Constituent Assembly Of India -Volume IX
Dated: September 12, 1949
Dr. P. Subbarayan: Not on the basis of that but on the basis of their being Indian in origin. I am only proving that these are our own numerals and that we need not fight shy of them.
Mr. President: We need not go into those details any more. The question is to be decided on broader grounds.
Dr. P. Subbarayan: Sir, all that I want to say is that we need not fight shy of these numerals. They are our own and we are only taking back to ourselves what was our own and what are commonly known all over the world. In this way we can be more akin to the world also, because today more than 60 per cent. of the people of the world use these numerals. There is no harm in this As this is so, I do not know why we should introduce archaic connotations and give up something well-known to us and which we have been using all these years.
I have already referred to the Roman script. (Interruption.) Mr, T. T. Krishamachari is a constitutional expert. I do not pretend to be an expert. But what I say is this : When the script is well-known all over the world, and as the world is getting narrower and narrower, it will keep us akin. to the world and we shall be able to get our own scientists talk to the scientists of the world through the medium of our own language if we adopt the Roman script. It will be easily read by the rest of the world and therefore it will get us akin to the wide world. I hope Shri T. T. Krishnamachari is now satisfied.
Well. coming now to the rest of my amendments, I want that the Commission to be appointed under the Resolution as proposed by Shri N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar should not come after five years. Five years is too short a periodfor that. It should come on] after ten years are over and until those ten years we should keep the English language as the medium. My friends from the United Provinces laugh at this. If they had the experience I had to go through ,during the Hindi controversy, they will understand why I am pleading for this gesture on their part. We from the south, wanting a national language, wanting to be in tune with all of you from the North of India, agreed to swallow almost 95 per cent. of what you wanted. And yet, you want the other 5 per cent. also, because you believe in the Tamil proverb : 'The hare you have got has only three legs'.
I am also reminded of the other Tamil proverb which says, if a man comes and asks for a little place on the verandah and if you grant it, he will next ask for entry into the house itself. That is the position of most of you gentlemen, today.
I feel, Sir, that it is very important that you should understand the South Indian position. If I tell you what exactly happened for three months when I holding was charge of the portfolio of education in Madras and Hindi was introduced as a compulsory subject in the first three forms of the High Schools, you will understand my anxiety that I should go back from here with something done, something accomplished. For three whole months, every morning when I got out of my house I heard nothing but cries of "Let Hindi die, and let Tamil live. Let Subbarayan die and Rajagopalachari die". That was the cry that went up for three months and what is more, we were constrained to use even the Criminal Law Amendment Act which we railed against previously.
Shri T. T. Krishnamachari (Madras: General): Hear, hear.
Dr. P. Subbarayan : Mr. Krishnamachari says : 'Hear, hear'. I remember his criticism on the floor of the House. If lie had been in power at that time he would have used worse instruments.
Sir, I will give another information for the edification of my colleagues from the United Provinces. The Congress Bulletin is published both in English and in Hindi. If you compare the number of subscribers for these two editions,-you will be surprised. Only about 1/40th of those who subscribe for the English edition, subscribe for the Hindi edition. This shows that in spite of Gandhiji's attempts and in spite of everything that has been lone, we have not been able to make even those who seem to be jealous of Hindi language buy the Hindi edition of the Congress Bulletin. My honourable friend the Secretary of the Congress (Shri Kala Venkata Rao) wants me to give the number. For reasons best known to him I do not want to give the numbers.
There is another amendment which I would like the House to accept and that is that English should be the fourteenth language in the Schedule. I think my Friend Mr. Anthony has explained the reasons for this' and correctly so. They may be an infinitesimal part of our population, but the Anglo-Indian community is as much Indian as anyone of us is. If we regard them as our kith and kin, their language ought to find a place in the Schedule as any of the other languages. Therefore I feel that 14th should be the English language.
Our Friend Shri Lakshmi Kanta Maitra wants also his amendment to be accepted. I am in favour of putting Sanskrit as the fifteenth language, because Sanskrit is our ancient language and we want also to have it mentioned in our Constitution. This is the one place where we could include, it, Considering everything, I feel that it would be correct if we adopt Hindustani written in the Roman script as the national language of the country.
Shri Kuladhar Chaliha (Assam : General): Mr. President, Sir, after the speech of Dr. Subbarayan which was one of the most rational speeches evermade here in this House, if I come forward to support Sanskrit, I shall be taken as archaic or as an archaeological curiosity. I personally feel that we should have Sanskrit as our national language. Sanskrit and India are co-extensive. However much you can try, you cannot get away from Sanskrit. Our institutions are interwoven with it and values of our lives have been created out of its philosophy. All that is good and all that is valuable and all that we fight for and all that we hold precious have come from Sanskrit literature. The great personalities of Sri Krishna, the Buddha and the Father of the Nation-why do we follow them ? But for the heritage that we have in Sanskrit, we would not be following them. It is in Sanskrit that we have got the most beautiful literature, the most profound philosophy and the most intricate of sciences. Can we ever conceive of anything more beautiful than Kalidasa's Shakuntala or his Megadhuta ? Can we have any better things in the world or can you imagine any better culture in the world ? As regards philosophy, we have the rational philosophy of Sankhya, the philosophy that Swami Vivekananda took to Chicago, where he had it recognised that ours was one of the finest of religions. This was due to his deep knowledge of Sanskrit. Because of his volcanic energy, he was able to galvanise the world with his ideas.
I cannot be as sentimental or as expressive as my Friend, Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra. I have not got the extensive knowledge of Sanskrit as he has, otherwise I would have given you all that we have in Sanskrit by way of science music, architecture, economics, political science and even surgery which will be surprising. It is there for us to draw upon. Sanskrit is such a vast storehouse that all the provincial languages, when they could not find the proper word for anything, have always' gone to Sanskrit to draw upon. Even good Hindi is nothing but Sanskrit. Sir, from birth to death, we perform ceremonies in Sanskrit mantras., Our whole life is so interwoven with Sanskrit that you cannot get away from Sanskrit. May be today only a few people understand Sanskrit, but what about English ? Only one per cent. or two per cent. of the people speak English.
As regards the proposition put forward by the Honourable Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar, I accept it because it is a compromise solution, and because it is good for India, not because Hindi is a better language. As a matter of fact, when I heard people like the Maulana Saheb speaking in Hindustani, I was struck by the dignity, 'flexibility, refinement of style, sweet intonations of that language, and I thought that Hindustani would be a better substitute for Hindi. You do not ask me why; I do not know, I do not know how to read and write it, but the dignity of the language of Hindustani is such that, when I heard it, I thought it was very attractive. I heard speakers after speakers speaking in Hindi as well as in Hindustani, but I was struck only by the dignity, beauty of expression and the flexibility of the Hindustani language, and I thought it was, very attractive.
Now coming again to Sanskrit, it is the mother of all our provincial languages. We will become better Indians by adopting Sanskrit, because Sanskrit and India are co-extensive. Even if we adopt Hindi or Hindustani, we shall not be able to get away from Sanskrit, which has given us our philosophy and, all the beautiful things of the world.
Then a regards the numerals, the heavens would not tumble down if we adopt the international numerals. If we have used it for 150 year-, and more, we can use it even now, and nothing will be lost. I cannot follow the argument that- the international numerals should not be used, for after all it is our own numerals. If we do not adopt the international numerals, we will not be able to adopt ourselves to the changing circumstances of the world. We should tryto be a little more modern and a little more progressive in our outlook. With these words, I conclude.
Rev. Jerome D'Souza (Madras : General),: Mr. President, I venture to take a few minutes of this House, although I must confess that the points that I wish to bringbefore you have already been touched upon by various distinguished speakers. If, nevertheless, I crave the indulgence 'of the House for a few minutes,it is because with so many others in this House I feel the immense gravity and the vital importance of the topic on which we are engaged. Sir, time and again during the last two years and more that we have gathered in this House, when questions of a controversial nature have engaged our attention and when sometimes passions were roused, some of us who have watched the political scene of our country with a certain detachment, not having been in the rough and tumble of it like stalwart fighters, asked ourselves whether the time would come when before the end of the discussion, our traditional spirit of adjustment and conciliation would assert itself and enable us to come to an agreed solution. And again and again to the deep satisfaction of those who have watched it, to the satisfaction of the friends of this country, possibly also to the deep chagrin of those who do not love us-I would not call them our enemies that spirit of compromise and understanding has asserted itself and we have come to some consensus of opinion.
