Lose the Stupid Focus on Hindi – India is not Homogeneous

The recent debate on increasing the importance of Hindi is amusing. When you scratch beneath the surface, you see that the dominant thought driving these “pro-hindi” types is that India is a homogeneous country. Either from ignorance, or wishful thinking, these deluded individuals including the entire Sena brigade (Shiv/Raj whatever) and these enthu RSS types keep pointing to other countries wistfully. “Look at France!”, they say. “OMG see Japan! They have one language throughout their country and they’re super awesome. Yay for one national language!”

Poor guys. In their naïveté, they want to pretend that India is something it’s not. The populations of countries like France, Japan, Greece, Russia etc are not disparate. They dress the same way, have the same facial characteristics, share a common cultural heritage, and eat the same food. Their language hasn’t been imposed on them. It’s organic. No one in Japan stood up and said “Today we will all speak Japanese!” That’s because they didn’t have to. When the entire population is highly homogeneous, having one language is a natural outcome.

Hardcore hindutva types want to reverse causality. They think that by writing a declaration on a piece of paper, they can suddenly ignore the hard fact that India’s population is not homogeneous. In fact, it’s a lot more like Europe with each state corresponding to a different country. Try making all the member states of the EU settle on one language and watch the fireworks fly! They might be united under a single currency, but the same language? Forget about it.

These chest thumping jokers are being unnecessarily sentimental. A language is nothing but a sequence of sounds to communicate ideas. No need to get emotional about it. Language is a tool, like a screwdriver. You use the best tool for the job. And while Hindi works well in many places in India, it’s a very poor tool everywhere else. You wouldn’t try using a screwdriver to hammer a nail would you? So why would anyone want to impose Hindi when it’s useless? Drop the foolish sentimentality.

Like it or not, for official communications spanning several states, English is simply more practical. Court judgments when written in English can be read by judges in other states without translation. And while a lot of people in a particular area won’t speak English, even fewer of them might be familiar with Hindi. In a situation where there is no universal language, you simply use one that happens to be most convenient even though its flawed.

Imagine the horror of translating each and every court judgment into 24 languages. Lunacy! As if our judicial system is not already burdened enough by paperwork. Not to mention that each and every nuance of a judgment and its references will have to be converted to something else. Bloody insane if you ask me. While these dudes supporting Modi go on about good governance, they have no problem throwing the entire bureaucracy into chaos and making the mess 100 times worse than it already is.

So zip the Hindi bullshit. It’s stupid and illogical. Don’t go around getting attached to any particular language. If you feel comfortable with something, use it. Otherwise don’t. You have no business trying to tell others what they should be comfortable in.

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  1. EU is the association of various Nation States..ie. different countries united under one umbrella currency for better trade. While India is the union of various linguistic states under one umbrella Nation State.( which itself was a wrong doing of the Nehruvian school !) . Now,Where is the comparison of EU and India? If one Nation cannot converse in any one language, it is not unnatural, however it presents problems..both political and administrative as well as social. For example if the layman in south India cannot understand one word of the presidents or PMs speech or the proceedings in the Parliament..don’t you think they can be taken for a ride by regional tyrannical parties?( Sri lankan Tamil issue?) Exactly this has been going on since the 60s in India. we need one uniform language be understood by the whole Nation..but it cannot be done by force, nor can it be made to substitute the Regional language or the use of English. We should be more practical and view the problems in the correct perspective …instead of getting all emotional and shouting from the rooftops. We Indians have always been such Emotional Fools..it is time we woke up and got more practical.


    • In reply to bastab

      It takes centuries for the people of a state or a country to speak a new language. No point in complaining about what we can’t change. For better or worse, India does not converse in any one language. There’s an end to that.


  2. And yes only an idiot will say that Russia is a land of homogenous people.! Cossacks, albanians,polish, jews …you name it and they have it….even more diverse a population than ours.! Stalin shoved Russian down their throats and they had to comply…go and study some more about demographics and Nations before you speak..don’t mislead.


  3. Goodness, even I know that not all Indians speak Hindi. -__- But I think this is an attempt to try to maintain dominance. Even with homogeneous countries like Japan & France, there are different dialects that are spoken & India has an entirely different history, so that’s not a very good comparison. I think this is an attempt from ultra-nationalist folks who want to maintain dominance.


