On Hindi Diwas today, Union Home Minister Amit Shah made an appeal to unify India with the country's most widely-spoken language - Hindi. His tweet mentions that it is "important for India to have one language marking its identity globally". While he said Hindi is the language which has the ability to unify the nation, he also emphasised that India is a country of many languages and each language has its own significance.
Amit Shah tweeted on Hindi Diwas, which is celebrated every year on September 14, marking the significance of the day when India's Constituent Assembly adopted Hindi as the official language of India. Hindi, which is written in the Devanagri script, is one of the 22 scheduled languages of the country. However, Hindi is one of the two official languages of the Union Government, the other being English.
While India has two official languages at the national level and 22 scheduled languages recognised at the state level, the country does not have any national language. While a national language is intended to have a patriotic and nationalistic identity, official languages and scheduled languages are designated purely for the purpose of communication at the official level.
Amit Shah's tweet hints at fulfilling the purpose of having Hindi as a national language. Explaining this, the minister wrote, "India is a country of many different languages, and each language has its own significance, but it is necessary to have a common language that becomes the mark of India's identity globally."
"Today, if there is one language that has the ability to string the nation together in unity, it is the Hindi language which is the most widely-spoken and understood language in India," Mr Shah added.
भारत विभिन्न भाषाओं का देश है और हर भाषा का अपना महत्व है परन्तु पूरे देश की एक भाषा होना अत्यंत आवश्यक है जो विश्व में भारत की पहचान बने। आज देश को एकता की डोर में बाँधने का काम अगर कोई एक भाषा कर सकती है तो वो सर्वाधिक बोले जाने वाली हिंदी भाषा ही है। pic.twitter.com/hrk1ktpDCn— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) September 14, 2019
Amit Shah further appealed to citizens across India to promote both their mother tongue, as well as Hindi to fulfil the dream of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel.
In June, the draft of the new Educational Policy 2019 faced strong opposition, especially in the southern states, after a clause recommended making Hindi mandatory in all schools across India.
Tamil Nadu's main political parties AIADMK and DMK spearheaded the anti-Hindi protests, saying that the plan served "a political purpose" in the long term. Karnataka also raised its voice against the proposal, with then Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal Secular tweeting - in Kannada - against the move. Karnataka Congress leaders also expressed their objections.
Mamata Banerjee too had opposed the move, saying "Every state has a separate character and separate language. Priority must be given to regional languages. I have full support for regional languages. Importance must be given to the mother tongue and then to other languages."
The report on the Draft National Education Policy 2019 was prepared by an expert panel led by Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, former chief of the Indian Space Research Organisation. The recommendations included the "three language formula" that was seen by many in non-Hindi speaking states as an effort to force them to accept mandatory Hindi learning till Class 8.
After objections, the government had decided to dropped that part of its draft.