R. Jagannathan, executive editor of DNA, hits the nail on the nationalistic head in the Raj Thackeray-Abu Azmi faceoff on Marathi versus Hindi:
“Speaking about Hindi as a national language is no different from speaking about Hinduism as India’s official cultural expression. Hindi is a great language, but it is not any more national than Marathi or Kannada, or Bengali or Telugu. Ironically, it was left to the MNS to point out the obvious: that Hindi is just another regional language of India.
“This is not an attempt to belittle Hindi. In fact, Hindi is best served when it gently mingles with the other national languages, contributing to their growth and, in turn, being enriched by them. No language grows by being exclusive: it grows by importing words and expressions it lacks; it strengthens other languages by giving them what they don’t have.
“If there is to be a truly national language, it will develop from an admixture of all Indian languages. One can see the beginnings of it in Mumbai’s khichdi Hindi — a Bollywood-enhanced version of which we saw in Sanjay Dutt‘s Munnabhai.
“Even as we wait for a truly national lingo to evolve over the decades, supporters of Hindi are doing the language a great disservice by asserting its hegemony. Hindi is India’s largest spoken language, but that does not give it sole status as a national language. That would amount to imposing a linguistic majoritarianism that cannot but harm the country.”
Read the full article: Fighting Hindi hegemony
Superb piece! I agree 1000%!
Completely agree with you.
Hinduism is a little bit bigger than Hindhi.
Jagannathan for once has talked the truth..but on a side note would he be willing to do the same for Tamil which behaves like the Hindi language in South India..remember the hurdles DMK Karunanidhi placed for preventing Kannada getting the Classical Language status…
What do you mean by the national language?…..
Besides the fact that it is spoken by a large number of people, there is no inherent advantage in Hindi as opposed to English.
For science, social sciences, adapting new ideas and paradigms; Hindi is no greater or lesser than Kannada (or any other regional language). Its script in no easier or difficult to learn too.
The only reason it is called the national language and imposed on people is force based on numbers. Once it is imposed by force, the numerical majority can slowly take over new areas and attempt to assimilate (and replace?) the culture of other people. Hindi serves no practical purpose for locals outside of the hindi belt.
It is difficult to oppose this brute strength in numbers aided by exploding reproduction rate and unhindered freedom of movement. The best bet is to stick to local language + English and resist ALL attempts at Hindi imposition.
Good to see such articles coming up.
Just few years ago, anybody who spoke the truth – that Hindi is not the national language – was being looked at as a traitor.
People are now realising the truth.
I think we must do some rethinking on the ‘democratic principles’ that are supposedly governing our country, wherein the term democracy means only in arithmetic numbers.The southern states which were more progressive and adopted family planning have are now being penalised for having done just that.The finance commission formulae on revenue distribution gives highest weightage to population.So, not only have our states got to suffer because we have to countenance ‘fellow Indians’ in the spirit of the constitution, but also lose our share of revenue in order to feed the selfsame ‘poor’ states.And also bear the Hindiisation of our cultures to make way for the ‘national language’ist demographic invaders.
Some oppose the happenings in maharashtra with the premise that it is ‘against the constitution’.I mean, why is it that we have to be so Islamic about the constitution?It is eventually piece of document drafted by mortals,who still were plausibly in the hangover of the independence movement. Now that things have settled down that our cultural differences have become conspicuous . Langauge is one of the primordial loyalties of man and asking him to sacrifice it for a ‘national language’ and make room for his national langauge speakers is asking too much.Are we bein asked to do so such that we can have more hindi FM channels and hindi icons become national icons and our women start celebrating kadva chaut and forget nagarapanchami? We have had language battles all around us , in Pakistan’s break up, in srilanka and in the now Pakistan(punjabi vs Pasthun etc) and many provinces in India , but we continue to kid ourselves with some specious sophistry of the need to have a national language, and welcoming demographic invasion because it is in the spirit of constitution?
Agree with Kavitha…
A very well written article by Jagannathan.
Just as Hindi is imposed on the south, how about imposing any one south
language on the hindi speaking state. Let us see if they are as Nationalistic
as the south. It will also be good for national integration.
Brute majority dictates everything.
1. Elections are won on brute majority.
2. Games are won on brute majority.
3. UN resolutions are made on brute majority.
4. Brute majority of cancerous cells lead to a person’s death.
5. Company decisions are taken by those with brute majority stakes
6. Cabinet decsions are taken by brute majority factions. (Right now the Reddy faction seems to enjoy brute majority in Karnataka0
7. What you complain of HIndi hegemony, the same complaint is made regarding Kannada imposition by Coorgis , Tulu speaking and Konkani speaking people in Karnataka.
