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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Language Politics

An article in the Organiser discusses the failure of the reservation policy in India. According to it, instead of reducing the number of reserved castes, the policy has caused their count to increase.

By: Express News Service | Updated: September 9, 2015 12:00:13 am

An editorial in Panchjanya criticises English-speaking Indians who oppose Hindi and create “enmity” between Indian languages. Noting that the English language cannot challenge Hindi in India, the editorial says that pro-English strategists are trying to divide Indian languages, on the lines of the divide and rule policy.

According to the editorial, it’s fallacious to claim that the designation and usage of Hindi as the national language jeopardises other languages. “How can Hindi be an opponent of Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam or Bengali?” and “how can the Ganges have hostility towards the Yamuna, Kaveri, Godavari or Teesta?” it asks.

Hindi has incorporated words of Gujarati, Bengali and Marathi and “defeated English on every count”, be it in news, advertisements or politics. Foreign companies cannot penetrate Indian markets without Hindi, and anglicised leaders have lost badly on the political front, according to the editorial.

The editorial also says that while Hindi is “ruling everywhere”, English thrives only “in the dens” created by British rule; be it the proceedings of the Supreme Court, file notings of bureaucrats or the policy discourse, English is embedded in crucial places.

But, according to the editorial, strengthening Hindi will strengthen the nation, and making place in the policy discourse for Hindi will instil confidence in non-English speakers.

Caste and Parivar
An article in the Organiser discusses the failure of the reservation policy in India. According to it, instead of reducing the number of reserved castes, the policy has caused their count to increase.

The article challenges the argument that historical discrimination towards lower castes is justification for reservation, and blames the British for pushing many castes into backwardness. The British education system made it difficult for lower castes to get educated as the caste system became legally rigid during the Raj. It also criticises the upper castes who became rigid and “forgot their moorings and [the] intrinsic spirit of our scriptures”. In support of its argument, the article points out that “all castes stood by each other to fight the invaders over the centuries”.

It then highlights the flawed implementation of the reservation policy, which has caused the number of Scheduled Castes to increase from 1,208 in 1950 to 1,241 in 2011, the number of Scheduled Tribes from 664 to 705 and OBCs from 1,257 to 5,013. The fact that more castes are fighting for reservation confirms “that these communities are being further impoverished by government policies or there is a rush to fall backwards”.

The article asserts that Hindus have always aspired towards higher virtues and “never believed in living at the mercy of others”. Urging backward communities to relinquish their reservation benefits, it says that many have given them up as “it is for the communities to decide how long these privileges should continue”.

Victory Lap
An article in the Organiser challenges the notion that the 1965 war was “inconclusive”, and applauds the Central government for changing this perception, declaring the war “a victory” and celebrating it. It quotes several armymen in order to assert that the war “was a decisive military victory of an ill-prepared, impoverished and fatigued nation over a well-equipped adversary”.

It quotes former US diplomat Dennis Kux that “Although both sides lost heavily in men and material, Bharat had the better of the war. Delhi achieved its basic goal of thwarting Pakistan’s attempt to seize Kashmir by force.” English historian John Keay noted that “Bharatiya tanks advanced to within a sight of Lahore. Both sides claimed victory but Bharat had most to celebrate.”

Compiled by Ashutosh Bhardwaj

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