Constituent Assembly Debates
Constituent Assembly Debate On 13 September, 1949
CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY OF INDIA - VOLUME IX
Tuesday, the 13th September 1949
The Constituent Assembly of India met in the Constitution Hall, New
Delhi, at Nine of the Clock, Mr. President (The Honourable Dr. Rajendra
Prasad) in the Chair.
Mr. President : There are two or three amendments more which I consider
to be of fundamental character. There is one about Sanskrit language but
I do not find Pandit Maitra here. The second is by Mr. Shankarrao Deo which
says that all the reservations in favour of English should automatically
cease at the end of fifteen years. That also I consider to be of fundamental
character and there is another amendment of which notice was given by Dr.
Subbarayan to have Roman character. So I propose to call these first and
after that I go to general discussion.
Shri R. V. Dhulekar (United Provinces: General) : I have proposed amendment
Mr. President: Come along, then.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena (United Provinces : General) : I have also
Mr. President: All have, but I said "amendment of a fundamental character."
Shri R. V. Dhulekar: Mr. President, Sir, nobody can be more happy than
myself that Hindi has become the official language of the country. I may
remind the House that on the very first day when I spoke I spoke in Hindi
and there was an opposition that I should not speak in the language which
I called the National language of the country. I tried to move an amendment
that the Procedure Committee should make all rules in the Hindi language
with a translation in the English language. I said that the Hindi version
should be considered as the authentic version and if there was any discussion
about the interpretation, then the Hindi version should be considered authentic.
On that day in spite of the fact that the then President tried to rule
me out of order, I claimed that as a Member of the Constituent Assembly
and as a son of this country I had a right to speak in the language which
I feel is the national language of the country. A momentum was created
and today I find that Hindi in Devanagari script has become the official
language of the country.
Some honourable Members : Not yet.
Shri R. V. Dhulekar : Some say "not yet", but I say that it is a fact.
However much you may try to postpone the day-in your opinion it may be
an evil day-in my opinion it is a fortunate day, it has come. However you
may oppose it, it is a decision that the country has taken. Some say that
it is a concession to Hindi language I say "no". It is a consummation of
a historic process". It is the result of an historical process which has
been going for a long number of years, nay centuries. I may say that Swami
Ramdas wrote in Hindi, Tulsi Das wrote in Hindi, then again the modern
Saint, Swami Dayanand wrote in Hindi. He was a Gujarati but he wrote in
Hindi. Why did he write in Hindi? Because Hindi was the national language
of this country. Then again I may say that our Father of the Nation MahatmaGandhi
also, when be came into the Congress, immediately did away with English
and he spoke in Hindi. He did not try to write in English. He wrote his
own biography in Hindi and got it translated by Mahadeo Desai. I may submit
to those people who are under a misapprehension that it is an imposition-I
may say that it is not an imposition. Hindi has become the universal language
of this country and has taken the field. 'acre was a tug of war and there
was a race among languages and the only language which had the national
language characteristics in it, which had the power and the strength became
today the national language of this country.
Shri H. R. Guruv Reddy (Mysore State) : Shall we not say official language
Shri R. V. Dhulekar : I say it is the official language and it is the
national language. You may demur to it. You may belong- to another nation
but I belong to Indian nation, the Hindi Nation, the Hindu Nation, the
Hindustani Nation. I do not know why you say it is not the National Language.
Some of you want that Sanskrit be the national language-I may say
Sanskrit is the international language-it is the language of the world.
There are four thousand roots in Sanskrit language. Sanskrit is the root
of all roots. Sanskrit is the language of the whole world. And you will
see that some day when Hindi becomes the official and national language,
Sanskrit will become the language of the world.
Now, today because we are nationally minded, therefore I say that Hindi
is the national language. You say, Hindi is the official language. but
I say it is the national language. You are mistaken when you say that it,;
is the official language. There was a race among the languages and Hindi
has run the race and you cannot now stop its career. The amendment I have,
moved is that Parliament should decide how long this present Official language
English should last in this country. You are, afraid of the Congress, You
are' afraid of your future Parliament, and therefore in framing this resolution,
you have put in commissions and committees. I may tell you all that these
Seigfried line and Maginot line will be of no avail when the members come
to the Central Assembly after two or three years. They will say that Hindi
will he the language of the country. That I have decided.
An honourable Member: But your decision is not binding upon us.
Shri R. V. Dhulekar: I have already sent in my amendment to the that
all these commissions and committees should be brushed away, for however
much you may wish to erect a barricade so strong that the surging tide
of the Indian nation will not be able to defeat it, or to surmount it,
I say that you will all fail and by putting in the clause about commissions
and committees. you will be sowing the seeds of dissensions and.....
Mr. President : I would ask the honourable Member not to go into that
question, but to confine himself to the merits of his case. I do not think
you are advancing your own case by speaking like this.
Shri R. V. Dhulekar : I say, Sir, that you are creating from the very
first day, 'a cause of action,' for Parliament, to decide that these commissions
and committees should go.
When we take into consideration the long history of the growth of this
national language you will see that it is not on this ground alone that
I am going to oppose that the official language of the country should not
continue for fifteen years. I feel that the lease of another fifteen years
will not be in the national interest. My friends ask me, "What will you
do if English is not adopted as the official language ?" I will most calmly
and with folded hands request you to consider the position, and I will
say that you do not know the heart of the country. English language is
not the language of the brave people. It is not the language of scientists
at all. 'I here is no word of science that the English language can calm
to be its own-neither can it claim its own numerals. You say, let this.
English language remain as the official language in this country for another
fifteen years. I shudder at the very idea of it at the very idea that our
universities and our schools and our colleges. colleges and our scientists,
that all of them should, even after the attainment of Swaraj, have to continue
to work in the English language. What will other people say ? What will
the ,host of Lord Mecaulay say ? He will certainly laugh at us and say,
"Old Johnnie Walker is still going strong" and he will say, "The Indians
are so enamoured of the English language that they are going to keep it
for another fifteen years." And some here say, it will remain for twenty
years. and some say, for fifty years and there are still others who say,
they not know for how long it should remain as our official language.
I would like to put a straight question to these friends of mine, and
it is this. In 1920 or even in 1885-there are sonic who are older than
myself here what were you thinking should be the language of this land?
What should be our language after the attainment of Swaraj ? I would say
that those who felt that English should be our official language, they
were caught napping.
They were caught napping by Swaraj. But when I entered the Congress
at the age of 18, I had a clear vision that Swaraj will come. I had a clear
vision that we will govern ourselves in a particular way. I had a clear
notion about my language. I had a clear notion about my country. And I
had a clear notion about my civilisation and I had a clear notion about
my culture. If I had no clear notion like that, why should I have served
this country from morning till night, since my birth into this country-that
is, when I came of age ? I had the notion that my country will have my
own language, and my own culture. But today, I hear people asking another
fifteen years for English in this country. Have we not had enough of it
? We have bad it for the past two hundred years, we have had this slavery
of a foreign language. This English language has produced no great men;
Even in our slavery we produced great men. Some people may say that on
account of the English language we got our freedom, I say, "No". Only those
people joined the freedom's fight who forgot the English language, and
who bad extreme hatred for the English language and who knew that the English
language was a poison and that it will kill our country. I would with all
humility say to Shri Gopalaswami Ayyanar, "I do not understand your language.
And you do not understand my language. You did not know the language of
the country for the last 40 years, and so you will not understand my language
And so. Sir, I confess I do not understand your language today and I
will not understand your language tomorrow also. You put in a plea for
the English language. You, Sir, all along were thinking that Swaraj will
not come and so my friends there, were all along, working in English language.
While we small people gave up our roaring practices, the other people had
their roaring practices with the English language. We also can have a roaring
practice today if I go to the Federal Court. But we are wedded to poverty;
we are wedded to the freedom of our country, to the freedom of our country
from bondage and from the bondage of a foreign language. But here you say,
postpone the change for fifteen years. Then I ask, when are you going to
read the Vedas and the Upanishads ? When are you going, to read the Ramayan
and the Mahabharata and when are you going to read your Lilavati and other
mathematical works ? When are you going to read your Tantrams ? After fifteen
years ? You may say so. because you people believe in the saying. "After
me the deluge. Let us impose upon this country, this beloved country the
English language as the official language." My friends say we cannot learn
the Hindi language and much less the numerals. Then I ask you , what is
your official language.in the eyes of the outside world ? I am not in the
confidence of the Government of India, but I am informed that when in Russia
our Ambassador submitted the credentials in the English language, that
country refused to receive it. They said you must present the credentials
in your own language : and when the credentials were presented in Hindi,
then they were accepted. Here is Russia which knows bow to honour a country's
language and here are our friends who do not know how to honour their's.
