Sunday, January 24, 2010

Let's Communicate

Language barrier - it is the biggest hurdle we face in our own country. If a North Indian goes to South India, he will feel as if he has come to some other country altogether. We cannot blame people here; for the basic structure of our states is such that we may not even understand a single word spoken by our neighbour state. The purpose of this post is not to wage war among two poles attracting each other; I cannot afford it myself because my case is of west meets south. But yes, such things do irate me a lot when people pretend that they do not know a particular language due to the reasons best known to them.

During my so many visits to various places; I have noticed that certain people do not communicate to you in Hindi or English; they prefer to stick to their respective mother tongues. One must respect that no doubt. But if I am new in that state and not familiar with the local language; that does not mean I should be treated in the worst possible manner. I am made to feel like an alien from some other planet. My countryman is not ready to answer to my queries about directions. Same person will run behind a foreign tourist to gain business. That time their English speaking skills come out of them like lies come out of a politician - so very natural.

My point is pretty simple - is it so difficult for us to treat our own people well? Is it so difficult to co-operate with them only because they do not know the language you speak in that particular city or state?

I know this topic has been spoken about so many times; but whenever I see this happening around me, it pinches me. It hurts me to see myself and others being treated like aliens for using my fundamental right of moving anywhere in my own country. I sincerely wish that people start giving more importance to the country than the state.

Many people have this myth that Hindi is our national language while many think otherwise. Our Constitution of India has laid down the provisions for adopting Hindi as our Official Language.

Article 343(1) provides that Hindi written in Devnagari script is to be the Official Language of the Union. All regional languages are national languages, so Hindi is the Official Language. Article 343(1) lays down a period of 15 years for introduction of Hindi in place of English. The Constitution does not however regard the 15 years period as an absolute deadline.

If the deadline was there, then the Hindi would have become our Official Language on and from January 26, 1965.

The language battle is a never ending one so far as we realize that it is not going to help us ever. It is certainly possible to accept and live with and around people who may not be knowing your language; they may not be able to speak with you; but they can for sure communicate with you if you support them and co-operate with them.

My Gujarati mother with her adulterated Hindi; my Sister in Law's telugu mother with her fantastic Marathi and no Hindi; and my Mother in Law with only Hindi - they communicate with one another so perfectly; especially when it comes to sharing recipes. A five minute conversation takes them half an hour with many rounds of dumb charades and full time entertainment for us. But they still communicate, share ideas, laugh, sympathize and learn different cultures.

Let's try to be like them.

Image Source:

PS: Do read the post by SG - Language Controversy which is on a similar line and highlights the reasons why Hindi was not adopted as an official language in 1965. Do read his comments too posted below.


  1. Good topic. Let me quote the recent verdict by Gujarat High Court that 'Hindi is no more national Language'!
    Refer to today's TOI :)

    At least the drivers in Bangalore are pretty helpful. They tend to talk customer's language and make them feel comfortable. This is completely contrary in Chennai, where they don't speak any other language other than Tamil even if they know! Each person has their own vested interests in doing so... After all we live united in our country amidst all such diversities!

  2. Very interesting and thought provoking post. The whole blame is on the framers of constitution. In 1950, they should have said “Hindi will be the official language of India”. No they did not. They said English also will continue for the next 15 years. In 1965 when the issue came, the DMK in Tamilnadu took advantage of the situation and arranged massive protests. Hundreds of people were killed. The DMK leaders did not care about people. This protest was a vehicle for them to come to power in Tamilnadu.

    The politicians from Hindi speaking states were also equally to blame.

    If only they made Hindi as the official language in 1950, there would be no problem.

    I wrote a blog on this subject on July 22. You were not familiar with my blogs at that time. Therefore you did not read that. Here is the link and I would request you and your readers to read it. Thanks.

  3. Yes Neha, there was a deadline. When the issue came in 1965, Lal Bahadur Shastri blinked. He became scared of the DMK's anti-Hindi agitation. Even his own congress ministers from Tamlnadu resigned. So he just let it go and did not make Hindi as the sole official langauge of India.

  4. I had no idea about this section. Totally agree to your point. We all have to teach ourselves to be more courteous towards our own people first.

    This happens only in India! Great post Neha! Thanks for bringing this out!

  5. Its a pitiable situation where a nation after 60yrs of existence hasnt come to acknowledge the National Language...But what I think is may be its our fault, for us its always about MY language and not OUR language....

    Hope this situation changes


  6. Gosh! Only recently I have come to know about this separation that goes by North India and South India, and I find to difficult to digest!
    Ever come to Bengal, there's no divide of such, and people go out of their way to speak others' languages... My uncle knows Telegu, a cousin, Tamil, some Marathi... but all of us always speak in our poorly accented Hindi and even teach preliminary Bengali to people from other states! But then Bengal has always opened arms to people from othere states, maybe it is one place where you'll see South Indians and North Indians living side-by-side with no animosity... I wish everyone else was like that... we areally enjoy our mixed culture... after all we happen to be Indians first, Bengalis later! :)

    *Ooops, looong comment!*

  7. Great Post Neha!..I find it very ironical that people can love english a language of foreigners but not Hindi which is a language of fellow defies logic.

  8. Hey Neha

    Good read.
    i can relate to it very well.
    i am a bong who can speak hindi....once i went to a particular state...i asked a guy in HINDI some question....
    He replied in HINDI:
    "speak in _____ language....we dont understand hindi"..

    I asked:
    "if u dont understand hindi then how come you SPEAK IT??".....he was speechless.

    i was quite stunned by this sort of behaviour.

  9. But Hindi cannot be an official language in India where there are more than a 100 languages.Just because its spoken in 4 states does it mean that it should be the national language (or official)?

