Thursday, February 5, 2015

Did the Hon. Governor 'impose' Hindi on the Karnataka Legislature?

I thought long and hard before writing this, and yes, I have finally reached the conclusion that I'm quite unhappy about the fact that the Hon. Governor of Karnataka had chosen to speak in Hindi to the Joint Session of the Karnataka Legislature recently. Apparently, hardly anyone in the two houses understood the speech, which is meant to address the people of Karnataka. 

So why did he speak in Hindi? The convention is to address the house in English or Kannada. If the Hon. Governor who is from Gujarat was uncomfortable with his English proficiency, he should have spoken in Gujarati and provided a translation into Kannada and English. That would have been acceptable as a personal accommodation to a public personage. What is incomprehensible is; why thrust a totally alien language (in the context, as neither the speaker nor his audience were Hindi speaking) on us?

This is something that will happen only in Karnataka. Will the Legislatures of Tamil Nadu and Kerala permit this to happen without an uproar? Why on earth do our politicians put up with this? Why did nobody even register their protest formally? Now that a precedent has been set, and officially no one objected, we can expect this to become an annual feature!! What a miserable situation. 

The arms of the Government must demonstrate a higher level of sensitivity in a multi-lingual nation such as ours, especially in States where an extra sensitivity against the 'imposition' of Hindi exists.

In a lighter vein, I must insist that this will cause unease in my mind until the day when a Governor from Karnataka, addresses the legislature of UP / MP / Bihar or other Hindi speaking States in Kannada! Until then, this unequal treatment of my mother tongue will prick and chafe.

Before anyone can revert with the response 'Hindi is our National Language', it is not. It is just one other language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. See links. Surprisingly, it was the High Court of Gujarat (the Hon. Governors home State) that gave a ruling settling the debate on this issue.

Also, sharing an editorial that helped me form my views on this topic.

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