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Is Hindi The National Language of India?

In a country like India where more than 1600 languages persist, is it possible to have one national language without moving towards chaos?

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There are more than 150 languages in India that spoken by at least 10,000 people. Out of which, Hindi is the most widely spoken language, amounting to 40% speakers in the population. Wikimedia Commons
There are more than 150 languages in India that are spoken by at least 10,000 people. Out of which, Hindi is the most widely spoken language, amounting to 40% speakers in the population. Wikimedia Commons
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BY SHANTAM SAHAI 

  • 1600 languages and dialects are spoken in India, out of which, none is the ‘national language’
  • Hindi and English, as mentioned in Article 343 of the Indian constitution, are official languages of India
  • 22 languages are mentioned in the eighth schedule of the Indian constitution, all of which can be considered as national languages or official languages

India, the seventh-largest and second-most populous country in the world, home to 1.3 billion people who speak 1600 languages, is widely known for its cultural diversity. The world’s largest democracy consists of 29 states, which were divided on the basis of language. Hindi, a language spoken by 41% and known to 53% of the population, is misconceived to be the ‘national language’ of India. The Indian constitution does not mention any ‘national language’. However Hindi (along with English) is the official language of India.

Article 343(1) of the Indian constitution says: 

“(1) The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script. The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union shall be the international form of Indian numerals.”

Thus, Hindi is NOT is the national language, but the official language of India.

ALSO READ: How angry “Hindi” voters turned the tables against Congress in 1977 elections

Difference between ‘National language’ and ‘Official language’

An official language is one used for official/governmental purposes. It has a legal standing and is used in the judiciary, central legislature, and executive documents. Official languages have more to do with day-to-day work.

Whereas, a national language is a national symbol. It has a common representation of the people living in the geographical territory of the country. A national language has sentimental values connected with it, as it reflects a ‘common individuality’ (in linguistic terms) from the world.

The Indian national flag, national emblem, national anthem, national animal, national bird, or the national language, all of them are national symbols which unite us as the countrymen of India. Wikimedia Commons
The Indian national flag, national emblem, national anthem, national animal, the national bird, or national language, all of them are national symbols which unite us as the countrymen of India. Wikimedia Commons

Why India has no national language?

A national language is supposed to unite the citizens of the country under one umbrella. Other than the percentage of users, what matters more is the spread of the language i.e. if it is to unite a country as a national symbol, a language needs to have users spread in all parts of the country. As in the case of India, we have no such language.

ALSO READ: How Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism Influence Early Tamil History?

A national language needs to widespread, not only widely spoken. India has no such language. Facebook
A national language needs to be widespread, not only widely spoken. India has no such language. Facebook

As you can see on the map, Hindi maybe widely spoken, but it is not widespread. Hindi (and its variants) is spoken in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi (the capital), Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan. Whereas, the eastern and southern states have no trace of it. Hindi, may be known in various other parts, does not command any sentimental value in other states.

Moreover, languages other than Hindi have a significant amount of speakers. For example,

  • No. of Bengali speakers: 83,369,769
  • No. of Telugu speakers: 74,002,856 
  • No. of Marathi speakers: 71,936,894 
  • No. of Tamil speakers: 60,793,814 
  • No. of Kannada speakers: 37,924,011 
  • No. of Gujarati speakers: 46,091,617 
  • No. of Odiya speakers: 33,017,446 
  • No. of Malayalam speakers: 33,066,392 

Hence, there cannot be one national language in India. Therefore, the Constitution of India in its eighth schedule mentions 22 languages; all of which can be referred to as national languages or official languages.

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Akshay Kumar Wants To Be A Part Of Hindi Remake Of Marathi Film “Balak Palak”

Akshay Kumar says he wants to be a part of the Hindi remake of Marathi film “Balak Palak”

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Akshay Kumar: ‘Marathi Cinema Is Bolder Than Hindi. flickr

Akshay Kumar, who has turned presenter for “Chumbak”, believes Marathi cinema is way ahead of Bollywood when it comes exploring complex stories. “The content of Marathi cinema is no doubt better than Hindi cinema. Also, they (Marathi cinema) are much bolder. I have seen ‘Balak Palak’ and I have enjoyed watching it. It is a bold film, they (Marathi cinema) create (good) content and that too bold,” Akshay said during the trailer launch of “Chumbak”.

The film, directed by Sandeep Modi, stars Swanand Kirkire and teen actors Sangram Desai and Sahil Jadhav. “This film has travelled to several film festivals and got lot of acclaim. That has not happened with my films. My films have not gone to festivals and I felt I should give my name to this film as the content is really good. I have been acting for 28 years but I haven’t seen such a beautiful and real performance like that of Swanand Kirkire.”

Not for money

Actor-producer Akshay Kumar says that he did not produce the forthcoming Marathi film “Chumbak” with the intention to earn money at box office. Asked what prompted him to associate his name with “Chumbak”, Akshay said: “I don’t want to earn money by producing this film. I do lot of films through which I earn money and this film is not one of them. This film will show you right path. I have seen many films, but not every time, I want to associate myself with the film, but this film touched my heart. The kind of message that this film gives, these are the things what I would like to teach my children. I feel people should pass on this to their children so that they can learn what is right and what is wrong.”

The actor said he is keen to be a part of meaningful films. “I could have done ‘Rowdy Rathore’ and earned three times the money, I earned for ‘PadMan’. The idea is not about earning, but I thought of talking about women’s problems. I can earn money by doing other kind of films, but I want to do these kind of films.”

Akshay, on his part, believes the market for regional cinema is growing. “‘Sairat’ has done great business. Even Riteish Deshmukh’s last Marathi film did well. I am not looking for business in this film (‘Chumbak’).”

The message

About the message given in “Chumbak”, Akshay said: “I feel parents should take their children to watch this film because it tells you that there are two ways to lead a life, one is right path and another is wrong. In that, you have to choose what path is correct for you and that’s what the journey of the characters in this film.”

The film, starring renowned lyricist Kirkire, is a story of friendship between a 15-year-old table-cleaning-waiter-boy Baalu and his chance encounter with a 45-year-old mentally slow man Prasanna that forces him to make a choice between his dreams and morality.

Akshay Kumar says he wants to be a part of the Hindi remake of Marathi film “Balak Palak”
Akshay Kumar says he wants to be a part of the Hindi remake of Marathi film “Balak Palak”. Wikimedia commons

Remaking a film

Akshay Kumar says he wants to be a part of the Hindi remake of Marathi film “Balak Palak”, which was produced by his close actor-producer friend Riteish Deshmukh. “There was a film which I watched…’Balak Palak’… and it’s really a bold film. I think Marathi cinema is much bolder in its content and doesn’t shy away from presenting taboo subjects. I would like to remake that film.”

Akshay has acted in socially-relevant films like “PadMan” and “Toilet- Ek Prem Katha”. Asked if he wants to continue doing such films, he quipped: “Now I am also going to do one more social film called ‘Housefull 4’. I like doing all kinds of cinema. I don’t have a particular image and I don’t want to tag myself. I keep on breaking my image all the time and it always comes as a challenge for me. As an actor also, it keeps you going,” he added.

Also read: Actor Naseeruddin Shah Says, 50 Years From Now Cinema Halls Would Be Found In Museums

The actor will be next seen in Reema Kagti’s historical period sports drama “Gold” and Shankar’s science fiction film “2.0”. (IANS)