    India was never a unified country in its thousands of years of history. India became India post Independence. Before that it was several kingdoms and princely states which had their ways of governance. Indian Union was created much like how a European Union is proposed but just that it became one large country.How is it possible to select one language(say English) in European union and proclaim it as official. French and Germans would never agree.

    I feel it will never be possible to make one Indian language its official language. by de-facto, english is the official language and it will remain so. Iam an Indian and i speak Hindi fluently, but i feel its unnecessary to be forced down as an Official language, when its importance is very limited in official purposes.

    Choice of language should be left to the speaker. If i dont want to speak in certain language noone should be bothered about it. I am an Indian and i love Malayalam. I prefer it over Hindi, but English is my choice of language. TC,

  10. *******Many people have this myth that Hindi is our national language while many think otherwise. Our Constitution of India has laid down the provisions for adopting Hindi as our Official Language.*********----I agree fully with you. Hindi is not our National language. It is one of the official languages. TC, lovely post but i am against Any language being declared a national language. India is diverse and thats the best part.

    There are reasons why a DEADLINE couldnt be possibly set to make it a national language. The reason is that we are a FREESTATE, much like europe, US or canada. We believe in FREEDOM.

  11. Yes it is a pity.. but then we should not put everyone in the same plate , some people genuinly dont know hindi. But yeah i understand your point. If hindi is our national language then at least it should be taught in all schools as FIRST language. But we see English is still FIRST LANGUAGE in most schools. then the state you are in.
    for me it was English, then punjabi second and hindi was third in my school...

    but yeah it is a problem, I roam around a lot when i visit india , I have seen this problem especially if you go south, I have had the difficulty a lot.

  12. So true. I've experienced it when I'd been to Chennai once. They don't seem to speak any other language at all. Bad manners at its best!
    Loving one's mother tongue is good, but when there are some people amongst us that don't know the local language, care has to be taken to make them understand.
    Very well written.

  13. Neha,what you are saying is right.I would say the seed of this problem was sowed the day the States were divided on Linguistic basis.We seem to forget this reality.
    If there is anyone who has to be blamed ,it is the selfish,corrupt politicians.Without elaborating it any further,Mumbai taxi permit issue is the most disastrous decision announced by the Congress.
    We can keep referring to Law,morality etc.It is no relevance to those who weigh every move on the basis of Votes.
    When it was Madras,I took a taxi from Mount Road to T Nagar,---the driver said to me "Tamil la Pase,Sir"
    Today,I can understand Tamil,sindhi,marathi,Gujarati,Hindi and a bit of English(because I read blog posts)
    The real problem is not communication,not the people,not any community,not the language--it is the political language which our netas understand,which is vote and divide and rule.
    They don't care for us,they care for our vote.

  14. Maybe we all shud have sticked with Tribal language ....wud have been more easier! :) ..anyways just reminded me, of the incident where my north indian friend was complaining about madras food here and one english frnd exclaimed" how come yu guys are not able to adjust, when am from britain and i was ok with any of yur food, language" ... he was in chennai for year and half!! .... it was really shameful ":(

  15. Nice informative post. I see lots of comments are bashing the people of Tamilnadu. It is not their fault. It is the politicians’ fault.

    This is not just only in Tamilnadu. In Kolkatta, people speak in Bengali only.

    Also, North Indians never considered South as part of India. Whenever there is an ad for tourism it is all north. In Tamilnadu there are plenty of streets named after Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, etc. etc. How many cities in the North has streets named after South Indians?

    Just a test. How many of your North Indian readers know (immediately, without referring anything) from which constituency our Home Minister P. Chidambaram was elected?

  16. True that going to some other state and trying to communicate is very difficult. I have been to chennai with my friends on trip and also to pondy. None knew Tamil, i can just understand a bit and thats it. We found it so difficult to communicate. I dont understand whats the logic behind, 'Speaking Hindi or English means you are mistreating your mother tongue and are not sticking to culture and tradition". Its not like learning a bit of some other language makes you any less cultural. All i say learn english or Hindi atleast to communicate with others. You dont have to perfect it. And also thinking that knowing many languages and able to speak them is great... its a merit not many will be able to do it... its an art :) and o top of it, its fun.

  17. As you said - language is for communication. Some do well across borders while others have barriers. Any more hungama on language and we can make sign language the national language. Remember the Sunday news on DD. Just visulise our leaders doing the same.

  18. @ Mohan, thank you for sharing this is high time that we start co-operating with our own people..

    @ SG, thank you for your comments and sharing that you said it correctly; I was not aware about your post at least our facts tally in our posts..hope few people will believe that constitution indeed has this provision for making Hindi the official language..your comment has extended my post..:)

    @ Ramit, I am glad you liked the post..hope people realise this soon that we all belong to one country..states come later, language comes later..

    @ Shahid, snce India has many languages being spoken and they all are official languages, we cannot chose one language as our national language..but we can certainly choose it as our official language..yeah, even I hope that the situation changes soon..

    @ G, hey I was not aware about the culture of Kolkatta..thank you for the info..I so wish other states realise this too..thanks gal :)

    @ Renu, welcome back..thank u for your comments..I agree with you..we can keep english as the language..but can't we give respect to our country language at all?

  19. Thanks Neha. One more item of interest.

    USA has no official language. There is no mention of any official language in the US Constitution. They are projecting Spanish speaking population to become majority in USA in another 60 years. Already several states have adopted bi-lingual system (English and Spanish). This includes California, the biggest state. (If California is an independent country, it would be the 5th richest country in the world.)

    Many scholars are requesting the law makers to amend the US Constitution to make English as the official language of USA. If they don’t do something soon, there will be huge problem 60 years from now.

    That is why I am asking everyone to learn Spanish. This is for practical purpose.