Only at this point, to the grief of those of us who have wished to see this question also treated in the same spirit of compromise and understanding, I say only on this question, feelings have been embittered or excited to a degree which has not happened before. Now, I am not saying that as a matter of criticism I may even say that it was inevitable-because apart from perhaps religious convictions and in some cases even more than religious convictions, there is nothing inhuman activity which touches the springs of man's action and man's life more than language and all that language implies.
After all, when we come to think of it, there is nothing that proclaims our superiority to the rest of creation than this divine power of language and speech. Because, after all, a world, when the world is really good and sincere, is the flowing out of the very soul of man, is the very counter-part of his innermost being. Therefore, there is nothing that flows out of human life and the human heart more beautiful than beautiful words, nothing more detestable than harsh, hateful, insincere words. When words come out from the depth of the soul and express the innermost sincerity of that soul, the man who speaks in that manner gains a power over his fellow men, with which nothing else on earth cart compare.
How, may I ask you, did our incomparable Mahatma Gandhi hold us as it
were in the Palm of his hand, if it were not by the supreme force of sincere, crystalline, vibrating speech which was his own and which was incommunicable ? And whenever we find that a language which we claim as our own, a language which we think is the truest expression of our being is in some way denied to us, our passions are stirred as nothing else stirs them. That explains the passion of those who want a particular form of Hindi: that explains, my friends. the passion of those who, like me, wish to see that all the currents of Indian culture, including those of Muslim India, those of Christian India. those of the different parts of India should find a place within the hospitable limits of that language, which will be the official and which will ultimately become the national language of India.
Sir, what physical and geographical climate is to man's physical being language, its spirit, its genius, its vocabulary, are to the spirit of man, as intellectual climate in which the soul and culture of a people live. If that intellectualclimate is not acceptable to any section, if the meaning, resonance, associations of ideas, historical and cultural implications of a very wide vocabulary do not give satisfaction to all the different elements of this varied and extraordinary nation of ours, in which so many different cultures have to find an expression, there will be great unhappiness. I say, if we do not, find some kind of contentment in the cultural climate, of our land as expressed by the spirit, the genius, the music and the rhythm, and variety of vocabulary, of the national language, then, we shall not feel at home, we shall feel we are strangers, as it were under a decree of banishment imposed upon us, not physically, but in the intellectual and cultural sense. That is the meaning of the stand we have taken; that is the reason why we with all the strength of our soul, plead for this larger-hearted treatment of the vocabulary of this language.
I rejoice that our friends have accepted this. On this most fundamental issue, those who have championed the cause of Hindi have assured us that they accept the explanation which has now been made a part of the proposals of mr. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, that Hindi shall include the form of speech known as Hindustani as well as other congate styles and forms. This gives us the assurance that in course of time, with the evolution of this language all the different elements that make up this nation will find in it a cogenial intellectual and cultural atmosphere. On this point, therefore, let me in all sincerity express a profound satisfaction that we have come to an agreement about the language in general, about the content and spirit of it, and finally about the script that has to be used for it.
Having come thus far, shall a minor thing, a small thing, now dash away that cup of unity that has been offered to our lips? Shall our friends say that here again was one of great might-have-beens of our history? In the brief course of recent history in the evolution of events during the past 10 to 15 years, there came a stage when the majority of our people said that division of the country was inevitable. Still, it is possible to say judging after the passage of time, and with the detachment of a historian, that perhaps at such and such a point, if we had acted in a different way, or if the other party or such and such a person has acted slightly differently, the course of events in our history might have been entirely different.
It is difficult when we are so near to the events, when we are, as it were lost in them, to cultivate that distance and detachment and to pass judgment and to discern all that a particular action or gesture, or decision implies. As apparently insignificant action may have very great explosive possibilities, may contain germs that will develop in a manner which we cannot foresee at all. I feel Sir, that some of us here, whether we belong to one section of the House or another, are saying thins performing actions, and aligning ourselves in the course of these discussions in a manner the full significance, the ultimate implications of which, we ourselves are not aware, and which time alone can show.
While therefore rejoicing that there has been basic agreement on this question, let me say in a spirit of prayerfulness and earnest desire that as regards the points that remain unsettled, God Himself may guide our steps and decisions, and ultimately move us to a solution which will ensure the preservation of that unity which we have got at such a price, for which such tremendous sacrifices have been made. I hope and pray therefore that on the minor points on which we are still divided, the unity of this country may not be shattered upon this rock of linguistic consciousness. I will not use the word fanaticism it is feeling, and passion nurtured by ignorance rather than fanaticism, ignorance of all the implications of the decision which we are called upon to make. Nevertheless, I venture to plead for the acceptance in its broad outline of the proposal submitted by Mr. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, not because I think that in every detail it is acceptable but because it embodies the widest common measure of agreement. I agree with Dr. Subbarayan that reopening the matter within five years though it is asked for and has been conceded, is not a satisfactory arrangement; in five years we shall not be in a position to satisfy the commission which is envisaged that the time has come for a radical and important change. I hope means may be found to evolve a satisfactory formula on this point also, which will be universally acceptable.
The logic of events will convince all that the time is not enough for the mastery of this language by many sections of our people in a manner in which the official language. should be mastered, mastered so that it may become not merely the official language, but ultimately the national language. I may assure those that may think that we are rather lukewarm in giving our support to this, that we wish to see Hindi not only as the official language, but we wish to see it evolving, developing, gaining the hearts of all our people to such an extent that from an official language, it may become a truly national language, nay as Mr. Dhulekar said this morning, with all the sincerity which we recognise in him, that it may become an international language. We do want it. But if it is to be an international language, its inter-national spirit, and outlook must be maintained. If we close our doors against words, ideas, ways and currents of thought, manners of expression and historical association which ate implied in this, then, it will not have the international spirit; the spirit which will naturally and inevitably spread out beyond our country and enable it to become one of the preferred languages of strangers and foreigners.
Cultured people have preferences in the matter of foreign languages. The French people, proud of their language, have a fine statement:
I do not know whether national self-love has inspired them to say so, but it expresses their pride in their language. All men have two languages, they say, their own and then the sweet French tongue:
Perhaps, a day may come when the whole civilised world may say,
But, if it is to be that, the capacity to spread and conquer the hearts of men should be there; a truly international spirit as manifested in the way that It has developed in many parts of our country, gathering spoils as we may say of many an age and culture, many a race and many an epoch in our history, should be stamped upon it.
It is for this spirit of universality that I would plead with my friends who have till now stood out on the question of numerals to accept the compromise, putting aside for the moment the merits of the question. Personally I believe that on rights and merits, international numerals have an indisputable superiority. I say as a teacher, as a student of science and literature, as a student proud of our contribution of the concept of zero and its associated numerals to the world culture, that on the merits of the case., it is better to have the international numerals. But even if it were not so, this question of numerals has now come to be a kind of symbol for many of us : Symbol on the one hand of the spirit of adjustment among the differing elements within our country, and on the other, symbol of the spirit of universalism and so we want this point to be conceded. However I should not call it a "concession," rather let me say an agreement on that point, as an affirmation of the spirit of universality from those who have not so far shown themselves willing to make it.This language of India has to be learnt not only by the 350 millions of our brothers and sisters. Remember that it has to be learnt by the army of foreigners who come to our country, to study our culture, to take part in our commerce, to take part in foreign diplomatic representation. It is not merely Indians who have to learn a language, for which they have a natural affinity; it is foreigners also who have to learn this language which will be entirely foreign to them. When we ask for fifteen years it is also because the commercial interests of India are mixed up with this question. Foreign countries which need the knowledge of the Indian language require a fairly wide period for its study. Moreover this universal outlook is required not only in the interests of India but for the good of the world at large.
We wish to carry to the world the message of India's spirit, the message of her firm belief in the primacy of spiritual values, the message of love and Ahimsa which Mahatma Gandhi preached. We wish to communicate to others the literary and artistic treasures which we have inherited from our past, and unless we keep our windows and doors open, unless we make matters easy for those friends to share our cultural heritage, unless we leave-as it were-bridges by which they will easily recognise that it is not an entirely strange land from which we are going out and into which they will be stepping it will not be easy for us to carry out our mission.
I say the acceptance of these international numerals will be a symbol of the spirit of India which wants not merely a narrow nationalism but according to the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi, and Rabindranath Tagore and of our own great Prime Minister wants the spirit of. universal brotherhood. I say that for the sake of this we should not permit anything which would stand in the way of universal understanding and mastery of our language.
