Language and unity

September 18, 2019 12:02 am | Updated 01:47 am IST


The theory of one nation, one language will not work in India as there are several ‘mother tongues’ to which their speakers attach greater importance. Language is not only a medium of communication, but it is the soul or spirit that the speakers express their feelings and emotions inherited over the millennia. In the United States and the United Kingdom, English is the prime language; is it the language alone that binds their nations? It is their culture and national outlook that unites them despite differences in race, religion and status.

It is not want of a single language that stands in the way of unity in India, but it is the diabolic caste system, deep-rooted prejudices, discrimination, untouchability, economic and social disparities and corruption that divide India even after 73 years of Independence. So we must first set our house in order, and not project a particular language predominantly just because it is spoken by many.

It is good for a citizen in India to know his ‘mother tongue’ or local language, English and Hindi. Language learning must come spontaneously and volitionally — not through compulsion, direct or indirect.

M. Govindaswamy,



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