  20. Thought provoking post. It is indeed difficult to find one national language for a diverse nation like ours. I ca totally understand why the south Indians do want Hindi shoved down their throats. Now we even have Marathi manoos wanting only Marathi spoken in Maharashtra...we are a difficult people to please or agree upon one thing. After all, it's a tall order to get one billion Indians to choose one language as their national language.
    No point in enforcing it, just leave it at that.

  21. @ Bikram, one language has to be made compulsory in the whole India..the language that is spoken by the vast majority..forget the order..first, second or third - it does not matter..but i do not see any harm in declaring it as an official language..

    @ Karthik, exactly my point..and if the solution is to declare one language as the official one - then be it..

    @ BK Chowla, the damage was done long back..and our attitude is making it all worse..I do not even want to comment about our politicians..

    @ Hary, of course it is shameful...I am treated like an alien here..




  22. @ Harini, thank you for sharing your experiences..wish people understnad your point..

    @ Holy Lama, I guess your solution is the best one for the present scenario..

    @ SG, I have read this on your blog - I think it was a post by you o a comment..but you have shared this information..other readers will find it useful too..thank you :)

    @ Saroj, if we do not enforce one language, then north Indians will always be suffering in Maharashtra, South India will not be promoted as a tourist place and hurts to be insulted in our own country only because I do not speak the local language..

  23. M/s. Lawyer has started a fire :-) .

    A very good post and unfortunately a very true one too.

    In Bangalore, much like in Bengal, most people go out of the way to speak the other language. Two Kannidigas meet and they talk in English is a very common sad joke.

    Hindi in Bangalore or Hyderabad is a commonplace. Expect Hindi in Chennai and you are asking for trouble.

    Languages apart if people do not have the courtesy to answer a query and expect visitors to know the language of the state, it is pitiable..

    While on the topic the diametric opposite is equally insulting as well -- people in a state for 20-30 years not knowing the basics of the state language and culture. That's just bad manners...

  24. Hi Neha: I am writing a post based on your comment. I have nothing else to write on my blog and was not planning to write anything for next few months, and then this post of urs happened. With all due respect, this is an interesting topic and though i dont say i am right or you are right, we live with lots of misunderstandings. TC :)

  25. I agree with you...somehow politic has also played a major role i guess. Sometimes u are not treated properly also because u dont belong to that particular region the so called "outsider". Outsider in your own country thats stupid, but majority seem to go by it!!

  26. I completely agree with you and i think the fact you mentioned in one of your answer (to ZB s comment)are more than enough to support your point.

    While the people of a host state can be little considerate in helping the visiting people from other states ..i think it is advisable for the tourists too to learn few basic important sentences which might help them to communicate with the people of the host least one can start communicating with a positive note.

    Great post Neha ...kudos to your efforts and your research for this post.The data you presented here (the percentage of people speaking Hindi and Dravidian)is an eye opener .

    One more funny thing that i notice is (though it is not related to this post)our Bollywood Actors who get so much of fame and riches working in Hindi movies always respond to the questions in an interview in American accented English....even they ignore the very same language.

  27. A very good and thought provoking post. I must say this is a real issue in many parts in India. People in the facade of respecting their own culture and language, disrespect their visitors and other people. I agree with Madhu as well that people who live in a state for 10 or 15 years and still deny to learn a few things in their language are also equally disrespectful. Great post.

  28. I read this post the moment u posted it and infact I was waiting for a complete set of comments! Now I got it!
    I don't know why the entire thing is after Tamil nadu! If its south India everyone frames up Tamilnadu! But even some facts are there! The TN government is the reason and to be very specific its the Ruling DMK who created a big scene in making tamil as a language to be made universal..

    But accusing people for not treating fellow North Indians properly is not fair! Fine people in chennai don't know hindi! But you guys can converse with them in english rite? To my knowledge everybody knows a minimum english here!

    Can you find hindi speaking, courteous people in Kerala? Can u find the same in andhra? Then why TN that too chennai alone?!

    A Hi5 to Hary, infact that is the present situation!

    I am sorry If am sounding rude.. But I wrote whatever I felt after reading some comments pointing directly at Tamilians!

  29. Hi! Great post there and unfortunately very realistic too....being a north Indian settled in South has given me loads of such experiences. That was a very useful bit of info about Hindi language!

  30. My grandma knew only malayalam. yet she used to converse with an aunty who knew only Tamil with ease. it's not the words but the message that matters. Holy lama's comment should be considered seriously ;)

  31. That was one though provoking post Neha. You said it right, Go to Tamil Nadu, people wouldnt speak anything except for Tamil. And an English speaker is snubbed off with "Peter!!"

    "Peter" is a colloquial phrase for someone who speaks English "for showing off". It was all a mistake when the states were linguistically divided. Instead of feeling proud of our richness of our language; we have fighting with our fake ego..

  32. @@Neha

    Because of respect for you, that i am NOT responding to this anon guy/gal!!

    Just for Info:

    All bengalis consider themselves INDIANS FIRST. That's what Rabindranath tagore taught us in "Jana Gana Mana"- A BENGALI SONG.!!!!

  33. Neha, I'm sorry you wrote this post! You wrote it with a hope, and people (several) read it with their inflated egos! And you have to understand there are people who are not Indians first.

  34. Errr....I read each comment here and decided to comment once again. Neha, you can choose to reject this comment of mine.

    Few comments here shows that the posts has been understood in a wrong way!!

    And yes, no one is bashing Tamils for heaven's sake. Poor Neha!!

    Here's some truth....

    In Bangalore - if anyone notices you dont know the local language, they quickly start communicating with you in English or Hindi. People might also end up trying to talk to you in the language you are familiar with - Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu.....(That is even if they dont know the language well)

    It really is a relief when you are helped. There are exceptions like government offices like RTO where you will be bullied to talk in Kannada and the forms are also entirely in Kannada...

