One Nation One Language
Author : Neha Singh
India is a country of diversity. From culture, customs, traditions to languages everything changes as you step ahead. As of 2011 census India have 1,369 languages and dialects and out which 22 official languages have been recognized on the 8th schedule of constitution of India. Hindi being one the recognized languages is also the most spoken language in India, about 40% of the population speaks Hindi while its hard for other languages to even reach the mark of 10%. The concept of one nation, one language has been there for ages and very recently Home Minister Amit Shah even made a remark on making Hindi the official national language which sparked controversy and started protests in the non-Hindi speaking states of India.
After gaining independence in the year 1947, the leaders of the nation wanted one universal language to bind the regions of India together and Hindi played an important role in doing so during the protests before independence and hence seemed the obvious choice to our leader. Subsequently violent protests started against the imposition of Hindi as a national language in the states of Tamil Nadu. Under Article 343 of constitution of India and the official languages acts declared Hindi as the official language of the union and usage of English was ceased till 15 years by parliament but after the alarming response of the south Indian states, the parliament decided to use both Hindi and English for their official purposes.
Anti-Hindi protest has been there and people have opposed Hindi as their national languages because they inter-join their culture with their language. People consider their culture as their identity while language is a medium to express it. Changing the medium of expression would not change one’s identity and preservation of both culture and languages can be done as we have seen with the language Sanskrit in India, which one of the world’s ancient languages and yet schools and colleges are teaching it. One of the most successful example is of the country Indonesia, it was very similar to India’s present scenario with various ethnic identities and over 600 languages in the country it was hard to come up with a systematic function and hence the country introduced its national language policy which turned out to be effective and helped in unifying the nation and promoting the similar education and literacy throughout the nation.
Hindi is world’s 4th most spoken language in the world and with it being the national language of India will make the most spoken language of the world, it will benefit the domain of business, trade, research, education, job opportunities, etc. in the nation. Tourism in India will be easier as the barrier of language will be eliminated. The global dominance of the language will also be helpful for the citizens to have companies learning the language to establish themselves in the nation. It will oust the English language from India as the language is a sad reminder of the colonization of the nation. The language will represent India in the international arena. This will also be beneficial for aspect of the national security, in the realm of politics and military services. The advantages of Hindi in the job prospectus is very broad. One nation, one language policy will foster national unity.
The non-Hindi speaking states will have an extra burden of learning a new language while the Hindi speaking states don’t have to. The local and regional languages will be threatened with the imposition of one national language, the glory of the nation in being a multi-national language will disappear. The imbalance ratio in employment opportunities will be high. Imposing one national language can be considered an economic disaster as it will slow down migration and ease of capital flow. A splitting into two nations can be anticipated as happened in the case Bangladesh when imposition of Urdu was made over Bengali that played a major part in dividing the nation. India is said to be a multilingual society throughout history and the idea of one nation, one language itself is European while India is a nation that believes in Unity in Diversity.
People are still divided over the topic of the language and it may spark protests again similar to the past. Being a multi-lingual country consensus of each state is required and continuing recklessly with the ideology may ignite protests throughout India and inestimable harm to the essence of nationalism. Idea to execute the three languages policy by Kothari commission to compensate the non-Hindi speaking states have failed in the past and hastily imposing the national language will only result in further conflict. The nation should strive to maintain the status of unity in diversity and embrace the importance of local and regional languages.