polity : Why-cant-we-make-Hindi-the-sole-official-language-of-India-to-develop-a-unique-identity – 2
Answer by Dileep Patchigolla:
First, why should Hindi be made national language? If Hindi is 4th most populous language, my native language Telugu is 15th. Tamil is 20th and Bengali is in top 10 languages with native speakers. So we have 4 languages in top 20 languages.
Second, native Hindi speakers are just around 20 crores(excluding urdu). That is less than 1/6th of Indian population. So there is no sense asking 5 people to learn something that is native to just the 6th person.
You should realize that India is not like US or UK, which are culturally homogenous. If I go to my neighbouring state, I don't know how they dress or how they eat. We are such a diverse set of population.
Sadly, India is not one single entity. People of South India are completely different compared to their North Indian counterparts. They have different festivals, different dressing style, different foods, different life style etc. People fail to realize that language is part of culture. It is not just a form of communication. So how can someone ask someone else to change their culture? What moral authority do they have?
Why can't we replace English with Hindi? Firstly I don't need to learn any language apart from my mother tongue. But unfortunately all the knowledge in this world is not in my mother tongue and not everyone speaks a common language. So to understand each other, I need to learn one more language. I choose English, as
i) It is the most widely spoken language
ii) Most knowledge is available in English
iii) The biggest thing in the past 100 years, the computers, are completely coded in languages that are in english, have most websites in english
iv) And almost 90% of the jobs that I can land in, need me to know how to speak English.
I understand that as I live in India, it would be prudent for me to know how to speak Hindi. I am willing to learn Hindi too. Infact I can speak Hindi reasonably well and understand it pretty decently. But I hate the attitude of people who think Hindi is somehow greater than my language. Telugu is existing since around 300 BC, where as the earliest signs of Hindustani(not even Hindi, but earlier formats of Hindi) was traced only to 7th century AD. Same story with Tamil too, which is much more ancient language than Hindi. I don't mean that Telugu or Tamil are somehow greater than Hindi, but they are no less. They are not some barbaric languages.
School system in Andhra Pradesh has Hindi as a language besides Telugu and English. If native Hindi speakers too start learning a non hindi language that is distinctly different from Hindi, I recommend that such system should be followed throughout India. Why do I recommend this? Because, right now people from Hindi heartland has no clue about the culture of South India and treat South Indians as some form of secondary citizens. When you learn their language, you get to know more about their culture and it increases the awareness. This would also increase the unity and give the South Indians their fair share of representation at the national level.
Edit: The same scenario is fully applicable to people from North-East India, who are far worse off compared to South Indians. They are not even treated as Indians by many people and are the primary targets to racism. Learning their language would greatly help understand their history, culture and habits. This would definitely be a great way to bring unity in India.