    But common people accommodate you. In Chennai, its not as bad as it was few years ago. English and Hindi are snubbed off; you dont know Tamil - you are half-dead!! Its not that they dont know English. They dont want to speak......Period.

    Interior part of the states; alright understandable..But cosmo like Chennai?? It was sad. Though its not that bad anymore. I have lot of relatives there; but I feel alien when I visit Chennai - and this in spite of knowing the language well......

    Coming back to the post. You are just talking about having a national language. Its tricky...each one feels their language is superior. Government of Karnataka was fighting for classical language status. It was more to do with the fact that Tamil already got the classical language status. Competition?

    Its that sad. But it always helps to know as many languages as possible. Dont have to learn a language; but make your visitors comfortable. They should come back to visit your place again and they should recommend it to others.

  35. We boost of unity in diversity but it is not so. People here are not willing to help someone new....i would say that more than the language barrier it is the mental barrier that people are not willing to cross.

  36. @ Madhu, Lawyer on fire - I wish I was..Hindi and English in chennai I have experienced..but i do not want to comment on it..whatever you are saying are my points too..wish others had understood those as well..

    @ ZB, I read your post..will comment there soon..misunderstood - most certainly..most of the people missed out on my point..

    @ NR, politics plays a major role here..

    @ Kavita, I am speaking of facts here; while many others are speaking of ego..few basic sentences learn karna is not a big thing dear..almost all of us love to learn various languages..but not to guide someone only because that person does not speak in your language - a straight insult..thank you for the foreign accent point..I found it relevant compared to the other comments..

    @ The West Wind, agreed completely and totally..glad you liked the post :)

  37. @Everyone...

    In a multi-ethnic country like India, a single national language just wont work.Period.

    One of the major reasons for split of Pakistan was the "language" issue.

    West Pakistanis IMPOSED URDU on bengali speaking muslims of east Pakistan which angered them and thus started the movement of separatism in East Pakistan.

    India must not repeat that mistake!!!!!

    What we need is proper sensitization about the DIVERSITY OF INDIA!!!

  38. @ Shruti, you were waiting for other comments for what reason exactly? did you suspect that people are going to bash up Tamil Nadu? if so, then what was the reason behind suspecting so?

    I was so far not mentioning this; but let me tell you now - we missed our flight because nobody guided us the way to the Chennai Airport..autowalas were not ready to come, shop people did not direct us from where we could get the bus or any form of friends went hungry for a few hours as he was not guided the way to the restaurant; another friend could not reach his work place on time on the first day as he didn't know where to get down - all of us knew English. We asked at least 10 people - still no response..the moment a foreign tourist was spotted, the same set of people approached them and spoke in would we have felt then?

    so many people are saying the same thing - that means there is something wrong with either all of us or we happened to meet few people who knew none of the languages to speak with us; maybe because we were not firangis..

    Shruti, I request you to reply to those who said these things about TN..ask them why they are making such a statement..why only about Chennai..hope you get your answers..

    @ Varsha, thanks..glad you liked it..

    @ DC, thanks a tonne for understanding my point..

    @ Insignia, I know what you are talking about..I have faced it too..

    @ IP, the Anonymous person has to reveal ITS identity; then only reply..thank you for respecting my words buddy..I hope people take your reply seriously..

  39. @ G, HOPE - and it will always be HOPE and never a reality..

    @ Insignia, thank you for this means a lot..I cannot reply to you as this is what I have experienced too..your comment says it all dear :)

    @ Shinjini, mental barrier is the problem indeed..

    and welcome here..your first visit here - I hope not a bad experience and you will come back - I hope..:)

    @ IP, I have posted my views to the first reply to ZB's comment..and i stick to them..

  40. Thumbs Up!!!! such an excellent, knwoledgable post...thnx to u all those who have contributed some more to really delightfull reding everyone's reactions....
    I have also travelled through out India..but never faced such prob though heard manytimes about the issue of launguage, one face, when he or she travels down in India...India is such a big country with diverse languages...the thoughts, the believes etc do not let one man feel to think beyond his own language, caste, religion or nationality...we have too much ego or obesession, watever u may call, infact in schools, colleges ,..everywhere we are asked about it...when the framework of these norms are set like these then one tends to protect it...
    new issue in Maharashtra....everyone has to learn marathi coz its a state language...i say its gud to learn it...but y to create a compulsion...from my experience where compulsion comes, one leads to detest it...

  41. Actually i was waiting for the other comments - Just to read the varied views! Cos vipul wrote a post few months back on the same topic and there was varied views!

    It was definitely wrong on the people here who didn't guide you!

  42. @Neha

    By the way , the "place" where u were also the "place" where i too was refused help!!

  43. That about me is shruti from Hits and misses.. Mistakenly typed from this ID

  44. The biggest problem is....many of these legitimate grievances will be constructed as some kind of "north indian bias" against that particular group!!!!

    Which is certainly NOT the case.

    Note: Neha , i am really really sorry for so many comments.....hope its okay with you.

  45. @ IP, comment away problem at all :) my replies will be delayed though..due to obvious reasons :D

  46. @IP, seriously dude, you are doing what i wanted to do here! As we both know, this is something kinda different where we live... funnily, it is hard to stop the poorly-accented, grammatically-incorrect terrible Hindi that flows out of our hearts, but then we always have been and always will be Indians first! And we have always thought of every other Indians as one of us, too! Proof, our mixed culture, and I see Southies and Northies living pretty well side-by-side! Seriouly, these comments have been out of league! Couldn't understand the egos!

  47. @Neha

    People probably missed or didn't understand the meaning of the title of your post. I thought it read Let's Communicate that can be expanded as "Let US Communicate"!!

