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THE NEWS

The Government has revised the draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2018, dropping a reference to Hindi and English in the recommendation on the three-language formula.

WHAT WAS IN THE PREVIOUS DRAFT:

  • The earlier version of the draft NEP read: “In keeping with the principle of flexibility, students who wish to change one of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6, so long as the study of three languages by students in the Hindi-speaking states would continue to include Hindi and English and one of the modern Indian languages from other parts of India, while the study of languages by students in the non-Hindi-speaking states would include the regional language, Hindi and English.”

THE REVISED ONE:

  • The revised version states: “In keeping with the principle of flexibility, students who wish to change one or more of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6 or Grade 7, so long as they are able to still demonstrate proficiency in three languages (one language at the literature level) in their modular Board Examinations sometime during secondary school.”

HINDI LANGUAGE ROW:

  • In various non-Hindi speaking states of India, the NEP debated sparked over the imposition of Hindi as a third language.
  • The states strongly opposed the three-language formula and alleged that it was tantamount to thrusting the Hindi language on the non-Hindi speaking states.
  • Following protests, the HRD Ministry has shared a revised document on its website, which dropped the recommendation that stipulated the languages that students must choose to study from Grade 6.
  • Also, the criticism forced the HRD Ministry to issue a statement clarifying that the policy was only a draft and will be finalized after incorporating public feedback and views of the state governments.

THREE-LANGUAGE FORMULA:

  • In India, the ‘three-language formula’ has its roots back in the year 1961.
  • The formula means that students in Hindi-speaking states should learn a modern Indian language, apart from Hindi and English and, in non-Hindi-speaking states, Hindi along with the regional language and English.
    • First Language: The First Language that students should study is the ‘Mother tongue’ or the regional language
    • Second Language: In Hindi-speaking states, the second-language would be English or some other language belonging to Modern India. In Non-Hindi states, the second language will be English or Hindi.
    • Third Language: In Hindi-speaking states, the third language would be English or some other language belonging to Modern India, but the one that is not chosen as a second language. In Non-Hindi states, the third language will be English or some other language belonging to Modern India, but the one which is not chosen as the second language.

“HINDI”, LANGUAGE OF NATION OR JUST IMAGINATION?

  • The draft policy has rekindled the debate about Hindi being or not the national language of India.
  • According to Census 2011, Hindi is the language of less than 44 percent Indians and mother tongue of only a little over 25 percent of people in India.
  • The subject of Hindi being taught in schools, especially in Southern India has been an emotive one, particularly in Tamil Nadu.
  • Tamil Nadu saw anti-Hindi protests from 1937 to 1940 and again in 1965. Tamil is said to be one of the oldest languages and evokes a lot of pride in the state.
  • The state teaches only two languages – Tamil and English – in the government school curriculum, and the parties do not want a third language introduced at all.
  • Whereas, politics in the state is still centered around the principles of the Dravidian movement, which among other things reveres the Tamil language and links it closely to regional identity.

HOW INDIAN CONSTITUTION DEALS WITH LANGUAGE?

  • Article 346 of the Constitution of India recognizes Hindi in Devanagari script as the official language of Union government India.
  • It is to be noted that the Constitution did not declare Hindi as the National language, it rather accorded Hindi the status of ‘official language’ along with English.
  • Currently, the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution contains 22 official languages-Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Santhali, Maithili and Dogri.

Article 350A:

  • Article 350A of the Constitution of India deals with the facilities for instruction in mother-tongue at the primary stage.
  • It shall be the endeavor of every State and of every local authority within the State to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the ‘mother-tongue’ at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups; and the President may issue such directions to any State as he considers necessary or proper for securing the provision of such facilities.

Article 351:

  • Article 351 provides a directive for development of the Hindi language.
  • It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages.

CONCLUSION:

Hindi is beautiful! It emerges from the very essence of Indian’s life. National language or not, Hindi is the most widely spoken language in the country. Therefore, it is high time that we give it the respect it deserves. However, it does not mean that Hindu can be thrust on others who have beautiful languages as their mother-tongue.

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