Languages and Eighth Schedule

Languages and Eighth Schedule

The Debate on National Language

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Official language , Eight schedule

Mains level : Hindi imposition debate

Remarks by a Hindi actor to the effect that Hindi is the national language of India has sparked controversy recently over the status of the language under the Constitution.

What is the status of Hindi?

  • Under Article 343 of the Constitution, the official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script.
  • The international form of Indian numerals will be used for official purposes.

The debate

  • Inherent opposition to Hindi: The Constituent Assembly was bitterly divided on the question, with members from States that did not speak Hindi initially opposing the declaration of Hindi as a national language.
  • Colonial footprints of English: Proponents of Hindi were insistent that English was the language of enslavement and that it should be eliminated as early as possible.
  • Fear of Hindi imposition: Opponents were against English being done away with, fearing that it may lead to Hindi domination in regions that did not speak the language.
  • Inefficacy of Sanskrit: There were demands to make Sanskrit the official language, while some argued in favour of ‘Hindustani’.
  • Issue over Script: There were differences of opinion over the script too. When opinion veered towards accepting Hindi, proponents of the language wanted the ‘Devanagari’ script to be adopted both for words and numerals.

Major outcome: No national language

  • It was decided that the Constitution will only speak of an ‘official language’.
  • And that English would continue to be used for a period of 15 years.
  • The Constitution said that after 15 years, Parliament may by law decide on the use of English and the use of the Devanagari form of numbers for specified purposes.

What is the Eighth Schedule?

  • The Eighth Schedule contains a list of languages in the country. Initially, there were 14 languages in the schedule, but now there are 22 languages.
  • There is no description of the sort of languages that are included or will be included in the Eighth Schedule.

Constitutional position of Eighth Schedule

There are only two references to these languages in the text of the Constitution.

(i) Article 344(1):

  • It provides for the formation of a Commission by the President, which should have a Chairman and members representing these scheduled languages.
  • The purpose of the Commission is to make recommendations for the progressive use of Hindi for official purposes of the Union and for restricting the use of English.

(ii) Article 351:

  • It says it is the Union government’s duty to promote the spread of Hindi so that it becomes “a medium of expression for all elements of the composite culture of India”.
  • It also aims to assimilate elements of forms and expressions from Hindustani and languages listed in the Eighth Schedule.

What were the 1965 protests about?

  • The Official Languages Act, 1963 was passed in anticipation of the expiry of the 15-year period during which the Constitution originally allowed the use of English for official purposes.
  • Its operative section provided for the continuing use of English, notwithstanding the expiry of the 15-year period.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru had given an assurance in 1959 that English would remain in official use and as the language of communication between the Centre and the States.
  • The Official Languages Act, 1963, did not explicitly incorporate this assurance, causing apprehensions in some States as the January 1965 deadline neared.
  • At that time, PM Lal Bahadur Shastri reiterated the government’s commitment to move towards making Hindi the official language for all purposes.

TN loops in the agitation

  • In Tamil Nadu, then known as Madras, the prospect of the use of Hindi as the medium of examination came due to recruitment examination of union.
  • It created an apprehension that Hindi would be imposed in such a way that the future employment prospects of those who do not speak Hindi will be bleak.

Creating an exception for Tamil Nadu

  • With the Congress government in the State taking the view that the people had nothing to fear about, protests broke out in January 1965.
  • It took a violent turn after more and more student activists joined the protest, and continued even after key Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leaders were arrested.
  • More than 60 people died in police firing and other incidents as the protests went on for days.
  • The agitation died down later, but by then the Congress at the Centre realised the sensitivity of the language issue among Tamil-speaking people.
  • When the Official Language Rules were framed in 1976, it was made clear that the Rules apply to the whole of India, except Tamil Nadu.

What is the three-language formula?

  • Since the 1960s, the Centre’s education policy documents speak of teaching three languages — Hindi, English and one regional language in Hindi-speaking States, and Hindi, English and the official regional language in other States.
  • In practice, however, only some States teach both their predominant language and Hindi, besides English.
  • In States where Hindi is the official language, a third language is rarely taught as a compulsory subject.
  • Tamil Nadu has been steadfastly opposing the three-language formula and sticks to teaching Tamil and English.
  • It argues that those who need to know Hindi can learn on their own.

