Why can’t we make Hindi the sole official language of India to develop a unique identity?

polity : Why-cant-we-make-Hindi-the-sole-official-language-of-India-to-develop-a-unique-identity -1

Answer by Shikhar Agarwal:


Since the argument in the question description is about identity, I would say having multiple languages is India's real identity – which country in this world is so rich and diverse that 30 languages are spoken by more than a million native speakers and 122 by more than 10,000, with over 70000 newspapers selling more than a million copies each day, clearly reflecting our rich and diverse heritage and culture, while at the same time presenting an epitome of unity in diversity?
This is India's unique identity. Having a single language as mentioned would undermine what we are proud of!

Long Answer

What the question proposes is: Hindi as national official language, and regional as state official languages. And Hindi replacing English as the main language of communication.

First of all, a clarification from wiki Languages of India:

The official language of the Central Government of Republic of India is Standard Hindi, while English is the secondary official language. The constitution of India states that "The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script."a position supported by a High Court ruling. However, languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian constitution are sometimes referred to, without legal standing, as the national languages of India.

Coming back to the answer, forget wiki. The answer doesn't talk about the solution being impractical or population speaking Hindi, etc – I don't see any advantages of doing so in the first place. The answer has two parts:

1. Part 1 – Our dependence on English at School level

Consider a Tamil speaking student. He would still be learning Tamil because of the regional importance and significance. And also his community speaks Tamil.

Now if you consider countries like France, Germany, Spain, etc, English is not taught in school till grade 8th. But if we do this in India, our economic growth in the Service sector, IT, medical, etc would be adversely affected. We are able to attract BPOs, Software companies, etc not only because of cheap labor, but also because we have a large English speaking population. Now because a student doesn't know in which field he would work in future, he would still study English. When you have a large part of economy dependent on English, it doesn't make sense to start studying it in 8th as Scientific Studies show that as we grow older, its harder to learn a new language.

So basically continuing with the example, the student would be learning Tamil and English. Adding one more language, which might not even be relevant for future, would be a burden. Hindi would be irrelevant because – if he joins a job locally, he would be speaking Tamil. If he joins a MNC, then English would be the language.

2. Part 2 – India and its Identity

Why can't Indians be proud of what they are today and work towards strengthening these areas? Our identity is:

  • Largest democracy – Lets all vote and strengthen this.
  • Unity in Diversity – Lets educate the youth to be Indian first, religious later.
  • Young Country – Lets make sure we empower this population and not waste this valuable asset.
  • Great Economy – Lets all work to achieve higher growth.
  • Rich Culture – Lets try to preserve the folk dances and local culture
  • And so on….

And most importantly, as I mentioned before, having multiple languages reflect diversity, which is our core identity. If I tell any of my foreign friends that India has 1 language, I would then need to explicitly explain to him how diverse India is. Currently I just tell them about multiple languages and then wait and watch them in awe as they realize our rich heritage – all by themselves!

I think this is a far better identity than one single Hindi as far as language is concerned. What do you say?

Related: My answer: Indian Culture: What is wrong with the current Indian mindset?

Why can't we make Hindi the sole official language of India to develop a unique identity?


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