Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What is the national language of India?

GK question: What is the national language of India?
Cmon, you know this one...every kid knows it. 
So, what is it? Did you just say Hindi?
You are so wrong my darlings. In fact, India has no national language. Neither the Constitution of India nor the Indian law specifies a National language.The constitution merely states that Hindi is the official language along with English. See - http://india.gov.in/knowindia/official_language.php and http://india.gov.in/outerwin.php?id=http://www.rajbhasha.gov.in.
Surprised? me too! I've always accorded the national language status to Hindi. Dam! how come I didn't know this!

I think for most of us, especially the North Indians, Hindi is the Rashtrabhasha..and we don't care and accept any other argument contrary to this! I don't know who put this in my mind, but, i think its our schooling system, where we learn that Hindi is our national language and after that we have regional languages...but Hindi is what every Indian should know. Books too mention the same. I bet many school teachers also live in the belief that Hindi is the national language. 

I've had the language debate with many people several times, especially with my husband - T, who is a kannadiga. I've always argued and wanted to know why people in the south of the country are so uptight about using Hindi...after all its our national language and they mighty well know it...and even when they know it, they ignore when somebody talks in Hindi! And now, after so many years, I get to know, that we don't have a national language at all! And the majority Hindi speaking class wants to force it on everybody. No wonder we have people like Raj Thackeray and the anti hindi mentality/protestors in South India rearing their head and fighting for their space.

But, all said and done, inspite of all the diversity, I  do think we should have a national language. Something common that should have been similar all over the country. Language is to aid communication, so a common language that would be spoken and understood from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Today when I go to Chennai, i have problems communicating and asking for simple things like directions/negotiating with a rick guy. There is just too much non cooperation when I speak Hindi. Although, English seems fine to some of them!

Hmmm, but then another thought...the national sport is Hockey...no IPL for it, the national bird is the peacock...nobody cares for that, the national animal is the Tiger...only 1411 left, the national song, Vande Mataram...hardly unites people today! So, maybe branding something national really doesnt help! What say you?


  1. What I learnt in school was that the official national language of India is Hindi whereas English has been accepted as a universal language for the ease of learning and speaking it by citizens of various other countries. It is fair.
    Also the use of English language for official purposes like administrative reports etc doesn't shock me.

    But yes I can totally relate to what you said about discrimination within our own country on the basis of language, particularly in Chennai. Also the other national symbols - game, animal, bird are only for the name of it. Ye India hai meri jaan!!

  2. Moment of enlightenment : I also always thought hindi was our national language...and don't get me started abt language problems in Chennai ;)

  3. ur hubby is a kannadiga...cool.

    Hope that answers your question :)

  4. @Yuvika - i was thinking of u when i was writing the Chennai bit :)i really was..and imagining how you communicate, especially with rick guys, reading road signs! But i would think you would have picked some bit of the language.

  5. @Gajendra ya hes from bangalore...and me from delhi...and the north south battle goes on in our house off & on...its a lot of fun :) & the IPL really got our dilli & bangalore spirits into play big time...now its a different story that Delhi is out of semis and Banglore is in :)

    @Shivani wow..you really did remember that it was the official language! I don't know how and where i & most people i spoke to a few days back picked up the notion that Hindi is the rashtrabhasha. I completely agree with the use of English as its an integral part of official communication everywhere and today is more of a common language across the length and breadth of the country.

  6. Ask the shiv sainiks and they say Marathi is the national language!!!

  7. M@ria,

    Sad but true. It seems anything with Naional tag dies natural death. So let it be as it is. And we can go for some not so important amendments in our constitution but not this one for the fear of reactions.

    Take care

  8. Yes, most of the people think that Hindi is our national language.
    That is the beauty of India, but still we are misunderstood

  9. Let's make love the national language. That should help a lot.

  10. Oh! TBG...sau baat ki ek baat...well said well said! this has to be the best conclusion to the post. Thanks :)

  11. But by then your study, the love will reduce! :)

  12. BTW I knew that because of Raj Thackrey.

  13. And did you know that even the right to be the 'official' language was won by Hindi by a narrow margin (one vote, if I'm not mistaken) otherwise our official language would have been Bengali. The very thought! But then I suppose people in the South feel the same way about Hindi.

    (I don't remember the exact circumstances. Lemme research a bit, will post a link if I find something on this)