They feel that I am a stranger in my own country. They say that Dhulekar
is talking a language which is not the language of the country. I say,
and I claim that I am the only man in this House who can love the Hindi
language, the mother's language. I am the only man who can express the
Indian thought.(Interruption). My friends are largely cut off from the
common man in the street. Look at the galleries and see how few people
have come here to hear you. That is because they know you have given up
the cause of the country, because you have brought out a proposition so
wrong and so big that it cannot be understood. You should put your proposition
in the fewest number of words. The longer it is the greater the weakness
of the Constitution. Why have you tried to hang all sorts of things on
its sides and to erect barricades and
Maginot lines ? You have done this because in your heart of hearts,
you believe that this is not the voice of the country. Let us not surround
the Hindi language with Devanagari script, with all tantric figures and........
An.honourable Member: And Mantras
Shri R. V. Dhulekar: And Mantars so that the future generations in India
may not brush it aside. Let me point out in all humility that in spite
of these Maginot lines, Hindi will be the language of this land and the
Devanagari script and numerals will be the script and numerals for this
country. My request is to leave it to Parliament to decide the question.
May I ask my friends one question ? Are they afraid of democracy ? Are
they afraid of Parliament? Are they afraid of their own sons and grandsons
who will be the members of our future Parliaments ? Is that the reason
why they do not want to leave this question to be decided by Parliament?
It is only the people who are afraid of democracy who put in provisos after
provisos for commissions and committees, because they have no faith in
democracy. They do not believe that people who are elected on adult suffrage
will be able to do the right thing.
Yesterday an appeal was made by my Friend Mr. Hifzur Rahman-I do not
know whether he is in the House-yes, there be is-and I would like to give
a word in reply, He is very much annoyed, very much perplexed to know why
the people of India have forgotten Hindustani and why they have forgotten
the Urdu script and the Persian script and all the paraphernalia which
goes under the name of Hindusthani. And he made an appeal in the name of
Mahatma Gandhi that we should make Hindusthani the official ]an(, age of
the country, writing it both in Persian and Devanagari scripts. I feel
he has forgotten history, and I might remind him a little.
For the last thirty-eight years, during the period I have been in the
Congress, the history of this appeasement policy or this friendly policy
or the Hindusthani business has to be recollected a bit. I may ask in the
name of Lokamanya Tilak, in the name of Surrendranath Banerjee, in the
name of Mahatma Gandhi, why not have separate electorates also? I may say
that except for a few thousands of Muslims, sons of this country, who are
still with us except for them, the bulk of the Muslim population was not
with us. They did not feel that this country was their. And therefore they
wanted to separate. They wanted to have separate electorate. And the Congress
knew as far back as 1916 and even before- that they could not fight against
the foreign rulers by fighting a triangular fight and therefore.......An
Honourable Member : Are you speaking on your amendment? YOU are alone.
Shri R. V. Dhulekar: Yes, I am opposing Hindusthani. And I know you
will never be with me.
As I was saying the Congress knew that it could not fight the triangular
fight and so it was necessary to exclude the bulk of the Muslim population
from the fight. There was a straight fight between the Indians and the
English Government and this appeasement policy....
Mr. President : I would remind the honourable Member that it is not
a Communal question at all. The question of language that we are discussing
is not a communal question at all.
Shri R. V. Dhulekar : No, Sir. But I know Maulana Rahman and I have
experience of U.P. and he has been lecturing there and here also, and I
say whatever I heard yesterday it was all on a communal basis. I am going
to give him a national interpretation of history. The bulk of the Muslims,
barring our friends like Maulana Azad and Kidwai......
The Honourable Shri Jawaharlal Nehru (United Provinces: General) : May
I enquire whether all this is relevant?
Mr. President : No, I have reminded the Speaker more than once.
The Honourable Shri Jawaharlal Nehru : But still he is persisting.
Mr. President: I do not think you are really advancing your case.
Shri. R. V. Dhulekar: I will not pursue this matter further, Sir. So
it was necessary that we should go on with that policy, so that we might
fight the British. Now we find
that policy was not successful to our woe. We have been through all
these things in a friendly way and in a brotherly way; we have suffered
and are suffering. Therefore it is with the greatest unhappiness that have
to say that in spite of our honest efforts to solve the problem of this
country on a non-communal basis, the result has been that we arc suffering
still. Hence I wish that my Friend Maulana Hifzur Rahman may take it from
me that it is only a reaction to our honest efforts, honest efforts which
did not succeed, that the pendulum has gone over to the other side........
The Honourable Shri Jawaharlal Nehru : Hear, hear I
Shri R. V. Dhulekar: I am very happy at the thought that I have spoken
the mind of my honourable Friend the Prime Minister. Certainly if their
efforts had succeeded, whatever they said, or whatever the Father of the
Nation said had succeeded, no person could have been happier than myself.
Do not conceive for a moment that I am a communal-minded man. When I oppose
Hindustani I do so, not on account of my lack of love for those people,
but because of my love and affection for them, the honest love that an
honest man has for his brethren. Today if you speak for Hindustani, it
will not be heard. You will be misrepresented, you will be misunderstood
and therefore my honest advice to Maulana Hifzur Rahman is that he should
wait for two or three years and he will find that he will have his Urdu
language, he will have his Persian script; but today let him not try to
oppose this, because our nation. the nation which has undergone so many
sufferings is not in a mood. to hear him. I have heard him, I appreciate
him and I know how he feel.-;. I am myself a Persian scholar and I have
read Urdu and I have loved it. I can say that I have written more in Persian
and Urdu than my Friend Maulana Hifzur Rahman. I had a clerk for twenty
years who was a Muhammadan, all along when there was fight between Hindus
and Muslims at Jhansi and other places. So many of my friends came to me
and said "You have got a Muslimclerk, turn him out I said "No, he is my
brother, he is my own kith and kin and blood of my blood." I believe that
all Muslims who are in India and all those who are in Pakistan are my own
blood, they are my own brethren. it is because of my abiding faith in my
country and in myself that I am in the, Congress. The Congress does not-belong
to Hindus or Muslims, it belongs to all. It may be surprising and strange
that a person who claims that Hindi should be the national language of
this country' should at the same time claim to be a friend of Urdu or Persian.
I have the widest sympathies........
Mr. President : It is better the honourable Member concludes. lie has
been rather not always relevant and the House is not in a mood to listen
Shri R. V. Dhulekar: With these words I move my amendments and support
the unqualified adoption of Hindi in Devanagari script and Hindi Numerals,
for no other language can be the official language of India, not even for
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra (West Bengal: General): Mr. President, at
the very outset I must apologise to you and to the House for my absence
from the House when it commenced its sitting and when you were pleased
to call me to speak to my amendment. My only explanation for it is that
I was engaged so long in a very important committee meeting of the Government
of India elsewhere and therefore my absence was not due to any slackness
on my part.
Sir, I must confess that I am the sponsor of an amendment which has
caused considerable surprise to many an honourable Member of this House
and to many people outside. It has been received, if I may say so, with
mixed feelings in the country. One set of reports that I have so far received
and the shoals of letters and congratulations seem to indicate that I have
hit upon a right and honourable course. The other set seems to suggest
that I am trying to take India several centuries back :by proposing that
Sanskrit should be the official and national language of India. Let me
tell you 'at once
that I am sincerely convinced that if on the attainment of freedom,
this country is to have at all anything like an official language which
is also to be the national language of the country, it is undoubtedly Sanskrit.
Some honourable Members: No, no.
Some honourable Members: Yes, Yes.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra : I have no desire to wound the susceptibilities
of those who think that Hindi is the be-all and end-all of their existence.
