|Introduction: Contextual introduction.|
Body: Write some points about how linguistic policies affect nations.
Conclusion: Write a brief conclusion.
Language as a potential ground for identity, power, unity and integrity has been the subject of debate among different political parties and linguistic groups in India for a considerable period of time. While monolingualism can divide different linguistic groups and put-up walls between them, in contrast, multilingualism can move us from incomprehension to comprehension, from the unknown to the known, and from doubt to trust.
The following examples proved that the linguistic diversity helped in the prosperity of nations and avoiding it may lead to civil wars and destruction of states:
- In 1948, the Government of Pakistan made Urdu as the sole national language. This ignited the violent Bhasha Andolan in East Pakistan, for the recognition of the Bengali language as an official language of the Pakistan. This movement ignited Bengali nationalism and eventually led to the separation of East Pakistan from Pakistan.
- The Sinhala Only Act (the Official Language Act) of 1956 triggered intense enmity and distrust between the Sinhalis and the Tamils in Sri Lanka. It replaced English with Sinhala as the sole official language of the nation. Sinhalese people formed 70% of the population while Tamils constituted around 29% of the country’s population. This friction sparked the decades-long civil war and ruined the nation.
- Singapore has a multiethnic population including Chinese, Malay and Indian. Despite of immense pressure to declare Chinese as the official language, English was made the official language of Singapore. This language proficiency made the city state a global business hub.
- Since 1997, the national anthem of South Africa is a five-language lyrical composition. In recent times, South Africa is an emerging leader of the African continent and its accommodative linguistic policy helped them a lot.
Languages are indeed key components of our identities and bind communities and nations together. This is a task for all of us, from the individual to the community level to civil society, governments and international organizations to maintain linguistic diversity.