 

 

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Languages and Eighth Schedule

Language sensitivity and provisions in Constitution

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Languages in the Eighth Schedule

Mains level : Paper 2- Eighth Schedule

Context

Language sensitivity has been a feature of selfhood in the case of every Indian language.

 Sensitivity to language

  • From ancient times, a sensitivity to language difference has almost been the core of Dravidic self-hood.
  • A similar sensitivity existed among the speakers of Prakrits in ancient times.
  • It was in one of the Prakrits that Mahavir had presented his teachings in the sixth century BCE.
  • Eighteen centuries later, Acharya Hemachandra, a major Jain scholar, poet, mathematician and philosopher, produced his Desinamamala, a treatise on the importance of Prakrit words used in Gujarat of his times as against those from Sanskrit.
  • Mahatma Gandhi, who defined the idea of selfhood for India in Hind Swaraj (1909), chose to write this iconic book in Gujarati.

Constitutional provision

  • The official language used for communication between the States shall be the language that has been in use at the time of adoption of the Constitution.
  • The move from English to Hindi can take place only if, ‘two or more states agree’ for the shift.
  • Article 344 (4) provides for a ‘Committee consisting of thirty members’, ‘twenty’ from the Parliament and ‘ten’ from State assemblies, for safeguarding language-related provisions.

The distribution between two ministries

  • The functions and the scope of the committee, as laid down by the Constitution, are further clarified by the practice of distribution of language as a subject between two Ministries, the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry and the Home Ministry.
  • The scope of the HRD Ministry extends to education and the promotion of cultural expression.
  • The Home Ministry’s scope extends to safeguarding relations of the States with the ‘union’, protecting the linguistic rights of language minorities and the promotion of Hindi.
  • The last of these, the Constitution states, has to be ‘without interference with other languages.

Data on language decline

  • In 2011, Hindi speakers accounted for 43.63% of the total population, with a total of 52.83 crore speakers.
  • In 1971, the number was 20.27 crore, accounting for 36.99% of the total population.
  • Between 2001 and 2011, the growth in proportion of the population was 2.6%.
  • The next most spoken language, Bangla, had negative growth.
  • It was spoken by 8.30% of Indians in 1991, 8.11% in 2001 and by 8.03% in 2011.
  • Telugu, which slid from 7.87% in 1991, to 7.19% in 2001 and 6.70% in 2011, has a similar story to tell.
  • Tamil recorded 6.32% of the total population in 1991, 5.91% in 2001 and 5.70% in 2011.
  • The only major language to show decadal growth (though small) was Gujarati.
  • And the only small yet scheduled language to show good growth was Sanskrit.

Reasons for Hindi’s growth

  • The 52.83 crore speakers of Hindi (as recorded in 2011) included not just the speaker of ‘Hindi’ but also those of more than 50 other languages.
  • Bhojpuri and most languages of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Jharkhand have also been pushed into the Hindi package.
  • Had the Census not included these other languages under Hindi, the strength of Hindi speakers would have gone down to about 39 crore, — just a little under 32% of the total population in 2011 — and would have looked not too different from those of other scheduled languages.
  • The data for English speakers is far more truthful. Census 2011 reports a total of 3,88,793 Indians as English speakers (2,59,678 men and 1,29,115 women).

Hindi in comparison to other languages in the Eighth schedule

  • Among the languages included in the Eighth Schedule, Hindi falls within the younger lot of languages.
  • On the other hand, Tamil, Kannada, Kashmiri, Marathi, Oriya, Sindhi, Nepali and Assamiya have a much longer/older history.
  •  As a language of knowledge too, Tamil, Kannada, Bangla and Marathi (with their abundance of encyclopaedias and historical literature), quite easily outshine Hindi.

Conclusion

A language evolves slowly and cannot be forced to grow by issuing ordinances.

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Languages and Eighth Schedule

Need for one common language

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Scheduled languages

Mains level : Hindi imposition row

Last week, Home Minister Amit Shah suggested that states should communicate with each other in Hindi rather than English, while stressing that Hindi should not be an alternative to local languages.

This again sparked the debate of “Hindi imposition”.

How widely is Hindi spoken in India?