I have no quarrel with them.. But let them not make a fetish of it, for
that may ultimately defeat their very purpose. If I did not from the very
beginning, Mr. President, press on MY friends for acceptance of my amendment,
that is, my proposal for adoption of Sanskrit as the national and official
language of India , it was because of my deep concern for the very serious
efforts that were made by several responsible Honourable Members of the
House to bring of India, it was because, of my deep concern for the very
serious efforts that about a sort of an honourable rapprochement between
the two important contending sections of opinion in the House. I held back
and I refused to side one way or the, other because I felt that I could
not honestly support either. However, when things reached a stage when
we were almost 'hopeful that an agreed formula for an official language
of India was going to be acceptable to both. with sufficient give and take
on either side. I felt that I must not bring in my proposal of Sanskrit
to upset the apple cart, Unfortunately for us. and may I say for the whole
country. the matter took an unhappy turn. as in my humble opinion, for
a very small and comparatively unimportant matter the whole agreement had
to break. It is regrettable. Today in this Constituent Assembly we are
going to take the most fateful decision, the decision about the official
and national language of India. Sir, in the present temper of the House
I am really apprehensive that whichever amendment is carried by a majority
of the votes-whether Hindi in Devanagari script and with the international
form of Indian numerals as proposed in the draft moved by my honourable
Friend Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar on behalf of the Drafting Committee, or
that moved by the other group, the' austere whole-hogger Hindi group with
everything Hindi-the defeated Section will be leaving this Assembly with
a sense of despair, a sense of frustration born of acute bitterness that
has been generated in the course of the debates on this question for weeks
on end. I have therefore come forward, knowing full well that it is temerity
on my part, to ask the House to accept, as the national language of India,
Sanskrit and not any other language.' Sir, my amendments in brief seek
to replace Hindi by Sanskrit with all consequential changes in the draft
moved by my honourable Friend Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar. Besides that..................
Pandit Balkrishna Sharma (United Provinces : General) : Numerals also
in Sanskrit ?
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra: I am coming to that.
Besides that, I have got another substantial amendment, namely the addition
of Sanskrit in the list of the languages of the Union. It is surprising
that before my amendment was tabled, none even considered the desirability
of recognising Sanskrit as one of the languages of India. That is the depth
to which we have fallen. I make absolutely no apology for asking you seriously
to accept Sanskrit. Who is there in this country who will deny that Sanskrit
is the language of India? I am surprised that an argument was trotted out
that it is not an Indian language, that it is an international language.
, Yes, it is an international or rather a world language in the sense that
its importance, its wealth, its position, its grandeur have made it transcend
the frontiers of India and travel far beyond India, and it is because of
the Sanskrit language and all the rich heritage of Indian culture that
is enshrined in it that outside India we are held in deep esteem by all
countries. Is there any soul in this,., House who can challenge this proposition
? Is India
admired and respected all the world over for her geographical size or
for the multitude of her population ? Our land has been characterised by
uncharitable foreigners as a country hopelessly heterogenous and bewilderingly
polyglot. Yet, notwithstanding all that, they have earnestly sought for
the message of the East which lies enshrined in the Sanskrit language.
Shri H. V. Kamath (C. P. & Berar: General) : On a point. of information,
Sir, may I know whether this language is called Sanskrit or Samskrit
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra: I am deeply grateful to my honourable friend
Mr. Kamath for this debut in humour; as a piece of honour it is all right.
Shri H. V. Kamath : It is not humour; I did not intend it as such.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra: When I am talking in English I think it
is natural that I should use the English pronunciation.
Sir, Sanskrit has the oldest and the most respectable pedigree of all
the language in the world. I have got here a collection of opinions of
some of the biggest orientalists that the world has ever produced; the
concensus of opinion of men like Professor Maxmuller, Keith, Taylor, Sir
William Hunter, Sir William Golebuk, Seleigman, Schopenhauer, Goether,
not to speak of numerous other people like Macdonell and Dubois. All have
accorded to Sanskrit the highest place, not to please us, because when
these opinions were expressedwe were a subject race under a foreign power
on whose behalf adverse propaganda was conducted against us by personages
like Miss Mayo whose 'Mother India' was characterised by Mahatma Gandhi
of hallowed memory as a "drain inspector's report". Notwithstanding all
such adverse propaganda carried on against India by the interested agencies
in foreign countries, the world came to know the real India, gradually
through these great oricntalists who had devoted their lives to the study
of the Sanskrit language and literature and an that is contained in it.
These great servants unhesitatingly declared that Sanskrit was "the oldest
and the richest language of the world," "the one language of the world,"
"the mother of all languages of the world."
If today India has got an opportunity after thousand years to shape
her own destiny, I ask in all seriousness if she is going to feel ashamed
to recognise the Sanskrit language-the revered grandmother of languages
of the world, still alive with full vigour, full vitality? Are we going
to deny here her rightful place in Free India ? That is a question which
I solemnly ask. I know it will be said that it is a dead language. Yes.
Dead to whom ? Dead to you, because you have become dead to all sense of
grandeur, you have become dead to all which is great and noble in your
own culture and civilisation. You have been chasing the shadow and have
never tried to grasp the substance which is contained in your great literature.
If Sanskrit is dead, may I say that Sanskrit is ruling us from her grave?
Nobody can get away from Sanskrit in India, Even hi your proposal to make
Hindi the State language of this country, you yourself provide in the very
article that that language will have to draw its vocabulary freely from
the Sanskrit language. You have given that indirect recognition to Sanskrit
because you are otherwise helpless and powerless.
But I submit that it is not a dead language at all. Wherever I have
travelled, if I have not been able to make myself Understood in any other
language, I have been able to make myself understood in Sanskrit. Two decades
ago, when I was in Madras, in some of the big temples at Madura, Rameshwaram,
Tirupati, I could not make myself understood in English or in any other
language, but the moment I started talking in Sanskrit, I found that these
people could well understand me and exchange their views. I came away with
the impression that at least in Madras there was the glow of culture of
Sanskrit. Notwithstanding their inordinate passion-which is only natural-for
their regional languages-Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada the Southerners
did study Sanskrit on a fairly wide scale.
of Sanskrit has been very crude. We seem to think that Sanskrit is only
composed of big, bombastic phrgses, grandiloquent phraseology, several
feet long, that it has only one style like that of Bana's Kadambari, or
of Horshacharita or Dashakumar Charitam. But may I submit to you what was,
with some amount of self-conceit, said by an eminent poet,
Sahitya Sukumarabastuni :-
Drihra-nava-graha-granthila Tarka ba Moyu Sangbidhatari Samang Lilayata
You think that I cannot compose simple yet forceful pieces in plain
Sanskrit? Whether it is a soft, delicate matter like poetical literature
or whether it is learned discourses in abstruse subjects like philosophy
and dialectic, when I am composing it I can handle the language for either
purposes with equal case." Sanskrit is such a language that it can be used
either for very serious Subjects as philosophy, science and also for light
literature, it is an easy vehicle of expression for all shades of thought.
I am sure that those who know Sanskrit, will endorse every single word
of what the great poet uttered some centuries ago.An honourable Member:
Will you please speak in Sanskrit, so that it may be understood by all
of us ?
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra : I am not here to parade my knowledge of
Sanskrit. I am not going to commit the blunder of some of my friends, who,
in their zeal,--despite the request of others to speak in English so that
they might be understood by everybody, persisted in the language of their
bobby. I am not going to do that. I want to make myself understood by every
single honourable Member in this House. If I can speak Sanskrit, I do not
claim any special credit for it. I ought to be able to speak in it; and
if I cannot speak, I ought to be ashamed of my culture and education. Therefore,
you do not try to put me up as piece of curio here. When I am pleading
for Sanskrit, let there be no derisive merriment anywhere in the House.
Let me ask every honourable Member of this House, irrespective of the province
he comes from, "Does he disown his grandmother ?"
Sir, we are proud of the great provincial languages of this country-Bengali,
Marathi, Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and others.
They constitute a variety of wealth of Indian culture and civilisation.
This is not a province's property. It is all our national property. But
all these languages derive their origin from Sanskrit. That is the parent
language and even in the case of the languages in the South, they have
taken a large number of Sanskrit words to enrich their language. Therefore,
I submit that if we could set our hearts on it, we could develop a simple,
vigorous, chaste, sweet style of Sanskrit for the general purposes of our
I do not suggest that from here and now every one of us would be able
to talk Sanskrit. My amendment is not like that. What I have proposed in
my amendment is, that for a period of fifteen. years English will continue
to be used as the official language for the State Purposes for which it
was being used before the commencement of the Constitution. At the end
of fifteen years, Sanskrit will progressively replace English. That is
all my amendment purposes.
Let me tell you that in every province, in every University we have
got arrangements for teaching of the Sanskrit language. Men like me, who
tried to introduce Hindi in anticipation of its being adopted as the State
language of this country, experienced a tremendous amount of difficulty
in getting Hindi teachers at least in Bengal. You will be surprised to
know that That is a problem. If you want to coach up thousands and thousands
of your young men in Hindi, you want teachers for that ; you want literature
for that, you ought to have elaborate printing machinery, books, texts,
primers, teachers and all the rest of it. That would be a very great handicap;
and, in spite of all that the Central Government and provincial governments
might do, this problem cannot be easily solved. And mind you anybody from
the Hindi speaking areas would pose as a great Hindi scholar. I have
got them tested and found them no good. If on the, other hand, you 'have
Sanskrit as the official language, every University has got Sanskrit as
a compolsory subject up to a certain standard and as an optional subject
after that stage. There will be therefore absolutely no difficulty on the
score of teaching or learning Sanskrit.