So, on all these grounds I should like to make a fervent and earnest appeal that these divisions which have caused so much distress of heart to the lovers of this country may be closed now, that the power and cohesion and the unity which led a mighty political party to win independence might not at this last stage of the deliberations of our great Assembly break down and be dissipated to the satisfaction of those who do not love us and to the deep distress of those who love us. I, therefore, most earnestly and humbly make this supreme appeal through you, Sir, that we may close our ranks; that on this question of language there by be the grace of general and universal acceptance; and that as we rise from this discussion, we may rise not as separated into camps, but as brothers, and children of one Mother--Our Motherland, India. (Loud Cheers.)
Shri B. AL Gupte (Bombay: General): Mr. President, I have tabled amendment No 281. It is a humble attempt at a compromise. The honourable Father D'Souza has just put in a very strong plea for a compromise but he has not put forward any specific formula. My amendment is an effort in that direction. I of course know the fate of those who venture to try their hand at compromise making. Very often they displease both parties rather than please both parties. But in the interest of unity and harmony I have taken that risk.
In my opinion the amendment 65-the Munshi-Ayyangar formula-is itself a very admirable compromise between the two schools of thought. It holds the scales evenly. The name of the language is accepted as Hindi but the protagonists of Hindustani are comforted with a directive clause. In that clauseitself those who are the Champions of Sanskritised Hindi are appeased because it is said down that Sanskrit shall be the primary source of vocabulary, but at the same time the advocates of the other school are also placated by providing that the words from other languages shall not be boycotted. So it is an admirable compromise, it is a very balanced provision and but for one exception, I would have been tempted to describe it as a very fine feat of tight-rope walking. Only in one exception that is in the case of numerals there is unbalance and my amendment seeks to correct that unbalance. It is very unfortunate when there is so much unanimity on all other points only in this small matter there should be such a very serious difference of opinion but unfortunately it is there.
If we compare both these drafts we find that there is substantial agreement even on this point. Under both, the numerals will remain in official use for fifteen years. Under both, the language commission and the Parliamentary Committee will have full power to decide the question of numerals in the five yearly reviews of the situation. So this is common to both the drafts. The only difference is that in the Munshi-Ayyangar draft the international form of numerals alone is mentioned as the official form of numerals and there our Hindi friends feel aggrieved. They think that though their language is honoured, their numerals are torn from that language and all of a sudden in one thrust the foreign numerals are foisted upon them and we must sympathise with their sentiment.
Whether those numerals are really of Indian origin or not-some people contest it-I do not want to go into that controversy-it has to be admitted that they have today an appearance of being foreign, at least to Hindi language. I therefore submit that in this matter we should try to respect the sentiments of our Hindi friends. It is no use trying to thrust these numerals all of a sudden :let them be gradually and peacefully assimilated in the Hindi language. I have therefore proposed in my amendment that both these numerals should be mentioned in the first clause. That is a concession I should like to make to that school of thought. I therefore would plead with my Southern friends that even if according to you the Hindi numerals are to be in official use for such a long period as 15 years, then why not mention them in the, clause ? Why are you so chary about it ?
But at the same time our Mr. Ayyangar has insisted and rightly insisted that our ultimate aim should be that international form of numerals shall be the permanent form of numeral. There I agree with that school of thought and I have therefore provided that after fifteen years subject of course to the right of the Language Commission and the Parliamentary Committee to decide the question in any way they like, the international form of numerals shall be the only form of numerals.
Now I plead with my Hindi friends that they should yield on this point and there are very good reasons for it. It had been admitted by them that the question of language had been solved 95 per cent. to their satisfaction and I do not see why in the interest of unity and harmony they should not yield That 5 per cent. with good grace. Of course there is the other well-known argument about the utility and the progressiveness of using international form', as far as possible especially when they belong to us in their origin, but I will not emphasise that. I will emphasise this that if you have 95 per cent. of your demand, why create this. strife, why this disharmony and bitterness only for 5 per cent ?
I therefore beg of my Hindi friends that they should gratefully yield this 'five per cent. It is a small matter and we have solved much greater problems; by agreement and good-will and amity. If we take, a decision on this by a vote of majority, then it will leave a trial of bitterness and rancour behind it.By our action now we may jeopardise the normal working of our new Constitution, even before it is passed. The party that is defeated may start an agitation for the amendment of the Constitution and the reaction of the other side also may be equally violent. Thus the members of controversy, will remain alive for long time. So, I appeal to the, honourable House. Let us take care that the verdict of history, the verdict of posterity on our labours on this matter, may not be that they set out to find a language to unite them but ultimately ended in allowing the numerous to divide them. Therefore I appeal to all for a compromise. I am not keen about my own formula. But I am keen on a compromise. I only want that there should be, no division in this House on this matter, where there is so much substantial agreement.
With these words I leave this point and proceed to certain observations with regard to another topic, a topic of more enduring interest and more enduring importance, and that is about the characteristic of the future development of the language. There are on the Order Paper certain amendments which advocate Sanskritised Hindi as the official language, And even apart from those amendments, there is a strong tendency in certain influential quarters that Hindi should be over-sanskritised, and perhaps owing to that tendency there has been some difficulty about the adoption of this language as the official language. Of course, those advocates will take advantage of the provision, in the directive clause that Sanskrit would be the predominant source of vocabulary. I have no quarrel with that provision. But I fee[ that no one should take undue advantage of that. It is a compromise and it should be worked in the spirit of a compromise. I am not against Sanskrit; most of us cannot be, it is in our blood, It is the fountain head of our mother tongues and the storehouse of our culture. Not only that I am not against Sanskrit, but I am an admirer of Sanskrit literature, The most ennobling philosophy the subtlest thought and some of the most enchanting poetry of the world, are enshrined in the Sanskrit language.
But with all its grandeur, and with all my admiration for that grandeur, I have to admit that Sanskrit cannot be the language of the masses; and equally certainly over-Sanskritised Hindi also cannot be the language of the masses. In these days of democracy and adult suffrage, it is the masses that must be uppermost in our minds when we decide such questions. It is the language of the masses that we must be able to speak. Otherwise, as far as we Congressmen are concerned, and most of us here are Congressmen, we shall be kicking the ladder by which we rose. We are here because of the support of the masses to the great Organisation to which we have the honour to belong,-the Indian National Congress, and it is the support of the masses that gave it the power to govern *he whole country. I submit therefore, let us not create an artificial barrier between us and the common man by artificially Sanskritising Hindi. Thus easy intelligibility to the common man should be the characteristics of the future development of our language. I appeal to my Hindi friends, do not dwarf your ambition. Do not be satisfied with making Hindi only the official language, but try to make it the national language embracing the entire nation. I admit that Sanskrit must predominate in the literary forms of Hindi. I also admit that Sanskrit must predominate in the scientific terms. Sanskrit also has a place in the language of the common man. But let us not force the pace; let us not force the content. Let things grow spontaneously, and I am sure a day will soon dawn when Hindi will not only be the official language, but a national language easily spoken and easily understood throughout this great country. With these words, Sir, I commend my amendment to the acceptance of the House.
Mr. President: The Honourable Shri Jawaharlal Nehru.The Honourable Shri Jawaharlal Nehru: Mr. President, there has been a great deal of debate here and elsewhere, and much argument over this question. Personally I do not regret the time spent on it, or even the feeling raised by it. Some times I may not agree with that feeling; but after all, the question before us is a very vital question, and it Is right that vital people should feel vitally about it.
We have had learned speeches, and speeches that were perhaps merely enthusiastic. Now, I do not know in which category to place myself. (Laughter). Neither the first nor the second suits me or is appropriate for me. So perhaps, you will put me in some third category. But I am interested vastly in this question from a variety of points of view; and I have listened to the arguments here and elsewhere, and sometimes I regret to say, I have got rather excited myself over it. And these scores and hundreds of amendments have also been perused by me. and yet I have felt that the matter is not one for verbal amendments here and there, but goes down somewhere deeper.
I rise to support the amendment that my Friend and Colleague Mr. Gopalaswami Ayyangar has placed before the House, (Cheers). I support that amendment, not because I think it is perfect in every way; perhaps if I had my way, I would like to change it here and there. But I know that this is the result of continuous effort and endeavour, and thought and consultation, and as a result of all that consultation and thought, some integrated thin(, took shape. Now it is a difficult matter to alter or vary somethnig that is an integrated whole, which displays a certain strain of thought. You may change it here and there but I do not think that will do justice either to the original amendment or the person who wants to change it. It would be far better if some other integrated solution was found if the first one was not liked or approved of. Therefore, although I would have liked, perhaps if I had a chance, to lay greater emphasis on some aspects of that amendment, neverthless after all that 'has happened I think that amendment displays not only the largest measure of agreement but also, I think, a thought-out approach to this difficult problem.