  • The 2011 linguistic census accounts for 121 mother tongues, including 22 languages listed in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.
  • Hindi is the most widely spoken, with 52.8 crore individuals, or 43.6% of the population, declaring it as their mother tongue.
  • The next highest is Bengali, mother tongue for 97 lakh (8%) — less than one-fifth of Hindi’s count (Chart 2).
  • In terms of the number of people who know Hindi, the count crosses more than half the country.
  • Nearly 13.9 crore (over 11%) reported Hindi as their second language, which makes it either the mother tongue or second language for nearly 55% of the population.

Has it always been this widespread?

  • Hindi has been India’s predominant mother tongue over the decades, its share in the population rising in every succeeding census.
  • In 1971, 37% Indians had reported Hindi as their mother tongue, a share that has grown over the next four censuses to 38.7%, 39.2%, 41% and 43.6% at last count (Chart 1).
  • This begs the question as to which mother tongues have declined as Hindi’s share has risen.
  • A number of mother tongues other than Hindi have faced a decline in terms of share, although the dip has been marginal in many cases.
  • For example, Bengali’s share in the population declined by just 0.14 percentage points from 1971 (8.17%) to 2011 (8.03%).
  • In comparison, Malayalam (1.12 percentage points) and Urdu (1.03 points) had higher declines among the mother tongues with at least 1 crore speakers in 2011.
  • Punjabi’s share, on the other hand, rose from 2.57% to 2.74%.
  • At the other end of the scale (among the 22 languages listed in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution) were Malayalam, whose numbers rose by under 59% in four decades, and Assamese, rising just over 71% (Chart 3).

What explains Hindi’s high numbers?

  • One obvious explanation is that Hindi is the predominant language in some of India’s most populous states, including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.
  • Another reason is that a number of languages are bracketed under Hindi by census enumerators.
  • In 2011, there were 1,383 mother tongues reported by people, and hundreds were knocked out.
  • These mother tongues were then grouped into languages.
  • You will find that under Hindi, they have listed nearly 65 mother tongues.
  • Among them is Bhojpuri, and 5 crore people have reported Bhojpuri as their mother tongue, but the census has decided that Bhojpuri is Hindi.
  • If one were to knock out the other languages merged with Hindi, the total figure goes down to 38 crore.

And how widely is English spoken?

  • Although English, alongside Hindi, is one of the two official languages of the central government, it is not among the 22 languages in the 8th Schedule; it is one of the 99 non-scheduled languages.
  • In terms of mother tongue, India had just 2.6 lakh English speakers in 2011 — a tiny fraction of the 121 crore people counted in that census.
  • That does not reflect the extent to which English is spoken.
  • It was the second language of 8.3 crore respondents in 2011, second only to Hindi’s 13.9 crore.
  • If third language is added, then English was spoken — as mother tongue, second language or third language — by over 10% of the population in 2011, behind only Hindi’s 57%.
  • It is still not a scheduled language in India, when it should be.

Where is English most prevalent?

  • As mother tongue, Maharashtra accounted for over 1 lakh of the 2.6 lakh English speakers.
  • As second language, English is preferred over Hindi in parts of the Northeast.
  • Among the 17.6 lakh with Manipuri (an 8th Schedule language) as their mother tongue in 2011, 4.8 lakh declared their second language as English, compared to 1.8 lakh for Hindi.
  • Among the non-scheduled languages spoken in the Northeast, Khasi, predominant in Meghalaya, was the mother tongue of 14.3 lakh, of whom 2.4 lakh declared their second language as English, and 54,000 as Hindi.
  • The trends were similar for Mizo, and for various languages spoken in Nagaland, including Ao, Angami and Rengma.
  • Beyond the Northeastern languages, among 68 lakh with Kashmiri as their mother tongue, 2.8 lakh declared their second language as English, compared to 2.2 lakh who declared Hindi.

Back2Basics: Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution

  • The Eighth Schedule lists the official languages of the Republic of India.
  • At the time when the Constitution was enacted, inclusion in this list meant that the language was entitled to representation on the Official Languages Commission.
  • This language would be one of the bases that would be drawn upon to enrich Hindi and English, the official languages of the Union.
  • The list has since, however, acquired further significance.
  • In addition, a candidate appearing in an examination conducted for public service is entitled to use any of these languages as the medium in which he or she answers the paper.
  • As per Articles 344(1) and 351 of the Indian Constitution, the eighth schedule includes the recognition of the 22 languages.