Shri B. N. Munavalli (Bombay States) : The same difficulty will be felt.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra I know that in the case of Mr. Munavalli
at his-age-I hope he will not be offended ",hen I say that he is aged-it
may be difficult to learn a new language. But if Mr. Munavalli thinks that
he can more easily master Hindi, than Sanskrit, I have no quarrel. Let
him have it.
What I am pleading is that I have noticed a deep feeling of jealousy--pro-ing.
I do not justify it, but I realize that feeling. Many people, have been
led to think, "of all,languages. why should Hindi be set up as the national
language? It is after all a provincial language". ',Nobody can deny that
it is a provincial language. You are lifting a provincial language to the
status of a national language. You cannot deny that. There is a vast amount
of truth in that. Who Will deny that languages like Bengali, Tamil, Telugu,
Gujarati, Malayalam, Marathi, Kannada have got very rich literature of
which they can legitimately feel proud ?
Yet Non-Hindi speaking members are not claiming their own provincial
languages fox recognition as the official languages of India. Do you realise
the spirit of sacrifice that lies behind it? I have never pleaded that
Bengalee shall be the State language of this country. I have never suggested
it, though I feel that I have a very rich language and literature made
richer by our Poet Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and given an international
reputation. I felt that in the larger interests of the Union, we must evolve
a language, be it Hindi which by our joint co-operative effort might be
built up for the use of the whole country.
But, having gone a considerable, way, we stood still at a certain stage.
I personally feel that it was regrettable and unfortunate. Some of my friends
have criticised, me saying : 'Having swallowed a camel why do you strain
at a gnat?" They ask, why, having agreed to Hindi script, I am objecting
to the Hindi numerals ? Now, do you seriously suggest that Indian freedom
will not be worth having, will not be worth its name, if it is not cent
per cent. Hindi in everything? Does anyone put this forward as a serious
proposition? If so, why should they not have the sense of humour to realise
that this very argument can be used by people an the other side in favour
of adoption of their own languages ? Sir on this question there was a close
tie. The Honourable Govind Ballabh Pant on one occasion made a magnificent
speech. He said : 'We are not going to impose this language on the non-Hindi
people'. That was a statement' worthy of the Premier of the biggest province
in India. But unfortunately- that province and not mine has now become
the problem province in this matter. This language trouble started there.
The controversy about Urdu and Hindi and Hindi language with Nagari numerals
started there till it reached, a stage when both sides sat down to settle
their differences. When we could not achieve a measure of success in our
endeavours notwithstanding the appeals made by speaker after speaker for
an agreement, the Premier of the U.P. declared : "No, no. We are not going
on impose Hindi on you, We must have an agreed formula." Now, if this is
not imposition,Hindi language in Devanagari Script with Hindi numerals-what
else is imposition, tell, me, ? If you say that there will be absolutely
no imposition of Hindi but voluntary acceptance by all, and at the same
time Insist on cent per cent acceptance of Hindi demands. is it not a demand
for our voluntary surrender? Be frank about your proposition. But, this
is not the way in which an issue like that of language can be solved. Language
means the very life-blood of a nation. It cannot be, lightly trifled with.
I do not believe in
producing a language under a made-to-order procedure or by the fixing
of a date-line and all that. It is a, living organism which grows and thrives.
Now if you want to have a language for the whole of India. what language
has the largest claim? Certainly from the point of view of democracy from
the point of view of the largest number of people speaking or understanding
it, probably Hindi, which is spoken by about 14 crores of people. bag the
strongest claim. Hindi has, however, a bewildering variety of dialects.
People from U.P. have told 'me that if Hindi is accented as the State language
the population of the western United Provinces would have to learn it afresh,
because theydo not know that language. Yet when the claim is made on the
basis of statistics of 1931 that Hindi is the one language spoken by the
largest number of people, according to the Common notions of democracy
it may be all right But in settling language questions, mere theory of
democracy must not prevail. If a language is spoken by a very large section
in the land, it does not necessarily mean that it is the language of the
In this connection I will give you an illustration which will show the
extent to which passions can be roused on the question of language. I shall
refer you to what happened last year in Eastern Pakistan. After the partition
di Bengal, the Founder of Pakistan issued a fiat that for the whole of
Pakistan, Urdu should be the State language. Do you know what was the reaction
in East Bengal to this fiat ? The Bengalee Muslims of East Pakistan got
very much agitated over this imposition of Urdu on them, and asked. "Are
you going to destroy our Bengalee language ? We whole heartedly supported
you in your effort to create the Islamic State of Pakistan. Dare you now
touch our language T' Demonstrations started all over Eastern Pakistan
and there were the usual counter measures such as tear-gas attacks, lathi
charges etc. Pakistan authorities raised the scare that it was the Hindu
fifth column that was responsible for that agitation. But at once the Muslim
intelligentsia and their educational and cultural associations came forward
and said that it was all bunkum. They said " you are trying to throttle
the language of Rabindranath Tagore. We are not going to tolerate it."
People were lathi-charged, imprisoned for rising in revolt on the question
of language. At a gathering of students and professors in Dacca, the moment
Mr. Jinnah advised people to take to Urdu in Arabic script as the language,
of the newly created islamic state, there were cries of 'No, no'. As he
proceeded, these cries rose louder and louder which could not be silenced.
These things were not reported in the Press. After seven days' futile efforts,
Mr. Jinnah had to retrace his steps to Karachi. Thereafter a communique
was issued to the effect that Bengalee would continue to be the State language
of Eastern Pakistan. The Bengalee speaking Muslims of Pakistan made it
a condition precedent to their acceptance of Urdu in Arabic script, that
Mr. Jinnah would make Bengalee also a State language in Central Pakistan.
They said that they would go to Karachi to see that in every place there,
side by side with Urdu there was also Bengalee used before they accepted
Urdu also' for Eastern Pakistan. So when there was this counterblast by
the Muslims of Eastern Pakistan, the authorities came to their senses.
Next the authorities said that they would have Bengali in the Roman script.
This was not tried. Recently they have proposed to make an experiment with
Bengali in Arabic script in certain selected-places. But such efforts are
bound to fail.
I submit that language is such a vital thing that if by mere votes or
fiats you decide it, it will sink deep into the hearts of those who do
not voluntarily accept it. They will go with sore and lacerated feelings,
which will ultimately break all asunder. Sir, I am not a pessimist-but
I feel that in the absence of an agreement our passions are. bound to be
aroused on any decision on this issue of language. I heard the cold
calculated speech of my honourable Friend, Shri Gopalaswamy Ayyangar.
In it there was an undertone of depression but there was also a note of
firmness that he was prepared to go thus far and no farther. When he was
making his speech, I interposed an observation-
"Sir, is it your idea that we will have to take the whole draft as it
is or we can take out parts?"
He said, "No, no; it must be taken as an integrated whole". His idea
is-and I think it is the right idea-that this whole chapter of linguistic
provisions must stand or fall together; there that does not mean that small
minor changes cannot be made here and there: but it will be absolutely
unacceptable to us if simplythe first part for instance, viz., "Hindi in
Devanagari script" is carried and the. rest thrown out. The acceptance
of Hindi is conditional on the rest of the provisions being accepted. (Hear,
I am making my position absolutely clear. Now, Sir, it is my firm conviction
that if we' want to avoid the provincial jealousies and acrimonious feelings
which are bound to follow the enforcement of a provincial language or the
raising of it to the status of a national language-we must adopt Sanskrit
which is the mother of all languages, a language, which can be learnt in
my humble opinion in fifteen years by intensified effort, for which the
necessary facilities and the arrangements, are already in existence in
the country. Perhaps it would seem impossible to enforce it now-within
15 years, within the present generation it may not be possible; though
those of you who know it might develop its use. But the coming generation
can learn it and use it for all purposes.
Meanwhile I do not want to bring in inefficiency in the administration
of the country. Therefore I want that for these fifteen years English should
continue as the official language of the country. I know that when I was
making a similar speech in another place, J. was severely criticised. A
friend of mine from the Hindi-speaking area, told me, "Look here, Maitra,
you are passionately pleading for English for the next fifteen years. What
is your idea ? Are you waiting for the time when the British would come
back ?" I told him that we had our grouse against the Britishers, against
the British domination of our country but not against the English language
and culture as such. When the Britishers first came to this country, in
the last century, English was not understood. People knew not a syllable
of it. A story goes that A Bengali babu serving in an English mercantile
firm in those days went to his boss and said, "Sir, today is the "Rath
Yatra" (car festival). "Leave, Sir, Leave". "What rath ?", the boss asked.