  4. Clueless says:

    Was watching a documentary on the Dalai Lama and his answer for solving issues was – “there is too much emotions. Less emotions!”

    Pretty sound advice.

    Like you said, language is a tool. It just so happens that some tools ARE more suited than others.


  5. Abhishek says:

    Shiv Sena has advocated that Hindi be uniformly imposed on India? REALLY? Shiv Sena? You mean the Shiv Sena that swears by Maratha pride has advocated for Hindi to be imposed on Maharashtra?

    Could I have a source for this?

    Oh wait, from your high society cultural level, they must all seem the same to you really… Marathi, Hindi, Bengali, Odiya, Kannada, Gujarati… just languages spoken by “natives”. There are only 2 languages really, the one spoken by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and gibberish spoken by natives.

    The idea was not to promote Hindi but to end this mentality of people like you where, from your high throne of brown sahib complex, Marathi and Hindi seemed the same to you. That is what the sahibs at Lutyens are up in arms about. Before you write a blog post telling others to respect the linguistic diversity of India, try to get off that high throne from where Marathi and Hindi look the same to you.

    India has spoken. India has arisen. We the people are calling out the high society on their hypocrisy. We will not be intimidated by your intellectual bullying.


    • In reply to Abhishek

      Umm…remember me telling you never to get personal on my blog? How many times do I have to repeat myself?

      And what is this persecution complex you have all of a sudden? “We the people are calling out the high society on their hypocrisy”. Why so much drama?

      And just in case you forget, I’m a citizen of India too. I have a subscription with a membership card and everything!

      My reference to the Shiv Sena was based on their reaction to Orissa’s move on Hindi: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Odisha-assembly-ban-on-Hindi-shocking-Shiv-Sena/articleshow/36889245.cms


      • Abhishek says:

        In reply to bhagwad

        Edited to remove personal comments

        So, let me get this. Shiv Sena is imposing Hindi by demanding that Odisha Assembly not ban the language? So, if I have been elected by the people of Odisha, I will not be eligible to present my views on the floor of the Assembly until I speak English or Odiya? The people have elected me, who is the Odisha speaker to tell me to shut up? Who is doing the imposing here, Shiv Sena or Odisha Assembly?

        As for your theory of “homogenous countries”, let us see if the following countries are linguistically homogeneous:


        Oh, but these are countries with tiny populations, no? Ok, in India’s case, we will accommodate the heterogeneity of India by restricting all power and privilege to a tiny English speaking elite and treat everyone else equally as second class citizens. That is absolutely brilliant, I must admit.


      • In reply to Abhishek

        I think you’re making a big deal out of nothing. How does the government restrict all power and privilege to a “tiny English speaking elite”? How are other people second class citizens?

        In your previous comment you wrote “We will not be intimidated by your intellectual bullying.”

        Can you give me an example of this “intellectual bullying”? A concrete example. You wake up one day…and who is bullying you?


      • Abhishek says:

        In reply to bhagwad

        How are non-English speakers second class citizens? This should be self evident because 99% of our population can’t speak English, but anyway, look at it this way:

        “Everything in India screams ‘English is high, Indian is low.’ Government funds primary education in Indian languages but to study in ‘high’ institutions like the IIT’s and IIM’s, English is the only option. You can practice in a lower court in an Indian language but in the Supreme Court and many High Courts, you can only use English. You can take a test as a jawan in the Indian army in Indian languages but to be an officer in the IMA you need to know English.”

        You have to understand that English in India is much much more than just a medium. Its a caste. And those who don’t belong to this caste are prohibited from approaching higher levels of education, business, courts, bureaucracy and government. Those who don’t belong to this caste feel everyday humiliation in this country. We are preventing 99% of our population from contributing to the economy. And don’t think that the 1% that speaks English is contributing to its potential. Being told from age 0 that your native tongue is lowly is a trauma that devastates your confidence. You can become a senior file pusher at Lutyens, but you will never reach critical mass in innovation and leadership.

        English is holding us back. We can become a nation of call centers with English, but not a nation that invents the internet. There’s nothing wrong with call centers, just that its not enough innovation to lift 800 million people out of poverty.


