The Hindi-imposition agenda of the Indian nation is nothing new. However, as I have argued earlier, the present BJP disposition at the Centre has taken it up on a war footing. It seems to have given itself a 5-year window within which to destroy every Indian language other than Hindi.
Speaking in Uzbekistan on July 7, 2015, Mr. Narendra Modi reportedly said that the importance of Hindi is set to increase with India marching rapidly towards economic prosperity. NDTV attributes this quote to the prime minister:
Those (countries) whose economy is strong, wings of their language grow faster as people want to learn their language.
This statement, of course, is true for a country which has only one language. But India is not such a country. India is home to at least two dozen well-developed languages. Hindi is a new kid on the block and pales to insignificance in comparison with languages like Kannada, Tamil, and even Mr. Modi’s mother tongue, Gujarati.
It’s outrageous to submit to foreign countries that there is only one Indian language, Hindi. That’s what Mr. Modi has done. No, Hindi is not the language of the people of India. It is the mother tongue of a trifling minority, and it must remain so if at all the Indian nation must be considered an ethical entity.
Hidden in the prime minister’s statement is an acceptance of the fact that it’s possible to look at Hindi speakers as a country by themselves. Similarly, Kannada speakers, Tamil speakers, Gujarati speakers, etc.
That is, India is a nation of many countries. It’s a nation of nations. It’s a nation of multiple linguistic peoples, multiple cultures. To brush it all aside and talk as if all of India speaks one language, has one culture, is nothing but a return to colonialism, imperialism.
By saying that the importance of Hindi wiill increase with India’s economic prosperity, Mr. Modi has really said that economics in India is largely a north-Indian, Hindi-speaking, high-caste phenomenon.
He’s not even counting South India as a participant in India’s economic prosperity. Or East India, or West India. He’s only thinking of a few Hindi speaking businessmen from North India.
Is this prime minister the prime minister of India or Hindia? Is this government the government of a piece of India which has seceded from India as we know it?
However you look at it, the statements of Mr. Modi, the linguistic hegemony of his government, and the inherent bias for Hindi in the Constitution, are all against the interests of the diverse linguistic peoples of India.
Every Indian wants economic progress and the world to know about his or her language. Every Indian wants more and more people to learn his or her language. Every Indian wants the wings of his language to grow faster.
If the Constitution, the Government, and India’s prime ministers cannot accommodate — no, celebrate — these expectations, let there be no doubt that India is all set to break up into dozens of Uzbekistans. Why? Because a billion people are not going to take the death of their languages lying down.