Constituent Assembly Debates- Constituent Assembly Debates On 14 September, 1949 Part I
CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY OF INDIA – VOLUME IX Wednesday, the 14th 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.
ABOLITION OF PRIVY COUNCIL JURISDICTION BILL
Mr. President: The first item on the Order Paper today is notice, of a motion by Dr. Ambedkar to introduce a Bill to abolish the jurisdiction of His Majesty in Council.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: (Bombay: General) : Sir., I move for leave to introduce a Bill to abolish the jurisdiction of His Majesty in Council in respect of Indian appeals and petitions.
Mr. President: The question is:
‘That leave be granted to introduce a Bill to abolish the jurisdiction of His Majesty in Council in respect of Indian appeals and petitions.”
The motion was adopted. The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Sir, I introduce the Bill.(Several Honourable Members rose to speak Mr. President: Shrimati Durgabai.
Sardar Hukam Singh (East Punjab: Sikh): May I know, Sir, whether the have to stand up every time to catch your eye or is there some other method so that those who have amendments would get chances ?
Mr. President : I shall try to give a chance to as many Members as possible, but it is difficult for me to promise that every Member will get a chance. I may just explain the position. Yesterday, I calculated the number of speeches and the time that was spent on them, and the average comes to 22 minutes per speech. speech. Today I do not know how long the House would like to sit. Originally we had fixed two days or rather 14 hours, out of which we have already spent 10 hours. We have got only 4 hours, from now till 1 o’clock. If the House would like to finish by 1 o’clock then it will be necessary….
Shri Jainarain (United State of Rajasthan): On a point of information,. what about those amendments which not come up before the House ?
Mr. President: Every amendment is before the House.
Shri Jainarain : But they have not been discussed.
Mr. President : Now, after the discussion is finished the mere act of putting, all the 300 amendments to vote will take at least one hour. That has also to be taken out of the 4 hours if we have to finish by I o’clock and then probably there may be reply. Seth Govind Das (C.P. & Berar : General) : I propose that we should extend the time for speeches and voting should take place in the evening between 6 and 7.
Mr. President : If that is the wish of the House, I do not mind. I would not stand in the way. I would like to know the wish of the House in the matter.
Sardar Hukam Singh: There are several amendments which have not been moved at all. Would they get any time?
Mr. President : Just as I have said, I have been trying to give a chance to representatives of every school of thought here, but if there are some who have been left out, they might remind me and I will give them a chance.
Seth Govind Das : The matter is so important that I would again request you to extend to time to the evening.
Mr. President : I personally would have no objection if that was the wish of the House. May I know if the House wishes the time to extended till the evening? (Several Honourable Members : Yes.) I think the ‘Ayes’ have it. Shrimati Durgabai-May I request you that the point of view which you have to represent has been represented by other speakers and there may be others also. So I would request you to confine yourself to the most important points.
Question of National Language (Editor)
Shrimati G Durgabai (Madras: General) : Mr. President, the question of national language for India which was an almost agreed proposition until recently has suddenly become a highly controversial issue. Whether rightly or wrongly, the people of non-Hindi speaking areas have been made to feel that this fight or this attitude on behalf of the Hindi speaking areas is a fight for effectively preventing the natural influence of other powerful languages of India on the composite culture of this nation. I have heard some honourable Members who are supporters of Hindi with Hindi numerals say, “You have accepted nearly 90 per cent. of our thesis; therefore, why hesitate to accept the other I0 per cent. ?” May I ask them with what sacrifice-, we have accepted this? Some friends said : ‘Absolutely there is no sacrifice on your part. You have to accept. You must’. This is the attitude in approaching the people of the non-Hindi speaking areas for asking them to accept their proposition in its entirety.
Sir, the National language of India should not be and cannot be any other than Hindustani which is Hindi plus Urdu. For the sake of satisfying the sentiments of our friends we have accepted Hindi in Devanagari script. It is no less sacrifice for us to have had to depart from a principle, which we have all along fought for and lived for. This departure means a very serious inconvenience to us and it is not without a pang that we have agreed to this departure from the tolerant Gandhian ideology, the Gandhian philosophy and the Gandhian proposition, namely, that the official language of India should be only that which is commonly understood and easily spoken and learnt. Sir, this is the sacrifice that we have made.
Perhaps Tandonji Seth Govind Dasji and others do not know this and are not aware of the powerful opposition in the South against the Hindi language. The opponents feel perhaps justly that this propaganda for Hindi cuts at the very root of the provincial languages and is a serious obstacle to the growth of the provincial languages and provincial culture. Sir, the anti-Hindi agitation in the south is very powerful. My Friend Dr. Subbaroyan dealt at some length on this point yesterday. But, Sir, what did we do we the supporters of Hindi ? We braved that fierce agitation and propagated Hindi in the South. Long before the Pandits of Hindi Sathya Sammelan realised the importance of having a national language for India. We all in the South obeyed the call of Mahatma Gandhi and carried on Hindi propaganda in the South. We started schools and conducted classes in Hindi. Thus with great inconvenience we dedicated ourselves very long ago to the propagation and learning of Hindi.
