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Amit Shah’s Caution to English

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*Dr Veda Pratap Vaidik

Home Minister Amit Shah has said the other day what Maharishi Dayanand, Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia used to say.  Addressing a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Official Language Shah said that the citizens of India should prefer Hindi to English for mutual communication. That is, the link language of the country should be Hindi, not English!

 What wrong did he say? It is 75 years since India got independence and we are still doing slavery to English.

It is surprising; English which is the language of a diminutive minority in the country is our official language. It is a mockery; though Hindi is our declared official language, in practice it is not so. Even now, all important government transactions are done in English.  In India take any sector -law, justice, governance, higher education, research, medical, everywhere English is dominating. Out uneducated and even educated leaders do not have spine to challenge this undue domination of English. English is treated like a Queen and all Indian languages her subservient maids.

 Paradigm shift in the prevailing pro-English mindset has to be brought in with the slogan Angrezi Hatao and not by the jingle Hindi Lao Nahi.  I applaud Amit Shah for being the first Home Minister of India to raise aloud the two-word slogan-English Hatao.  This slogan does not mean English has to be obliterated eternally. Those who are interested in English can learn it at will, like any other foreign language. But never try to impose it on anybody.  It is also incorrect to enforce Hindi on any unwilling public.

I am also opposed to imposing Hindi on non-Hindi speaking people if it creates inconvenience to them. If Amit Shah would have in his speech asked the people to replace English with any Indian language of their choice such a fierce protest would not have irrupted. Shah’s public speech provided a rare opportunity to some of the South Indian political leaders to pounce on the Gujarati speaking Home Minister.

If Amit Shah stands firm on what he said and insists the Hindi speaking population to learn other Indian languages, then it is certain, the ardent admirers of English language will be compelled to keep their mouth shut. It is not surprising; there are more devotees of English in North India than in the South. Pleased note, India has a population of over 140 crore and just 8-10 crore follow English. It is paradoxical; this microscopic minority rules the nation. If English is  repudiated then the avenues of higher education, superior services, higher positions, higher income and higher life will be wide opened to the poor, rural, backward, deprived people of the country.

The egalitarian revolution will automatically begin as soon as these doors, which have been closed since the British era, are opened. True democracy will happen in India.

 Which language can connect local languages? Could it be Hindi? Those opposed to Hindi as a link language are to be considered sworn enemies of those speaking their mother tongue. The general public of non-Hindi speaking states has no extra liking to English. The current protest against Hindi is nothing but pathetic screaming of the so called Bhadralok. Do the millions of villagers, farmers, laborers, women, Hindu-Muslim pilgrims and tourists from the North and South India communicate in English, when they visit each other’s region? They converse in Hindi.

English is the language of haughtiness and domination, but Hindi is the language of love and affection and also sounds pleasant and innate.

(Dr Vaidik has been the leader of the English Hatao Movement.)

*Dr. Vaidik is a widely travelled scholar-journalist. He has visited more than 80 countries on diplomatic and educationalmissions. Dr. Vaidik has won more than a dozen National and International awards for academic and journalistic excellence. He has been a member of several Advisory Committees of Government of India.

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