Saturday, June 18, 2011

Unity in Diversity

India is a secular,democratic union of states with many religions,languages and cultures.Everyone of us knows this but are we doing enough to preserve this diversity?

To state the facts,
There is no single National language in India.People within and outside India have believed that Hindi is India's National language,thanks to the  media and educational system which has shown it that way.
There are 22 National languages in India as defined in the constitution and all the languages are treated equally.

Now,how does this misconception "Hindi is our National language" affect us?
              Apart from the government imposing Hindi across the country by various means(even allocating Rs.360 million every year to spread its use),now general public(Indians) has come to equate Indian nationality with the knowledge of Hindi.A person who does not know Hindi or who does not want Hindi to replace his mother language is considered less Indian and anti National.
             People moving across states expect everyone to deal with them in Hindi and never make an attempt to learn the local language even if they decide to settle down in that place.Just imagine this happening for a generation  and we are left with only Hindi as the language in India(one of the languages AKa-Bo spoken in Andaman Islands is already extinct as of 2010)
             If there is a proposal asking people to learn the local language of a state - why is there opposition to this?
            Should the locals learn a new language to deal with the migrants or is it the other way?
Will the Britons learn Gujarati because many Gujaratis have moved there? And Canadians learn Punjabi because there are many Punjabis?

The biggest arguement the people  who support One Nation,one Language(hindi) theory make is that it makes it easy as a country if there is one single language.
Let me give you an analogy to this.
There are many religions being followed in India - Hinduism,Jainism,Sikhism,Christianity and Islam.
Just because Hindus are more in number, Should the government propogate that everyone else convert to Hindusim?
So that there would be no problems between people of different religions? Sounds dumb correct?

Then why should one language be given a special consideration than others?
End of the day,we should remember that India is a union of states speaking different languages and following different cultures.
Let us preserve this diversity which has a history of 1000's of years.

Opposition to Hindi Imposition is not to be taken as a hatred toward Hindi as a language or the Hindi speaking people.
It is more a concern for the regional languages and Kannada for me.

We were,and will be united as a country with all our diversity.
we do not need one language,one religion to be united.


  1. Gautham,

    I agree with your point but only concern would be for travelers, they can't learn different languages just to visit a particular state.. I feel that there should be a common language to converse, that need not be made a "National language". Language enforcement should be made by state government on outsiders settling in their state.. we can think of Germany here, one need to know German if they want to settle/work in Germany where as they can survive with english if they are visiting Germany..
    "Think globally, adopt locally"

  2. Abhijith,
    Travelers are going to stay in a place for few days.. tourism dept. can/will take of them, why should all learn a common language for sake of travelers?
    the other point is pretty much valid and state govt. should take more measures to popularize language along with other development oriented activities..

  3. Abhi,
    Since travellers come from different states and countries,English is sufficient as it serves both domestic and international travellers.
    But what is surprising is the inlcusion of Hindi and Exclusion of Kannada in our tourist places like Chitradurga and Bijapur.This is totally unacceptable.

  4. ಗೌತಮ, ಬರಹ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿದೆ.ನಿಮ್ಮ ಈ ಮಾತಿಗೆ ನನ್ನ ಅಭಿಮತವಿದೆ.
    travellers (ಪ್ರವಾಸಿಗರು)- ವಲಸಿಗರು ಅಂತ ಅನ್ನೋಕೆ ಆಗಲ್ಲ. ನೀವು ನಿಯಮಿತವಾದ ಪ್ರವಾಸಿಗರಾದರೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ಅಲ್ಲಿಯ ಭಾಷೆ ಅನುಸರಿಸೋದು ಸೂಕ್ತ. ವೈವಿಧ್ಯತೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಏಕತೆ ಅಂತ ಹೇಳಿ, ವೈವಿಧ್ಯತೆಗೆ ಕೊಡಲಿ ಹಾಕೋ ವಿಹ್ಚಾರ ನಮ್ಮ ಸರಕಾರಗಳು ಮಾಡ್ತಾ ಇವೆ.

  5. Hi Gautham,
    Well said ... I live in California since '93. Even today when I hear someone speaking Kannada, my heart melts. My wife and I take pride in speaking our language. Our son who is 4.5 years does understand Kannada and sings several songs even though he is yet to understand most of the meaning ... its ok ... he will understand ...
    My point is most so called "kannadigas" do not take pride in their mother tongue. We should and we must. We should always remember our roots. We should not ration our language to our next generation.

    On a similar note, I have seen some video clips where kannada is being taught to foreign workers who in fact have embraced the language whole heartedly.

    These are some of my thoughts ...

    Great work Gautham ... Keep it up.

    Fremont, CA

  6. As you have written this article in English not in local language just to increase the reach. The businessman at tourist places will learn and communicate in many language to increase his reach. As business runs on only one philosophy - "Zero philosophy".
    Though government can support a language and at the same time it is not allowed to force it. But that is also related to the fact the kind of government we choose.

  7. @Raj - Every business is free to choose the language it needs,but as you rightly pointed out,the govt needs to make sure kannada is not neglected.Why is Govt saving the language of its land not allowed?

    @Anil - Good to see your comment and your interest,agree on your points.We can catch up sometime.I live in Sunnyvale.

  8. Dear Gautham,

    I'll agree with your point of view, but on the other hand, if a kannadiga or anyone who is staying out side the India, and if he doesn't know any other Indian language. Suppose he meets with an Indian and the conversation between them is in English. They might feel if someone asked that why do you speak in English even though both of you from India.

    Sometimes I do feel like it. Because, I'm staying in Netherlands, when I meet with an Indian we usually talk in English, and many times people around me, they have asked why do you use English ? I'm proud to say that India is multi linguistic, cultural, unity in diversity, but still feels that, why we don't have one national language?

  9. Siddu,Thanks for your comment.You should view India in comparision with European Union.
    India as one country is more diverse than Europe as a continent.
    I do not agree with replacing all the languages(even though not directly) with one language.
    English is the result of British rule and we have to accept it and move on.It has actually helped India in terms of Globalization.
    And the reason we dont have a national language is because India is literally made up of union of states all of which had different languages when India was born.