Bhashas & Bharat: The current language policy is wise, born out of pragmatism. We can’t afford linguistic extremism

Synopsis: India’s notion of diversity has allowed multiple languages to flourish and multiple communities to thrive and unite.


Recently, India celebrated the Hindi Diwas 2021.

About Hindi Diwas

The Constituent Assembly adopted Hindi in Devanagari Script as one of the official languages of the Union of India on 14th September 1959. This day is thus celebrated as Hindi Diwas.

Apart from Hindi, English is another official language of India. Moreover, India presently has 22 languages specified under the Constitution’s eighth schedule.

Why was Hindi adopted as an official language?

First To avoid any conflict between all the diverse languages.

Second, Hindi is India’s most widely spoken language. According to, Census 2011 43.63% of the people has Hindi as their mother tongue.

How language is part of a political project?

Language is not just a medium of communication, it also evokes strong emotional responses. Thus, we find that it needs to be handled with political wisdom. This is evident in many cases.

Switzerland, with a population of only 8.4 million, has four national and official languages.

Erstwhile Pakistan fell apart when it tried to impose Urdu as the state language on its Bangla-speaking population in what was East Pakistan.

Considering all these, India adopted a unique three-language model that suited its needs. Through this, three Indian languages were to be taught in the schools. This would promote brotherhood and unity amongst fellow Indians.

However, despite these, we find numerous challenges for this Indian project.

What are the threats?

Linguistic extremism: It is a scenario when a particular group adopts a tough stand towards other languages.

What should be the way forward?

Linguistic extremism can be avoided by ensuring that it does not become a political project or the issue should not be politicized. Further, there should be a lot more investment in translations of the works of one language into other languages. Translations will enrich Indian languages.

Source: This post is based on ” Bhashas & Bharat: The current language policy is wise, born out of pragmatism. We can’t afford linguistic extremism” published in the Times of India on 15th September 2021.

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