Hindi Diwas: The language of tolerance and nationalism

Every year we celebrate September 14 as ‘Hindi Diwas’ to pay respect to our national language. The Constituent Assembly of India had adopted Hindi, an Indo-Aryan language, written in Devnagari script as one of the official languages of the Republic of India in 1950. Hindi is one of the 22 scheduled languages of the country and spoken by over 40 per cent population. Hindi echoes the voice of integration. This is the language of tolerance and nationalism.  It is also fourth most spoken language in the world after English, Spanish and Mandarin.
When India became independent, there were efforts by the government to widen the reach of the language. But well before that, in its 1925 Karachi session, the Indian National Congress had decided for Hindustani — the blend of Hindi and Urdu — to be made the lingua franca of independent India. This resolution, however, was modified later, and with the coming of  Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, it was suggested that Hindi alone be made the national language.
Stalwarts like Beohar Rajendra Simha, Hazari Prasad Dwivedi, Kaka Kalelkarr, Maithili Sharan Gupt  and Seth Govind Das lobbied hard in favour of Hindi to be made the official language of India. On September 14, 1949, Hindi was adopted as the official language of the country. The word ‘Hindi’ came from a Persian word ‘Hind’, which means the land of the Indus River.
As a language, Hindi not only commands respect but is also widely spoken; its popularity sustained by Hindi cinema and its melodious songs.
We celebrate Hindi Diwas because we acknowledge the significance of the language that is spoken by 43.6 per cent speakers in India, who identify Hindi as their mother tongue — as of 2011 census. The language has other variants as well, like Awadhi, Braj and Khadi Boli.
Unfortunately, even after seven decades of Independence, there is still protest against Hindi as national languages in some parts of southern parts of India. When Centre’s draft on National Education Policy had endorsed a three-language formula for schools, it was Tamil Nadu which protested first and prompting the Centre to try and allay fears of an “imposition of Hindi”.  As a result, the government had to amend the draft policy and withdraw the proposal.
Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi is adding to the glory of Hindi by delivering speeches in the language in the country and abroad. We need to promote such simple Hindi. Instead of having a narrow view of Hindi, there is a need to create awareness about it.

- Prabhakar Purandare

Other Editorials