Deen Dayal Upadhyaya

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No Surrender to Language Reactionaries

-Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya
[Organise, 22 February, 1965]

The issue of official language had been raked up once again. The protagonists of English have taken up new positions. They have rearranged their forces. Taking advantage of the highly volatile situation created by the continue misrule of the Congress over the last several years, and aligning themselves with disruptive forces like the D.M.K., the fifth column elements like the Communists, and the riff-raff in the society, they have declared a virtual was against established authority. They took law into their own hands, and spread law-lessens throughout Madras State. The contagion seems to be spreading further. All this was done with a view to unproved the Government at the Centre. And now they are demanding virtually at the point of bayonet a change in the Constitution. They have challenged the authority of the State. Their attitude is an attitude of revolt and rebellion. They have exceeded the limits of protest and persuasion. They do not want debate and discussion. Being sure of reason and sense on the other side, they have taken to argumentum beculinum argument of the stick. Under the circumstances a crucial decision has to be taken by those in authority. The decision will decide the fate of democracy and national unity in India. If they succumb, we bid goodbye to democracy, and national unity will be a thing of the past. If they resist, they will strengthen democracy and reinforce unity.

Syndicate Versus Lal Bahadur

So many factors and forces have combined to create the present situation that any over-simplification would be dangerous. A proper analysis is necessary for detailing the steps to improve matters. There is a strong feeling that the whole agitation has its genesis in the internal power conflicts of the Congress organisation. The Syndicate which was considered responsible for the election of Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri as leader of Congress parliamentary Party is reported to have fallen foul with the Prime Minister. They have disliked independence of the Prime Minister. They would like him to act as their tool. But the P.M. has been trying to assert. And here comes an opportunity when the P.M. can be made to eat the humble pie. It is for this reason that the Congress president Shri Kamraj Nadar and other members of the Syndicate have been making statements which not only go against the policy of the Government, but directly and indirectly lend support to the violent acts against the Government. We are not very much concerned with the group rivalries within the Congress. But it is necessary that the people should not allow themselves to be so exploited by these power-hungry politicians. In the course of the riots there has been huge loss of life and property. And who will suffer the burden? We, the people of India, the people of Tamil and, the people who burnt the railway trains, post offices and buses. In the next budget, there will be fresh levies to compensate the loss and to fill the pockets of these politicians and their henchmen in the name of plans.

This Nonsense About Imposition

If There Are Some People Who Can Think Of Disrupting Unity Simply Because Hindi Comes Or English Does Not Remain, They Definitely Have No Faith In Unity, They Are Either Secessionists Or Victims Of Planned Propaganda.

So far as the question of official language is concerned the present arrangement fully takes into consideration the needs and apprehensions of those sections of the people who might not have a working knowledge of the official language. As far as national aspirations and national prestige are concerned continuance of English could not have been tolerated even for a day after independence. But it was a concession to those in services that English was given a lease till 26 January, 1965. And now with the adoption of the Official Languages. Act, it has been provided that English may be used for an indefinite period. Nobody would like to create difficulties or disabilities for who’s who do now know the official language. But if some people insist that they would never learn the official language, it is incomprehensible. If facilities are provided for coaching in Hindi, it is considered as an imposition of Hindi. If that is an imposition, all schools and educational institutions should be considered as prison houses. In an age when compulsory education has become a desirable policy to be followed by the Governments, and is not considered in any way and abridgement of the freedom of the individual, it is all the more surprising that the students should decide not to learn a language necessary to equip them for the proper discharge of their responsibilities in life.

If today the educated youth of Tamilnadu are faced with the grim prospects of diminishing opportunities in all-India services it is mainly because of the short-sighted policy pursued by their leaders and rulers in the past. The people of Maharashtra or Gujarat are not apprehensive of their future. The Governments provided for Hindi teaching in the schools, and the students learnt it without any inhibitions, today they do not feel handicapped. But in Tamilnadu, because of the DMK, the Government did not make proper arrangements for the teaching of Hindi. It was a political decision based on a policy of appeasement. It betrayed their lack of confidence. They betrayed the nation and the youth of the State. However, the whole country, when it adopted the Official Languages Bill, condoned their past conduct in the hope their past disability would be removed soon. But they do not seem to mend matters. Instead they are trying to impose English on the whole nation. No, it will not be allowed to be done.

