‘Centre against imposition of Hindi’

New Delhi: MoS for Home Kiren Rijiju at parliament during the winter session in New Delhi on Monday. PTI Photo by Kamal Kishore (PTI12_14_2015_000071A)   | Photo Credit: PTI

Minister of State (Home) Kiren Rijiju said the government was against imposing Hindi on other regional languages like Tamil, Kannada or Telugu, and the Centre will continue to promote Hindi as it was the official language as envisaged in the Constitution. He also said that promotion of regional languages was the responsibility of the respective States.

The BJP-ruled NDA government has come under severe criticism in the past for its efforts to promote Hindi and making it compulsory for all Central government offices to communicate on social media.

‘Hindi is official language’

In an interview to The Hindu, Mr. Rijiju said that Hindi and English have become the link languages for official correspondence. The proposal to include English along with 37 other regional languages like Bhojpuri, Chattisgarhi, Khasi and Bundelkhandi in the VIII Schedule of the Constitution, granting it an official status, has been pending with the Centre for 12 years now.

“Our policy is very clear — we have to promote all indigenous Indian languages. Hindi is an official language as per the provisions of the Constitution. The situation remains the same,” said Mr. Rijiju.

It was on September 14, 1949, that the drafting committee of the Constitution had agreed to accept Hindi as the official language of India and from then on the day is celebrated as ‘Hindi Divas’ across all Central ministries, departments and offices.

English for convenience

He said English is an international language used for convenience.

“We are here to promote Hindi to the extent that it is permissible, especially in the ‘A’ category states. In India, nobody should force anybody to adopt a particular language. Hindi and English have become link languages for the states but, at the same time, we have important languages like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Gujarati, Odiya and Assamese,” he said.

He added that there were 38 proposals pending for inclusion in the VIII Schedule of the Constitution with the ministry.

“We instituted an official group to look into the inclusion of these languages in the VIII Schedule. The committee has given its report and we are examining it,” said Mr. Rijiju.