Deen Dayal Upadhyaya

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Hindi is Here

-Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya
[Organiser, Republic Day Special, 1965]

From 26 January, 1965 Hindi in Devanagari script will become the ‘principal’ language of the Indian Union. In fact if the constitutional provisions were adhered to, and the wishes of the people respected, the adjunct ‘principal’ should have been dropped and Hindi should become the only official language of the Union. But the Government, which believes in foreign collaboration in all matters decided to continue the use to English even after 26 January, 1965 as an associate language. The only psychological satisfaction that nationalists can derive is that from that day onwards English will only be an ‘associate’ language. It, however, remains to be seen what in practice will be the position of the ‘associate’ language in relation to the ‘principal’ language.

Why Some Oppose Hindi

I need not go into the arguments for and against Hindi. They have been repeated ad nauseam. It is difficult to convince those who are opposed to Hindi. They belong to two categories. The opposition of one class is not Hindi alone, but to the very concept of one nation, one culture and one country. They want yet another partition of India. And, therefore, they call Hindi as an instrument of ‘imperialist’ rule of Indians over Indians. They have their political ambitious. You cannot convince them unless you have convinced them of the futility of their separatist ambitions that requires a determined effort in the right direction. Concessions will only embolden them. Appeasements will only what their appetite. They have got to be fought and defeated.

There is another class of opponents who are nationalist to the core. Some of them plead for Sanskrit. They have a strong case. But by opposing Hindi or by delaying its use they do not help Sanskrit. Though the case for Sanskrit is the strongest, yet its position at present is the weakest. As far as Hindi is concerned, even those who are its arch enemies are learning it. For it has, through the years, attained a certain position. No body can ignore it. Under such circumstances, if English is allowed to continue and dominate, Sanskrit will get the lowest precedence in the courses of study. In the three language formula, Hindi, English and the regional language will naturally oust Sanskrit. It will be harmful regional languages. But that is what the people are doing.

If Hindi comes, the need for the present emphasis on English will no longer be there. Even if English continues to be taught as a subject, proficiency in it will not be required for all. We can, then, have a combined course of Hindi and Sanskrit, along with the regional languages.

While all Indian languages are national languages, Sanskrit is the national language of India. But Hindi has become the lingua France of the country, and as such it alone can be the language for most of the official purposes of the Union. Regional languages of course will be used so far as official work in the States is concerned. But in many departments of the Centre, there is bound to be some sort of bi-linguist. The work of the post and Telegraph Department, Revenue Department, Railways, etc. Will have to be transacted both in the Union and the regional languages. Sanskrit should be used for all ceremonial occasions, as also for presenting credentials abroad.

Why English Has To Go The Way Of Persian

Let there be no arbitrariness about this arrangement and the relationship of the three languages. In fact history has already assignees this, and work accordingly. If the Government is to follow the people, it must do what the people have been doing in the matter of languages. It is because of the people that Sanskrit did not become a dead language and still continues to occupy an important place in their life. If is because of the people’s efforts that Hindi became the ‘Lingua Franca of India.’ Government did its best to foist English on the people. But even after 150 years of persistent efforts not more than two percent of the people could learn it, and much fewer can speak and work it.

Since the adoption of the Constitution, the people of India have slowed down their nation-building efforts, and left everything to the Government. Governments can never build a nation; they can only rule it well or ill. The nation is to be built by the people. In the sphere of language also it is the people who have to play a decisive role. It is the people’s speech that becomes a language, and Government has invariably to use that language.
If Government could dictate in the matter of languages, Persian would have become the language of this country long ago. For centuries together the rulers at Delhi transacted their business in Persian. But the people continued to work in their own languages. Ultimately, the Moghul rulers had to adopt people’s language Khari Boli which, under the court’s influence, developed as a style of Hindi known as Urdu. It was due to this burdensome influence of the Government and the courts that Urdu too could not become a language of the masses, and therefore Sur and Tulsi preferred Braj and Avadhi to inform and inspire the masses.

Hindi—The Language of National Protest

Though Urdu had made a rich contribution to our literature, it could not serve as an instrument of national renaissance. We needed a people’s language for that. Hindi was the natural choice. I do not know if the location of the capital at Delhi has something to contribute to this historical evolution of Hindi which is based on Khari Boli spoken round about Delhi as the all India language. But the people took to it. And all these years Hindi has been as instrument of our struggle for independence. It symbolised our independence and our distinct individuality from the foreign rulers. Naturally propagation of Hindi became one of the constructive programmes of freedom fighters.

And this was so not only in our struggle against the Britishers, but also against the Mughal’s, Shivaji had a number of Hindi poets of whom Bhushan is widely known Chhatrasal, when he appealed to Peshwa Baji Rao first for help, simply sent the following Hindi couplet–
(O Baji Rao, I find myself in the plight in which the elephant found himself. The game is being lost, so do come to my succour and save my honour.)

There might be a democratic Government and it might even call itself a people’s Government, but the ways of all Governments are the same. Apart from the fact that this Government, but the ways of all Governments are the same. Apart from the fact that this Government happens to bi inheritor of the British tradition, a Government cannot do what the people should do. If the people continue to disregard their language, no Government cannot protect and promote it. A language which is developed simply under the aegis of a Government would cease to be a language of the people, a living language with a literature reflecting the sent people. Let us not repeat the history of ‘Ritikal’ of Hindi or of Urdu, or of Sanskrit in later times. Let Hindi continue to be a language of action, a language of inspiration. It was long a language of the people conspiring to over throw foreign rule. Let it continue to be so the people now conspiring in a democratic manner against the foreign orientation of the Government. Hindi was a language of ‘protest’ and it will prosper as long as it remains one.

We Will Not IMPLORE: We Will Impeach

The people have rested long. They should not beseech the Government to use Hindi and other regional languages but be prepared to impeach them if they don’t. It is your mother tongue, do not entrust it to the Government’s nursing home as a foster child. Our tradition is not to send even old and decrepit parents to Government’s old-age homes. We must ourselves serve them.

Language cannot develop in vacuum, or in Government files. It lives with the people. People live through it. From 26 January, 1965, we must therefore resolve that we shall use only our own languages. We shall not follow the Government. Let the Government follow us. If it refuses it will have cut its roots. Who, except people, can sustain a Government? We have been unduly mesmerised and all these eighteen years were labouring under the impression that Governments sustain the people. It is wrong. Let us correct ourselves.

It we realise our responsibility in the matter of language; we shall regain the power that we mortgaged to the Government. It will revolutionise our outlook. It will take us out of the morass in which we find ourselves. It will make the people look up. People, who today feel dejected and defeated for the failures of the Government, will regain their confidence and pluck. That will be a turning point in our history. Let this Republic Day be the real day of the public. The Government has failed but the people will not fail. We shall struggle and succeed. Let Hindi and other regional languages be the symbol of our national unity, national striving and national achievement.
Compiled by Amarjeet Singh, Research Associate & Programme Coordinator, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, 9, Ashok Road, New Delhi - 110001
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