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Posted at: Apr 21, 2017, 12:59 AM; last updated: Apr 21, 2017, 12:59 AM (IST)

The Hindi hegemony

Much ado about nothing
In the age of migrations, attempts to impose hegemony of any one language can be preposterous. People adapt to languages and cultures according to their needs. Some of the denizens of southern states, who once opposed the forcible imposition of Hindi tooth and nail, now send their children to Hindi tutorials for better job prospects in the North. It’s wiser, therefore, on the part of the government to reject most of the 117 recommendations made by a parliamentary panel for the promotion of Hindi in the public sphere. Yet, the President's approval to a few recommendations — among them being the HRD Ministry should “make credible efforts for making Hindi a compulsory subject in the CBSE” — has invited a lot of flak on social media.     

The hullabaloo over making Hindi compulsory in the CBSE schools and Kendriya Vidyalayas up to Class 10 is misplaced though. The finer print suggests the recommendation is meant only for Region-A, that includes Rajasthan, MP, UP and Bihar, where the existing rules already make it compulsory to study Hindi up to Class 10. People in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are not being forced to study Hindi. It's a different matter that many schools in the North too do not have qualified Hindi language teachers. This may be a cause of worry; it has more to do with the way schools and the entire education system function. 

The policymakers need to understand the changing reality outside the purview of school syllabi and the language of the ministerial speeches. Hindi proliferates and enriches itself in the burgeoning world of brilliant blogs and the web world that make everything easily available in the language of the masses. A language can't be promoted by reintroducing failed experiments like appointing more Hindi Officers. The government too should think out of the box and let people mind their language. Language is a sensitive issue and the presidential order mandates consultations with states before formulating an official policy. 

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