga, naan apdiye oru oramaa sidela ninnu gosham poduren. Seriously, great post as usual.

At Fri Jan 13, 02:35:00 PM CST, Blogger thennavan said...

TJ, thodarattum ungaL poraattam (Naradar kanakkaa innum sindu mudinju vittutten by referring this post here :-)

At Sat Jan 14, 11:00:00 AM CST, Blogger Narayanan Venkitu said...


It was a shame that Tamil Nadu politics ...drove the people away from Hindi. Forget the National Language part ( heck..our National game is Field Hockey..and not cricket)..It is to the benefit of everyone to know a language which could be understood in many states..which will help the livelihood incase someone moved out of TN>

I have suffered due to this. My first few years of work were in Bombay and Delhi and I found it real tough.!!

Other things like - Northies not learning the local language etc...just tells me on thing...there was no necessity...but;.but..not anymore.!!!

But one thing I notice - I have a few Northie friends. They will always mix words in Hindi and talk knowing that I don't know Hindi..They will even talk in fluent Hindi..knowing that I don't know Hindi...! That sucks.!

At Sun Jan 15, 03:09:00 AM CST, Blogger "Citi"zen said...

That was a beautiful post!!!..I always have told my North friends,but was not able to tell with so much facts..Even now I dont feel like learning Hindi as that is not necessary for me.If ever a necessity comes,I might learn it.

At Sun Jan 15, 08:30:00 AM CST, Anonymous TheGuru said...

New to your blog and BAM! hit by an article with such potency. A very good writeup punctuated by facts as needed. Liked the part about the opportunites in the South and people from North having to crib about learning the local language. If you had friends from the north, watchout :)

At Wed Jan 18, 12:48:00 PM CST, Blogger sukhanya said...

hey guess wht... one new colleague of mine.. his comment when i got introduced to him as a girl from MADRAS was... "oh you guys dont know hindi.. u ppl hate hindi so much"....IF not had it been his first day at work.. he would have got the impression of all my five fingers on his left cheek.. and worst nightmare was that the 2nd day he was asked to work with me as a team... he has such weirdest ideas and beliefs which drives me... totally nuts and gets on my nerves..........

At Wed Jan 18, 07:05:00 PM CST, Blogger Jagan said...

I have heard so many ppl from "north" commenting that chennai is not a friendly place bcos no one responds in hindi ..And i asked the same question abt talking in tamil or telugu in delhi/mumbai ...

nice thoughts da .

At Wed Jan 18, 11:00:00 PM CST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

very good article it reflects my thoughts and arguments.

Some Tamils (who are ignorant or pose as ignorant of the Tamilnadu historyafter independance ) always blame Dravidar parties for Hindi not in Tamilnadu .

Who told Hindi is not there ? Dakshina baratha hindi prachara saba is there for a long time and lakhs and lakhs have got educated
in hindi .

Most of the private school students take only Hindi as second language.

our politicians only said "dont impose Hindi' " and never said Dont learn other languages .

Some Tamilans comment that " there is no need to grow Tamil " . Unfortunately we have to shout a lot about Tamil because
1. Most of us cannot speak Tamil continously without mixing lots of English words .
This doesnt mean that we have to call coffee differenly but even the ordinary words ?!

An example of our Tamil English mix is the word "BUT AANA " .
AANA in Tamil is replaced by BUTAANA..

2. We pronounce our own mother tongue (Tamil) in a bad manner .

3. now Tamil books like vikatan are writing tamil in a dangerous manner which will cause more harm to Tamil . ('yezhai= ye+zh+ai' is now written as 'ye+zha )

4. Sanda+kozhi ,madura etc are what form of Tamil ?

5. some anamolies in day to day Tamizh's pronouciation

Tamizh becomes Taamil in english
Tamilnadu in Tamil , Tamilnat in English,
dosai become dosa , rasam becomes rasa.etc etc ..

Language fluency only comes if we open our moth and talk ..which can be done by anyone and be fluent in 3-4 months .(experience)

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

Hey thats right, we r not doing justicxe with our own language, not only tamil, what hindi we r speaking now, people said," hey what happen to the person, he has spoken in hindi, he's gone mad.
Instead we r using Hinglish.

Don't u think there is a point to discuss.

At Fri Jan 20, 01:08:00 AM CST, Blogger Viji said...

