Ethnic languages should be taught
No congratulation is enough for Mr. Diganta Sonowal for his brilliant letter "A Different 3 Language formula for Assam"( 23 November).
Rightly has he stated that Assamese and other ethnic languages of the state should be taught in the Kendriya Vidyalays and Army schools set up by the Central Government in Assam. It is a matter of utmost shame that in the KVs and Central schools of non-Hindi speaking states also, Hindi is compulsorily taught at the expense of the local languages of the concerned region. Thus it is atrociously witnessed that while the Hindi-speaking students can afford the luxury of learning their own tongue in the said Vidyalays and schools located at Assam, West Bengal or Orissa; the respective sons of the soil --- Assamese, Bengalis or Oriyas --- are deprived of their own tongue in their very own backyard! Is India a colony of cowbelt or are the Hindi-speakers the "Rajas" of India that their tongue get royal treatment in this multi-lingual democratic country? Are the "nationalist" authorities aware of the basic fact that by treating the languages of the non-Hindi speakers( who form more than 60% of the Indian population) as inferior to Hindi, they are posing a direct assault on the very foundation of the Constitution and democracy itself? When will the Hindi-zealots come to the realisation that by trying to "integrate" the country through Hindi, they are merely sowing the seeds of fragmentation of India? Which self-respecting community will tolerate the marginalisation of its own mother tongue in its own land? Which honourable community will meekly surrender to the barbaric Hindi imperialism that is being cold-bloodedly unleashed upon the non-Hindi speaking population?
The operation of Hindi-isation of India has simply crossed all limits of decency. Just today while I was commuting in a local train in Kolkata, a Railway Department poster has come to my notice. On the inner wall of the compartment, the poster has been pasted by the Department depicting the Railway network of Kolkata and its suburbs. But the names of the stations exhibited in the map are solely in Hindi! By virtue of which moral, democratic or Constitutional authority has the Railways dared to consign the language of the soil --- Bengali --- into oblivion right in the soil of West Bengal and instead preferred to describe the map in the language of the cowbelt? Are the authorities trying to state that to live in India, the non-Hindi speakers will have to learn and understand Hindi, that too by trampling their respective mother tongues under the feet?
It is high time the self-respecting lot among the non-Hindi speakers make it absolutely clear to the Hindi-fanatics that just like the equality of all religions that is practiced in India, equality of all languages should also be compulsorily practiced. The right of Hindi over India is not a bit more than Punjabi- Marathi- Tamil- Bengali- Assamese or Dogri- Konkani- Tulu- Santhali-Kokbarak. Again I extend my heartiest greetings to Mr. Sonowal for showing Hindi its rightful place ie Benaras and Patna and advicing the Hindi-speakers that they are free to learn their language for themselves. Now, please put an end to this philistine mentality of robbing others of their respective mother tongues and imposing an alien language upon them. We just don't want to "enlighten" our souls by learning the language of Bihar-UP-Rajasthan. 'Live and Let Live' is the policy of all civilized societies. You can go all-out in promoting Hindi in Lucknow, Jaipur and Faridabad; but let the Assamese, Bengali, Manipuri, Kannada and Apatani-Nyishi-Adi etc. flourish in Guwahati, Kolkata, Imphal, Bangalore and Itanagar respectively. But please refrain from reducing the great colourful mosaic of heterogeneous culture of India into a cesspool of paan-paraag, khaini and that disgusting Bollywood.
D-2/403 PEERLESS NAGAR,
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