Deen Dayal Upadhyaya

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DMK Wants-lingual Centre: BJS Wants Uni-lingual Centre

-Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya
[Organiser, 26 April, 1965]
Special interview with BJS general secretary Deendayal Upadhyaya in Madras

Q.: Why not continue the status quo with regard to English language?

A.: An Independent Nation will have to accept the challenge of Independence, For example, we merged independent princely states. In the defence field, after the Chinese aggression, we had to reorganise and modernise the Army. We cannot solve growing problems by clinging to the status quo. We will have to face them and solve them.

Q.: English is the window of world knowledge. If we close the window, won’t we shut ourselves up?

A.: It implies an inferiority complex that we have always to receive knowledge from others. It is a counsel of despair. We have also to develop and give our knowledge to the world. We have got a sublime culture and tradition, which we can give to the world only through our language.

It is also not true that English serves as a window to world knowledge. We have been denied the knowledge of other languages like French, German, Russian etc. Lakhs of our young men are studying only English. If they learn other languages, our knowledge will definitely increase manifold.

Q.: Is it a fact that even in Hindi States, 80% works is being done in English?

A.: Every State Government is equally a sinner in this respect. However, the use of Hindi is far greater in the Hindi States than in any other regional language in their respective areas. Presently, all legislative work in U.P., M.P., Bihar and Rajasthan is done in Hindi. In offices too Hindi is increasingly being used and if the assurances of the various Governments are to be relied upon, within a year or two, English will be completely replaced by Hindi. In Allahabad High Court, arguments can be, and in many cases are, conducted in Hindi. Before the 1950 Constitution war framed, all work in Madhya Bharat High Court was done in Hindi. It shows that Hindi is sufficiently developed to be used as an official language. If there is any difficulty, it is that the Government lacks the necessary will. Also, in some cases the service personnel might not have the necessary knowledge of Hindi.

Q.: Will not the non-Hindi States suffer if Hindi is made the sole official language, thus conferring a premium on the Hindi States?

A.: If the various regional languages are made the medium of examination by the UPSC, no State will suffer so far as recruitment is concerned. Secondly, if proper and adequate arrangements for the teaching of Hindi are made and politicians do not create inhibitions in the minds of the students, I am sure that non-Hindi people will surpass the Hindi-speaking people in the use of Hindi, as they are believed to have done in English.

Q.: If English is taken away, will not our unity suffer?

A.: Unity depends upon the will of the people to live together, and their faith in the Nation, and the determination of the people and the Government to maintain unity at all costs. When this resolve was lacking in 1947 neither Bengal nor Punjab could remain united in spite of their one language. Moreover, disintegration of a living organism invariably follows the presence in it of an element opposed to its innate nature. English is such a foreign element. Unity of India under the British has been only an artificial and negative one. Positive and constructive unity is possible only through our own languages.

Q.: If language is not necessary for unity, who insists on Hindi? Are you not trying to create uniformity?

A.: Hindi is needed not for the unity of India but because as an independent nation, we need and official language which should be one of our own for historical reasons. Hindi happens to occupy that position. As all other languages will continue to be used, the question of uniformity does not arise. Up to the State level, official work will be transacted in the regional languages. Even many of the departments of the Centre which deal directly with the public will have to use regional languages for such work. Thus, it will hardly be 5% of the work presently transacted in English that will be done through Hindi. If English goes, it is not Hindi alone that will take its place, but all the national languages of IndiA.

Q.: Why do you call English a foreign language? Some of our people speak it as their mother tongue.

A. A language does not become national merely because it is claimed to be spoken by a section of the people. The soul, literature, structure, semantics, imagery, phrases, proverbs, etc. must relate to the land and the people, their culture and their history. The various Indian languages though spoken only in particular regions, fulfil this criterion, and therefore are “All India” so far as their outlook and literature is considered. Therefore they are not considered merely regional languages.

Q.: Language is only an instrument, a medium, like music, science and medicine. How can a language be foreign?

A.: Language is not simply an instrument of expressing thought. It also moulds thought.

Q.: Where do you differ from DMK?

A.: The DMK wants multi-lingual centre. We want uni-languages and remove difficulties in the way of people speaking any particular language. But it is quite another thing to conduct all the business of the Government in all the 14 languages. It is not practical because the languages are so many. In Switzerland, the area and the population are small, and many people know all the 3 languages. But so far as we are concerned, our language problem is unprecedented in the world. The Jana Sangh language policy does justice to Hindi, to the regional languages and to the more important foreign languages.
Compiled by Amarjeet Singh, Research Associate & Programme Coordinator, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, 9, Ashok Road, New Delhi - 110001
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