‘Classical’ languages in India

Currently, six languages enjoy the ‘Classical’ status: Tamil (declared in 2004), Sanskrit (2005), Kannada (2008), Telugu (2008), Malayalam (2013), and Odia (2014).

How are they classified?

According to information provided by the Ministry of Culture in the Rajya Sabha in February 2014, the guidelines for declaring a language as ‘Classical’ are:

  • High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years;
  • A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers;
  • The literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community;
  • The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms o

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Languages and Eighth Schedule

English is the language of Court: Gujarat HC

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Article 348

Mains level : Official language of Judiciary

A Division Bench of the Gujarat High Court has asked a convict to speak only in English as that was the language in the higher judiciary referring to Article 348 of the Constitution which mandates that the language of the High Court would be English.

What is Article 348?

  • It provides for languages to be used in the Supreme Court and in the High Courts and for Acts, Bills, etc
  • Article 348 (1) provides that all proceedings in the Supreme Court and in every High court shall be in English Language until Parliament by law otherwise provides.
  • Under Article 348 (2), the Governor of the State may, with the previous consent of the President, authorize the use of the Hindi language or any other language used for any official purpose of the State.
  • It states that in the proceedings of the High Court having its principal seat in that State provided that decrees, judgments or orders passed by such High Courts shall be in English.

When is use of other languages permitted?

  • Section 7 of the Official Languages Act, 1963, provides that the use of Hindi or official language of a State in addition to the English language may be authorized.
  • This has to be done with the consent of the President of India, by the Governor of the State for purpose of judgments etc. made by the High Court for that State.

 

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Languages and Eighth Schedule

History of Tulu and the demand for Official Language Status

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Eight Schedule Languages

Mains level : Not Much

Various organizations have initiated a Twitter campaign demanding official language status to Tulu in Karnataka and Kerala and received an overwhelming response.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.Consider the following languages:

  1. Gujarati
  2. Kannada
  3. Telugu

Which of the above has/have been declared as ‘Classical Language / Languages’ by the Government?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Who all speak Tulu in India now and what is its history?

  • Tulu is a Dravidian language spoken mainly in two coastal districts Dakshina Kannada and Udupi of Karnataka and Kasaragod district of Kerala.
  • As per the 2011 Census report, there are 18,46,427 Tulu-speaking people in India. Some scholars suggest Tulu is among the earliest Dravidian languages with a history of 2000 years.
  • Robert Caldwell (1814-1891), in his book, A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South-Indian Family of Languages, called Tulu “one of the most highly developed languages of the Dravidian family”.

So what exactly is the demand by Tulu speakers?

  • The Tulu speakers, mainly in Karnataka and Kerala, have been requesting the governments to give it official language status and include it in the eighth schedule to the Constitution.
  • Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Santhali, Maithili and Dogri are the 22 languages presently in the eighth schedule.

Tulu art, culture and cinema

  • Tulu has a rich oral literature tradition with folk-song forms like paddana, and traditional folk theatre yakshagana.
  • Tulu also has an active tradition of cinema with around 5 to 7 Tulu language movies produced a year.
  • Tulu films are being screened every day in Mangaluru and Udupi in at least one theatre.

What is the present status of Tulu?

  • According to Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy president Dayananda G Kathalsar,
  • People who speak Tulu are confined to the above-mentioned regions of Karnataka and Kerala, informally known as Tulu Nadu.
  • At present, Tulu is not an official language in the country.
  • Efforts are being made to include Tulu in the eighth schedule of the Constitution.
  • If included in the eighth schedule, Tulu would get recognition from the Sahitya Akademi.

Back2Basics: Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution

  • The Eighth Schedule lists the official languages of the Republic of India.
  • At the time when the Constitution was enacted, inclusion in this list meant that the language was entitled to representation on the Official Languages Commission.
  • This language would be one of the bases that would be drawn upon to enrich Hindi and English, the official languages of the Union.
  • The list has since, however, acquired further significance.
  • In addition, a candidate appearing in an examination conducted for public service is entitled to use any of these languages as the medium in which he or she answers the paper.
  • As per Articles 344(1) and 351 of the Indian Constitution, the eighth schedule includes the recognition of the 22 languages.