  48. @Sreya
    Seriouly, these comments have been out of league! Couldn't understand the egos!

    Thats correct.
    Even a few years ago, i too did not understood this kind of attitude.

    But now i do.

    but then we always have been and always will be Indians first!

    Absolutely.Always INDIAN FIRST!!

    You know , many students from Bihar in my college have told me that bengal is different!

  49. There are two points I see in this article.

    1. Language barrier
    2. Willingness to help

    In first point...

    Article 343(1) provides that Hindi written in Devnagari script is to be the Official Language of the Union.

    Point to note, my lord, it is official language, used for official purposes not a national language. There is however another law which also has equal right to be heard.

    Article 345 of the Indian constitution: Subject to the provisions of articles 346 and 347, the Legislature of a State may by law adopt any one or more of the languages in use in the State or Hindi as the Language or Languages to be used for all or any of the official purposes of that State; Provided that, until the Legislature of the State otherwise provides by law, the English language shall continue to be used for those official purposes within the State for which it was being used immediately before the commencement of this Constitution.

    So as per the article, if I am to understand it is not at all mandate to know Hindi to live in India.

    I have been to many Indian states so far I did not feel any language barrier in living anywhere or faced any resistance anywhere. Even thought there was some hardships, but we did manage to communicate somehow using sign language, where the natives also tried helping a lot.

    Now for second point in the article, the helping Indians.

    I won't say there aren't any reticent people,there are many, for that matter they are everywhere. In north the thugs are Indians only who decide to loot other fellow country men, specially tourists, from south India.

    Point per say is, you cannot generalize any state or any region for not being helpful, there are multiple reasons why someone doesn't help you.

    This is a personal choice of an individual and you cannot blame a community/region. The question comes about moral education of the person.

    If, you were not helped by the Indian government official (traffic cop, police, government bus conductor etc) than you can officially lodge a complaint... oops forgot you are a lawyer. You know more than me.

    As per what happened in 1965 it is matter of pure politics, lets not get into that, discussion will be murkier.

    One more thing, it was not a mistake to make English as a secondary language, because, as arrogant as most Indians, we fail to realize that we do have Goa, Andaman and nicobar and many more states also in India, who did not face mughuls at all and had NO or LESS influence of Hindi. The constitution was written for everyone. So there was no compulsion on Hindi. :)

  50. @Sreya
    Yup, let us communicate, but why only in Hindi? Learn other language. :P


    Absolutely.Always INDIAN FIRST!!
    Yes Indian first, but not Hindi first..:D

  51. Isn't is interesting thing, 60 years into independence, and people do not understand than India is not merely four states closer to the capital.

    Also there is no NATIONAL language in India and a verdict was given by Guj high court very recently.

    Does anyone know Mumbai was never ruled by Mughuls? The first and last rulers in mumbai where British, hindi never stepped foot in mumbai, only when state decided to communicate with center in Hindi they decided to teach it in school.

    For a true mumbaikar, Hindi is as foreign as is English.

  52. @@Sid

    No problem if we speak in English or in any other language . No problem at all.

    But there should be NO LANGUAGE BASED discrimination!!

    No "imposition" of any language.

    To tell u the truth , i learnt hindi by watching the bolly movies.....haha.

  53. @SG
    I did read your article about it, but if you see the people who wrote the constitution it was flawless.

    India is not just four states near the capital, its a vast region with over a 100 languages.

    English was adopted in constitution as a vision to have open market in future, progress cannot happen if we do not communicate with the world. This does not imply that south-india needs to communicate with north-india to progress, never.

    In fact Banglore was first choosen city by MNC's not north India. 3 out of 4 Hindi speaking states are under developed while 1 happens to be the capital.

    Regions like Noida(UP), Gurgaon (Haryana) come under Delhi NCR so that the states develop, Hindi speaking states mind you.

    The constitution was framed by a great lawmaker who did not want any state to dominate others. All on same level. :)

  54. @Neha,
    Good that you started this. This is much needed however ugly it seems.

    You are contradicting yourself all over man. You say 'Always INDIAN FIRST' and in the same tone say this : 'For a true Mumbaikar, Hindi is as foreign as is English.' I can understand Mumbaikars not preferring it but how can Hindi, the largest spoken language of India be foreign ? Not knowing is one thing, to call it foreign is a whole different thing..

    You then say 'Sreya let us communicate' ; given BOTH ENGLISH and HINDI are FOREIGN, unless Sreya knows Marathi or You Bengali or you both know sign-language how do you plan to do that ? :-)

    It's not personal but it is a known issue that sans Tamil you cannot get far in TN. Just look at how many people here have run into issues in Chennai. There ought to be some truth in that ? Similarly though painful there is truth to the fact that Bangalore is more of a garbage city, not garden and possibly has the worst traffic ..

    Northie complaining about Madrasi food or a Gujrati disliking Kannada cuisine is not a good example. Though related by tongue, cuisine is personal, helping a fellow country(wo)man should not be a personal choice ? For every American that likes Indian food , there are 9 who hate it and will not touch it with a bargepole and for every northie who dislikes south food, there are 6 that do ; and viz...

    FOOD FOR THOUGHT : EVERY ONE one of our blogs here is in ENGLISH, a language undoubtedly foreign ; so why the fuss about learning another **INDIAN** language ? We seem to be happy to be drowned in English, educated in English..!

    Maybe because WHEN IT SUITS US we will GLADLY pick up an alien language be it for better education, better opportunities or just better blog traffic ? Traffic Devo Bhava ? :-)

  55. Are you planning to sell this to Chetan ? If not, you should give it a thought at least... It could well add up to his 2 states....:-)

    PS - My friend - solapurker always got mails addressing him as solarcooker. !

  56. @Madhu point is...Hindi is at same level as that of Bengali, marathi or telgu.

