Working on a Book on Challenges Faced by Indian Languages - Need Your Help

Dear Karnatique readers,

In Karnatique, we have always stood for linguistic rights of all language communities. The status of a language, with respect to the number of speakers, its geographical spread, its use in the fields of education, entertainment, administration etc should be immaterial when considering linguistic rights.

There are hundreds of languages spoken in the Indian Union. The status of each of these languages is different and the kind of challenges faced by each are quite unique. However, there are some challenges that are common to the language communities of India.
  • Education, especially higher studies
  • Violation of the linguistic rights by the Union Government of India
One of the major challenges is education. While it is possible to receive school education in many languages, higher education in Indian languages has still not been achieved. The work of building knowledge bases in Indian languages has not taken off. In Karnatique, we have always argued in favour of building higher education systems in the mother tongue and have discussed its benefits to the society, especially in the context of globalized knowledge-based economies of today.

Challenges in the use of languages in commerce and administration are also common across language communities of India. In the administration the Union government's language policy is a cause for concern. Article 343 of the Constitution clearly calls out Hindi, with Devanagari script as the lone official language of India. Succeeding articles, up till article 351, prescribe ways and methods to promote the language through law, administration and Union government controlled institutions - which is explicitly imperialistic in nature towards non-Hindi peoples.

In the past, several linguistic communities have protested against the Union's linguistic imperialism. The voices for linguistic equality in the Indian Union are being heard even today, and are only getting stronger. In fact, people belonging to different language communities are gathering at Delhi on the 21st of February, to demand for upholding of language rights. It is to be noted that 21st of February is observed across the world as the International Mother Language Day.

The states and Union Territories of India, having accepted the Official Languages Rules, and other so called goodwill schemes, like the three-language formula, have been suffering Hindi imposition for decades now. After the status quo following the protests in the sixties, the imposition of Hindi on the entire geography of India has continued to date.

People of various linguistic communities have not only come to realize the serious nature of such language issues in India, but have also come to appreciate the need for collaboration between language communities to fight against them. That several such initiatives involving multiple language communities across India have been kick started is proof of this rising awareness.

To take this further, we need to have a clear picture of the current status of various Indian languages, the evolution of the Union Government's language policy, its effect on all the non-Hindi language communities, and our future course of action to address the issues. This is important not only for people taking up the cause of language issues but also will help others understand the issues and better appreciate the efforts to address them. For this purpose, I, based on suggestions from friends and like-minded individuals, have decided to author a book on the subject of "challenges being faced by the languages of India".

But such a book needs a comprehensive understanding of issues of a large number of linguistic communities across India. Hence, an involved and long-term collaboration with all of them is needed for this effort to be successful.

Currently, I have begun to collate all resources available online, starting from the debates of the Constituent Assembly to the latest circulars / orders of the education boards of the state governments. If you are aware of any resource, document or research material that you think will help in this regard, request you to kindly share them.

Also, there may be many issues and incidents that may be specific to your state or language community and they may not be known everywhere across the other states. Request you to share such information as well. Many resources, including very crucial and informative ones, may not be available on the internet at all. Here too, your help is needed. Please write to me at sandeepkambiatgmaildotcom.

1 comment:

Sujay Rao Mandavilli said...

you will find my papers useful
Sujay Rao Mandavilli

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