      • In reply to Abhishek

        You have to admit that when it comes to a language that is accessible to people from all states, English is the best we have. It might not be ideal, but what choice is there? Institutions like IITs, IIMs, the higher courts require their lectures and judgments to be understandable to people in all states. Imagine translating a judgment into 24 languages just so that a judge in another state can read it!

        If you take a random person in south India, do you think there’s a higher chance of them understanding a few words of Hindi or English? Given the make up of our country, English is simply a better choice than Hindi.

        You say that English is for the elites. What you seem to be saying is that you want to transfer that role to Hindi. You want to make Hindi for the elites instead of English. And how is that any better? They’re just languages. No need to get sentimental over them. The best one for the job.

        How is using anything other than English a better option in places that have participation from people all over the country?

        I think you’re exaggerating the “confidence” aspect. A language is useful only as a utility. It’s absurd to go around getting emotional over it. I speak English well. If there was another language that did a better job than English at making my life easier, I would throw away English in a heartbeat. What is the need to make a hue and cry over it?

        I understand the situation is not ideal. But it’s the best there is no?



        In reply to bhagwad

        Here is Tarun Vijay, a member of the communal Shiv Sena brigade demanding that Hindi be imposed on all:

        “31st July 2014- New Delhi- Today BJP Member of Parliament from Uttarakhand Mr Tarun Vijay demanded that govt must introduce Tamil language optional teaching in North Indian schools as a step to strengthen national unity. Amidst a wide applause from all parties and Members cutting across the party and ideological lines, Tarun Vijay’s suggestion was applauded by thumping of the desks.
        Mr Tarun Vijay’s Special Mention,. first time on such a subject by any North Indian MP reads like this-
        The glorious history of all Indian languages is unique and supremely great. We must work to develop feelings of appreciation and respect for each other.
        In this regard it is necessary that people from North India be encouraged to learn any one Southern language through a free choice option.
        For example the incomparable golden heritage that we have in the form of Tamil should make every Indian proud.
        Tolkappiam, ,app 5000 years old. And on a broad spectrum Silappadigaram, Chintamani, Manimekalai, Valayapathi and Gundalakesi are great classics of Tamil literature.
        The onus of the greatest classic in Tamizh literature undoubtedly goes to Kambar’s Ramayana, the epic poem
        One of the greatest works in Tamizh, which is widely preached even to this day, is Tiruvalluvar’s Tirukkural .
        Its imprints are found in various parts of the globe. How many of us know about the global influence and public services of great emperors likeChera, Chola, and Pandya kings ? Only Ashoka and Vikramaditya are not India, unless we have an all encompassing respect for Cholas, Krishnadev Rayas and Pandyas also. Similarly we have great history of Bangla, Malayalam, Telugu and other languages.
        I demand observing Thiruvalluvar’s birthday as Glorious Indian Languages Day in all parts of the country symbolising respect for all Indian languages and introducing Tamil also in North Indian schools as an optional subject for strengthening national unity. Mr Tarun Vijay ended his special mention with Palamaiyana Tamil Mozhiyar Vananguhiren”



      • Clueless says:

        In reply to Abhishek

        And somehow speaking Hindi instead of English will spur innovation?

        Since a big chunk of the consumers of innovation worldwide speak English, if we were innovative, it would actually be to our advantage to be able to sell our ideas in English.


  6. totally agree! Hindi is imposed on other states & minority linguistics unreasonably! That makes those cultures and languages dwindle :(


  7. Ravi Rajyaguru says:

    No one is imposing to change people’s language! It is just that everyone should know and understand hindi. Take it as English, everyone knows and speaks their native language / mother tongue but also knows, understands and speaks English. Hindi has to be made a secondary language that ANY Indian can speak /understand. I just don’t know why Indians love to accept and let dominate a foreign language like English, but refuse to learn its own!
    Regardless of diversity, India has to have a NATIONAL LANGUAGE and it needs to be Hindi.


    • In reply to Ravi Rajyaguru

      That’s because for lots of Indians, Hindi is not “their own” language. And India doesn’t “need” to have a single national language. There’s no need to get sentimental about language – it’s just a tool.


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