Deen Dayal Upadhyaya

You are here : Home >> Articles >> A New Jaliawala


A New Jaliawala

-Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya
[Organiser, 22 April, 1963]
On the Sacred Occasion of Baisanki last week 13 April, 1963 Home Minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri introduced in the Lok Sabha the Official Languages Bill. According to the proposed legislation, even after 26 January, 1965, English would continue to be used for official purpose exactly as it was used before India became  free, of before the adoption of the Constitution.

Article 343 of the Constitution enjoins that after 26 January, 1965, all official business shall be transacted in Hindi. Hindi is now to be denied this rightful place and Shri Shastri proposes to make it a language just for translation, and that too for some purpose only. If not with standing that, Shastri claims that this Bill enhances the status of Hindi, I feel constrained to say that he is wilfully trying to dupe the people.

I do not wish to dilate here on the reasons why Hindi has been made India’s Official Language by our Constitution-makers. The issue was discussed thread-bare in the Constituent Assembly and, after due thought, Hindi was accepted unanimously as the Union’s Official Language. The Constitution charged the rulers with the responsibility of ensuring that within a period of fifteen years from the commencement of the Constitution, Hindi would be so developed, and the administrative machinery so trained up, as to make it possible by that time to replace English completely by Hindi for all official work. It is evident that the Government has failed to discharge this duty. Instead of admitting its own failure and seeking from the people some lease of time to be able to make amends for it, the Government is not only unrepentant but is trying to absolve itself or ever from the duty itself. The language Bill has no other objective in the view.

I Charge that this Bill violates the Constitution in letter and in spirit. Sanction for the Bill traced to Article 343(3) of the Constitution, which envisages the necessity that may arise to permit the use of English even after 1965 “for such purposes as may be specified in the law”. It is clear that the Constitution-makes intended to allow, if necessary, English only for some limited purposes, and that too not indefinitely. Article 343(3) certainly cannot be availed of the subvert the Constitution itself. It would be like allowing Bhasmasur Shiva’s own creation-to burn Shiv Ji himself. Thus the Constitution does empower parliament to amend the Constitution, but surely that cannot authorise any amendment, say, which declares that provisions of the Constitution will cease to be operative after such and such a date!

This Bill also provides that after 26 January, 1965, legislative measures moved in parliament “shall be accompanied by authorised Hindi translations”. What a mercy! But let me point out that this too is repugnant to Article 343. If provision had been made for supplying English translations, and regarding them as “authorised”, it could have perhaps been understood. The parliament by so legislating would have been acting in exercise of Art. 343(3), referred to earlier, permitting the use of English for specific purposes. But now it will be English that will continue to play the role of Official Language and Hindi will only have s subsidiary status.

Of what use in this translation going to be? Courts will continue to transact business in English, and it will be the English texts of the Acts which will be deemed as the original. It must be noted that because of the Bill Hindi will not enjoy even that position which several other Indian languages have in their respective States. In Bengal, for instance, Bills adopted by the legislature will be originally in Bengali and only “translations” in English and Hindi shall accompany them. This too is expressly provided for in the Bill. The provisions pertaining to Hindi are conspicuously the reverse.

It has been gratefully (?) provided that “with the previous consent of the President, the Governor of a State can authorise the use of Hindi or the official language of the State for the purpose of judgements and decrees and orders by the State High Court.” But all such judgements “will be accompanied by an authorised English transition.” One can be sure that in practice the trouble of seeking “the previous consent of the president” will never be taken. It would be no small bother to have to deal with laws enacted in English, and then to write our judgements in Hindi and again to append to them English translations.

With a gesture of special grace for Hindi as it were, but in reality to confuse public opinion, the Government, in this proposed Bill, provides that after 26 January, 1975, “the President may appoint a committee,” which “will review the progress made in the use of Hindi for official purposes of the Union and submit a report to the President making recommendations there on,” and “the President may (then) issue directions in accordance with that report”.

Every word of this clause is steeped in decrepit. Article 344 of the Constitution required that “the president shall, at the expiration of five years from the Constitution, and thereafter[ at the expiration of ten years from such commencement”, constitute a Commission to make recommendations, inter alias, as to “the progressive use of the Hindi Language for official purposes” and “restrictions on the use of the English Language for all or any of the official purposes of the Union.” A Commission was appointed after five years. It submitted its report, and a parliamentary Committee made its recommendations. On that basis, the president also did issue some directives. But all that has been quietly consigned to the waste paper basket. No one even talks about the Second Commission which the Constitution requires to be nominated after ten years.

Here was a mandatory provision of the Constitution, and the Government has flag rankly disregarded it. “The president shall constitute,” declares Article 344, where as in this proposed Bill it is said, “The President may constitute...” The “shall” of the Constitution and the  “may” of this Bill should clearly bring out the fraud that is being played on the people by means of this legislation.

We do not know if Shri Shastri’s choice of date for introducing this measure was deliberate or not. What ever it is, the association of this Black Bill with Baisakhi is bound to go down in history as of particular significance. Baisakhi brings to memory two important events of recent history. It was on this day that the Khalsa Panth was born. Guru Govind Singh initiated into the faith the pencha pyaras. We know how the Khalsa was able to shake the very foundations of Moghul rule. More recently, it was on Baisakhi that the bloody outrage of Jalianwala was perpetrated. The entire nation was shocked by the dastardly event. It was Jalianwala that prompted an enraged Motilal Nehru to plunge into the freedom movement. In a way, Jalianwala became a date when the tide turned against the Britisher. It is another such bloody Baisakhi that has come to us this year. At Jalianwala, it was the people who were butchered; now it is the people’s language that is sought to be strangulated. The Englishman thought that with his bullets and bayonets he would be able to perpetuate his empire in India. History proved him wrong. Perhaps the English-bhaktas of today similarly hope to make the domination of English in this country ever-lasting. History will prove them too equally wrong. Indian national self-respect is a vital force. It shall not allow this conspiracy to succeed.

By bringing forth this Billon English, a brutal blow has been struck at national unity. Those who cherish unity will have to evince great patience, and spare no efforts to see that the unity is preserved.

To Congressmen, my simple appeal is to recall to memory the days when they were engaged in the independence struggle. Let them try to recollect the sentiments and ideals that inspired them then. Is not the Governments present stand fundamentally repugnant to all that they stood for? What is it that they stood for? What is it that makes them compromise with all this? This is an occasion when they should boldly come forward to speak their mind and act in accordance with the dictates of their conscience. But if because of advanced age, or attachments and interests, their memory fails them, or they are unable to manifest the manhood necessary for such a step, then let us take lesson from the earlier chapters of the lives of this leadership of yesterday and stand up resolutely for the defence of Mother Bharati.
Compiled by Amarjeet Singh, Research Associate & Programme Coordinator, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, 9, Ashok Road, New Delhi - 110001
Content copyright © Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation
Designed & Developed by Dreamlabz Technologies
home page email us