Forced Uniformity VS Unity In Diversity

one nation one language

The farmers have been protesting against new farm laws for more than a month but to no avail. The government is unwilling to accept their demand for repealing the laws. So, you may think that this Govt has never taken a step back then why hope it now?

But, actually, there was this one time when the Govt had recoiled in horror! Since coming to power, the main aim of ruling party has been to unify (or uniform) the country into “one” such as: one nation one election, one nation one card, one nation one tax, etc.

Thus, under that scheme, one nation one language was proposed. In June 2017, union minister Venkaiah Naidu had said: “Hindi is our national language, India can’t progress without it.” He is of the belief that English learning has deprived us of our Indian roots. But his claims kicked up a row!

Again, in Sep 2019, Home Minister Amit Shah declared: “Only Hindi can unite the country. It can become our Identity.” He also stated explicitly that One Nation, One Language is the way forward. But, Twitter exploded over Shah’s assertion. Protests across the country erupted.

So, the Govt took a U-Turn: “Not planning One Nation One Language. All languages are important.” Social media outrage forced the Govt to rethink its plan. And anyway, it is about time to say no to politics over language. Because, the more languages one knows in a global world, the better one’s opportunities will be, don’t you think?

That’s why, with Duolingo app, you can learn over 20 international languages at your own speed and comfort. Plus, it’s free and always will be!

Returning to the topic of this post: On Jan 24, 2020 just two days before the Republic Day, Doordarshan Kisan channel’s official Twitter tweeted a fake news, saying, “On 26th Jan 1965, Hindi was declared as the National Language of India.”

A fake forward on WhatsApp had almost become a fact!

But truth is: In 1950, Hindi and English were both chosen as official languages of communication. What happened in 1965 was a proposition “to make Hindi the only official language” unless of course, the Parliament decided otherwise.

This 1965 attempt ignited a wide range of protests in Southern India because the move was deemed a forceful Hindi imposition. Eventually, things cooled down, after PM Lal Bahadur Shastri announced on AIR: “Both Hindi and English will continue to be used as official languages.”

The point is: We never ever have had any national language whatsoever.

Cut to 21st century: The backlash is what prompted the Govt to go back on “one nation one language” again. Besides, how can one language help an individual compete in competitive world?

For example: the economic liberation of the 90s was followed by the attack of Y2K bug in 2000, which led to computing boom in the country. Indians surged ahead then thanks to their proficiency in technology as well as in English which the Chinese lacked.

So, since then onwards, India became a serious contender in becoming a global superpower. It’s because we emphasized on English we had an edge over China. But over the last few years, we have tried to make a villain out of English. Whereas, China, Vietnam, Philippines have adopted English and risen to glory.

Like it or not but English will remain the World Language for many more decades to come. Therefore, English is just as important as one’s mother tongue for overall development of a person.

Apart from this, research also shows higher cognitive development among bilingual kids than mono-lingual kids. Also, learning a new language boosts brain power since one has to learn new structures and words. It also tests your memorization and hence multilingual kids remember longer and better. Plus, when you learn a new language, you can easily assimilate into their culture. You can learn from their successes and mistakes.

So, learn as many languages as you can. Even so the political people may try to attack our divisions and draw us towards ONE but we must remember always that in order to truly become world leader, aka vishwa guru, we must keep diversity intact and welcome as many new experiences as possible.

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