Now I am not going to talk about any of the various amendments that are before you or even analyse the amendments that I am supporting. Rather I wish to draw your attention to certain other aspects, certain basic things which perhaps are presented by this conflict on the issue either in the House or in the country. After all it is not a conflict of words, though words may represent that conflict here. It is a conflict of different approaches, of looking perhaps in somewhat different directions,
We stand-it is a platitude to say it--on the threshold of a new age, for each age is always dying and giving birth to another. But in the present context of events, all over the world and more so perhaps in India than elsewhere, we are participating both in a death and in a birth and when these two events are put together then great problems present themselves and those who have to solve them have to think of the basic issues and not be swept away by superficial considerations. Whether all the honourable Members of this House, have thought much of these basic issues or not I do not know. Surely many of them must have done so. But there are those basic issues. What is our objective What are we going to do ? Where do we want to go to ?
Language is a most intimate thing. It is perhaps the most important thing which society has evolved, out of which other things have taken growth. Now language is a very big thing. It makes us aware of ourselves. First, when language is developed it makes us aware of our neighbour, it makes us aware of our society, it makes us aware of other societies also. It is a unifying factor and it is also a factor promoting disunity. It is an integrating factor and it is a disintegrating factor as between two languages, as between two countries. Soit has both those aspects and when therefore you think in terms of a common language here you have to think of both those facts.
All of us here, I have no doubt, wish to promote the integrity of India. There are no two opinions about it. Yet in the analysis of this very question ,of language and in the approaches to it one set of people may think that this is going to be a unifying factor, another may think that if approached wrongly it may be a disintegrating factor and a disruptive one. So I. want this House to consider this question and therefore it has become essential for us to view it in this larger context and not merely be swept away by our looking for this or that.
A very wise man, the Father of our Nation, thought of this question, as be thought of so many important questions affecting our national future. He paid a great deal of attention to it and throughout his career he went on repeating his advice in regard to it. Now that showed that, as with other things, ,he always chose the fundamentals of our national existence. Almost every thing he touched, you will remember, was a basic thing, 'was fundamental thing. He did not waste time, thought or energy over the superficial aspects of our existence. Therefore he took up this subject in his own inimitable way, thinking of it always not as a literary man, though he was a very great literary figure, possibly unknown to himself, but always thinking in terms of the future of the Indian people and the Indian nation, how to build it up brick by brick, so that we can get rid of the evils that pursued us. Whether those evils were foreign domination or poverty, or inequality or discrimination amongst ourselves, or untouchability or the like, he put this question on that same high level and looked upon it from the point of view of a step which might either help us to build a powerful and enlightened India or be a disintegrating of weakening factor.
Now the first thing he taught us was this : that while English is a great language and I think it is perfectly right to say that English has done us a lot of good and we have learnt much from it and progressed much-nevertheless no nation can become great on the basis of a foreign language. Why ? Because a foreign language can never be the language of the people, for you will have two strata or more-those who live in thought and action of a foreign tongue and those who live in another world. So he taught us that we must do our work more and more in our own language.
Partly he succeeded in that, only partly, possibly because of the inherent difficulties of the situation. For it is a fact that in spite of all his teaching and in spite of the efforts of many of the honourable Members present here who are keen and anxious to push up our own languages the fact is that we continue to do a great deal of our political and other work in the English language Nevertheless, this is true that we cannot go far or take our people by the million in a foreign language. Therefore, however great the English language may be-and it is great-we have to think in doing our national work, our public and ,our private work as far as possible, in our own various languages and more particularly in the language that you may choose for all India use.
Secondly, he laid stress on the fact that that language should be more or less a language of the people, not a language of a learned. coterie-not that is not valuable or to be respected, we must have learning, we must have poets, great writers and all that; nevertheless, in the modern context, even more than in the past, no language can be great which is divorced from the language of the people. Ultimately a language grows in greatness and strength if there is a proper marriage between those who are learned and the masses of the people. In India-though I am unlearned in those languages-we have twoexamples : one of Rabindranath Tagore who brought about that marriage in the Bengali language and thereby made that language even greater than it was and more powerful, the other the example of Gandhiji himself in the Gujerati language. There are, no doubt, others, but these are outstanding figures.
Now, in any language that we seek to adopt as an all-India language, or for the matter of that in any language whether-it is all-India or not, we have to keep in mind that we dare not live in an ivory tower of purists and precisionists. Though purists and precisionists in the matter of language have their place and should be there, it is a dangerous thing to allow a language to become the pet child of purists and such like people because then it is cut off from the common people. So you have to have both : certainly a certain precision, a certain profundity and a certain all-embraciveness in language and at the same time contacts with the people, drawing its sustenance from the common people.
The last thing in this matter to which the Father of the Nation drew our attention was this, that this language should represent the composite culture of India. In so far as it was the Hindi language it should represent that composite culture which grew up in Northern India where the Hindi language specially held away; it should also represent that composite culture which it drew from other parts of India. Therefore he used the word 'Hindustani', not in any technical sense, but in that broad sense representing that composite language which is both the language of the people and the language of various groups and others in Northern India, and to the last he drew the attention of the people and the nation to that. I am a small man and it is rather presumptuous of me to say that I agree with him or do not agree with him, but for the last thirty years or so, in my own humble way, I stood by that creed in regard to language and it would be hard for me if this House asked me to reject that thing by which I have stood nearly all my political life.
Not only that, but I do think that in the interests of India, in the interests of the development of a powerful Indian nation, not an exclusive nation, not a nation trying to isolate itself from the rest of the world but nevertheless aware of itself, conscious of itself, living its own life in conformity and in cooperation with the rest of the world, that approach of Mahatmaji was the right approach. I should have liked to see somewhat greater emphasis on that in this Resolution, but because of all that has happened, when ultimately this Resolution took shape I accepted it as at any rate in a certain part of it attention is drawn to this fact that I have mentioned. As I have said, I wish it had been more pointedly drawn, nevertheless it is drawn, so I accepted the Resolution. If unfortunately that attention had not been drawn there, then it would have been very difficult for me to accept this Resolution.
Now, we stand on the threshold of many things and this Resolution itself is the beginning of what might be termed a linguistic revolution in India, a very big revolution of far-reaching effects, and we have to be careful that we give it the right direction, the right shape, the right would lest it go wrongly and betray us in wrong directions. Men shape a language, but then that language itself shapes those men and society. It is a question of action and interaction and it may well be said that if a language is a feeble language or an unprecise language, if a language is just an ornate language, you will find those characteristics reflected in the people who use that language'. If the language is feeble those people will be rather feeble; if it is just ornate and nothing else they will tend to ornateness. So it is important what direction you give to it. If a language is exclusive those people become exclusive in thought and mind and action.That is what I meant when I said at the beginning that perhaps behind all this argument and debate there are these different approaches. Which way do you look ? As you stand on the threshold of this new age, do you twist your neck and back and look backwards all the time, or do you look forward? It is an important question for each one of us to answer because there is, inevitably perhaps, a tendency in this country-today to look back far too much. There is no question of our cutting ourselves away from our past. That would be an absurdity and a disaster because all that we are we have been fashioned by that past. We have our roots in that past. If we pull ourselves out of that past, we are rootless. We cannot go far merely by imitating others, but there is such a thing as having your roots in the soil but growing up to the sky above and not always looking down to the soil where your roots are. There is such a thing as marching forward and not turning back all the time. In any event, whether you want it or not, world forces and currents will push you forward but if you are looking back you will stumble and fall repeatedly.
Therefore, that is the fundamental thing in approaching this Problem: which way are you looking, backward or forward ? People talk about culture, about Sanskriti etc., and rightly, because a nation must have a sound basis of culture to rest itself, and as I have said that culture must inevitably have its roots in the genius of the people and in their past. No amount of copying and imitation, however good the other culture may be, will make you truly cultured because you will always be a copy of somebody else. That is admitted. Have your roots in that powerful and tremendous culture that took shape thousands and thousands of years ago and took shape so powerfully that in spite of every attack upon it inside and outside, even in spite of our own failings and decay and degradation, yet it has subsisted and given us some strength ? Obviously that must continue. Nevertheless, when you are on the threshold of a new age, to talk always of the past and the past, is not a good preparation for entering that portal. Language is one of these issues, there are many others. There are many types of culture. There is the culture of a nation and of a people which is important for it, there is also the culture of an age, the yoga dharma, and if you do not align yourself with that culture of the age you are out of step with it. It does not matter how great your culture is if you do not keep step with the culture of the age. That has been the teaching of all the wise men of our country as well as of other countries. There,is a national culture. There is an international culture. There is a culture which may be said to be if you like-absolute, unchanging, with certain unchanging ideals about it which must be adhered to. There is a certain changing culture which has no great significance except at the moment or at that particular period or generation or age but it changes and if you stick on to it even though the ages change, then you are backward and you fall out of step with changing humanity. There is the culture of time and the culture of various nations.