The fundamental utility of a language is to communicate...

At Sat Jan 21, 08:08:00 AM CST, Blogger smiley said...

You are absolutely right. You can learn Hindi if you want but it should not be forced nor is it a national language.

At Sat Jan 21, 01:05:00 PM CST, Blogger Jo said...

Nice post TJ.

I think the IT boom hasn't made much change in the use of Hindi. In Bangalore even Kannada natives use Hindi to talk to Malayalis, Tamilians, Telugites etc. Hyderabad is also no different. You can survive in Bangalore without knowing Kannada or English, but not without Hindi. I don't know how it is in Chennai.

I remember once there was a news report that some north Indian MPs were reading something in Hindi in Loksabha and Kerala MPs protested and asked them to read it in English so they would understand.

Now another question is, is it better to have Hindi as a national medium of communication than English (which is a foreign language)?

And If that is implemented, North Indians already see Southerns as second-class citizens, and it would make things go worse of the Northern domination.

At Sun Jan 22, 09:38:00 AM CST, Blogger Priya said...

u r right.. but ivlo language theriyumaaa..chance illa neenga

At Wed Jan 25, 03:16:00 AM CST, Blogger யாத்திரீகன் said...

hm.. yeah, i too had a hot discussion on this topic with some of my northi mates...

some of them have a special pleasure humiliating a southindian for not knowing hindi but they dont realize that they can also learn tamil which is a 2000 year old language.. which is also one of the national language..

asking to learn a language for survival in a new place is different, but humiliation is different.... why dont they realize it ?


At Fri Jan 27, 05:24:00 PM CST, Blogger ranjit kalidasan said...

I had an embarassing moment in a party hosted by our client manager in U.S. A group of northies were invited to party where myself and other tamil friends went. Seeing they speaking hindi and we speaking tamil the client asked why though from same country we speak different languages, I was about to open talk and our proud 'unity in diversity' theory but only to hear our hindi friend made a sarcastic comment "They don't speak our national language, they think they are different part of the country". Another incident at one of the gas station here where i went to counter to pay up the gas, there was an northie inside. When i told him that i need to pay for the gas in plain english, he gave me a look and asked "Are you from india?", I said yes, then he said "hare hindi main bolo yaar", I got pissed off and I politely said "I wish but i am from tamilnadu". Then he made an apolegetic face and didn't talk anything.

At Fri Mar 03, 06:47:00 PM CST, Blogger Karthik S said...

I think we shouldn't convert some north indian's attitudes on language in to full blown language war. I understand that some of you have faced embarrassing/irritating/intimidating personalities from North but that's how they are. It's part of their culture to ridicule and be bombastic. Don't take it on language per se. Hindi is as poetic as Tamil and vice versa. Learn as much languages as u can.


At Fri Mar 03, 06:48:00 PM CST, Blogger Karthik S said...

ooops should have been "learn as many languages..."

At Thu Jun 29, 10:17:00 AM CDT, Anonymous Viswanatha Krishnan said...

Just Came across your article on Hindi as our national language. I just thought you are missing one major point here. I have travelled may places. I have a policy of be a Roman in Rome. We Tamils have bigger problem is that we are more inclined towards English rather than Hindi which is (not national, but) a language which is spoken by majority of the people in India. Where ever you go, apart from Tamilnadu, people can survive or atleast manage with a basic knowledege of Hindi.

Though I agree with you completely on 1960's situation when people were asked to have the knowledge of Hindi, we should atleast have had the moral responsibility on our side to learn a language using which we can manage and make our living in almost 80% of the region in the country we actually belong to.

I was in Bangalore and I am currently in Pune. In both the places it was not necessary for me to learn Kannada or Marati, while a mere direction in Hindi will do my job. Same is working in rest of the country. My collegues working here are from different places Bihar, UP, MP, Rajasthan , Gujarat, Bengal and even from Kerala, AP and Karnataka, all of them are conversing in Hindi.

Myself and other 3 Tamils would be a mere spectator for all this. How come people whose mother tongue are Marati, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, and bla, bla, bla all are able to speak in one indian language while Tamils are left behind?

There are only 40% of Hindi SPEAKING population. While there should be more than 80% - Hindi KNOWING population.

Ours is a democracy - If 51% of vote goes to a person, he will be elected to rule even the 49% who has not voted for him.

