Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hindi - National language of India?

This I write because very recently I had an argument over whether Hindi is our National language or not. Popular belief or better to say assumption is that Hindi is our National Language . It sure is the most widely spoken language in India and also the most popular, but is NOT the National language.  People argue about how it is our 'Matribhasha' which self implies that it is our National language. This is another assumption people tend to make. Ask them, where they read of Hindi being our National language and there will be no answer. I myself cannot trace back how did it get in the back of my head that Hindi is our national Language. I too had the same misconception for the bigger half of my twenty five years of life.

What is our National Language then, if not Hindi?

In reality our law or Constitution does not define any National Language, leaving India with no National Language. In fact in a very popular ruling Gujrat High Court mentioned that Hindi is not our National Language. Petitioner Suresh Kachhadia had, in 2009, filed a PIL in the Gujarat HC seeking mandamus to the Center as well as the state government to make it mandatory for manufacturers of goods to print in Hindi, all details of goods like price, ingredients and the date of manufacture. His argument was that the consumers are entitled to know what they are consuming and that because Hindi is National language, directions to all should be given to use the same language. To which, the court had to say and factually support the fact that there has never been any notification issued by the Government with regard to National Language and that lawfully there is no such term. In fact Hindi is the 'official Language' Just the same as English is another 'official language'.

State Governments however have a choice to select their official language and  many states have Hindi as the official language or in case of some as co-official language along with some other regional language.

I am pretty sure that people (many) are much unaware of this fact because of the assumptions that we have been taught to make. 


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