BJP’s obsession with Hindi

Union Home Minister Amit Shah who is also the Chairman of the Parliamentary Official Language Committee, informed that 22,000 Hindi teachers had been recruited in the eight states of the Northeast and all the states have agreed to make Hindi compulsory up to Class X. It is not known if this includes Meghalaya too since the MDA Government had not yet reacted to the Union Home Minister’s announcement. And since Education is on the concurrent list, the State’s concurrence is imperative. Amit Shah’s remarks go contrary to the National Education Policy 2020, introduced by the BJP-led government, which seeks to support primary education in the mother tongue. That the BJP has an aversion for English is a given. Now they seem to believe that Hindi is the only unifying factor for this country. They are averse to the idea of fellow-Indians conversing with each other in English instead of Hindi. That is why Shah has said that Hindi should be accepted as the alternative language to English and not to the mother tongue.
In Assam there have been reactions against this announcement of the Home Minister from several quarters, foremost among which is the Asom Sahitya Sabha which has categorically stated that Hindi cannot be made compulsory in Assam up to Class X. Assam Chief Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma meanwhile has contested the claims that Hindi would be made a compulsory subject up to Class X. He says there has been no such instructions from the Centre. Biswa Sarma stated that in Assam, Assamese is the mother tongue and that the Assam government in consultation with Asom Sahitya Sabha and Tribal Sahitya Sabha had prepared a language policy where a student will learn Assamese and a tribal language besides English and Hindi. However, since the Bodo Sahitya Sabha has some objections that policy has been kept in abeyance.
In Meghalaya, other than the Congress Party chief, Vincent Pala and former Congress MLA, Ampareen Lyngdoh no one has raised a stink on the imposition of Hindi as a compulsory subject up to Class X. The MDA Government has not taken a view on this and neither have individual political parties. This is strange considering that the State is trying to promote Khasi and to ensure its inclusion in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. Interestingly the Meghalaya BJP too has up to the time of writing this editorial not said anything on the issue of making Hindi compulsory up to Class X. Nor have the other tribal states made an issue of this. To buttress his point, Amit Shah said that 70% of the agenda of the Union Cabinet is prepared in Hindi now . He even stated that nine tribal communities have converted their dialects’ scripts into Devanagiri. The question arising now is whether India is still a federation of states or if the Centre can take decisions even on subjects on the concurrent list without consulting the states.

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