Will u protest that this person is forced on those (49%) who has not elected him?

We should not either. Ours is a federel structure united inside a Democratic republic of India. If we are signatories of that, then we have to go the Indian way. Let us not shy away from learning a language which can be used hardly 300 Km away from our capital city in Tamil nadu

At Sat Jul 08, 01:16:00 PM CDT, Anonymous Madhi said...

In Thamizhnadu, we need not teach Hindi in schools.

If a person go and stay in North India, with in three months he definitely will learn hindi.

In the same way North Indians coming to Thamizhnadu should learn Thamizh. Lots of my north indian friends are speaking Thamizh very well.

Only few North Indian people only have to change their attitude and accept other languages as Hindi only not being spoken india.

Thamizh Velga.

At Sat Jul 08, 01:22:00 PM CDT, Anonymous Kalai said...

Yes, its right.

We need not teach Hindi in Tamilnadu.

With out studying hindi our FM Pa.Sidamaram making all budget for INDIA.

Thamizh Vaazhga.

At Sun Jul 09, 02:02:00 AM CDT, Anonymous Murugan said...

All the Indians are equal.

Why not all the languages?

There should not be any special status to any Indian Language.

Everybody are talking that only north indians are suffering in Tamilnadu as Tamil pepoles does't know hindi.They forget thet Tamil people are also suffering in in North India as North Indias does't know Tamil.But in North India Tamil peoples immediately pick up Hindi. But North Indians does't have that mentality to learn Tamil in Tamilnadu.They have to change, then only they can manage and enjoy life in Tamilnadu.

At Sun Jul 09, 02:08:00 AM CDT, Anonymous Venu said...

Thamizh Vaazhga

At Thu Jul 13, 04:26:00 AM CDT, Anonymous Giri said...

Not only politicians are against Hindi in Tamilnadu, the people also.

At Sun Jul 16, 08:54:00 AM CDT, Anonymous Viswanatha Krishnan said...

Madhi, Kalai, Venu, Giri... U people, I firmly believe have not crossed the border of TamilNadu - or atleast not gone beyond Blore or Hyd.

I can very well understand that. If you had stayed anywhere in the north for atleast temporarily for 4-5 months, u people would have opened your eyes.

Someone mentioned that we can learn Hindi in 3 months if we stayed anywhere in North. I would like to remind you that, this language is not like C, C++, etc. Hindi, or for that any language comes by practice. I had a basic knowledge of Hindi as a 3rd language in for 3 years - in 7th, 8th and 9th std (courtesy CBSE) - because of which I was able to manage. My friend here (roommate in Pune)- who had a zero knowledge on that, is facing the music. It has been 1.5 years since he has joined his company here. He can hardly speek 3-4 words at a strech - enquire for an address to an unknown stranger, give a direction to the automan, pick up a ticket from the conductor and ask him to ping you during the time to alight - all these needs to come impromptu. These will only come by experience and that would defenitely take you 2-3 years

That is why, we have to be proactive. Learn it during the schools - "A stitch in time, saves nine"- else it will take its toll on future of our children - who at that time need to face the rapidly changing country where time and DISTANCE (I mean cities in India) are negligible

We dont need to learn Marati for staying in Maharastra, nor Bengali in calcutta, nor Punjabi in Chandigarh - Hindi will be sufficient enough.

When rest of the nation moves in a direction, do not stay outside that.

"Language is an asset - (L)earn them" - said in THIRUKKURAL itself

At Sat Jul 22, 11:44:00 AM CDT, Blogger தமிழ் தீவிரவாதி said...

scold that hindi language with that beutiful four letter english word .
Hindi is not needed in TN . We can thrive with our own language . We are not a parasite to live a life depending on Hindi . Listen in TN , the vendors are not speaking hindi or english . It Is TAMIL. Tamil is the political and language of the soil . If we are that much thrusted to learn another language then it can be English . Not Hindi .

No No No Hindi in my state .

At Thu Aug 03, 10:20:00 AM CDT, Anonymous Viswanatha Krishnan said...

May I know - Mr. Tamil Theeviravaadi - that what makes to despise Hindi sooo much. I dont find any reason for you hating a language so much - which on the contrary helps you outside tamil nadu. You seem purely fanatical

You are ready to accept a foreign language (English) rather than your own Indian language???