    It is one thing of having a mutual understanding to communicate in Hindi, for the greater good, and a complete different thing to forcibly ask everyone to learn Hindi to stay in India.

    Btw. Hindi is not majorly spoken language, it is merely accepted language to communicate in official purposes. If we go on speaking about languages, we will end a dead loop, yes, I agree.

    But telling everyone to learn Hindi to stay in India, is like telling everyone to convert to Hindu to stay in India. Its a matter of personal choice. Unless a Tamil/ Telgu/Marathi/Bengali wishes to enter government services I do not see the need to understand Hindi.

    Just as you expect people to know Hindi to communicate properly, they would like you to know their native language when you are visiting their home. isn't it?

    In rome, do as romans do...:D

  57. @Madhu
    your points are valid where there is no harm in learning another Indian language by mutual consent.

    We accept English because it is lingua puria accepted over the globe, which was done by mutual consent. No body cares about English (UK) but a diluted form of English (US) was adopted by the world because no country had it as a national language.

    French has equal weight as does Hindi when it comes to global scale so does German, Japanese or Chinese, similarly any Indian language has similar weight against Hindi in India.

    My objection is that the article is totally baseless and confusing, eighter Neha herself is confused about article 343(1) or is mis presenting the facts.

    Many people have this myth that Hindi is our national language while many think otherwise. Our Constitution of India has laid down the provisions for adopting Hindi as our Official Language.

    This sentence is immediately followed by the article which says nothing about National language followed by...

    If the deadline was there, then the Hindi would have become our Official Language on and from January 26, 1965.

    Which is my discontent on this issue.

    Also this does not make us legally minding to learn Hindi across India.

    Had it been that you complaint about people not knowing Hindi is bad for communication only, this issue was fine and valid.

    Stating an one-sided article from IPC, and making a point that it is MANDATE to know Hindi and that non-hindi speaking state are doing some unjustice is not fair, as a lawyer, you will understand what I am saying.

    A personal example on the whole case (just to make my point clear),

    As a mumbaikar, I want everyone who works in Mumbai to learn Marathi, yes, but if you are traveling here as a tourist (seriously no one comes to mumbai as tourist, except a fool. Like a pope visiting LA) it is my duty to make your stay in city comfortable, BUT, if you think that I SHOULD learn YOUR language to communicate with you in MY own city, I will want you to speak to me in MY language.

  58. @ Rohini, I am glad you found the post informative rather than point here is simple - there should be one language known to the whole country..this is my view completely..thanks..

    @ Shruti, thanks..

    @ Guria, people indeed missed out on my point and started discussing something completely different..anyways, all the views are welcome..

    @ Gyanban, hahahaha, your comment is a refreshing change for me :D I will ask Chetan to make west meets south :)

    @ Sid, one question to you - did you read my post or only the comments? did you understand my point in this post?

    you speak about flawless constitution - if it was so flawless; then there would not have been any amendments to it..

    to err is human and the framer of the constitution was no god..

    you have indeed misunderstood my point here..I am merely saying I wish there was some uniformity in case of a language; many problems would have been sorted out that way..

    moreover; I am not even once in my post mentioning about making Hindi a national language..rather; I say that people have this MYTH that Hindi is our national language..did you understand the meaning behind my this statement? If you had, then you would not have posted the last comment addressing me..

    and you are talking about hindi not being spoken by majority, then you are free to read my reply to ZB in my earlier comment..




  59. @Neha and Everyone

    Dont be emotional. Just be practical.

    Communicate in ANY LANGUAGE you want provided that both persons KNOW IT.

    The situation Neha faced SHOULD NOT be faced by other Indians.

    Lets help other Indians.

    If someone is talking with you in Hindi or English.....and u know hindi or English......then where is the problem in communicating in Hindi or English??? certainly does not show disrespect to your mother tongue.

    On the question of "English vs Indian languages"

    Again lets be practical.
    We all know why we learn English.Dont we??

    Whats the point in learning another Indian language (other than the mother tongue)??

    But of course if we go to live in another state then we must try to learn the local it only helps us to adjust better!!

  60. @Neha

    Absolutely spot on.

    Mother tongue and English should have been mandatory for all Indians from the very beginning.

    If we can have "British style" parliamentary democracy.......then where is the problem in learning english or making english our national language!!
    That would have satisfied ALL PARTIES!!

  61. @Neha
    see I have read your article and as I mentioned in my previous comment, I totally support your view that it is morally binding to learn a uniform language...true, no issues here. You had a good point, but you placed a legal article in it, trying to sound it more legal. At the same time you missed some more legal articles, which also are worth mention it, making it sound something different that what you want to say.

    You say there is a myth about National language of India and in the next line you mentioned the article Article 343(1), furthur mentioning Hindi should have been official language by 1965. As a lawyer what do you gather from this?

    You may be politically correct in the article sentence, but not legally correct. You know the difference better than me. :)

    This results in interpreting the whole point that only hindi speaking states are correct and Non-hindi speaking are doing something unconstitutional, which is seen in many comments above.

    I agree my view points are not entire on your article, it is also on points made by many comments above, which actually triggered the debate, but I believe this was only because you missed somewhere in your article to discuss the fine line between official language and national language.

    One question to you too. Just unbiasedly, did you read my comments unbiasedly and try to understand what point I am trying to make?

    I respect your views and your articles very much. I just expect it to be legally correct, if in case, you wish to involve constitutional rights and IPC into it, specially in issues so sensitive for majority.

    I am reciprocating just what ZB is trying to say, I am simply using your words to make my point.