8. Countries are allowed to host Olympics based on brute majority decision at IOC
9. Judges take decisions based on brute majority of jury .
There is no alternative to brute majority.
I as a south Indian find that i am in an alien land when i visit Kerala, i can’t speak their language and they can’t speak my language. It is so gratingly difficult to communicate with boat drivers, receptionists, room boys, waiters, shopkeepers, bus conductors, receptionists, the list is endless.
We need to be practical and agree on ONE Indian language that ALL indians understand. Since the brute majority knows Hindi, it is best we all learn Hindi.
Or do you really want Bhojpuri as the national language?
IMPORTANT CAVEAT: Majority opinion is necessary for functional purposes and not for moral purposes.
Rightly said by Kavitha.
Post the incident, I’d twittered this point actively.
I think one more good comment I saw was (I don’t rmbr now from whom) – Both Hindi & Marathi follow devanagiri script, so it was as simple as reading from a piece of paper. Azmi does not even need to know Marathi.
i agree with what he says about hindi.
but the comparison with hinduism is lame.
why do people who apparently know little about hinduism seem so eager to write about it? their smugness is amusing.
Hindi and Hinduism are there are for us. We are not there for it. Use it if it you like, flush it if you don’t.
What an absolutely facile and pointless topic. Millions are dying of disease, millions do not have access to clean drinking water. millions do not have access to two square meals a day, not to mention the absolute cultural and intellectual decline of the nation and this is what they are putting their energies in. Absurd. Why on earth people would be willing to even spend two minutes on this topic, far less getting their panties in a bunch is beyond me. If you really want to devote your energies on cultural topics talk about protecting your national monuments, talk about the state of our literature, talk about the state of our arts, talk about creating museums and libararies – there’s just so many more significant problems to solve.
@Simple – Today, English is an Indian language. Better results by making efforts towards making everyone from kerala to UP learn in English. Solves the problem. Beyond this, people out of their own willingness can learn any language of any other state. Rejecting English because it is not an indian language is the most ridiculous proposition ever made – more ridiculous than claiming and wanting Hindi to be made the national language.
For those who believe that a language spoken by 70% should be imposed on the balance 70% for simplicity, practical purposes need to take a trip to Switzerland- not just as a tourist of its beautiful Alps and the lakes but also to see how federalism works best.
As a nation with 4 national languages- German(spoken by about 65%), French (by about 22%), Italian(7%) and Romanisch (1%) , there is no one single common language or link language and still they are one strongly united nation especially when it is surrounded by powerful neighbours like France,germany and Italy. You know the secret behind this- It is plain and simple…….they truely appreciate diversity unlike India which just want’s to sing “Mile Sur mera tumhara” and then proceed with imposing Hindi on the unsuspecting folks..
German with 65% presence could have been more easily forced as a National language as compared to 30% Hindi speakers in India but Switzerland has never even thought of it leave alone attempt it and that’s why we don’t find Abu Azmi’s there as also the need for Raj Thackeray’s to shocase this simple and important aspect of co-existence.
For those who believe that a language spoken by 70% should be imposed on the balance 70% for simplicity, practical purposes need to take a trip to Switzerland- not just as a tourist of its beautiful Alps and the lakes but also to see how federalism works best.
As a nation with 4 national languages- German(spoken by about 65%), French (by about 22%), Italian(7%) and Romanisch (1%) , there is no one single common language or link language and still they are one strongly united nation especially when it is surrounded by powerful neighbours like France,germany and Italy. You know the secret behind this- It is plain and simple…….they truly appreciate diversity unlike India which just want’s to sing “Mile Sur mera tumhara” and then proceed with imposing Hindi on the unsuspecting folks..
German with 65% presence could have been more easily forced as a National language as compared to 30% Hindi speakers in India but Switzerland has never even thought of it leave alone attempt it and that’s why we don’t find Abu Azmi’s there as also the need for Raj Thackeray’s to showcase this simple and important aspect of co-existence.
Most of the people are ignorant about this fact. I recently had an argument at my workplace about the same thing and they said that I am dis-respecting the so called “National Language”. Even though Hindi is my mother tongue, I feel calling it the “National Language” actually dis-respects other great languages of India like Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi etc.. I feel that.. in a country like India with so much diversity, it is better to be left that way.