‘Classical’ languages in India

Currently, six languages enjoy the ‘Classical’ status: Tamil (declared in 2004), Sanskrit (2005), Kannada (2008), Telugu (2008), Malayalam (2013), and Odia (2014).

How are they classified?

According to information provided by the Ministry of Culture in the Rajya Sabha in February 2014, the guidelines for declaring a language as ‘Classical’ are:

  • High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years;
  • A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers;
  • The literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community;
  • The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.

Languages and Eighth Schedule

Issues with legal language in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Issue with legal language

Context

  •  Recently, a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court regarding the use of legal language.
  • Reacting to the plea, the Supreme Court has asked the Ministry of Law and Justice and Bar Council to respond.

Wha the PIL is about?

  • The PIL (Subhash Vijayran vs Union of India) wants the legislature and executive to use plain English in drafting laws, the Bar Council to introduce plain English in law curricula and the Supreme Court to only allow concise and precise pleadings.
  • He begins the synopsis to the writ petition in the following way. “The writing of most lawyers is: (1) wordy, (2) unclear, (3) pompous and (4) dull.

Way forward

  • When asking the Ministry of Law and Justice and Bar Council to respond, the Chief Justice of India referred to Anthony Burgess’s book (1964) Language Made Plain.
  • George Orwell set out six principles, which could be used while drafting.
  • Copy editors routinely use these principles, but not the judiciary.
  • The Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy produced a manual on plain language drafting in 2017.

Conclusion

The Ministry of Law and Justice make use of the opportunity provided by the PIC to come up with the set of principles to make the legal language easier for all.

Languages and Eighth Schedule

Should India have one national Language?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Eight Schedule

Mains level : Paper 2- Eighth Schedule and related issues

The article discusses the issues with excessive attention given to Hindi and how the neglect of another language could lead to the loss of language and the way of life associated with it as well.

Debate in Constituent Assembly and issues in the adoption of Hindi

  • The issue of adopting a national language could not be resolved when the Constituent Assembly began drafting India’s Constitution.
  • Members from the Hindi-speaking provinces who moved a number of pro-Hindi amendments and argued for adopting Hindi as the sole national language.
  • Widespread resistance to the imposition of Hindi led to the passage of the Official Languages Act of 1963, which provided for the continued use of English for all official purposes.
  • Hindi became the sole working language of the Union government by 1965 with the State governments free to function in the language of their choice.
  • The constitutional directive for the Union government to encourage the spread of Hindi was retained within Central government entities in non-Hindi-speaking States.

Issues with the Eighth Schedule

  • According to the 2001 Census, India has 30 languages that are spoken by more than a million people each.
  • The Constitution lists 22 languages and protects them in the eighth schedule.
  • Many languages are kept out of this schedule even if they deserve to be included.
  • This includes Tulu which is spoken by over 1.8 million people and has inscriptions dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries.
  • While Hindi, a much younger Indo-Aryan language, has been gaining prominence since before independence.
  • When a refined language loses its status in literary and daily interactions, the way of life associated with it also vanishes.
  • The Census found that while Hindi is the fastest growing language, the number of speakers of other languages has dropped.

Way forward

  • While discussing Hindi and its use, let us also focus on the merit of other Indian languages.
  • Instead of focusing on one national language, we should learn a language beyond the mother tongue and get to know a different way of life too.

Conclusion

If we don’t protect and promote other well-evolved or endangered and indigenous languages, our future generations may end up never understanding their ‘real’ roots and culture

Languages and Eighth Schedule

Nationalism and the crisis of federalism

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Reorganisation of States

Mains level : Paper 2- Federalism in India

The article analyses the challenges federalism in India faces and the important role played by the division of states based on the languages.

Three conceptions of nationalism in India

  • Following three conceptions of nationalism were prevalent in India before independence.
  • The first, the idea that a community with a strongly unified culture must have a single state of its own.
  • The second saw the nation as defined by a common culture whose adherents must have a state of their own.
  • But this common culture was not ethno-religious.
  •  It conceives common culture in terms of a strong idea of unity that marginalises or excludes other particular identities.
  • A third nationalism accepts that communities nourished by distinct, territorially concentrated regional cultures have the capacity to design states of their own as also educational, legal, economic, and other institutions.
  • This may be called a coalescent nationalism consistent with a fairly strong linguistic federalism.
  • The central state associated with it is not multi-national.
  • At best, it is a multi-national state without labels, one that does not call itself so; a self-effacing multi-national state.

