“Hindi is our nationwide language!” it’s usually asserted, particularly round Hindi Diwas, September 14, yearly. Nicely, I too believed that all through my scholar life. In any case, that’s what we have been advised in our faculties, weren’t we? Willy-nilly, Hindi, regardless of nowhere in our Structure being accorded the nationwide language standing, is formally being shoved down the throats of your entire Indian populace as such. Constitutionally, it solely enjoys the standing of being one of many official languages of the Indian Union, together with English.
Again within the days of the lone Doordarshan channel, rising up as a child in a Kannada family, in Bengaluru, satirically, I had very restricted entry to leisure on TV in my mom tongue. I suppose, an hour’s Kannada fare, together with the information, is all we may get in the course of the weekdays. So, I had little possibility however to devour the leisure content material that was accessible in Hindi. In a matter of some years, by the point I used to be in Class V, the truth that Hindi was additionally being taught at college by then helped me get a grip on the language, and I may perceive Hindi utterly.
A standard Kannada child in Bengaluru grew up in a Hindi setting — because of our three-language schooling coverage and Doordarshan! On TV, Shaktimaan, Chandrakanta, Alif Laila, Jungle E book and lots of different Hindi exhibits had forged a spell on me. I used to be in full awe of the language, which was not my mom tongue. And my cricket insanity made me study the Hindi numbers until 100 — listening to Hindi commentary. Let me let you know, the enjoyment after I was capable of decipher a rating like: “ek so thihattar per char,” and inform my mates the identical, “It means 173/4,” whereas listening to radio commentary, was out of this world. I had began reaping the advantages of realizing the numbers in Hindi. In any case, we have been dwelling in a Hindi nation, weren’t we?
Even throughout my engineering faculty days, I made certain that I at all times spoke in Hindi with my classmates from North India. They might reward me for my impeccable Hindi regardless of being a Kannadiga. Oh sure, I used to be a proud Hindi-speaking Indian then, although Kannada was my mom tongue! In any case, we needed to converse Hindi to be referred to as Indian, within the Hindi nation, didn’t we? “Hindi hain hum?”
It was solely after my commencement that I realised that Hindi shouldn’t be the “nationwide language” of India. The truth is, even now, India doesn’t have one nationwide language. Once I regarded round, it dawned on me regularly that my mom tongue, Kannada, was being pushed to a nook in its personal abode. Why ought to a financial institution challan in Karnataka be in Hindi? Why on earth ought to the railway reservation charts for a journey between two cities in Karnataka be in Hindi and English? Even virtually, in a Kannada-speaking state, these languages don’t serve the aim for a lot of folks. These situations began to hassle me. It was plain injustice to Kannadigas.
Agonisingly, aberrations like these could possibly be present in each nook and nook of Karnataka. The Union authorities conspicuously appears to be bent on imposing Hindi, fairly than serving its residents of their respective languages. So as to add insult to harm, the preliminary exams of the Union authorities, the banking exams and numerous different aggressive exams are solely provided in English and Hindi, giving the Hindi populace an unfair benefit and a head-start over the remaining. Lo and behold, come the September of yearly, the Hindi hegemony reaches its zenith. All Union authorities establishments rejoice Hindi Diwas, Pakwada, with super zeal. Additionally, plenty of perks are on supply for Union authorities staff to advertise Hindi.
When the system itself is designed in such a method that it offers Hindi preferential standing, can we anticipate justice for our mom tongues? Nonetheless, there’s gentle on the finish of the tunnel. Of late, there’s a rising consciousness amongst folks about Hindi imposition and its perils. On a optimistic notice, we’ve additionally seen a number of MPs voicing their opinion on the matter in Parliament. However until Articles 343-351 of the Structure, which have made Hindi hegemony potential, are amended, there could also be no hope for different languages.
It was solely after I obtained to grasp India and the thought of India that I realised that I don’t want Hindi to show my Indianness. Even now, Hindi is the one different Indian language, aside from my mom tongue Kannada, I’m proficient sufficient to talk, learn and write in. Nevertheless it’s not a badge of honour as I as soon as thought it was. My Hindi proficiency is a results of the relentless imposition that I went by way of as a child. Truly, it’s completely okay for a Kannadiga to not know Hindi. It doesn’t make him a lesser Indian. This must be echoed again and again. Solely then can we construct a plural India.
Nicely, from being a dumb teenager who thought Hindi is a should for an Indian to calling myself a proud Kannada-speaking Indian now, my journey during the last decade took me over much-uncharted territory and educated me on the linguistic variety of India. It’s excessive time we applied a two-language schooling coverage in Karnataka to save lots of our kids from the extreme burden of studying Hindi. That will be the primary proper step in the proper path. Let’s hope no Kannada little one in Karnataka, sooner or later, spends his childhood in a Hindi setting and begins wanting down on his personal language!
Sirigannadam Gelge! Sirigannadam Balge!
(The author is a Bengaluru-based IT skilled and blogger)