With, his knowledge of English the Babu could not explain what "rath" was.
He said, "Church" "Church" "wooden Church Sir" "Jagannath sitting", "rope
and pull," Sir. The poor European was dumbfound. ed. This was the earliest
stage of English knowledge but soon after, people like Raja Ram Mohan Roy,
Keshab Chander Sen, Bankim Chandra, Ramesh Dutt and others mastered the
English language. Then, within a few years magnificent poetry and prose
were produced in the English language by poets like Kumari, Toru Dutt,
Michael Madhu Sudan Datta and others whose poetry compares favourably with
the finest lyrical poetry in the English literature So in the beginning
there may-be difficulty but if you apply your mind, you will learn Sanskrit
in no time. Meanwhile for international commerce, higher and scientific
education, Judiciary etc. English has to be used in India.
Sir, I am a lover of the English language and literature in as much
as it is the one priceless thing that we have acquired in all our humiliation,
miseries and sufferings during the English rule. My honourable Friend,
Shri Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, was referring to it as the instrument with which
we got our freedom. I found derisive laughter was going round at this observation
of his. But is it seriously proposed that the English language should be
completely banished from this land and not allowed to play any part in
lives ? If today, Mr. Krishnamachari or Maulana Abul Kalam Azad or Pandit
Balkrishna Sharma and myself have to talk together, not in the English
language but in our own tongues., it will be a veritable babel. it is out
of such babel that the English language has drawn us together. And if any
attempt is made now to banish the English language from this country. India
will lapse into barbarism. We must have an international language and English
is a language which is spoken by sixty crores of people. English is not
now the property of the English people alone. It is their property and
mine. There is a brilliant chapterin the book written by one of the Viceroys,
called "Babu's English". The Britishers know the profundity of the knowledge
of English that Indians possess; they know the clarity and precision with
which the Indian people speak the language. This has been our reputation.
In my experience extending over a decade and a half in high British circles,
I have seen how the European members of the Legislative Assembly of old
days had often wondered at our mastery of the English language. They often
remarked, "We wonder how you people in the Legislative Assembly immediately
after you listen to 'the speech ,of the Home Member or the Railway Member,
stand up and criticise. We cannot do it. We must have enormous time to
Prepare for it." So, we had beat them in their own field. English language
has opened to us the vast store house of knowledge and wisdom of the world
accumulated throughout the ages. We cannot afford to close its doors now.
While English win be there, you will also develop Hindi, or for the matter
of that every provincial language. Give every regional language of India
free scope to develop according to its own genius, to be enriched by accretion
of accession from other languages. If you want to do that, you must have
Sanskrit as the national language
What is being done in Israel? Now that the Jews got their freedom, they
have installed Hebrew as the official language of their State. They wanted
to show respect to their language, their culture, their civilisation,'and
their heritage. What I am asking, Mr. President, through my amendment is
that we should revive our ancient glories through the study of Sanskrit.
We should give our message to the West. The West is steeped in materialistic
civilisation. The Message of the Gita, the Vedas , the Upanishads and the
Tantras, the Charaka and Susrutha etc., will have to be disseminated to
the West It is thus and thus alone that we. may be able to command the
respect of the world;--not by our political debates, nor by our scientific
discoveries which, compared with their achievements, are nothing. The West
looks to you to give them guidance in this war-torn world where morals
am shattered and religious and spiritual life have gone to shambles.
It is in these circumstances, it is in these conditions that the world
looks to you for a message. What kind of message are you going to send
to foreign countries through your Embassies ? They do not know who your
national poets are, your language, your literature, or the subjects in
which your forefathers excelled.
I was surprised to see that in the matter of the numerals, very few
knew what magnificent contributions India had made to the world not only
in regard to the numerals, but in algebra, in mathematical notation, the
decimal system, trigonometry and all the rest of it. All these were India's
contributions to the world. It was given to our illustrious friend from
Madras-I am referring to the Chairman of the University Commission-and
our present Ambassador to Moscow, whom the late revered father of our Industries
and Supply Minister, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, picked up from the South
and gave him the fullest facilities at the Calcutta University-to bring
out the treasures of Indian Philosophy for the benefit of the outside world.
If you do not know that language, the language which you have inherited
from your forefathers, that language in which our culture is enshrined,
I do not see, what contribution you are
going to make to the world.
I Want to know whether my appeal evokes any response in the hearts of
my friends from the north or the south. You should have the highest respect
for Sanskrit, the language of your forefathers. Is it not the proper thing
for you to do in difference to them, when you have got today the chance
of shaping the future generations ? Let us bury our hatchets and cheerfully
accept Sanskrit as the National and official language of free India. I
honestly believe that if we accept Sanskrit, all these troubles, all these
jealousies, all this bitternesswill vanish with all the psychological complex
that has been created. There may be, of course, a feeling of difficulty;
but, certainly, there will not be the least feeling of domination or suppression
of this or that, It is in that belief that I earnestly appeal to you in
the name of that great culture and civilisation of which we are all proud,
in the name of the great Rishis who gave that language to us, to support
this amendment; for once, let the world know that we also know to respect
the rich heritage of our spiritual culture.
Mr.President: I have been thinking of calling upon some one who has
given notice of an amendment which is of a fundamental character. When
he has finished, then, we can take up the other things. Mr. Anthony has
given notice of an amendment to substitute the Roman script for any other
script. I think that is more or less of a fundamental character.
Mr. Frank Anthony (C.P. & Berar: General): Mr. President, Sir, I
have given notice of two amendments. These amendments appear in the eighth
list and are numbers 338 and 347. The first amendment reads :
"That in amendment No. 65 of Fourth List, in clause (1) of the proposed
new article 301-A, for the words 'Devanagari script' the words 'the Roman
script' be sbustituted."
My second amendment is :
"That in amendment No. 65 of Fourth List, after the existing proviso
to the proposed new article 301-C, the following proviso be added :-
"Provided that no change shall be made in the medium of instruction
of any State University or in the language officially recognized in the
law courts of a province or state without the previous sanction of Parliament."
Sir, in giving notice of these two amendments. I have sought to make
my approach a highly objective one. The conclusions which I have reached
are my own conclusions, but they are based, I believe, on a sense of realism
and I believe also in the Principle of the greatest good to the largest
number of people in this country.
Sir, in speaking on this subject, which, unfortunately, has become so
highly controversial, may I at the outset, claim that I have no axe to
grind ? I have been fortunate in that I came from Jubbulpore a Hindi speaking
area. I have also been fortunate in that from an early age. I have learnt
Hindi in the Deva nagari script. More than that, I have had to earn my
living essentially through the medium of Hindi, The cross-examination of
witnesses in criminal cases is generally done in the Central Provinces
through the medium of Hindi. Arguments in scores of murder cases before
assessors who are not conversant with English have usually to be done through
the medium of Hindi.
May I say also, ;it the very outset, that I accept this premise entirely,
that if India is to achieve real unity, a real sense of Indian nationality,
then every one of us must accept this premise that we must have a national
language, English is my mother tongue. Because I am an Indian, because
English is my mother tongue. I maintain that English is an Indian language.
The honourable Member who has preceded me has just mentioned that English
is not the prerogative or the monopoly of the Englishman. It has become
the mother tongue, and assimilated to or has become part of the people
in different parts of the world. Although English is my mother tongue and
though I claim English as an Indian language, I realise that English cannot,
for many reasons, be the national language of this country.
At the same time, I am bound to say with
regret that I cannot understand the almost malicious and vindicative
attitude towards English. As my honourable Friend Pandit Maitra has pointed
out, understandably rightly, in the politicle field. there may have been
a sense of bitterness, a sense of resentmentagainst the Britisher. But
do not let us get confused and muddled-headed in our thinking, do not let
our resentment against the British be imported into our attitude towards
the English language. As he has said, the English language is one of the
few good things that the British incidentally, perhaps unthinkingly, gave
to this Country, and so opened up a treasure house of literature, thought
and culture which a knowledge of the English language has given to the
Indian people. I cannot understand this attitude of bitterness against
English, wanting to efface it, and thereby to do a deliberate disservice
to our people. After all, a knoweldge of English which on:- people have
acquired over a period of 200 years is one of the greatest assets which
India possesses in the international field. I say this without qualification
that India's claim, India's acceptance of leadership in the international
field is due largely, if not entirely, to the capacity of our representatives
abroad to hold their own, more than hold their own in speaking English
in international forums.