Couple of days back I was watching a report on Aaj Tak where they were showing how a particular north eastern town had given up their local language and had embraced Hindi. Aaj Tak also went to extent saying how “Patriotic” they were and why can’t southern states follow their example..
NOW, HOW SICK IS THAT ?
In seventies, I was told that if I did not know Hindi, I am not fit to be an Indian. My south Indian rooots were derided and north wondered how come dasyus are still not educated in Aryan language!!!. I did not care.
In eighties, after seeing the dravidan backlash and periyar phenomenon, the dictat became inducement, North gave the dividend of mega public sector projects to those who knew Hindi. My father thought I will have no government job if I did not know Hindi and sent me packing to Hindi Prachar Samiti’s classes.
In nineties south suddenly found riches due to outsourcing and IT BT and Hindi lost its appeal. I dont care for PSU jobs anymore.
Having lost all its plank now someone is trying to peddle Hindi — Hindu connection.
Bakwas band kar.
As per GOI, we are supposed to follow a 3 language formula, ie., Hindi, English and a regional language. According to this formula, the non-hindi states learn Hindi as third language along with English and their mother tongue. Same way the Northern states should learn a non-hindi language as their third language along with English and Hindi (their mother tongue). However, this formula is enforced strictly only on the non-hindi speaking states and never on the BIMARU belt. Added to this we have the current spate of migration to Karnataka from northern states in search of jobs both white collar and blue collar jobs. That explains the cultural invasion of northies on Karnataka. This influx of northies is giving high hopes to Behen Mayawati to likes of her to open political accounts in the state assembly and also the lok sabha. Is it any wonder most of the IAS/IPS cadre officers seek and get a posting in Bengaluru. Isn’t it where all the action is and all the money to be made ;)
on one hand we want to cherish individual freedom and individual rights. on the other hand we want this whole “follow the mass movement” deal. So on which side of the fence are we anyway?
I mean, if a person reading out the oath of taking up office in hindi is an offence punishable by violence, what about his freedom to follow his favoured language? And about the incident in question, considering the dued was attacked by ppl for not speaking marathi, i suppose the logical conclusion is that “Marathi was being imposed on him” and not vice-versa.
Ironic, isn’t it, that these same ppl who are into imposing languages want to talk about how “hindi is being imposed”.
Some perverted opinion maker, that Jagannath is. His tribe, the Tamilians, that is, has vehemently opposed the usage of the term Akash Vani saying wrongly that it’s a Hindi term. (By the way, Akash Vani is the name adapted by the Government of India for its pan India radio service being inspired by the first radio station of this country which operated from Mysore under that name.)
Tamilians hated and sidelined English as a medium of study which declined in their contribution to the civil services, yet they want All India Radio to be the official and the only name for the pan India radio services. Bootatike Basavayya navaru.
If Hindi is a national language why should these English speaking and upper crest Tamilians feel guilty or agitated? Do they not want to gel with the rest of their countrymen? I second Simple on this point. Why this linguistic chauvinism confined to Tamilians by far and now to some people in Maharashtra? If I can’t communicate with them because of language barrier, they can’t do it with me too – it is as simple as that and what are they saying by avoiding or protesting Hindi? They want to break free?
Well, what is the editor of this site saying about this? Is he just giving us the reports or blogging about it too?
hindi comes with a baggage , heavy one at that . it is mostly spoken in BIMARU states, people in these states have a certain imperialistic attitude , dirty frame of mind that india is homogenous, india is hindi.
these people take this where ever they go and get beaten up.
southindia, bengal, assam has successfully stopped the virus called hindi imperialism. raj thackery has only continued this.
Sports are not won on brute majority. Brute majority wins only when brute majority has an advantage. Like elections which are created to give an advantage to brute majorities. If we had a state government only and there was no freedom of movement, the brute majority would be confined to my state. After all China has a bigger population, does not mean they get to rule over India. Same with Hindi speakers and others who dont.
Effectiveness may not necessarily come by numbers. The west would not be the leaders at most things in the world if it was a matter of majority. India should be the second most prosperous nation if it was just a numbers game.
A smaller number of people can succeed over a majority if they have it in them to organize themselves and do things more efficiently. How did a small group of British people build an empire from what we call India now though we had millions of people and much bigger kingdoms? And Muslims before that?
