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Hindi as the National language- advantages and disadvantages.

India is linguistically diverse country. Starting from Jammu - Kashmir in north to Kanyakumari in south an Gujrat in West to Arunachal Pradesh in east, people speak different languages and dialect. Few of them are - Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telgu, Kannada, Malyalam, Urdu, Marwari, Haryanvi etc. Indian constitution considers 15 languages as national languages and English and Hindi as the official languages. From the time before independence to present time, there has always been controversy regarding "One India - One language" and imposing Hindi as the national language.

People who support 'Hindi imposition' as the national language believe that Hindi language represents our culture.They also believe that promotion of hindi must be a matter of respect for all Indians. Also, if it is made the national language, it will gradually spread worldwide and gain recognition, as India ranks second in the population across the globe.They also pressume that of all the indigenous languages only Hindi is understood all over the country. They are unaware of the reality.

The reality is that majority of Indians donot know Hindi. According to 2001 census figures, just 45% people speak or know Hindi. Only 25% people in India have declared Hindi as their mother tongue language. The remaining people speak variants of Hindi like Bhojpuri, Magadhi, Maithili, Rajasthani, Marwari,etc. All put together, the speakers of Hindi and its dialects are about 45%. It proves that remaining 55% speak non-Hindi languages and majority of people in India don't even know Hindi.

Some Hindi supporters argue that Hindi can be made compulsory and everyone will learn it over a period of time. This is only because they might not aware of the pain of learning a new language. Hindi is same to the non – Hindi as English is to all Indians – 'a foreign language'. There are people who know and understand Hindi but when it comes to expressing their views or giving presentations, they are not comfortable with it. Moreover, instead or spending so much of time and energy in learning a new language, wont they prefer spending the same in learning science and technology or computer skills ? So, languages should be used for convenience and not be imposed.

People might say and in fact its true also that language has created a gap among the people within the country itself. This can be solved by making a common language like English as the national language. Doing this wil not give an unfair advantage to anyone. Moreover, English is the medium of education in most of the schools and is also internationally accepted language.So why not unify the nation by bridging the gaps among people in the country and at the same time become the global citizens as well.

One might feel that becoming global citizens make us less patriotic. But is patriotism merely in languages ? No not at all. Patriotism is not in showing off things to outside world without any harmony within the country boundary, instead it is a strong internal emotion which makes you respect the multilingualism in the country and keep it united.

Also, preservation of culture as been an old age argument against any kind of change. If we were to be preserving culture, then it should have been Sanskrit we should have been talking about and not Hindi.

I would like to say that rather than imposing any specific state or regional language as the national language and arguing over such issues, we must think of ways and means of making a common language 'English' reach each and every citizen of the country, so that justice is done to everyone. By doing so we will not only bridge the gap between various parts of the country, but also move forward as ' India – as a united nation'.

Nidhi Lata