Now, whatever might have been the case in the past, in the present-today there can be no doubt whatever that there is a powerful international culture dominating the world. Call it. if you like, a culture emanating from the machine age, from industry and all the developments of science that have taken place. I-, there any Honourable Member present here who thinks that if we do not accept that culture, adapt it if you like, but accept it fundamentally-that we can make much progress merely by repeating old creeds ? If I may venture to say, it is because at a previous period of our history we cut ourselves off from the culture of the rest of the world-and in this culture I include everything including the art of war-we became backward and we were overborne by otherswho were not better than us but who were more in Step with the Culture of the time. They came and swept us away and dominated us repeatedly. The British came and dominated over us. Why ? Because in spite of our ancient Sanskriti and culture they represented a higher culture of the day-not in those fundamental and basic things which may be considered eternal, if you like-but in other things, the culture of the age, they were superior to us. They came and swept us away and dominated over us for all this long period.
They have gone. Are we going to think of going back in mind, thought and action to that type of culture which once brought us to slavery ? of course, every honourable Member will say 'No'. Yet I say this line of thought is intimately related to what I say. It leads you to that. If you look backward, if you talk in the terms in which some honourable Members have. talked today and yesterday, I say it inevitably leads to that conclusion, and I for one not only hesitate to reach that conclusion but I want to oppose it, because I think it is bad for India. You have-and I have-supreme faith in the Indian people and in the Indian nation. I am convinced that India, in spite of our present difficulties, is going to make progress and go ahead at a fast pace, but if we shackle the feet of India with outworn forms and customs, then who is to blame if India cannot go fast, if India stumbles and falls? That is the fundamental question before us.
Again, look at this language problem from another point of view. Till very recently-in fact, I would say a generation ago-French was the recognised diplomatic and cultural language of Europe and large parts of the earth's surface. There were other great languages-there was English, there was German, there was Italian, there was Spanish-in Europe alone, apart from the Asian languages. Yet French was the language in Europe, certainly of culture and diplomacy. Today it has not got that proud place. But even today, French is most important in diplomacy and public affairs. Nobody objected to French. No Englishman, or Russian, or German or Pole objected to French. So all those other languages were growing and today it might be said that English is perhaps replacing French from that proud place of diplomatic eminence.
Before French, in Europe the language of diplomacy was Latin just as in India the language of culture, and diplomacy for a vast period of time was Sanskrit, not the language of the common people but the language of the learned and the cultured and the language of diplomacy etc. And not only in, India, but the effect of that, if you go back to a thousand years, you find in almost all the South-East Asia, not to the same extent as in India, but still Sanskrit was the language of the learned even in South-East Asia and to some extent even in parts of Central Asia. The House probably knows that the most ancient Sanskrit plays that exist have been found not in India but in Turfan on the edge of the Gobi desert.
After Sanskrit Persian became the language of culture and diplomacy in India and over large Parts of Asia, in India due to the fact of changing rule but apart from that, Persian was the diplomatic language of culture over vast parts of Asia. It was called-and it is still called-the "French of the East" because of that. These changes took Place while other languages were developing, because of the fact that French in Europe and Persian in Asia were peculiarly suited for this purpose. Therefore they were adopted by other countries and nation-, too. India may have adopted it partly because of a certain dominating influence of the new rulers, but in other countries which were not so dominated they adopted Persian when it was not their language because it was considered as suitable for that purpose. Their languages grew.
We took to English obviously because it was the conqueror's language, not so much because at that time it was such an important language, althoughit was very important even then, we took to it simply because we were Dominated by the British here, and it opened the doors and windows of foreign thought, foreign science etc., and we learnt much by it. And let us be grateful to the English language for what it has taught us. But at the same time, it created a great gulf between us who knew English and those who did not know English and that was fatal for the progress of a nation. That is a thing which certainly we cannot possibly tolerate today. Hence this problem.
However good, however important, English may be, we cannot tolerate that there should be an English knowing elite and a large mass of our people not knowing English. Therefore, we must have our own language. But English-whether you call it official or whatever you please, it does not matter whether you mention it in the legislation or not-but English must continue to be a most important language in India which large numbers of people learn and perhaps learn compulsorily. Why ? Well, English today is far more important in the world than it was when the British came here. It is undoubtedly today the nearest approach to an international language. It is not the international language certainly but it is the biggest and the most widespread language in the world today, and if we want to have contacts with the world as we must, then how are we to have those contacts unless we know foreign languages ? I hope many of us will learn other foreign languages, e.g., the Russian language which is a magnificent language, very rich; the Spanish language which may not be quite so important today but is going to be very important tomorrow in the context of a growing South America; the French language which of course always has been and is still important; the German etc. We will learn all of them no doubt, I hope. But the fact remains that both from the point of view of convenience and from the point of view of utility. English is obviously the most important language for us and many of us know it. It is absurd for us to try to forget what we know or not take advantage of what we have learnt. But it win have to be inevitably a secondary language meant for a relatively restricted number of people.
All these factors have been borne in mind in this amendment that Shri N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar has placed before the House. I do not know what the future will be for this language. But I am quite sure that if we proceed wisely with this Hindi language, if we proceed wisely in two ways, by making it an inclusive language and not an exclusive one, and include in it all the language elements in India which have gone to build it up with a streak of Urdu or a mixture of Hindustani-not by statute, remember, but by allowing it to grow normally as it should grow and if, secondly, it is not., if I may say so, forced down upon an unwilling people, I have no doubt it will grow and become a very great language. How far it will push out the use of the 'English language I do not know; but even if it pushes our English completely from our normal work. nevertheless English will remain important for us in our world. contacts and in the international sphere.
So, to come back to the basic approach to this problem : Is your approach going to be a democratic approach or what might be termed and authoritarian approach ? I venture to put this question to the enthusiasts for Hindi, because in some of the speeches I have listend here and elsewhere there is very much a tone of authoritarianism, very much a tone of the Hindi-speaking area being the centre of things in India, the centre of gravity, and others being just the fringes of India. That is not only an incorrect approach, but it is a dangerous approach. If you consider the question with wisdom, this approach will do more injury to the development of the Hindi language than the other approach. You just cannot force any language down the people or group who resist that,You cannot do it successfully. You know that it is conceivably possible that a foreign conqueror with the strength of the sword might try to do so, but history shows that even he has failed. Certainly in the democratic context of India it is an impossibility. You have to win through the goodwill of those people, those groups in India in the various provinces whose mother tongue is not Hindi. You have to win the goodwill of those groups who speak, let us say, some, variation of Hindi, Urdu or Hindustani. 'If you try, whether you win or not, if you do something which appears to the others as an authoritarian attempt to dominate and to force down something then you will fail in your endeavour.
Now may I say a word or two about this business of Hindustani and Urdu and Hindi. We have accepted in this amendment the word 'Hindi', I have no objection to the word 'Hindi'. I like it. I was a little afraid that it might signify some constricted and restricted meaning to the others. I 'was afraid about this. I thought the word 'Hindi', which I like, might appeal to others also, I know, many honourable Members here know, and persons coming from the United Provinces know, that they can with a fair measure of facility speak in what might be called Urdu and can speak with equal facility and flow in what might be called fairly pure Hindi. They can do both. It is rather interesting and it is right that we should know both, with the result that they have got a rich and fine vocabulary. I do not know whether your experience has been the same or not. We find that in a particular subject or type of subjects we speak better in Hindi than in Urdu and in another type of subjects Urdu suits us better; it suits the genius of that subject a little better. My point is that I want both these instruments which strengthen Hindi that is going to be developed as our official and national language of the country. Let us keep in touch with the people. That is a good practice. If you do that, then you will keep all the other avenues open. Then the language develops. Without any sense of pressure from anybody, without any sense of coercion, it takes shape in the, minds of millions of people. They gradually would it and give it shape.