Of course the kodavas, tulu speakers and others should take a path which protects their interest first and not kow-tow to those who speak kannada (if it makes sense for them to do so – and looking at their prosperity and success, it seems to be a sensible strategy).
Having one language might make sense (depending on your point of view) – but that should be English which has all the advantages which Hindi does not. Added to it enough people know English too, and they are spread across all geographical regions unlike Hindi. Thank the Brits for that.
Why do you have to go to Kerala and be treated like a king? If they speak Malayalam there and you cant take it, you will stick to where you are right? Good for the local Keralites no? You might have great things to offer them, but not at the cost in the long run of them being forced to be displaced as the locals and leaders of their land. Maybe that is what they chose?
Dont get me wrong – I have no problem with Hindi myself. I enjoy listening to it (and speaking it when I get an opportunity).
But it is a choice. Personally I would choose Kannada/English, which should more than do practically. Hindi I dont mind, as long as it is only the third language and does not give an undue advantage to the hordes from the North. And I will do all I can to keep it this way – wont be giving away any quarter to the brute majority which does not have an clear advantage over what I already have.
Majority may give some strength in numbers, but a determined/efficient/thinking minority can defeat the majority.
Once there was an analysis on a global assessment historically speaking that North has always lorded over South while South had to use its wiles to survive. Here Hindi gets a lurid reputation as instrument of dominance. We have sen how Lalu Prasad Yadav has packed Biharis in all sorts of jobs in Railways. The other day a senior oficer of the railway on CNN-IBN even attributed the railway accident to the fact that anti-collision that Indian technology was not favoured because the Railway officials were still discussing importing this technoloy from outside presumable for the kick back it offers. He also said that the driver could not read the signal because he was not a fit candidate for recruitment. The conclusion is inescapable.The question is where does Maharashtra which falls in the West figures. Probably, it is a mixure of both. But then Raj Thackeray has exceeded the threshold and the language chauvinism seem to be spinning out of control and in the bargain Maharashrians are seen in the bad light as belonging to goon brigade for having supporting MNS.
Equating Hindi with Hinduism shows the intellectual poverty of indian leftists.
Except for the odd Ramacharithmanas and some bhakti poetry, popular hinduism and its myriad traditions have been preserved and maintained through vernacular languages. If you add the voluminous Sanskrit canon on different Hindu (Indian) philosophies from Sankya to vedanta to Tantra, you will realise that Hindi has a minor role to play in what is called Hinduism.
There is no Hindi influence on hindu movements of Tamilz alwars, haridasas and veershaivas of karnataka, bengali bauls, maharastrian bhakti poets, nepali yogis or kashmiri tantriks.
It is a favourite pastime of Indian leftists to reduce Hinduism to their favourite totalitarian ideologies of abrahamic origin which includes the hallowed doctrine of communism as well. They hardly even read and know about Hindutva political philosophy and are content in attacking a strawman ideology they themselves have created.
I don’t know why this article was headlined “Hindi’s like Hinduism, not the other way around” when the main article did not have anything to say about Hinduism or any other religion?! Churumuri, your biases (don’t know if it is against Hindus, Hinduism or the Hindutva version or all three) are not just showing, they’re painfully glaring! Now let me point out just two dissimilarities between Hindi and Hinduism:
– Hinduism is the cultural ethos (the myths, traditions, rituals, symbols etc) of India. Hindi is not.
– Hinduism is not the official religion of India, Hindi is an official language
Wonder if you have the intellectual honesty of a genuine secularist to publish the following example of Indian secularism:
Extracts from The Budget Speech (http://www.kerala.gov.in/budget2009_10/budget_e_09_10.pdf) of Dr Thomas Isaac, Minister for Finance, Govt. of Kerala:
8 (iv). The penal interest and loan amounts up to Rs.25000/- in regard to loans drawn by scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and converted Christian communities from government departments, corporations and co-operatives will be waived. The necessary funds would be for this would be met from the corpus fund.
137. I am happy to write off loans outstanding upto Rs.25,000/- as on 31st March 2006 along with interest and penal interest, borrowed by people belonging to SC/ST from government departments SC/ST Corporations and converted Christians corporations and co-operative banks.
143. I set apart Rs. 7 crore for the Backward Classes Development Corporation and Rs.3 crore for the Christian Converts Development Corporation.
The obvious question is: “Who are these Christian converts?” Are they different from other Christians?” Did anyone know there was something called Christian Converts Dev Corp?! Isn’t such religious based discriminatory assistance against the constitution?
