By Matters India Reporter
Patna, September 15, 2019: While rest of India debated the federal Home Minister’s suggestion to make Hindi the national language, students of a Jesuit college in Patna sang paeans to the language.
The students of St Xavier’s College of Management and Technology in the capital city of Bihar recited poems to mark the national Hindi Divas on September 14, the day the Constituent Assembly of India adopted Hindi, written in Devanagari script, as the country’s official language in 1949.
The college’s Poetry Club organized the function, “Hindi-Hamari Pehchan” (Hindi our identity), to highlight the importance of Hindi, the fourth most spoken language in the world after English, Spanish and Mandarin.
However, attempts by the federal government to impose the language on non-Hindi speaking states have met with bitter opposition down the decades.
Home Minister Amit Shah rekindled the controversy on September 14 when he stressed the ability of Hindi to “unite” India and represent the nation at global level.
However, he hailed the diversity of languages and dialects in the country that he said was the “strength of our nation.”
Shah’s Hindi advocacy came months after the federal government quietly withdrew the new “three-language formula” in the draft New Education Policy 2019.
The shift from the current “two-language formula” sought mandatory teaching of the language in schools and was seen as a move to impose Hindi on the non-Hindi speaking states.
Shah’s remarks drew strong response from parties in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka with many stressing that Hindi was among the 22 languages recognized by the Constitution and their stature is the same.
M K Stalin, leader of Tamil Nadu’s Dravida Munnetra Kazhakam party, said Shah’s views were “shocking” and will certainly infringe national integrity and hence he should withdraw his views immediately”.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said people should respect all languages and cultures equally.
“We may learn many languages but we should never forget our mother-language,” she tweeted. The TMC chief also posted the greetings in another tweet in Hindi.
Speakers at the Patna college function too stressed the need for respecting all languages.
Addressing the students, well-known Hindi contemporary poet and banker Sanjay Kumar ‘Sanj’ stressed the equality of languages. “No language was supreme,” said the chief guest who applauded the college’s budding poets for their sensitive poems.
One of the poets, Harshita, began the proceedings with her poem, Haan, Maine Bhi Kuch Dekha Hai (Yes, I too have seen something), which talked about some harsh realities, social evils and misuse of money power.
This was followed by Abhay Kumar Singh’s Main Hindi Bol Raha Hoon (I am talking Hindi), which truly captured the mood of the day.
Ojashwini Sharma narrated Ek Safar (One Journey), which took the audience on a journey on the street, where one witnesses social conflict as well as communal harmony.
Anupama’s Prakriti (Nature) focused on conservation of environment.