  62. @Sid I read ur reply to me. Yeah, if I could or had to learn other languages to speak to my other fellow Indians better I would have. Most of us know Hindi, kinda thanks to movies, so we prefer talking in Hindi to Non-Brngalis. And as I read Neha's post, I thought Neha was not only uholding a barrier but also suggesting a way to overcome that barrier. And I applaud her for that. I didn't think she was imposing anything at all on anyone but odviously trying to follow simple logic, which strangely people wanted to defy.

  63. @ IP, exactly buddy..just find a way to communicate efficiently; that's my point..the anecdote I mentioned above was for the same purpose..

    @ Sid, you are still not understanding..where is the question of being politically correct? you are saying I am not using other constitutional articles..reason is simple - this Article is to be read independently..

    my point is about effective communication AND NOT ABOUT OFFICIAL OR NATIONAL LANGUAGE..I mentioned that article only because we had a solution to our problem in that article..we did not use it then; and we cannot ever use it now..

    Hindi is not the official language at the moment because it was not adopted as one when the time was of the important articles in your FLAWLESS constitution was completely neglected..

    Sid, we all are running away from the solution to pamper our egos..fine; that's your opinion and that's what you think..this is my opinion and I have mentioned it here..

    and I did read your comment without any bias..but I am sorry to say that you were one of the persons who completely missed my point and started to state the legal provisions not at all relevant to my post..

  64. Hi Neha! A thought provoking post on the occasion of Republic Day...Interesting!
    Well, I think, no language can be official. Things should be very easy and the thing that can pass on our expressions or ideas is language. We should not limit ourselves.....! No Barriers should be there and no body should be so strict about their local languages. I hope yeh RAJ ki baat sabko pata lage!! ;-)

  65. @ Megha, well this post was a regular one - like my other posts..I didn't have the republic day thing on my mind at all..anyways I hope Raj ki baat sabko pata to lage lekin samaj nahi aaye :P

    @ MADHU, thank you! I do not know how to thank you replied to people so aptly..I got a bit carried away as people completely missed my point..thank you for your support Sir! I owe you one for this :D

  66. @Sid,
    You are missing the point. I'm not talking of anyone forcing Hindi. I'm talking about the fact of the matter that HINDI IS (like it or not :-) ) THE largest spoken language in India

    Given the above, if I, You, Neha, Guria were to talk sans English what do we default to ? Hindi ?

    Given English/Hindi is our common denominator and you have called both PHOREN , what do we do ? :-)

    Like it or not very many of us have learnt Hindi ; The question Neha is asking is whether it is good manners to NOT HELP a fellow country(wo)man just because she cannot speak the local language.I think that's a crime.

    By speaking in Hindi to help a stranded one isn't demeaning Marathi/Kannada and neither is it glorifying Hindi.

    PS : English LINGUA PURA ? You are kidding right ? English (esp the US version) has gotten so convoluted that there is nothing PURA about it. LINGUA FRANCA English ? Yes. Lingua Pura ? No !

  67. Neha,

    Why dont you write something light? :-)
    Sadly, you are misinterpreted by many.

    Is it wrong to speak in a language common to both parties when one needs help? That was your content. But guess it didnt reach many.

    To quote an example; if I go to Kerala, I will try to talk broken Malayalam first, as I am familiar with Tamil and Malayalam closely resembles Tamil.

    But before trying this, I would definitely try English, if it works fine. If these two fail, I'll switch to Hindi...OBVIOUS.

    Even if I am in South India, I switch to Hindi and not other languages of South India like Kannada or Telugu...why because officially or unofficially Hindi is national language and we learn it at school...


    New post please..we should move on....:-)

  68. oooooh Someones Angry :)


    KOI Gusse which hai :)

    take ur pick :) he he hehe, I read a lot of comments and your replies, What you need ot know is people will not understand ever what you want to say, so best is to ignore and like Insignia says PERIOD and Move on...

  69. Language should only be used to join the minds of people and not to break them. Depending upon situation, one must choose the language. If someone comes from another state or country for a trip to your state, you cannot expect him to speak your language. But if someone is staying in another Indian state for long time, then it is his moral duty to learn the language of local land. This way he can show his respect to the land which is giving him his bread and butter. What do you say?

  70. Neha, I,as a habit read the comments on the posts which I read.
    It seems,I also did not understand the msg your post was conveying.
    I regret,having posted comments which were actually not matching the msg.
    Chalo ,next time.

  71. @ Insignia, a light post is there already :D I have moved on :))

    @ Bikram, lolzzz, gusse me to hum the..ab thik I object :D

    @ Vega, welcome here..thank you for your comments..I completely agree with you on this..if you are staying in one state for a long time, then you must learn the local language..

    @ BK Chowla, your comment was pretty much do not have to ever apologise..and nobody should apologise if you are merely expressing your views :)

  72. @Madhu... i meant to say that we all complain thats all, an English man can adjust, then we can easily do that... thats my point.

    @Neha... when i said we all shd be sticking to tribal do yu agree :)!

  73. @Neha... and NO, i dont know who gave the idea to so many that yu are imposing HINDI ?!

  74. yes neha, u r true. Some people always pretend that only language they know is their mothertongue.
    Thta's really bad. Even in some situation they pass comments in that alien language.

  75. I love languages. I love Hindi, because it is a very romantic language.[Though I don't speak Hindi much] I love Tamil, because it is like music. I love Kannada, because it is very straight forward. I love Tulu, because it is a language with a lot of sense of humour. I love Malayayalam because no one other than a Mallu can speak in it. And here is what I do - I try and learn and use the language of the place I live or go to, however broken it might turn out to be. It is fun. And that makes sure that I never feel like an alien where I am.

    And I didn't really get what you were trying to say by quoting Article 343.