Sir, at one time, there was no doubt in my mind as to what should be
the national language. Before this unfortunate controversy was precipitated,
I took it as axiomatic that Hindi would be the national language in this
country. At that time, I say, I had no particular predilection as regards
the script. I have been fortunate in that I know the Devanagari script.
It is one of the simplest scripts in the world. At that time, before this
unfortunate controversy was started, I would have, without qualification,
accepted Hindi in the Devanagari script as the national language. But,
today, I have moved away from that. I say without offence that those friends
of ours Who have been ardent, if not fanatical, protoganists of Hindi have
done the cause of Hindi greater disservice than any one else. By their
intrasigence, by their intolerance,-they may not recongnise it as such,
but the other non-Hindi speaking people have interpreted their actions
and speeches and their attitude as fanatical intolerance,-they have created,
whether they like it or not, an attitude as fanatical intolerance,-- attitude
of resistance to what should have naturally been accepted as the national
language of this country. Sir, I feel that because of the unfortunate heat
and intolerance which has been imported into a subject of such a vital
importance, it has become necessary to define the content and extent of
Hindi. I come from a Hindi speaking province. Before this controversy started,
we accepted Hindi as understood, not by a person who claims to be a person
endowed with literary polish, but as understood by the man in the street,
by a literate Hindi speaking Person, we understood Hindi to have a certain
content. What do we find today? In this spirit of intransigence, in a spirit
of fanatical zealotry, there is a process of a purge which has become current
and unless we define it, my own feeling is that in this present fanatical
movement a new kind of Hindi which is unintelligible to the Hindi speaking
Hindu in the street a new kind of Hindi which is unfamiliar to the people,
a highly sanskritised Hindi will be imposed. There seems to be some kind
of a vendetta against languages which have a non-Sanskrit or a non-Hindi
origin. There seems to be almost a sense of hatred against using the commonest
language. Today the word 'Subera' is not used as it may have some Urdu
origin but our friends use Prath Kal. I talk to my servent about "Prath
Kal' lie does not understand what I am saying A student told me that an
axiom which is taught to him regularly is.
This is the type of Hindi that we are seeking to impose on our people.
Even it you take the Constitution in Hindi how many of your Hindi-speaking
Hindus can understand it. I attempt to read
our so-called Hindi translation but I do not understand one word in
four sentences. I take tip my various dictionaries and these unfamiliar
words do not even appear in the dictionaries. How do you expect me to acquire
this new form of Hindi overnight ? Therefore I feel that it is necessary
that we should define it.After all if we allow these precipitate, intolerant
motives to inspire our national language at this stage, it will mean that
terrible, unnecessary and avoidable hardship will be done to Hindi Speaking
Hindus. When I go home to Jubbulpore students come and complain to me-Hindi
speaking Hindu boys :
"As a result of the Precipitate policy adopted by the Nagpur University.
our careers are being ruined We were first class up to Matriculation standard.
Certainly we speak Hindi in our homes but we have not achieved the necessary
standard to take a first clan degree. Overnight the Nagpur University have
introduced Hindi." If it is operating so harshly against the Hindi speaking
Hindus, what is the position of linguistic minorities in C.P. ? Overnight
you are rendering them illiterate. Yet you pay lip service to the ideals
of secular democracy, you talk of equality of opportunities on the one
side and on the other hand you implement precipitate policies which are
the negation of the principle of equality of opportunity.
Sir. I am sorry to have to speak with such fervour on this particular
subject but I do fed very strongly about it. As I have said, I have no
axe to grind but my friends-I do not question their motives-I believe they
are sincere and fervent but let me appeal to them-their sincerity is being
misconstrued by those who do not see eye to eye with them. They feel that
at the bottom of this intransigence and intolerance is an ill-conceived
communal motives-whether they are directed with that purpose or not-to
make all the ideals of a Secular State still-born. I cannot understand
it. What are you afraid of ? Some of you have Mt forgotten the slave mentality
of the past 200 years. As my Friend Pandit Maitra has said language is
a living, dynamic thing. You cannot put it in a straight-jacket You cannot
artificially prescribe the process by which language will grow, and will
be inspired. What are we seeking to do ? You seem to be motivated by a
fear that the Hindus are so emasculated that they will repudiate their
own culture, they will repudiate their own language; mid to prevent the
Hindus from repudiating their culture in evolving their own language you
must therefore put in a rigid formula. I cannot understand it. Who are
you afraid of ? Who is going to take away your Hindi in its inevitable
and natural growth to its full stature as the National language. Sir, I
cannot help feeling that this attitude is analogous to an attitude where
some Britishers wake up some morning; for some reason their memories am
carried back to the bitterneses of the Roman invasion and they Start a
movement that all words of Latin origin should be expurgated from English
There is nothing different from a movement, to expurgate words of Latin
origin from English-between that movement and the movement to purge Hindi
of awry word however assimilated it may have become to Hindi which has
either in urdu or a persian origin.
I am am holding any brief for my Muslim friends, I never held any brief
for them or for the politics of the Muslim League, but I do say that a
language grows by natural processes and my' friends there cannot cut across
or retard by one iota dime natural processes. Hindi will assimilate words
whether you like it or not, in spite of you-perhaps because of you-from
all kinds of languages I And I regret that for some reason-it is not a
logical reason, at any rate to my mind not a rational reason-you have excluded
English from the list of languages from which Hindi can draw. What possible
rational reason except that you were inspired again by a sense of hatred
against the Britisher ? After all today it you talk to any well informed
Hindu, he will use numerous English words which have become almost part
and parcel of
the Hindi language. And yet for no good reason at all except a fanatical
and unreasonable reason, if I May go call it, you have sought arbitrarily
to remove English from its place in the fourteen languages on which Hindi
can draw.I have given this amendment of Hindi in the Roman Scrip because
I feel that looking at it objectively, if we look at it also in the larger
interests of the country, we should accept it. I know that in the present
temper of the country, in the present mood of the House, as a concession
to sentiment and reaction and retrogressive forces, we will not adopt it.
But what is there-I say it without offence-sacred in a script. Some people
go about saying that this script is sacred and indulge in all kinds of
hyperbole and extravaganza. If the Devanagari script is sacred to the Hindi-speaking
Hindus, how can you introduce uniformity throughout India and ask other
people whose mother-tongues are represented by provincial languages, to
give up their script, and take to the Devanagari script.
I feel that if we do not lack courage and do not lack vision, then we
will accept Hindi in the Roman Script as the national language. After all
there are. many reasons why it should be considered and considered favourably.
Two million jawans, in the process of three or four years, during the war
were made literate in Hindi through the medium of the Roman script. If
we adopted the Roman script, we would strike a mighty and a decisive blow
in the cause of Indian unity and national integration. I believe if we
accepted the Roman script in Hindi then there would be no difficulty at
all in any of the provincial language also accepting the Roman script.
Immediately you would strike a blow in the cause of inter-provincial social,
cultural and linguistic intercourse..
But as I say, it requires courage and vision. It requires the need to
resist sentiment and reactionary forces. I do not know whether this win
be done, I feel-here my friend Shankarrao Deo will not agree with me-up
to a point I endorse what he said but I feel we are making undue concessions
to regionalism. I know how strongly the people in the different provinces
feel about their respective mother-tongue It is inevitable. It is natural
that Tamil, Telugu, Ben gali and Gujarati will grow rich and to their full
stature, but I can't help feeling-it is a little natural-that we mouth
the slogans of Indian nationality and our sense of Indian nationality upto
a point where it suits us. But when we come to a point where it does not
suit us, then we argue in favour of a policy which I feel, if allowed to
grow, will inevitably balkanize this country.
Only a person who is deliberately dishonest will argue that a boy who
has had his primary, secondary and University education through the medium
of Bengali will ever pay the slightest regard to Hindi. If we are really
interested in a national language, let us all suffer an abatement of our
respective vested interests. Let Madrasis, Bengalis and Gujaratis all in
the cause of national integration and Hindi deliberately suffer an abatement.
That is why I have moved this particular amendment. I say that the change
in the medium of instruction of the Universities should not be made except
with the previous sanction of Parliament and that the change in the official
language or languages of the law courts should not be made except with
the previous sanction of Parliament. I have moved this amendment advisedly.