Take the question of numerals. I shall be very frank with you. I have never before looked into this question. But when it did come up before me and when I did give thought to it, I was immediately convinced that the right approach was to keep these numerals, Indian in origin but which have taken a certain form which are used internationally. I was quite convinced of that. But mind you, nobody is banning the use of Hindi numerals. They can be used whenever anybody wants them, but in official use where all kinds of statistics on banking and auditing and census and other columns- of figures come in, it is not only an undoubted advantage that these international numerals should be used, but there are also other advantages. These numerals remove at least one major barrier between you and the other countries. That is a very important thing in these days when numerals count for so much in the development of science and the application of science. As I said, you can use Hindi numerals. Anyone who learns can read the Hindi numerals and write them whenever he likes. But officially if you try to think in terms of limiting the use of these international numerals for official purposes, as I have mentioned, you will land yourself in difficulty.
Now what is. your objection to this ? Do you want India to progress rapidly in the sciences and art of the modem day ? I can say with conviction that if we do not use these international numerals for these purposes we would fall back. We would put a tremendous burden on the children's minds and the grown-up's minds and, our work will increase tremendously in our offices and elsewhere, and that work will be cut off from the rest of the world. So, from every practical point of view, and it is desirable even from the sentimental point of view-we are not adopting anything foreign; we are adopting something of our own which is slightly varied-and from the point of view of printing, it helps. Perhaps many honourable Members here have something to do with newspapers and printing. I ask you, is it not a fact that it is far easier from the point of view of composing and printing to use these numerals than the Hindi numerals?
I submit that the fact that we have got rather stuck over the numerals issue has certain importance, again from that basic fundamental point of view of which way we are looking. For my part, I know the Hindi numerals, I can read and write them quite easily and so there is no difficulty so far as I am concerned. But from the way this controversy has developed, this argument has developed, here and elsewhere, more and more I have been made to think that behind this controversy is this different approach. This is the approach of looking back on science, on everything that science and the modem world signify. It is backward looking. It is an approach which, I think, is fatal to India. It is an approach which will prevent us from becoming a great nation for which we have worked and dreamt.
We stand on the threshold of a new age. Therefore it is important that we should have this picture of India clearly in our minds. What sort of India do we want ? Do we want a modem India-with its roots steeped in the past certainly in so far as it inspires us--do we want a modem India with modem science and all the rest of it, or do we want to live in some ancient age, in some other age which has no relation to the present? You have to choose between the two. It is a question of approach. You have to choose whether YOU look forward or backward.
The Honourable Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla (C.P. & Berar: General) : We have heard just now and before we dispersed at 1 o'clock speeches of very eminent honourable Member-. of this House. It is sometimes embarrassing to oppose such array of distinguished countrymen of ours, but there are occasions in the history of nations when there is no alternative left to us but to have our say. I am not opposing for oppositions sake. I stand here before you to give my view on this historic occasion.
There are two approaches to this question. One approach is of those who wish the English language to continue in this country as long as and as far as possible, and the other approach is of those who wish to bring an Indian language in place of English As early as possible. With these two viewpoints, we look at the resolution which has been moved by the Honourable Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar. All the amendments that I have given are given from the last viewpoint. Had I found that the articles which comprise Chapter XIV-A are all of a nature which do not injure our cause, I would never have come here to speak. It is all right that we have raised to a very high pedestal the Hindi language and the Devanagari script. As far as numerals are concerned, I will speak later.
Having said that, I come to the operative part of this Chapter where the method and the manner in which it is proposed to bring about the desired end are set out. Hindi language is to be the national language, the official language of this country, and the Devanagari script is to be the script of this language. Having admitted all that, is it not right for us to find out ways and means by which we can bring this about? If we look at the various parts of this Chapter, it would appear to us that this is not the aim at all. What is aimed at is, judging the various hurdles that have been put in in this Chapter, to prevent Hindi from coming in as early as possible. If these hurdles are not crossed, if these hurdles are not pulled down and our approach to Hindi made easy, difficultiesin our way are very great. When you come to that part of the Chapter which refers to the Commission and the Committee there is a provision which says more or less that for five years in the Centre as well as in the provinces, you have to go on with English as your official language, and there are also other barriers which have been created hereafter in other parts of this Chapter. You find that in provinces it would be difficult for us to bring about the use of Hindi as early as possible.
Many honourable Members of this House have said that it is a proposition which must be looked at from their point of view. We in the provinces find it difficult. How shall we substitute Hindi for English ? That is the proposition before us. Whatever may be done in the Centre, it is a task which we have to face in the provinces. Difficulties in our way are very great. When we took the reins of Government in our hands, we tried to establish departments which will bring about the use of Hindi as early as possible. In my province, I have established a Department called the Loke Bhasha Prasar Vibhag That is to say, we have appointed people who will translate books.
There is a collection of vocabulary of twenty-four thousand words, technical words, which are needed for aft scientific purposes. We have got scientific books translated into Hindi and Marathi, the two languages that are recognised in my province up to the Intermediate standard and materials have been collected whereby we can translate scientific books on Physics, Chemistry and all those subjects which am go difficult and technical into Hindi and Marathi up to the B.A. standard. Everything is there, but it would not be possible to bring them to use because of the article that has been proposed here.
The other point which I may say in that in my province there are two Universities. One of I them has resolved that the medium of instruction in the colleges will be Marathi and Hindi from this year or from the next year. The other has decided that it shall bring into use Hindi as the medium of instruction from 1952. In our province we have altogether stopped English as the medium of instruction and from 1946 onwards, our high-schools are teaching through the medium of Hindi and Marathi. Both are recognised languages in our province. If there are schools and high schools where the medium of instruction is Bengali or Urdu or any other language, they are given grants by us. Therefore, in my province after three years, when the graduates come out from my Universities, unless they are conversant with the English language, they will not be utilised by the nation, and the province will be thrown into a very awkward position.
I consider that it is up to us to make, provision in this Constitution so that we may be able to progress further as far as possible. My point is that the province must be left to itself to develop and come into line with the article which provides that Hindi shall be the national language or the official language with Devanagari as the script.
Shri B. P. Jhunjhunwala (Bihar: General) : Can you say that the provinces are not at liberty? Provinces are at full liberty to pass any law. (Interruption).
The Honourable Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla: If you read carefully the provisions, you, will find that it is not so. In the original amendment number 65, it is stated, "Subject to the provisions of articles 301-D and 301-E, a State may by law adopt any of the languages - - - - " If you refer to articles 301 -D and 301-E, you will find the limitations placed upon you. Article 301-D says : "The language for the time being authorised for use in the Union for official purposes shall be the official language for communication between one State and another State and between a State and the Union." Then, further, you Swill find : "Provided that if two or more States agree that the Hindi languageshould be the official language for communication between such States, that language may be used for such communication." So far as that part is concerned, it is an improvement upon the original draft, but so far as the official language is concerned, in a State, it is governed by article 301-D. For that purpose, the official language shall be the language of communication between one State and another and between the State and the Union. For all purposes, you have to use the English language. Provision has been made that where both the States agree to use the Hindi language, then only it can be used. But, as far as the other States are concerned, and communication between one State and another State, and between the State and the Union is concerned, it is only the English language that can be used. Therefore, I say that our liberty in the use of the language is being curtailed. To that extent, I object to this provision.
The most dangerous provision which I consider in this draft is the use of the English language in courts and the High Courts particularly in the provinces. So long as the language in the courts does not change....
An honourable Member: High Courts.
The Honourable Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla: Yes, High Courts there is little hope for us so far as the subordinate courts are concerned, we are having Hindi and Marathi as our court languages; these are recognised languages of the court. But, what happens, what is happening today is that so far as the courts are concerned, no doubt it is open to us to present our plaints and written statements in Hindi or Marathi, Judges have been recording all the evidence in English and judgments are delivered in English. Therefore, for all practical purposes, the language which is being used is English and so long as we do not get people who will replace these persons, it is very difficult for us to adopt Hindi as our ,language in our province.
Therefore, I am looking at all the provisions from this point of view. We should be able to introduce Hindi in all departments and at all stages as early as possible. With that point of view, I say the restrictions placed upon us should be removed. So far as the Centre is concerned, there is already provision made and there is no restriction placed in its way. In one article they have put down so far as the States are concerned, that they are bound to have all their Acts, Bills, rules, bye-laws and everything in the language of the Union. That is to say, so long as English is there, we must have all these things in the English language. I submit that the provinces should be left free in this respcct. Parliament may decide so far as the Union is concerned. But, if the State legislature decides to have these things in the language of the State, they should be at liberty lo do so, I have provided in my amendment that these Bills and other things which are to be passed by the legislature should be passed in the language of the State, but at the same time, an authentic and authoritative translation of the text should accompany them.