  76. Let me tell one thing it is not that people try to not speak in Hindi voluntarily. Majority of the population here in chennai i mean 90% dont know Hindi even a little other than people who have settled here form north. Hindi is as good as an alien language here. People know English better than Hindi here.Asking them to speak Hindi is useless. Many also have complex speaking in English because they cant speak properly. So they more comfortable with their mother tongue which they speak.

    When people say "they dont speak my language" why dont they try and speak in the local language which many understand. IS not knowing Hindi a sin and is that why India is disintegrating. I beg to differ

  77. @ Hary, people assumed that I am talking about imposing hindi and made my life worse :D

    @ Asit Dhal, exactly...that's really humiliating na..

    @ சக்தியின் மனம், welcome here..thank you for your comments :)

    @ Sojo, I wish people loved other languages like you do..My point in the post was that if there was one language which was declared as a national language at the time of constitutional enactment, then many problems could have been solved..we even had the provision of adopting one language in Article 343..we just didn't use it in time; that's all..

    the idea behind this post was just a hope of one uniform language across nation so that we all could communicate; but few people took it on a different track and rest followed..

    @ Venky, you have not understood my post..kindly read my reply to ZB, Sojo and many others..and speaking of a local language - I dunno tamil a bit; so nobody in chennai will help me because I am not trying to speak in tamil? how can i try when I dunno how to say hi in that language?

    and Welcome here..:)

  78. Neha, let me tell you why I think [and a lot of people think] making one Indian language as the official language of India is just not acceptable.

    Language is not just about day to day communication. Once a language becomes 'The Official Language' it is more about politics and economics than sociology. The question is, which language are we going to pick as the official language! Most of the major languages in India are the first languages of equal number of people. It is not right to give predominance to one community or race over another in a country like India. We are about diversity. I think we should keep it that way. Asking for one official language in India is as good as asking for one official religion in India. People are against the concept of a 'single official language' not because they hate other languages. They are against it because it will destroy the balance of power and money.

  79. Sojo, this Guria replying!
    The author will reply later but I am still posting one to tell you that your's is probably the best comment/insight I read so far in here! Based on clarity of thought, content and validity of argument... Yeah, I also think you should have been a lawyer, and would have been a darn good one! :)

  80. @ Sojo, even i am not proposing that one language should be made official...I am just saying that I hope there is a uniformity throughout the country whereby people know at least one common becomes easier to communicate with our country people then..

    the decision should have been taken in 1950 when the constitution was it is not at all possible to do so due to various reasons..

    read my first reply to ZB..

  81. OMG...i didn't see that coming Guria. Thanks for that. Makes me happy :)

    Since I couldn't become a lawyer, I wish to spend the rest of my life on social community networks pretending to be on :P

  82. @ சக்தியின் மனம் - sakthiyin manam - shakti's mind, Sorry, i just pasted your name as I cannot read Tamil..asked a friend of mine just now..welcome here :)

  83. Neha, 'Uniformity' across the country sounded equal to 'One Official Language' and hence I disagreed.

    I read your first comment to ZB. It is right when you say Hindi is the largest spoken language. It looks ideal that Hindi becomes the official language to bring about uniformity. But, it is not the only first language in India. That is where the issue is. That is why many people do not agree with Hindi as the official language.

    I understand when u say 'big picture' But in a country like India, the focus must be on 'parts' as good as it is on the 'whole'!Because the secret behind out unity is the fact that we let our diversity continue in peace.

    By the way, I removed the link on FB. [Though I din't want to! I will tell you why I didn't want to remove it in my next post!:D]

  84. Hey Guys .. Stop the bickering forget Hindi or marathi or Tamil whatever Lets have it in PUNJABI.. :)

    @ Siddhesh 'Ravan' Kabe:-
    I did not know about MUMBAI not being ruled by anyone other then BRITISH.. But what is Mumbai I thought its only a city in Maharashtra ... or is it a STATE or a Country of its own...

    I have tried reading everywhere But there is no mention of Mumbai in history as a country on its own..

    I really am with you neha on this one, Silly people cant understand one thing that the idea of the article was to have something so people can communicate easier with each other anywhere in the whole of india.. IF Telugu or Malayalam can do it THEN make that as Offical language.. Why are people taking it personal.. I cant understand that ..

    ARe these the Same people who Shout top of there lungs India is ONe, Mera bharat mahan, What sort of thing is this to pick a individual language, IS THIS HOW we want india to UNITE..

    I am aghast at reading all these comments, Hypocrate people, Maybe all these people who are so proud , Egoistic and plain STUPID..


    where has there patriotism for there own language gone now , Please if you got any shame or honour RESPECT YOU LANGUAGE as you do and USE IT and NOTHING ELSE in Future..

    No wonder we are where we are because of arrogant-silly people who cant just understand a simple thing..


    I guess the girl thinking it against Tamils, she will from now go and talk only in telugu even if she visits Punjab.. good luck with that ..

    This has become a COMEDY SHOW NOW .. and NEHA you become a STAR so many comments wah wah .. soon we will break a century here

  85. please do not generalize total south... in Andhra pradesh, a road side tea shop guy can speak fluent hindi.

    Actually We should be proud of so many languages we(indians) have.But i agree hindi is official language,I think only in very few states people doesnt know hindi...

  86. language is a tool to the know the caste of person, this is reason they did this in the past,
    Divide and rule policy regarding this i have written one post
    on 13nov 2009 about History ,India and language problem here is the link.

  87. People in India think that we watch Hindi movies so we understand the Hindi language which is big myth.
    Knowing language is different thing

    How many times one has filled Govt forms in Hindi language or any other forms.

  88. this sure was controversial and i get why many could have lost out on the message. and it's sad that lots of urban youngsters are now more well versed in english than in any indian language. and i've heard the complaint about how it's so difficult to communicate things in other states. but apparently, malayalis are the best at languages. almost everyone knows at least a smattering of english to get along