I now come to the law courts. You have merely provided for the High
Courts. What about the other courts ? What is to happen if tomorrow a particular
provincial or state language is enforced, as it is bound to be in certain
provinces, overnight ? What is going to happen to the Madrasi sessions
judges for instance in the C.P. ? Are you going to ask these men to write
up profound judgments enunciating nuances of legal interpretation in Hindi
? It, is fantastic. They will have to be interpreted and translated into
English so that the High Courts will, be able to sit in judgment on those
translated judgments. In the
process of interpretation those judgments will lose a good deal of their
strength and cohesion. If my second amendment is accepted, it will ensure
that we will change over in every province by a process of evolution and
naturaltransition. It will ensure that the national language will take
its rightful and proper place in every sphere not only at the Centre but
in the provinces as well.
Shri Deshbandhu Gupta (Delhi) : May I know whether it is not a fact
that now-a-days in the United Provinces and Bihar, judgments are given
by the lower courts in Urdu and they are translated for the purposes of
the High Court in English.
Mr. Frank Anthony I am not aware of that.
Shri Deshbandhu Gupta: Now, of course, Hindi is the language, but up
till now in the United Provinces, Bihar and Punjab, judgments of the lower
courts were given in Urdu.
Mr. Frank Anthony: I know of Bihar; in many cases that I have argued
in that province, particularly before Sessions courts English is used.
Shri Deshbandhu Gupta: I mean documents are translated for the purpose
,of the Sessions courts.
Mr. Frank Anthony : As I say for a number of years certain ancillary
work in all courts has been done through the medium of the local or provincial
language. The accused is always examined in his mother tongue. Certain
documents are always kept in Hindi. I am talking about the more fundamental
work that even the lower courts are required to perform for instance, the
writing of a judgment by a sessions court. I feel that if a change has
to be made it should not be made at this stage. The change can be made
later on when we can be sure that our judges have the capacity and knowledge
to be able to write in Hindi with the same finesse, with the same analytical
precision and with the same strength of a language as they do at present
Sir, I feel that I have made out what I regard as a not unreasonable
case both for the consideration of Hindi in the Roman script being adopted
as the national language and also that no change should be made in the
medium of instructionof any University or in the language or languages
of any courts in any province without the previous sanction of Parliament.
Sir, I move.
Mr. President : I am finding great difficulty in selecting the speakers.
We have got many amendments-I have counted that the movers of amendments
number sixty or more. If I counted the names attached to particular amendments,
probably the number will go to more than hundred. Now, in these circumstances
it becomes very difficult for me to select speakers. So far I have adopted
the procedure of selecting speakers whose amendments are more or less of
a fundamental character. But this process will soon come to an end and
then I shall be at sea as to what to do. Every Member who has given notice
of an amendment thinks that his amendment must be supported and he must
get a chance. Others who have taken the trouble of not giving any amendments
think that they should also get a chance. As between these two classes
the whole House is exhausted. I want the ouidance of the House in a matter
Pandit Hirday Nath Kunzru (United Provinces: General) : It only means
that the discussion should go on a little longer than you intended at first.
Shri Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar (Madras : General) : I suggest, Sir,
your electing representative speakers from each of the provinces. we have
got two sets of people, the Hindi speaking ind the non-Hindi speaking Provinces.
The point of view of the one does not tally with the point of view of the
other. We might at sonic stage come to an agreement and I hope it will
be satisfactory to all. The proper way would, therefore be to select one
or two people from Madras; similarly from C.P., etc. Because after all
there is great deal of unanimity in regard to the point of approach.
Mr. President : Fortunately the division. is not on provincial lines.
Shri Sarangdhar Das (Orissa States) : Sir, may I make the suggestion
that the provinces which are non-Hindi speaking should be given more opportunity
If only the Hindi-speaking people are given an opportunity to advertise
Mr. President : If the Honourable Member had been present in the House
since the discussion on this question started and if he had counted the
names of speakers, he would have found that Hindi-speaking people are fewer
than others so far.
Shri Ram Sahai (Madhya Bharat) : *[I beg to request Sir, that the States
representatives be given opportunity to express their views with regard
to the question of Hindi.]
Mr. President : *[Is there any difference between, the Hindi used in
States and that used in other places ?]
Shri Ram Sahai: * [Of course there is no difference in that respect.
But the difference exists in respect of their interests, requirements,
Mr. President: I have grasped it and shall give as much time to each
speaker as is possible with due regard to each province and all other aspects
of the question. But I do not think it will be possible for me to give
every one a chance to express his views. I have no idea as to how long
this discussion will continue.
Honourable Members: Till tomorrow.
Mr. President : I have no idea as to how long the House would like to
continue discussions on this subject.
*[We had at first drawn up a time table for this, but the position has
changed now. I am trying to give every speaker fifteen to twenty minutes.
I may vary this time in some cases. I am, however, very particular that
every speaker should confine himself to the subject and does not become
irrelevant in his observations. When I find any Member talking something
irrelevant I try to stop him and I do stop him. Even then, in view of the
shortage of time. I do not find that course very helpful. I would, therefore,
like that every Member should bear this consideration in mind.]
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra : Could you not continue the discussion
till tomorrow morning because it is a very vital matter ?
Mr. President : It will depend on the House. We shall consider it at
the end of the day.
Shri Deshbandhu Gupta: The discussion can go on as long as an agreed
formula is not arrived at.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi (United Provinces : General) : After what you have
decided about the,, procedure in selecting the Speakers, may I know if
the Members of the House have to go on seeking to catch your eye or will
you yourself name them ?
*[ ] Translation of Hindustani speech.
Mr. President : Let them try to catch my eye and in that process I shall
make my selection.
An honourable Member: I suggest you fix a time-limit of ten or five
Mr. President : I think we shall have to limit the speeches.
Pandit Govind Malaviya (United Provinces: General) : From what YOU have
said, namely, that you will not allow any speaker to bring in irrelevant
matters, I think there should be no question of any time-limit. If you
find after two minutes that a speaker is irrelevant he should be asked
to come back to the point or to close.
Secondly, this is so important a matter and evreybody in the House is
so keenly interested in it that I think we cannot possibly lay down whether
we should spend one day or half a day or two days or even more over it.
It should all depend on your discretion to let the debate go on so long
as there is some fresh argument or point of view to be placed before the
House in this matter. It is so vital a subject that I think, in your discretion,
you should allow the debate to go on.
Mr. President: Yes, you may leave it to my discretion.
Shri V. I. Muniswami Pillay (Madras: General): The language question
was put for two days and most of the Members have come from various provinces
under the impression that we are going to have only a two days' debate,
I therefore think it is highly necessary that this debate should close
this evening and voting should take place thereafter.
Mr. President : I cannot accept that argument as sufficient for closing
the discussion. Members are expected to be in their places
throughout the session.
Qazi Syed Karimuddin (C. P. & Berar: Muslim) : *[Mr. President.
There are two amendments in my name. First is this :
"That in amendment No. 65 of fourth List, for the proposed New Part
XIV-A, the following bt substituted :-
301. A-The Parliament by law provide the National language of the Union
within six months after the election of the Parliament on the basis of
My second amendment is this that in case this is not acceptable then
Hindustani should be made the national language.
Sir, I cannot say whether in the present atmosphere my amendment would
be accepted or not, but as poet Ghalib has said "Tamashae ahle karam dekhte
hain", I am not concerned whether you accept it or not. What we are to
see is this : do the conditions prevailing in 1947 still prevail or have
they changed ? If there has been some change, then why has it come about?
Today we are told that Muslim Members present here have been elected on
communal basis. With regard to this I would say that the general elections
prior to 1947 were held on commercial basis. Muslim Members, as well as
Congress Members, all were elected on communal basis, and it is because
of that we see passions so deeply aroused here today.
Mr. Dhulekar has just said that Urdu is the mother-tongue of Muslims.
At present our passions are so greatly excited, that if two years hence
*[ ] Translation of Hindustani speech.
for the recognition of Urdu or Persian is made, we may accept that,
but at pres I Sent there is absolutely no-chance for its acceptance. Sir,
that is the reason why I have put in this amendment. If in the present
atmosphere they are unable to concede that demand, then how could if be
expected that when-Hindi becomes the national language, they would concede
it 7 Therefore, I would request that till a fresh general election is held
and all members of the now House, both Hindus and Muslims have been returned
on the basis of joint electorate this question may be postponed. The decision
taken by that Parliament would be just and proper. Instead of taking a
decision on-that question today, it would be better if it is left undecided
till then. It may be 'that to some provinces, or to some people the decision
taken today may not be agreeable and that is why this is not the proper
Sir, the House has adopted this attitude because Pakistan after 1947
has declared Urdu as its national language and it may be its reaction that
Hindi in Devanagri is being made the national language of India.