I would like to bring to the notice of the House a parallel case. There is one parallel only in the history of the world in this respect. It is found in Ireland. In 1921 after the treaty which the Irish entered into with the British Government the first thing they put in the Constitution was that Irish shall be the national language and they also said English shall be their second official language. The reasons for this I will point out. In Ireland the British Government prohibited the use and the learning of Irish language so long as they were rulers of that land ind the result was that from the primary stage onwards upto the colleges, English was the language which was being taught and in a century from the beginning of the 19th century to the end of the 19th century, the Irish language was almost gone from the country 'and every Irishman was speaking English. In 1910 when the census was taken, out of the 3 to 4 millions popula-tion of the little Island only 21,000 knew Irish. In 1921 after the treaty the first provision they made in their Constitution was that Irish shall be the national language of that land and that was made by those Irishmen who did not know the lrish language then. Only 21,000 knew Irish and the rest were more English then the English themselves. These were the people who decided at once that the national language of Ireland should be the Irish language.
An honaurable Member: With what result?
The Houourable Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla: For mere expediency, because it was not possible for them to throw away English downright, they had to keep English as second language, but bills that were to be introduced were to be introduced in the language of the land, i.e., Irish and there was to be a translation of it or you may call it a counterpart in English. If a conflict arose between the two, the Irish text was to be considered authentic and authoritative. So in my amendment I have provided for allowing us to make our laws in the language of the State, whether it is Hindi or Marathi and there should be an authentic English text along with the original which we pass into law and in case of conflict where English is required English text may be considered as authentic, but for all other purposes Hindi or the State language text should be considered as authentic. I therefore consider that we should be left free. The provinces should not be hampered in using their language for this purpose. If we want to have Hindi, let us have it. Do not 'cur-tail our liberty. With respect to numerals there has been high feeling running throughout this House for some time we have heard from no less a person than Panditji that so far as these international numerals are concerned they are required for very many purposes-some of them he mentioned. Some of the Members including myself thought that that was necessary also. So we have given an amendment to that effect that for certain purposes the English numeral shall continue to be used, I.e., for purposes of accounting, banking and other business matters and official purposes for which they may be required. If that is admitted by the mover of this chapter 14-A, then our difficulties ought to be solved. They should not be confused with the language question at all. We all understand it is not difficult to understand. Let Hindi numeral be used as integral parts of die Hindi language and for purposes for which English numerals are required, let them be used independently. There is no trouble about them and I have framed my amendment with that view. I 'say that they may be used for purposes as the President may by order direct. Therefore if you take away the English numerals from Hindi, then there would be no confusion and I think everybody here will come to an agreement on that point. The question will be avoided; but what is running into the minds of all is that English numerals are being brought in as an integral part of the State language Hindi. This is not the intention of this House. We may use the English numerals for purposes for which they are required-we have no quarrel and such provinces where English numerals arc used in their language we have no quarrel with them-they can continue to use them: but even if it is insisted by them that English numerals should be used in the official language of the Union, i.e., in Hindi, I- have made a, provision that if there are official communications and correspondence for which English numerals are required, then those communications sent to those provinces should be with the English numerals but for the rest of India where they are not wanted, they should not be thrust upon them. So far as Hindi Provinces are concerned there the Hindi forms of numerals shall go along with all communications but so far as those parts of the country are concerned where English numerals are used in the language, let, the Hindi that goes to them have English numerals. I have no quarrel because it does not concern us.An honourable Member: If one province does not want Hindi, will you give it freedom?
The Honourable Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla: It is for the all-India Union to say whether you want it or not. If you say that Hindi is to be the language of the Union with Devanagari script and if the Centre decides or if the Parliament decides that Hindi shall be the language communicated to you, you will have that language communicated by the Centre.. So far as we in the provinces are concerned, there is nothing between us and you. You can settle your accounts with the Centre. We say, have the English numerals if you like or Hindi if you like and those of us who want both can have both, but so far as the Hindi language provinces are concerned let them not be. compelled to have English numerals where Hindi is being used as provincial language or as a State language, so long as these provinces do not decide to have English numerals as an integral part of their language.
Therefore, I have in my amendment put in two clauses saying that so far as English numerals are concerned, they can be used in this way. The question of numerals will be settled if this amendment is accepted by the mover of the amendment. The solution is there and there is no conflict between the North and the South. I want to bring to the notice of the House that this question of language should not be looked upon from the position of the North or the South. Hindi language, so long as it is not adopted by the Centre or by the Union, is a provincial language. Any language you can adopt as your national or official language, it may be Hindi or if you like, Hindustani or Bengali or Marathi-and all these languages have been proposed, but once you adopt it as a national language, do not call it a provincial language. I appeal to you that once you raise that language to the pedestal of a Union language, then it is your language as well as my language and it is, no longer a provincial language. It ceases to be a provincial language, and it will be your duty as well as mine to enrich it as best as we can.
A number of honourable Members have said that there are different words used for the same meaning, They say that Pandit Sundar Lal uses this word and my friend of the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan-Seth Govind Das, uses another word for the same thing and so on. There is no end to words. If you were to turn to the pages of a dictionary, of any language, you will find numerous words conveying the same meaning, and people are at liberty to make use of any word they like. In Sanskrit too, you have got Amar Kash which gives synonyms for so many words. Similarly for the same meaning there may be a Sanskrit word, a Hindi word or a Persian word or a Bengali word. But all these can be part and parcel of the same language and when they are put in the dictionary or Kosh, they can be used by you and by all of us.
Therefore, my request is that you should not think that we are imposing this language upon any one. It is open to the House to choose any language. and once you have chosen that language, do not regard it that it is an imposition upon you by us. It is a language which you have accepted as your own and it becomes your own language as it is my language. After this, no question and no controversy can be raised. As has been pointed out and I am also certain about it, this House will accept Hindi as the language of the Union with Devanagari script. International numerals may be used for all purposes for which the Union requires, independently of the Hindi language. But if it is found necessary at all to satisfy some provinces, let the English numerals be used for their purpose by the Union. But for the rest of India where Hindi is the language used and where they do not require these numerals, let Hindi continue unalloyed, quite independent of English numerals altogether.
We have got the time limit, fifteen years, I can gay to my friends from the South that so far as they are concerned, it would be in their best inter-ests to learn Hindi as early as possible, because if they do not ]cam Hindi quickly enough, they might be left behind. I say, so far as my South Indian friends are concerned am speaking frankly-they are very intelligent people They are very industrious people as well, and I have found that in my province there are Departments in which Madrasi friends are working, and they are, working as well, and sometimes even more efficiently than those whose mother tongue is Hindi. That is the position. I am speaking from my own experience as an administrator of long standing, and I think I can speak with responsibility. In my province there are so many of them. Here is a friend who belonged to my provincial service once and he can speak Hindi and also Sanskrit as well as anybody can do. And I say that I have got Madrasi civilian officers, I have got Madrasi provincial officers and I may tell you that there is one Department in my province in which work is carried on in Hindi in all places, whether it is a Marathi district or a Hindi district, and in that Department there are Marathi speaking people, there are Telugu-speaking people, there are Punjabis and Bengalees and all sorts of people, and all of them from the rank and file to the officers are there for the last 25 years and that is the Department of Police. It has been run as efficiently as we want by these officers and men, belonging to different regions using Hindi as the language of that Department. I do not see why our friends here should be afraid of learning Hindi.
An Honourable Member: No fear at all.
The Honourable Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla: The hesitation is because of the fear that hurdles may be created for them. So I say, the earlier you learn Hindi the better it is for you, the better it is for us and for the country, because then there would be no difficulty in your way and you will be with us as you have been so long. Do not think for ever that it is our intention in any way to Out any barriers by bringing Hindi as early as possible.
I have here a pamphlet which a friend of mine who is a Member of this House has given me and it says that that great social reformer of Bengal Keshab Chandra Sen wrote in 1874-and it appeared in a Bengali pice-weekly called "Sulabh Samachar". It asks that when without one vernacular language unity is not possible for India, what is the solution ? The only solution is to use one single language throughout India. Many of the languages now in use in India have Hindi in them, and Hindi is prevalent almost everywhere. If Hindi is made the common language throughout India, the question may be solved easily. I may say, the text is in Bengali and I have given the English translation. This was written in 1874 and was a sort of a prophecy, because we are today discussing the same thing.