Beyond The Wildest Dreams Of Clive & Macaulay

The Youth of Tamilnadu or any province need not be apprehensive of their future. They are part of this nation. Who can deprive them of their national rights? The only thing that they need is to refuse to listen to those leaders who have become myopic, who can think only of the past when under the British they learnt English. Today they can boss over you because they know better English. They are afraid that if English goes and Tamil and Hindi come they would lose their position. We neither need nor reassure them. The old order must change giving place to new. The youth must be the harbinger of the new order. The youth have been always in the vanguard of national movement. It is really painful when today. I find them leading reactionary and anti-national movements. I would have congratulated these friends if they had shown their exuberance by demand Tamil. Tamil is a national language. Any movement for Tamil will only generate national sanskars. But to kill people for English horrible. Even Lord Clive and Macaulay could not have thought that Indians would degenerate so fast.

No Appeasement

There are some people who demand continuance of English to preserve India’s unity. They are no lover of Indian unity. It is only a clever ruse to beguile the innocent people of the country. In fact when they say so they give a veiled threat that if you do not continue the use of English, we shall secede. This veil must be cleared. National unity is an article of faith and not a matter of compromise. If there are some people who can think of disrupting unity simply because Hindi comes or English does not remain, they definitely have no faith in unity. They are either secessionists or victims of planned propaganda. The goonda who wants to violate the chastity of a lady threatens to defame her if she refuses to submit. And if the lady succumbs, surely she cares more for her fame then for her chastity. Those who have faith in India’s unity cannot fall a prey to these tactics. We must fight the menace, rather than submit and appease.

Appeasement has only whetted the appetite of the Anglophiles. Genuine apprehensions can be allayed but their can be no retraction.

Hindi Belongs To Whole Nation

The question of the official language is not a question between Hindi-speaking and non-Hindi speaking people. In fact there is no one in India who is Hindi-speaking or non-Hindi-speaking. This division is unreal and dangerous. All that can be said is that there are people Hindi-knowing and there are people not knowing Hindi. If there are people who do not know Hindi they should be allowed time to know it. It only means that the programme of transition can be phased. But the process must begin here and now; it cannot be delayed. To say that Hindi will come when the non-Hindi people demand it is to introduce a wrong practice and that too on the basis of an unreal division of the people. Who are these non-Hindi people? How shall they express their willingness? Should a recalcitrant minority be allowed to hold back the progress of the nation? Hindi is the language of the whole nation and the mother tongue of none. It has developed such. Those who call themselves as non-Hindi should shed their complex. They have an equal claim on Hindi. They should a rich it. If the war of Indian Independence in 1857 was fought more fiercely in U.P. and Delhi it does not mean that it was a war of the Northerners only. When a film documentary on this subject mostly displayed scenes from the north our southern friends resented omission of the events from the South. The were perfectly justified in their resentment. If today most of the people in the North know Hindi, it is not because it is a language exclusively their own but because of a historical coincidence. Some special efforts can be taken to make up for the time lag. But we cannot commit the mistake of depriving a section of the people of a language which is their own by tradition and by statutory recognition.

The P.M. Is On Trial

The Prime Minister has to act firmly and decisively. Let him not fumble and falter. It is a widely held view that Shri Shastri is a weak man. Here has an opportunity to show that view is not well-founded. Let him show the strength needed of a Prime Minister. He has convened the meeting of the Chief Ministers to discuss this issue. Should the Chief Ministers be allowed to arrogate to themselves the powers and functions of the Parliament? Moreover any discussion of this question, so early, and under threat of a movement that has only been suspended might be impolitic and not conducive to objective thinking. The Kerala elections will also cloud reasoning. It would be desirable that the whole thing should be postponed for the present. First, law and order must be maintained, normally restored, forces of challenge curbed. The government’s present policy should be properly explained and misunderstandings removed. After these steps, if need be, a representative gathering can be called to informally evolve a language policy to be unanimously adopted by the parliament.
Compiled by Amarjeet Singh, Research Associate & Programme Coordinator, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, 9, Ashok Road, New Delhi - 110001
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