Shri Seth Govind Das had read out names of certain Members who had affixed
their signatures in support of his proposal, but who have now changed their
minds. I would like to ask him whether all those supporting Hindi in Devanagri
script are not Congress Members ? They have suffered and sacrificed. Now,
if they support Hindi in Devanagri script, are they riot acting against
the Congress creed ? Because they have accepted that creed, so they have
changed their minds now. Congress had agreed that the national language
of India would be Hindustani written both in Devanagri and Urdu scripts.
If Mahatma Gandhi was alive today he, would have seen that on this issue
Congress stood firm like a rock and Hindustani in both the scripts is adopted.
My Friend Mr. Dhulekar has said that it was by way of appeasement that
Gandhiji had agreed to Hindustani in both the scripts. May I ask him, does
it mean that whatever Congress does, it does only by way of appeasement
? Has the secular State also been established by way of appeasement ? I
maintain that India belongs to the people of all sections who reside here,
and they are entitled to live here. Now, to persuade you to change your
minds it is being said that Gandhiji had accepted Hindustani written both
in Urdu and Devanagri scripts, as the national language, of India, and
the Congress had accepted that proposition by way of appeasement only.
I would like-to remind Seth Govind Das of his budget speech of 1945 in
which he had said that he was sorry that he could not speak in Hindustani.
Has he forgotten that only in three years time ? In 1945, Hindustani was
his language but today it is Hindi in Devanagri script. May I ask him what
is his reason for that changeover? In 1947 the Indian National Congress
had agreed to make Hindustani, written both in Devanagri and Urdu script
as the national language of India, but today we are told that only Hindi
in Devanagri script could be the national language. The reason for this
change is, as I have already told you, that after partition in 1947 Pakistan
declared Urdu to be its national language and so its reaction in India
has been mat Hindi in Devanagri script is being adopted. In this connection
what I want to say is that along with Devanagri script you should agree
to keep Urdu script also.
Take the case of forty million Muslims of U.P. Bihar, and Berar. At
present they are getting education through their mother tongue i.e., Urdu.
Now, if you make Hindi as the State language, would it ever be possible
for them to enter the Government service ? You have provided a time-limit-say
5 years or 10 years-to the other languages for this change-over, but why
not to Urdu ? I am not opposed to Hindi, but when Hindustani is our language
then why so much aversion to Urdu ?
You have already agreed that English shall stay here for the next 10
or 15 years; then why you are denying the Muslims their rights by banning
Urduscript ? You have got a majority so you are, trying to ban it completely-to
finish it. Why is this happening ? It is because, as I say, our passions
are excited, our sentiments have gained the upper hand and finally it is
Pandit Govind Malaviya: *[Who says that?]
Qazi Syed Karimuddin: *[This is evident from the resolution.]
Pandit Govind Malaviya: *[Where?]
Qazi Syed Karimuddin : *[Clause (1) says that the script, shall be 'Devanagri.
In U.P. there are thousands of Muslim government employees who are conversant
with Urdu only; so, if you make Devanagri as the national language then
it would not be possible for them to remain in service. Unless you give
them ten years time to learn, they would not be able to learn Hindi. That
is my request to you. I would like to tell the House that this thing was
acceptable to you till 1947 and was also to Mahatmaji's liking, rather
regarding which he used to say that he would fight for it : then why are
his followers giving it up today and why is Urdu script being banned ?
For this change-over there can be no other reason than what has been stated
by Mr. Dhulekar.
Seth Govind Das has said that one reason for not accepting Urdu is that
it contains names of Rustom and Sohrab. For that my reply to him is that
when Hindustani, written in both Devanagri and Urdu scripts, is made our
national language, then would there be no mention of the names of our Indian
leaders in it ? If we retain English language for the next fifteen years,
would it not contain stories of Lord Clive's and Warren Hastings' atrocities
? Therefore, if you discard Urdu simply because it contains stories of
Sohrab and Rustom. who were Parsis, than to me, it is not a sufficient
reason for doing that.
He has also said that there is no country which has not got one culture
and one language, and he has cited Russia as an example. I thing that Sethji
has not read the history of Russia. There are sixteen languages in Russia.
Those, who have cited Russia's example, have contradicted him. In Russia,
all government gazettes etc., are published in all the sixteen languages.
I would regard it as an act of great highhandedness, if today by sheer
force of majority you pass a law making Hindi written in Devanagri script,
as the national language and discarding the use of Urdu script. To cite
the example of Russia in this connection is utterly misleading.
Another thing which has been pointed out by the honourable Member from
Jubbalpore is that to make the present form of Hindi, both spoken and written,
intelligible an interpreter would be needed. If Sir Sapru
were living today, he would have repeated what he had once remarked
that if Hindi-wallahs continued to trudge on this path the day is not far
off when without the aid of an interpreter Hindi would not be understandable.
Hence I say that only that language, in which both Hindus and Muslims easily
express themselves and exchange their ideas and which has evolved through
common intercourse, i.e. Hindustani, should be made the national language.
I hope that before coming to a decision on this issue you will keep those
high principles taught by Mahatmaji, before you. His photo is in front
of you. He is, as it were, looking at you to see how far you are acting
up to them. You should not be carried away by mere sentiments.]
Shri Lakshminarayan Sahu (Orissa: General) : *(Mr. President, I belong
to Utkal (Orissa), yet I fully agree to the adoption of Hindi as the national
language. The resolution before us has been drafted after much thought.
* Translation of Hindustani speech.
therefore, support it generally. While supporting it I would say a few
words about the amendment tabled by me.
We should first think over the cause of the dispute. It is whether there
should be a national language or not. It is the view of some people that
they cannot recognise any language as the national language, though they
may agree to accept one language as the official language. This, however,
gives me much pain. When we regard India as a nation and are trying to
make it one, that is no reason why we should call it official language.
We must call it national language. If one language is accepted as the national
language, that would not imply that changes will be made in the languages
of the various regions. I have, therefore tabled an amendment, that after
five or ten years when a Commission or Committee is set up for promoting
Hindi, it should also seek to promote the interest of every provincial
language. When every province and every provincial language is developed,
our national language will also be developed.
Some people say that Hindi and Hindustani are different, while others
say that they are not. I have to pay attention to this question of difference
between the two for one reason. It is this. All of us possess a brain--a
brain whose capacity to remember words, is limited and not unlimited. So
every man cannot learn all the words that 'any dictionary may contain.
Naturally we have to select some words and reject others. This happens
in the case of all the languages. You should just see that Sanskrit is
the mother of all the provincial languages, and it contains so many words
that, we can derive from it every word that we may need. But we do not
always use that. I take the instance of a particular word 'Pavan' which
is used in Orissa. This word is also in vogue in Sanskrit. It means 'air'
but it does not get much currency, and in Bengali language no one understands
this word. So I say that when we accept Hindi as national language, we
should have to reject a few words.
And while accepting Hindi, we will also accept its literature. It is
not possible to reject the literature while accepting the language. We
should therefore accept the literature of Hindi, after we have adopted
it as our official language. it cannot be possible to evolve a Hindi which
only contains simple words and is easily understood by all the people of
the country. This can never be the, case. When we speak English, we take
care to speak it rightly and not merely to speak it in any way we may care
to. Hence it is not a correct idea that we can evolve our national language
in any way we like. Of course, it would be right to enrich Hindi by taking
words from other languages, if the vocabulary of the former is not already
complete. 'I therefore clearly support the appointment of the commission
and the Committee.
One gentleman has moved an amendment that the Bengali language should
be the national language. In that way, I can also claim the same status
for Oria, which is far
more ancient than Bengali. The latter was not born when Oria, had taken
shape as a language. Similarly, my friends from the South would claim that
their language is very ancient. This is not a right approach. There is
no question of ancient or medieval. When we wish to adopt Hindi written
in Devanagri as the national language, which is the right thing, to do,
we should also keep in mind that the other provincial languages should
also be allowed to develop in their own field, and their progress should
not be handicapped.
Here I would like to add that some people arc so much enamoured of English
that they think they would lose their very existence if English is not
used as the official language. It is like a drunkard saying that he would
die if there is prohibition and he is not allowed to drink. If a few people
die as a result of the replacement of English, what is the harm ? We have
to moveforwarded in the interests of the whole nation and the country,
and if a few people are inconvenienced they should put up with it.
A new dispute regarding the numerals has also cropped up and the issue
is whether the numerals should be of international form or of Devanagri
form. The crores of our South Indian friends are, insisting that they would
not yield on this point, even though they may concede other points. What
should then be done ? They have become obstinate, for the world does not
go by logic; sentiment also prevails. We should therefore accept the foreign