Union Home Minister Amit Shah's recent remarks urging people to speak in Hindi as an alternative to English have evoked strong reactions in the whole country with some supporting the move while others despising it.Many people also believe that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is raking up the issue of Hindi as the country's official language in north and south India for immediate political dividends.Amid the debate, former Speaker of Uttar Pradesh Assembly and senior BJP leader, Hriday Narayan Dixit said what the Union Home Minister actually said was that the states must use Hindi instead of English for communication and continue to speak in their respective local languages.However, Dixit said speaking in Hindi is being opposed by some states.The social workers and other eminent scholars of the country must convey to the people that Hindi is our country's official language and there is no competition with any local language, the BJP leader added.
"The regional languages of respective states have no conflict with Hindi. Hindi and Indian languages belong to one family."The former Speaker said when a proposal for declaring the country's official language was introduced in the Constituent Assembly, Iyengar, the proponent of this proposal, had said he wanted to announce Hindi as the country's official language but it was not the right time to do so.At that time Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had said he accepted English as the preferred language but added that Hindi is our country's language and we must take it forward which is well documented in the Constituent Assembly.Hriday Narayan Dixit added, "Hindi is the country's official language. It is the responsibility of the nation and the state to make all efforts to promote and encourage it. There is no point in imposing Hindi in any state. Those who call the suggestion of using the official language as "cultural terrorism", then I only have pity over their knowledge."
Congress spokesperson Sudhanshu Bajpai said: "Hindi will not be enriched by plain speech or rhetoric, it will not be encouraged by imposition, for this Hindi will have to be linked with employment, it will have to be linked with the world of knowledge, this is practical advice."He further said, "We have different dialects in India, there are languages which are part of our identity, I do not think it is appropriate to put a brake on it. The BJP is already raising a debate over food, today they (BJP) are talking about language, tomorrow they will tell people to wear only dhoti-kurta.""The Constitution is sacrosanct in this country, if the Constitution has guaranteed us freedom of expression, food and clothing, then BJP should not indulge in politics dividing people on these critical issues," he added.Samajwadi Party National spokesperson Ali Khan says: "Hindi is the native language of only 43 per cent of the people in the country, so it is unfair to forcefully impose it on all the people.
All languages of India are equal. Federalism is the soul of the country and the Constitution. Actually this fight is not on the basis of language, but BJP is preparing its election strategy through such a move. By playing politics over language, religion, culture, the BJP wants to ensure communal divide which goes against India's identity of 'unity in diversity'."On the other hand, famous litterateur and critic Virendra Yadav says that Amit Shah's statement is that the people of non-Hindi speaking areas must communicate in Hindi."It is bound to receive criticism in south India or non-Hindi speaking states because if a Malayalam speaking person can speak to a Tamil speaker in Malayalam or Tamil, then it is like imposing Hindi on them, it is unnecessary encroachment on linguistic freedom.""His (Amit Shah's) statement is unnecessary. In a country like India which has subcontinental expansion, if the dominance of any one language will be imposed on the other, then it is not right for the unity and integrity of the country, this should be avoided."