Languages and Eighth Schedule

Hindi Diwas and the Making of India’s Official Language


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Hindi Diwas

Mains level : National Language Debate

hindi diwas

Central Idea

  • Hindi Diwas, celebrated on September 14th each year, holds a special place in India’s cultural and linguistic tapestry.

Hindi Diwas

  • Official Language Selection: After gaining independence, India recognized the need for a unifying official language to facilitate communication between government departments and the public. On September 14, 1949, Hindi was chosen as the official language, as stipulated in Article 343 of the Indian Constitution.
  • Pioneering Advocates: Leaders such as Seth Govind Das, Maithili Sharan Gupt, Kaka Kalelkar, and Beohar Rajendra Simha were instrumental in championing Hindi as the nation’s official language. Beohar Rajendra Simha’s birthday on September 14 became synonymous with Hindi Diwas.

Language Debate in the Constituent Assembly

  • RV Dhulekar Advocates for Hindi: RV Dhulekar, a representative from Uttar Pradesh, passionately argued that Hindi should not only be the official language but also the national language. He asserted that Hindi had triumphed in a race among languages and deserved recognition.
  • Frank Anthony’s Case for English: Frank Anthony, representing Central Provinces and Berar, made a compelling case for English. He emphasized that the knowledge of English, acquired over two centuries, was a valuable asset for India on the international stage.
  • Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra’s Push for Sanskrit: Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra, who represented Bengal, advocated for Sanskrit as the national and official language. He argued that it was a revered language with rich heritage.
  • Qazi Syed Karimuddin’s Support for Hindustani: Qazi Syed Karimuddin, also from Central Provinces and Berar, highlighted Mahatma Gandhi’s endorsement of Hindustani. He proposed that Hindustani, written in both Devanagari and Urdu scripts, should be the national language.
  • T A Ramalingam Chettiar’s Perspective on Hindi: T A Ramalingam Chettiar, representing Madras, accepted Hindi as an official language due to its widespread use but questioned its claim as the national language. He argued that India had several national languages, each deserving equal recognition.

The Munshi-Ayyangar Formula

  • The Constituent Assembly engaged in extensive deliberations over three days, resulting in the Munshi-Ayyangar formula.
  • It was a compromise named after the drafting committee members K M Munshi and N Gopalaswamy Ayyangar.
  • According to this formula, Article 343 of the Constitution adopted in 1950 stated that the official language of the Union would be Hindi in the Devanagari script.
  • However, English would continue to be used for official purposes for fifteen years from the Constitution’s commencement.

Back2Basics: Article 343

  • Article 343 (1) of the Constitution provides that Hindi in Devanagari script shall be the official language of the Union.
  • Article 343 (3) empowered the Parliament to provide by law for continued use of English for official purposes even after January 25, 1965.
  • This provision was included to ensure a smooth transition, as English was widely used in India at the time of independence.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.