Suspicion of linguistic identities

  • After Partition, the Indian ruling class began to view with suspicion the political expression of even linguistic identities.
  •  It was feared that federation structured along ethno-linguistic lines might tempt politicians to mobilise permanently on the basis of language.
  • The second fear was about an increase in the likelihood of inter-ethnic violence, encourage separatism and eventually lead to India’s break up.
  • Thus, when the Constitution came into force in 1950, India adopted unitary, civic nationalism as its official ideology.

Formation of states on linguistic basis and its implications

  • A unitary mindset shaped by the experience of a centralised colonial state was resurrected.
  • The second tier of government was justified in functional terms, not on ethical grounds of the recognition of group cultures.
  • Following the Committee’s recommendations, States were reorganised in 1956.
  • India slowly became a coalescent nation-state, moving from the ‘holding together’ variety to what is called the ‘coming together’ form of (linguistic) federalism.
  • This meant that regional parties were stronger than earlier in their own regions and at the centre.
  • This let to more durable centre because it was grounded more on the consent and participation of regional groups that, at another level, were also self-governing.
  • Indian federalism also attempted to remove its rigidities by incorporating asymmetries in the relation between the Centre and different States.
  • Treating all States as equals required the acknowledgement of their specific needs and according them differential treatment.

Conclusion

Coalescent nationalism has served India well, benefiting several groups in India. True, it has not worked as well in India’s border areas such as the North-east and Kashmir. But their problems can only be resolved by deepening not abandoning coalescent nationalism.

Languages and Eighth Schedule

[op-ed snap]A case for inclusion of Tulu language in the Eighth Schedule.

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tulu language and its region in India.

Mains level : Paper 2-Official languages of the union and the states.

Context

With numerous languages in the country, placing all deserving languages on an equal footing will promote social inclusion and national solidarity.

Figures and facts

  • According to the 2001 Census, India has 30 languages that are spoken by more than a million people each.
  • It also has 122 languages that are spoken by at least 10,000 people each.
  • It also has 1,599 languages, most of which are dialects.
  • These are restricted to specific regions and many of them are on the verge of extinction.
  • Article 29 provides every citizens of India with a distinct culture, language, and script, the right to conserve the same.
  • It is the responsibility of both the state and the citizens of this distinct language, script or culture to preserve the same.

Eighth schedule and Tulu language

  • Sanskrit has 24,821 speakers and it is in the Eighth Schedule according to the 2011 Census.
  • However, many languages with sizeable speakers are not in the schedule.
  • Bhili/Bhilodi has 1,04,13,637 speakers. Garo has 11,45,323 speakers, Ho has 14,31,344 speakers.
  • Tulu is a Dravidian language whose speakers are concentrated in two coastal districts of Karnataka and in Kasaragod district of Kerala.
  • The Tulu language speakers are larger in numbers than Sanskrit and Manipuri which included in the Eighth Schedule.
  • The cities of Mangaluru, Udupi, and Kasaragod are the epicenter of Tulu culture.

What are the benefits of being on the Eighth Schedule

  • Tulu would get recognition from Sahitya Academy.
  • The book in Tulu would get translated into other recognised Indian languages.
  • The MP’s and MLA’s could speak in Tulu in the Parliament and Assemblies.
  • Candidates could write all-India competitive examination like the Civil Services exam in Tulu.

Yuelu Proclamation

  • It was made by UNESCO at Changsha, The People’s Republic of China, in 2018.
  • It says the protection and promotion of linguistic diversity help to improve social inclusion and partnerships.
  • It helps reduce the gender and social inequality between different native speakers.
  • It guarantee the rights for native speakers of endangered, minority, indigenous languages, as well as non-official languages and dialects to receive education, enhance the social inclusion level and social decision-making ability by encouraging them to participate in a series of actions to promote cultural diversity, endangered language protection, and the protection of intangible cultural heritage.

Conclusion

  • Tulu, along with other deserving languages, should be included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution in order to substantially materialise the promise of equality of status and opportunity mentioned in the Preamble.

source

Importance for exams:

  • Mains: Understanding the pros and cons of promoting a single language in a multilingual India. Drawing parallels from events around the globe on similar issue
  • Prelims: Constitutional provisions related to the issue

Context:

NDA Govt has come under severe criticism in the past for its efforts to promote Hindi and making it compulsory for all Central government offices to communicate on social media.