To talk of Hindustani or Sanskrit or any other language is out of the question. So far as Hindi is concerned. I can say only one word that the framers of this chapter realised that Hindustani was only a form and style of the Hindi language. Indeed, in the Schedule that they have given, they have not included Hindustani as a language. They have put it down in the directive clause as a form and style known as Hindustani and we have no quarrel with it. We shall adopt it and use it by all means possible. As has been asserted a language is made not by passing a constitution. It is the people devoted to it who form it. We do not form it here, but it is people outside the House who will form it, whatever the Constitution we may pass.
I therefore submit that on these four grounds my amendments may be accepted. First, on the question of language and secondly, my amendments are aimed at the solution of the numerals. Let the provinces evolve their own destiny and not be hampered by 'ifs' and 'buts', subject to this or that. Leave out the 'ifs' and 'buts' and other provisos and give us freedom to develop We shall show you that our South Indian friends in my province will learn 'Hindias easily as anybody within five years. I have got the material and friends, even Madrasi friends are working in that department which I have opened in my province. I therefore say that the High Court language should also be the State language and even if it is English elsewhere we should be allowed in our legislature to pass our Bills as we like in the State language. These are the four points on which I have given amendments and I hope they wilt be accepted by the House.
As regards numerals so far as accounting is concerned I have as a last resort, as a matter of compromise accepted that English numerals may be allowed for specific purposes even after fifteen years. But my original amendment is that clause (3) of article 301-A should be deleted.
We who are Members of the House and are members of the Congress have been following the Congress. The, Congress has decided that fifteen years should be the deadline and beyond that we need not go. Therefore we should not think what will happen. after fifteen years. Let us not make provision for posterity and bind them. When our representatives meet after fifteen years they will decide what to do. So far as we are concerned we decide for fifteen years. The Congress has ordered the progressive use of Hindi and it can be done by the amendments I have suggested and within fifteen years we can do it. My proposal is that in ten years we should finish all the commissions and committees. Parliament shall determine the ways and means by which Hindi is adopted, in years not exceeding fifteen. Following strictly the language of the resolution of the Congress Working Committee I have framed the amendments and I hope the House will accept them.
Shri L. Krishnaswami Bharathi (Madras: General): Has not the Congress passed a resolution that Hindustani shall be the official language ?
The Honourable Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla: So far as the Working Committee's resolution is concerned I do not think the word 'Hindustani' is used. It says Hindi shall be the official language in the Devanagari script. If some Member has the resolution he may give it to the honourable Member.
Shri, Ram Sahai: *[Mr. President, I support the motion moved by Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar. But I may be permitted to submit, Sir, that I fail to understand the reason or the significance of inclusion of Chapter III in the part relating to language. When Hindi in Devanagari script has been accepted as the official language and an interim period of fifteen, years has also been provided for, to replace English by Hindi I do not see why a separate provision on different lines should have been embodied, in respect of Supreme Court and High Courts in this part. It is for this reason that I have sent in three amendments : the first is to the effect that Chapter III of this part be deleted. My second amendment is to the effect that in article 301-F, the Period of fifteen years must be specifically mentioned as has been done in article 301-A. My third amendment seeks that the courts of the States where Hindi has already been adopted as the official language should be exempted from the operation of the article relating to them in this part. All the three amendments of which I have given notice have the one and the same object, that is, that on the commencement of this Constitution Hindi must continue to be used for all official purposes in the States where it has already been accepted as the State language. When our ultimate object is the establishment of Hindi as the official language for the whole of the country, I fail to understand why the States, where Hindi is in use and has already made considerable advance should be asked to replace Hindi by English for fifteen years. This proposition appears to me very strange. I would
*Translation of Hindustani Speech therefore, request Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar to consider over difficulties in this respect and not to force the States, where Hindi has already made considerable progress, to learn English afresh.
The, argument may be, advanced that the judges of the Supreme Court being unacquainted with Hindi, may be faced with some difficulty in regard to the judgment of High Courts that go up to that court in appeal. In this connection I may submit that the arrangement for the supply of the English version of the judgment can be made. Or at the most, the High Court Judges may be asked to write the judgments in English. But it will never be proper to direct the High Courts to conduct all the proceedings in English. In Madhya Bharat the language of the, Legislature is Hindi. All the Bills, resolutions and amendments are drafted in Hindi and the proceedings of the House are conducted in Hindi. So it will have no meaning, rather it will be an anachronism, to introduce English in these States for fifteen years and again to replace the later by the former on the expiry of that period. The Constitution that we framed for our High Court lays down that Hindi shall be the language of the High Court or Madhya Bharat. In view of this I do no* find any reason why we should be forced to unlearn Hindi which we have learnt and developed with great pains and to use English in its place for fifteen years and then again to go back to Hindi, after the end of that period. I may particularly mention that in Gwalior Hindi was adopted in 1901 and from 1902 all maps and documents etc. were begun to be prepared in Hindi. By 1919 all the correspondence save the correspondence with foreign countries and with the Resident has been carried on in Hindi and now everything is being done in Hindi. Since the Union of Madhya Bharat has been formed, many of the other States of this Union also, where Urdu had till then been in use, have adopted Hindi. There is no justification, therefore, in asking these States to adopt English. All these factors deserve thorough consideration.
Honourable Pandit Shukla 'has just informed us that he has constituted a committee in his province for translation purposes. This committee has been formed only recently. I may be permitted to inform the House that in Gwalior such a committee has been in existence for the last ten years and it has already prepared the Hindi version of almost all the laws of the Central Government such as the Evidence Act, the, Contract Act, the Criminal Procedure Code, the Transfer of Property Act, etc., etc. The language used in the translation is very very simple. I wish I could read out to honourable Members certain translations just to give them an idea of it and I am sure the House would appreciate the I but since the time at our disposal is very short I am not doing so. it would be improper to use English for all official purposes, in my State where for the last fifty years constant efforts were being made for making Hindi the official language of the State and where in point of fact all laws have already been translated into Hindi within the period of the last ten years.
Recently there were three sittings of the Legislature of Madhya Bharat and sixty-eight Bills were passed and those were in Hindi. Of course we give, English version also along with the original Hindi version. But authenticity is given to the Hindi versions, and not to the English one. At the most the States, where Hindi is already in use, may be asked to supply an authentic English versions of laws etc. for the purpose of the Union. But it can never be fair to ask them to adopt all their Bill etc. in English.
I have come to know from the talks I had with some friends that Hindi, in their opinion, is not yet well developed to give accurate expression to thoughts, I beg to submit that this motion is wrong. Not only Hindi has been the officiallanguage for the last fifty years of the Gwalior State, but for the last twenty five years, even the 'Law Reports' which publishes important Judgements of the High Court, is also being published in Hindi. Apart from this journal, another monthly Law journal is also being published for the last ten years and it too publishes the judgments of the High Court. Hindi has fully developed there during the last fifty years, and it will not be proper now to replace it by English.
The controversy at present is raging about numerals. I would like to make one thing clear in regard to this question. Of course it looks odd to introduce the English form of numerals in Hindi script, but in view of the situation obtaining at present, we should have no objection at all in accepting it. If our friends from South India want to introduce international numerals, which in fact belong to us, I must appeal to the Chair as also to the House to accept them. It will not be proper for us to reject their proposal. That is why I have not put in any amendment in regard to numerals.
While fully supporting Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar's proposal, except Chapter III contained in it, I would request him to embody some provision, in it, so that it may be possible that Hindi is retained in the States; where it is in use and has made considerable progress. I would like to impress upon him the fact that the progress that Hindi has made in our State will be very helpful in adopting Hindi in the Union. But if he wants that even in these States also English should take the place of Hindi for all official purposes for fifteen years, I can only say that it will take us back and retard the development of Hindi.
Therefore, my humble submission to him is that be should thoroughly consider this problem and propose a measure, whether by accepting my amendment or we amendment of any other friend or by accepting a new amendment, to bring about a situation whereby Hindi might not be banished from the States where it is fully in vogue and where for the last fifty years every business including all the works of the offices, is being carried on in Hindi, and all the laws have been framed in Hindi. For no reason can it be proper to stop the progress of Hindi in those States.
Therefore, without taking more time of the House, I want to submit in regard to my amendment that it may be accepted in some form or other so that this object may be fulfilled.]
The Assembly then adjourned till Nine of the Clock on Wednesday, the 14th September 1949.