I think TJ, instead of you, encouraging people to learn Hindi, you have just sensationalised the whole issue. People are speaking their heart and not their minds

At Mon Aug 21, 01:15:00 AM CDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Ask the northie to learn Tamil in TN - do it in a northie party/blogspot and your birth/mom/sister everyone will be abused.

At Mon Aug 21, 01:16:00 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 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.


At Thu Oct 19, 11:44:00 PM CDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The post that TJ has put up is very well written. It a very good one. I do have a few comments on the posts made by others. I saw quite a number of them mentioning it's not necessary to learn Marati in Maharashtra.

It's not totally true. Most people even in places like Pune use a lot of Marati while speaking. You could communicate to them in Hindi. But still you could miss out most part of a conversation even in the official environment.

I work in the IT industry. Most of my collegues are from Maharashtra. I find them very good natured but they use too many Marati words that I get lost even when doing an official chat.

I bought a house in Pune a few years back. The government documents for my property were all in Marati. I would have to know Marati to read them.

I know a number of people who know only Hindi who told me they face the same issues.

At Mon Dec 11, 07:32:00 AM CST, Blogger தமிழ் சமத்துவம் said...

The argument of widespread use of Hindi is acceptable. But what is condemnable is that Hindi is compulsory in CBSE schools. Any time a language is forced upon it tends to be rejected.

Hindi as a compulsory subject in schools serves as an unfair advantage to the Hindians. They just learn Hindi and Sankskit whereever they are skipping Tamil for eg in TN schools, while Tamil students have to learn 2 scripts.

When it comes to ranking, the "reduced" syllabus will not be considered.

There is also a problem of overdose of use of Hindi. Certainly Hindian Airlines and Air India will not becomes coolies if they have Tamil annoucements.

British Airways, Lufthansa etc have Tamil annoucments while the Hindian Airlines, Air Hindi, Hindian Railways seem to making much more than a point with their Hindi.

By the way "national language" argument invites the same condemnation as "national caste" (i.e. OBC) argument wanting reservation. Your create priviledged citizens and you create the "rest".

English is equality. A Hindi mothertongue person or Tamil mothertongue person has to both learn. With Hindi, Hindi mothertongue person will be a coolie if he learns Tamil so will not learn if he sits for years in TN.

At Mon Dec 25, 04:46:00 PM CST, Blogger Om said...

//though i donot have exact numbers.//

I think I can help you with some numbers...

Between 1948-1961, Madras state contributed 23.3 % of all central govt officials

Next was UP with 16.5 %
Punjab with 10 %

The central govt said, it will remove english and conduct exams only in hindi and would give a quota for TN (probably,based on population) - which would be close to 7 % - obviously there is a huge difference between 23.3 % and 7 %.

At Wed Mar 19, 01:48:00 AM CDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard that Hindi has 2 ka sounds, 2 ga sounds, 2 cha sounds, 2 ja sounds. In many of these they also include h sound.

I also heard all objects in Hindi are supposed to be male or female including auto, car, bus ...literally everything. I have known UP and Bihar people fighting for gender of calculator.

Even numbers are quite complex. The numbers 1 to 100 dont repeat unlike Tamil which repeat in 10s like English.

I fail to understand why they trying to propogate language which such complexities.

THe alphabet set is 4 times bigger than Tamil and much more tha English language.

Probably that is also reason why that there literacy also is less. Even mothertongue will have problem memorizing so many numbers without repetition.

We must fight tooth and nail to fight imposition of such complex numbers in TamilNadu airports. I am also hearing Tamil is now banned in Chennai and other airports in Tamil Nadu and also in companies like Neyveli Lignite corporation, Chennai petroleum, nationalized banks like Indian Bank, State Bank and also in CBSE schools like Kendriya Vidyalaya, Rajaji Vidyashram, Sainik school etc.

Karunanidhi is OK with reservation for Hindi castes and Hindi security staff... It is biggest shame for Tamil being banned in Tamil Nadu.

It is expected Raamar paalam will be gone and Hindi people will be reserved for Sethusamudram ports.

Kanimozhi also critized Tamil poet Baarathiyaar and also Tamils belong to the so-called forwards.

What can we expect from Karunanidhi and his Telugu family?


Post a Comment

<< Home