Present Scenario:

Hindi is widely spoken in the north, but southern and eastern states have always opted for local languages or English. Five decades ago, efforts to impose Hindi as the country’s only official language had triggered violent riots in the south.

Constitutional provisions:

  1. There is no national language as declared by the Constitution of India.
  2. The Constitution lists Hindi written in Devanagari script as well as English as the official language of the govt of India. Hindi and English are used for official purposes such as parliamentary proceedings, judiciary, communications between the Central Government and a State Government.
  3. States within India have the liberty and powers to specify their own official language(s) through legislation.
  4. The Constitution imposes a duty upon the Centre to promote the spread and development of the Hindi language so that it may become the lingua franca of the composite culture of India.
  5. The Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution contains a list of 22 scheduled languages. The Government of India is under an obligation to take measures for the development of these languages.
  6. The Constitution also contains certain special directives to protect the interests of linguistic minorities.

Why does language continue to be such an emotive issue?

  1. This is because language is regarded by people as indissolubly connected with their culture. E.g. in Tamil Nadu, disinterest in Hindi stems from the pride of people in Tamil heritage. They are happy, and proficient enough, using English when Tamil doesn’t work.
  2. This issue continues to be exploited by the political parties for narrow political ends.
  3. Linguistic problems are not limited to India and have arisen in other parts of the world too. In Ireland there has been a fierce agitation concerning the language of the Irish people; and in spite of the fact that practically every educated Irishman knows English, they have adopted the Irish language as their national language.

The linguistic question has affected the rise of nationalities in the East too. In Iran there has been a movement that a purely Iranian language free from Arabian influence should be the national language of Iran. Similar campaigns have been observed in Poland, Wales and Turkey too.

Reasons behind the Government’s recent push for promotion of Hindi:

  1. English is seen as a remnant of India’s colonial past.
  2. The Government, as also empowered by the Constitution, wants to popularize Hindi so that gradually it can become the lingua franca of the India.

Criticism of recent steps taken by the Government for promotion of Hindi:

  1. The government should not favor one language over the other in a country that has benefitted from its knowledge of English.
  2. The English language skills of Indian engineers gave momentum to the growth of the country’s famous information technology industry.
  3. In a globalizing world, India’s familiarity with English is a huge benefit.

Arguments given in favour of promotion of Hindi and other Indian languages:

  1. We should not abandon what is ours in terms of culture and language.
  2. Assertion of our linguistic identities is the key to international respect and power. As long as we speak and deal with the west in English, we are essentially playing on fields created for them. If we speak and converse in our languages, the field automatically levels out.
  3. Greater use of Indian languages would in turn fuel the need for thousands of translators and multi-lingual skills, both from Indian to foreign languages, and between Indian regional languages themselves. We would need as many English-Hindi, Japanese-Tamil translators as Hindi-Tamil, Kannada-Bengali translators.
  4. As we reinvest money and emotion into our own languages, more original work will be done in them, and more foreign work can be translated into local languages, creating a huge deluge of jobs.

The way ahead:

  1. A national government promoting a single language in a multi language country is against the idea of multiculturalism and a multilingual, federal polity. The objective of the government should be on the imperatives of communicating with people all over India, rather than trying to decide on the language of communication.
  2. The Government is well within its rights to promote Hindi, but it must realise that belief of one nation and one language can divide more than unite. In South Asia alone, there are two examples – of West Pakistan imposing Urdu on East Pakistan and Sri Lankan Government imposing Sinhalese on the Tamils – where language conflict led to civil wars.
  3. Hindi has already made considerable inroads through entertainment and Bollywood. Bollywood movies in multiplexes now attract a lot of local audiences, particularly the new generation, and the entertainment industries seem to be contiguous. The best course of action, thus would be letting languages evolve on their own and allowing people to choose.
  4. The Government must, instead, build liberal institutions where scholarship of various languages can flourish.

 

Quotable Quote (useful for essay)

We should keep our windows fully open to ideas from everywhere, but we need not choose to be blown off our feet by anyone of them – M.K.Gandhi

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Sharmila Kareem
Sharmila Kareem
2 years ago

please upload notes for 2020