Will be interested in knowing what you have to say to the above.
You should know better than to expect secularist explanations/articles from churumuri. The bias is to be broken down at various levels.
1) against hindutva (till date i haven’t been able to figure out the modern definition of hindutva…the one used by churumuri and many commentators here.)
2) anti-hindu campaigns which is derived as an extension of hinduism shares the same definition of modern hindutva(mentioned in 1) and that the only point hinudism has to offer is “casteism”. Rest of the aspects of being a hindu are apparently immaterial.
3) anti-BJP and by extension anti- RSS campaigns.
4) pro muslims-christians-minorities campaigns.(This is irrespective of how senseless the definitions of minorities in our country is)
5) anti-brahmin and anti brahmin practices. Irrespective of whether the practice is a personal affair or not. (This just has to be the cake. Any viable comment/article in churumuri can be reduced to brahmin bashing)
6) anti-anti-hindi campaigns
7) anti-“democracy is faulty” campaigns.
8) anti- Yeddy campaigns.
ravi turuvekere the plagiarist! swanta yochne maadi baryappa.
As an interesting comparitive study, now break it down from the khaki cheddi side. You can use your own (and other fellow cheddis) comments as the input.
1. Sports are won on majority.
Any team which scores more runs than the other team wins. Any team which scores more goals than the other team wins. Any team which baskets more balls than the other team wins.
This, even a first grader will tell you.
2. Elections are also won on majority. Don’t obfuscate the issue by saying somethign else unrelated. Do you want elections to be won on minority vote? This is a surefire pill for the death of democracy.
3. Geographically China and India are two different countries. To facilitate easier communication between the two countries we must both speak English with each other. China is not a part of India. So why should Indians speak Chinese?
4. I never ever said effectiveness comes with numbers. Some of the greatest thinkers in teh world are solitary men and woman. THe greatest inventions, the greatest thoughts, the greatest leaders, the greatest revolutionaries – all begin with ONE person. Certainly not the majority.
I reitirate what i said majority view matters to facilitate easier governance and smoother, convenient communication. By your twit-logic, if there are 5 billion people in the world, should we have 5 billion languages? Just because you believe majority does not bring about efficiency, does that mean that each single individual should speak his or her own language?
A language is a tool to communicate with another humans. If we have one language, it becomes easier for all of us to understand each other.
So there is a very simple forumula:
Kannada as local language
Hindi as national language
English as international language.
5. What do you mean that the kodavas and tulu speakers should take their own path? Be more clear. Should we have all signboards in karnataka in Tulu and konkani? Should there be a spearate state govt for tulu speaking people? Or should all kannadigas learn tulu because a small percentage of karnataka people speak tulu?
Please stop this flatulence and get into specifics.
6. I have absolutely no problems with English being the link language. But, that would be at the cost of our national identity. Why should be adopt a foreign language as our national language, when we have 100s of indian languages to choose from?
If the French can have French and the Japanese can have Japanese as their national language, why must we kow tow to English>?
Lets be proud of our nation and pick one language as our national language. Since Hindi is spoken by a majority, let us gracefully accept Hindi as a national languge. Becuase if we start quibbling among ourselves as to which would be a national languge, there is no end to it.
So the sole decsive factor is numbers.
Numbers decide everything.
In games, in elections, in cabinet decision, in your heart attack potential (cholesterol levels are numbers), in your salary, in your GDP, in your population, in your income tax, in your virtually EVERYTHING. there is no running away from numbers.
You say :” Majority may give some strength in numbers, but a determined/efficient/thinking minority can defeat the majority.”
Does that mean a determined/efficient/thinking minority (for example Kannadigas) can defeat the majority Hindi.
Do you actually mean Kannada should be the national language?
Nonsense article. Don’t compare Hinduism to Hindi.
Indians have a interesting wordview (not sure if its found elsewhere too). It’s not about right wrong. Its not about what’s convenient and what is not.
It’s about cool and uncool.
Some people force themselves to speak in English (and others if they can) because its perceived to be cool.
Some more force themselves (and others if they can) to watch Kannada (or Tamil/Hindi/Telugu) movies because it’s perceived to be cool. Not because they have better quality.
btw, on a interesting side note, I am coastal area and I wasn’t even aware of yellow red flag of Kannada till I came to Bangalore, Let alone fiery fight for its supremacy here. I guess it’s the same in Maharashtra, all the noise is in Mumbai. People get wiser with difficulties.