Good Returns in the Long Run
It is true that political parties have so far ignored a large group of votes who are neither very poor nor of the middle class. This group, who have made their way out of the poverty trap through sheer hard work and perseverance and who are focused on improving their conditions in life, have so far had no political or trade union organization to back them. They are also more politically awake and are careful to exercise their franchise with due caution, unlike the upper middle class. This group, which is better educated than their earlier generations, are tired of hearing empty phrases like secularism, inclusive growth and promise of doles. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has struck the right chord by trying to identify with this new and growing political constituency. However, he has woken up to this reality a bit late. But it will surely fetch him good returns in the long run.
Satish Kumar Sarma,
Kalyanpur, Biswath Chariali.
The Language Issue
According to a UNESCO report, there are around 42 languages or dialects in India which are endangered and are believed to be heading towards extinction. And of course there exists a longer list of languages which have already gone extinct, Aka-Bo language of Great Andaman being just a recent example.
Extinction of hundreds of languages indicate the disappearance of diversity from the face of the earth. With the loss of languages, we lose entire societies, their culture and a storehouse of indigenous wisdom. The social scientists and concerned authorities should rise to the occasion to rescue dying languages and cultures to keep heterogeneity and the spirit of “equality of all languages” alive, else it will not reflect the Indian democracy in a glorifying light.
Mother tongue remains the most basic identity of an individual or a community. If it does not get its due place under the sun, then the community which speaks it is bound to meet its doom. This is primarily the reason behind UNESCO’s decision of desigting the 21st day of February (a red-letter day of Bengalis fighting against Urdu imperialists in erstwhile East Pakistan) as Intertiol Mother Language Day, thereby stressing the importance of mother tongue in one’s life. Just as a child cannot be detached from his/her mother, similarly it would be nothing but a crime if any community gets robbed of its mother tongue just because it does not enjoy any political-economic-numerical-muscular advantage strength clout and influence.
Also, it is high time we realized that no language has been solely declared as the “tiol Language” of India. Hindi is also another language of the multi-lingual democratic tion med India; the latter’s right over the country is neither superior nor inferior to the other languages. This is the very reason why the division bench of Gujarat High Court comprising Chief Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya and Justice AS Dave has categorically stated that there is no tiol language in India. Again the bench of the very same High Court, comprising Justice VM Sahai and AJ Desai, has opined that Hindi is nothing but a foreign language for Gujaratis who were protesting against the tiol Highway Authority of India which had dared to issue a notification in Hindi only right on the soil of Gujarat. This directly proves that the indigenous languages in the non-Hindi speaking regions are superior in status than Hindi which is actually nothing but a mere regiol language spoken in the North Indian States, but absolutely foreign outside it. Thus, those who zealously project Hindi as the “tiol language” are merely assaulting the very basis of the Constitution and the powers who are imposing Hindi upon the non-Hindi-speaking population are actually demeaning the esteemed judiciary.
So the Union Government should see to it that all funds related to promotion of languages do not get usurped by Hindi only. After all, the right of any other language (be it scheduled or non-scheduled) in India is not a bit lesser than Hindi. Thus, if an equitable distribution of Central resources is ensured, it would benefit the cause of all languages and dialects (specially the endangered ones) to a great extent.
As far as linguistic policy in Indian schools are concerned, all students should definitely be taught their respective mother tongues in schools (at least as a subject) so as to make them aware of their roots, literature and cultural legacy. And the importance of English also cannot be discounted a bit. Since India is a multi-lingual democratic country, only a neutral language like English can link all Indians and bind all regions of the country together. Moreover, English is not only the language of higher education, it also remains the window to reach out to the world. Also, study of the indigenous or official language of the respective States should be made mandatory in all schools, irrespective of its affiliation to State or Central boards, including the Kendriya Vidyalays. When a child remains thoroughly acquainted with his/her mother tongue, the indigenous/official language of the State concerned and English, the child will not only grow up to be a confident persolity, and he/she will also acquire a tiol as well as intertiol mindset, that too without getting detached from his/her roots.
Peerless gar, Kolkata-114.