Language is an integrating factor for a nation’s unity but it is matter of regret and concern that language has become a problem tending to be a disintegrating force in India. In accordance with the provisions of the constitution, Hindi became our official language of government with effect from 1965. However, the proposed switch over from English to Hindi sparked off a row leading to violence in non-Hindi speaking states of India.
The crisis has aggravated and reached a stage of deadlock mainly due to the fact that more stress is being laid on the state language than on the national language. This is possibly due to the provision in the constitution, for Hindi is not acceptable to all sections of the population. A state language cannot take the place of national language. It’s impossible for any state to either isolate itself from the rest of the country linguistically or to be wholly homogenous linguistically. Reorganization or demarcation of states on linguistic principle was not very good or satisfying solution as linguistic minorities in a state are always there and just can’t be wiped out. Besides, the problem only grows with industrialization and growth in industrial population through the migration of labour and personnel in each state. Also, each state will have an influx of employees both from central and state services hailing from other states and linguistic regions. All these factors establish that it is not possible for any state to enforce its language within its own boundaries.
Inter-communication among the states, exchange of students and teachers among universities, contact among the high court’s and the Supreme Court and her such measures would go a long way in cementing the cause of national integration. There can just be no question of forcible imposition of Hindi and until Hindi is not acceptable to all the states. English has to continue at the level of the inter stated communication. All high ranking officials, are not from one state, further inter-departmental communication is linked with the communication with the centre and states. All this calls for evolving a national language.
It is pertinent to note that as English is presently accepted as the language for inter-departmental work, there is no difficulty in communicating with linguistic minorities in their own language at local levels. As a matter of fact, there are provisions in the civil procedure code and in the criminal procedure code that empower the state governments to determine the language to be used in each court within the areas administered by such government. In many states there is more than one court for the convenience of the linguistic minorities. Similarly, the government may determine in what language correspondence with panchayats of particular areas will be carried on?
English has to continue to be a link for inter communication in the higher fields of administration, technology, university education and scientific research. There should be no problem in making Hindi the link language at the popular level. Some even suggest the simple solution of the status quo and continue English in its former position at the centre and in the states. Another solution advanced replacement of English by Hindi all over the country. Many favour the three language formula. A national language should evolve and develop on a universal scale. But a realistic and rationalistic policy is called for in connection with the issue of national language. At present the issue is fraught with the emotional overtones and unrealistic attitudes, and no solution to the crisis will please all.