Will Hindi as the official language of communication help India?
BJP-led NDA government’s directive asking central government employees to use Hindi while posting tweets or messages on social media channels, has not gone down well with many sections in Chennai.
After DMK Chief, Karunanidhi opposed the move yesterday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure the urgent amendment of an instruction that asks government departments to use Hindi for tweets and other social media posts.
Amidst the unwarranted controversy, BJP spokesperson, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has come out with an explanation that Hindi is the soul of India and this should not be seen as a move to disrespect English or any language; rather as a way to enhance the pride of being an Indian.
In a diverse country like India, it will not be easy to impose any language for official communication across the length and breadth of the country. There is a belief that it would be undemocratic to impose it. This line of thought feels that the government is trying to promote Hindi at the cost of other regional languages though this has been denied by the Ministry of Home Affairs. In this regard, another tweet was sent out yesterday by the Home minister’s tweeter handle: “The Home Ministry is of the view that all Indian languages are important. The Ministry is committed to promote all languages of the country.”
The arguments put forth by the other school of thought points out that Hindi is the 5th largest spoken language in the world and the concerns of being undemocratic are misplaced. It is strange that English, a foreign language is acceptable as a means of communication to learn and move ahead but cannot embrace Hindi. Take the example of United Kingdom, which consists of English, Wales, Scottish & Irish but English was accepted as “THE” language of communication.
Earlier this week, a news report had said that the central government has directed its employees and employees of central undertakings and banks to use Hindi or both Hindi and English on their official web pages in social media like Twitter, blogs, YouTube, Facebook and Google. It is a debatable issue and the unwarranted debates are expected to continue.
In the light of above controversy, one thing is sure that regional language content is indeed going to gain prominence online in the coming years and Facebook, Twitter, Google and other sites already having multi-lingual sites for Indians. Indians will continue to use multiple languages and cannot be constrained to only consume content in a single language. It will be interesting to keep a tab on how this entire episode unfolds and what are its’ implications for social media.