Don’t add Hindi dialects in Eighth Schedule, say academics
In the wake of demands to add dialects of Hindi, like Bhojpuri and Rajasthani, in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution as full-fledged Indian languages, a group of Hindi professors have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting that status quo be maintained.
Teaching at various universities across India, these academics argue that Hindi’s prime strength is the large number of its speakers. Recognition of its dialects as separate languages would deprive Hindi of millions of its speakers. There would eventually be no Hindi left, they fear.
This development comes months after Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal said in Bikaner that Rajasthani would be added to the Eighth Schedule. As late as December, 2016, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had raised a similar demanded for Bhojpuri.
“Eighth schedule means independent identity of a language. What will remain of Hindi if its key dialects are recognised as separate languages? The only reason Hindi has its status as official language is that it has the highest number of speakers,” professor Amarnath, who teaches in the Hindi department of Calcutta University, told The Hindu.
“Hindi is on the brink of a split today. Some people with vested interests have begun to demand that Bhojpuri be placed in the Eight Schedule of the Constitution. Delhi BJP leader Manoj Tiwari has made this demand in Parliament and outside,” says the letter to Mr. Modi. “If Bhojpuri is separated from Hindi, it will not take long for Braj, Awadhi, Chhattisgarhi, Rajasthani, Bundeli, Magahi and Angika to become separate languages... In fact, Bhojpuri does not have a single text that can match Ram Charita Manas, Padmawat or Sur Sagar.”
A hundred and thirteen Hindi academics and writers from across India are signatories to the letter, which has also been sent to Home Minister Rajnath Singh.