CULTURAL AGGRESSION THROUGH IMPOSITION OF HINDI
By Abdul Majid Zargar
Another type of Cultural aggression is going on in Kashmir. India is silently & steadily trying to impose Hindi language in Kashmir. To start with, Central Govt. Offices have been instructed to use Hindi as medium of Communication & officers encouraged to send & sign letters in Hindi. In-House “Departmental promotional Committees” for Hindi are instructed to monitor the progress & coercive measures like delays in promotion etc. enforced for slow or no progress. Even Parliamentary committees for promotion of Hindi visit the state periodically to oversee the progress.
Hindi is the official language of India. According to the article 343 (1) of the Constitution of India, the Official Language of the Union of India shall be Hindi in Devanagari script. But the official language of State of J& K is Urdu. section 145 of the Jammu & Kashmir Constitution provides: \”The official language of the State shall be Urdu but the English language shall unless the Legislature by law otherwise provides, continue to be used for all the official purposes of the State for which it was being used immediately before the commencement of the Constitution.”. As will be seen there is no mention of “Hindi” anywhere in J&K Constitution and accordingly its use in the State of J&K is against the spirit of the State Constitution.
Urdu was the official language of British India till 1947. After partition, the debate about adoption of Official Language”(whether Urdu or Hindi) took place in the constituent Assembly and members were equally & evenly divided between Urdu & Hindi. The presiding officer of the Constituent Assembly, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, gave his casting vote in favor of Hindi and thus Urdu lost its official position. A casting vote is one which is exercised by head of the House, who normally does not vote to maintain his independence, in case votes are equally divided.
The Indian Constitution came into effect on January 26, 1950 with Hindi as official language, in spite of intense opposition from many non-Hindi States & leaders. However, English was to be used for fifteen years till 1965 for official purposes to allow a smooth transition. In 1965, the first discordant voices came from Tamil Nadu which finally turned into an agitation and later into a liberation movement. In 1968, representatives of Tamil Nadu Students Anti-Hindi Agitation Committee met Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and handed her a memorandum. It said that if Hindi imposition continued, they would have to fight for independence for Tamil Nadu. The same year, at the end of an Anti-Hindi Imposition Rally, Coimbatore students hoisted the \”Independent Tamil Nadu National Flag\” saying that independence for Tamil Nadu is the only way to end Hindi imposition. Several years later, in the mid-1980s, a former Coimbatore student (Thamizharasan) co-founded the Tamil Nadu Liberation Army (TNLA) (Thamizh Nadu Viduthalai Padai) to wage armed struggle for the liberation of Tamil Nadu from Indian rule. Hindi imposition and economic discrimination are two of the reason he cited for launching the Tamil Nadu Liberation Army (TNLA).Indian Govt. relented & allowed Tamil Nadu to retain Tamil as their official language of the State. Meanwhile the government of India has specified 22 languages in the 8th Schedule to the Indian constitution, that it has the responsibility to develop. Urdu is one of these 22 languages. But teasing continued. Indian Government controlled All India Radio (AIR) started using the Hindi word “Akashwani” on the air. Tamil people demonstrated against this. Tamil writers and performers refused to participate in radio programs. Indian Government decided to use the old name \”All India Radio\” in Tamil Nadu while Akashwani was used in other states. In 1982,Indian Government started using Akashwani in Tamil Nadu again in 1982. Tamil people demonstrated and government went back to All India Radio again.
Indian government’s language policy is not just to impose Hindi as official language all over India but also little by little destroy all other Indian languages as useful languages. Once the other languages are rendered useless for business, employment and governmental affairs, Hindi would reign as the sole useful, fully alive language in India. For Muslims it is particularly galling as major part of Islamic literature is available only in Urdu. In that respect it is a direct assault on the religious rights of Muslims in general & Kashmiri Muslims in particular.
But We as people & our Govt. must also share a part of the blame in neglecting our State language. Recently it was revealed that Ration cards were printed in English & not in Urdu. Similarly State subjects are now issued in English instead of Urdu. Rarely do we find sign boards of shopkeepers written in Urdu. Similarly all schools, whether in Private or Public sector should make Urdu a compulsory subject, instead of optional, as is presently the case. Subscribing to Urdu newspapers at family level must be made a habit. These & other slew of measures can neutralize the evil intentions of New-Delhi.
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