Keeping Hindi Alive

Posted on: 17/12/2009

An army of translators and Hindi officers in the department of official language (DOL) under the home ministry keep themselves busy translating reams of government material, bringing out journals and newsletters meant to promote the use of Hindi for official purposes of the union. Eight regional offices have also been established to monitor the implementation of the official language policy. There is also a retinue of people who expand administrative glossary by finding Hindi equivalents for commonly-used English terms. Never mind the fact that even Hindi speakers might find the English terms more familiar.

The Official Language Resolution of 1968 adopted by Parliament stated that “concerted measures should be taken for the full development” of all the languages under the Eighth Schedule of the constitution, besides Hindi, as it was necessary for “the educational and cultural advancement of the country” .

“The reality is that no language gets even a tenth of the budget that Hindi gets. Even our embassies have courses teaching Hindi, but no other languages. The Centre funds innumerable seminars and events for Hindi. There is hardly any funding for other languages,” points out Prof V Arasu, head of the department of Tamil in Madras University.

“All that the people in Hindi divisions do is harass officers insisting that they sign their names in Hindi, keep tabs on how many letters you write in Hindi and so on. They spend their time putting up name plates and sign boards in Hindi even in non-Hindi speaking states. What sense does that make?,” asks an exasperated civil servant. “Such partiality to Hindi ignoring other languages in a country that claims to be multilingual is bound to cause heartburn,” says a government employee from a non-Hindi speaking state.


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