By I. Ramamohan Rao New Delhi [India], Sept.14 : The nation is observing today as Hindi Divas because on this day in 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India had adopted Hindi written in Devnagari script as the official language of the Republic of India But the Government of India had also accepted that English would continue to be used as an official language in the country and Hindi will not be imposed.
In southern India, there have been agitations against the imposition of Hindi, particularly in Tamil Nadu.
I recall that in 1986 as Principal Information officer of the Government of India , I had sent a circular that officers should sign in Devangari script on Hindi Divas, and that circular created a controversy.
The circular was seen as an attempt to impose Hindi and resulted in a demonstration being organised opposite the office of the Press Information Bureau in Chennai.
The Central Government had to intervene and tell then Chief Minister M. G. Ramachandran, when he visited Delhi, that the circular did not seek to 'impose' Hindi. Today, as per rough figures, at least 40 percent of the population in the country speaks Hindi. It is the native language of most people living in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan.
Hindi is spoken as a native language by 258 million people and recognised as the second most-spoken language in the world.
President Pranab Mukherjee conferred awards in different categories pertaining to Hindi at a function in Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi today.
Rajbhasha Awards were conferred upon ministries, departments, PSUs and nationalised banks. Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh, chairing a meeting of the Hindi Advisory Committee, said that inspite of the government's emphasis on increased use of Hindi in official work, but still a lot needs to be done.
He said that the increased use of Hindi language requires experimentation with new ideas and application of innovative strategies.
As far as the government's working is concerned, he said that the approach should not be to impose Hindi, but to inspire to voluntarily adopt Hindi in the larger interest of administration and ease of governance.
Mr. I. Ramamohan Rao is a former Principal Information Officer of the Government of India. He can be reached on his e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org..