Sir, leaving alone the efforts of the Dakshina Bharat Hindi Pracharak Sabha, I must in this connection pay a glowing tribute to the women and children of the south who have taken with great zeal and earnestness to the learning of Hindi. Sir, Gandhiji’s efforts and influence, worked tremendously on the students of colleges who, after putting in hard work in their colleges, used to come in the evenings to the Hindi classes to learn this language. Not only the students, even the lawyers after their court hours, officers after finishing their office work, instead of going in the evenings to the recreation clubs, attended Hindi classes and learnt Hindi. I am impressing this fact upon you just to show how genuinely and honestly we took to this propagation of Hindi as a result of Mahatmaji’s call and appeal to us.
My friends will do well to note that all this was a voluntary effort on our part to paid in line with the national sentiment. In this connection I may refer to a visit which was paid to by the late Seth Jamnalal Bajaj in 1923. In that year, when Sethji visited Cocanada for the Congress Session he visited some ladies’ institutions where he found some hundreds of women learning Hindi. Remember, Sir, that this was in the year 1923, some two and a half decades ago. Sethji was so happy to see the ladies learning Hindi that he offered a very handsome donation to the Hindi institution then working. But, the organisers declined the donation saying: “We also feel that we should have a national language. We are therefore conducting the school in Hindi with our own efforts.” That is the spirit with which we worked.
Now what is the result of it all ? I am shocked to see this agitation against that enthusiasm of ours with which we took to Hindi in the early years of this century. Sir, this attitude on your part to give a national character to what is purely a provincial language is responsible for embittering the feelings of the non-Hindi speaking people. I am afraid this would certainly adversely affect the sentiments and the feelings of those who have already accepted Hindi with Devanagari script. In short, Sir, this overdone and misused propaganda on their part is responsible and would be responsible for losing the support of people who know and who are supporters on Hindi like me.
I have already said that in the interests of national unity, Hindustani alone could be, the national language of India. We urge caution and an accommodating spirit on their part, in the interests of the minorities here who, like the Muslims, need time and sympathy to adjust themselves. Sir, they have all displayed large-hearted readiness to fall in line with the predominant sentiment Purely from the point of view of excellence of literature and international reputation, Bengali is worthy of adoption as the national language. From the point of view of sweetness and also from the fact that it is the second largest of the languages spoken in India, Telugu could be worthy of adoption as the national language. Sir, we have, given up our claims for Telugu. We have not spoken one word in favour of it. We have not advocated it. We have not suggested that one of these provincial languages should be accepted as the national language of our country. Now, Sir, when we nave made this sacntice, you come out and say, sacrifice another point and swallow the other five per cent. remaining out of the hundred Per cent. and adopt the Hindi numerals. I should say that is the height hesitate to put it that way but I must say it–of language tyranny and intolerance. We have agreed to adopt Hindi in the Devanagari script, but I must remind the House that we have agreed to the adoption of Hindi in the Devana-ari script, subject to certain conditions. Condition No. 1 is, whatever be the name of the language–I do not propose to speak about the controversy about Hindi versus Hindustani-whatever name you may give it, it must be all inclusive and therefore the clause concerned in Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar’s draft should commend itself to the House and the House should unhesitatingly and unanimously agree to that clause. That language should be capable of absorbing the words which are already in use, whether of Urdu or any other regional language. It is only then you will convince us that you are asking us to accept it as a national language and not the special brand of C.P. or U.P. Hindi.
Another condition which is equally important is that the status quo be maintained at least for a period of fifteen years, which would enable us to learn and to speak and also to adjust ourselves to the new environment. People from the Hindi areas are not even willing to concede this point. They say, “some of you can speak Hindi and so bring it into effect from tomorrow or at least in the shortest possible time.” I have heard some people say-
I ask you, Sir are we going to have this Constitution only for ourselves and our lives ? What about our children and the generations to come ? Are they not to follow this ? I am speaking from my own personal experience. I learnt Hindi, I taught Hindi to some hundreds of women at least, in the South. My experience is this : Those who have passed the highest examinations in Hindi can read and write, but it is impossible for them to speak, because for speaking there must be some kind of environment, some kind of atmosphere. In the South, where do we find this atmosphere ? Nowhere in the South have we opportunities of speaking what we have learnt. You will only realise this difficulty when you come to the South and you have to speak one of the provincial languages there. Therefore. be patient and cultivate the spirit of accommodation and tolerance. This is the thing that we ask of you to show to us.
The third condition which is not clear from Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar’s draft is that there is some obligation placed on the non-Hindi speaking people to speak Hindi. There should be equally an obligation on your part to learn one of the provincial languages. It does not matter whether it is Bengali, Tamil, Telugu or Kannada or any other language for that matter. Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, while speaking on this subject yesterday, dwelt on this point sufficiently and on the resolution which the Sahitya Sammelan passed recently in their conference in Delhi. We will carefully wait and watch and see how that resolution would be implemented by the premiers of provinces who were parties to that resolution.
On the question of numerals, I do not want to say anything because sufficient has already been said. You have already understood the gravity of the situation. suffice it to say, Is there be no sentiment or let there be no question of its being a religion with anybody. If that is religion with you, it would be a powerful religious force with us, not to have adopted a language which is not our own, which is only a provincial language, which is not sufficiently developed. Therefore let not anybody say that it is religious with him or her Sir, the other question which I wanted to speak about is that in the non Hindi speaking areas we have got to learn Hindi which we have raised to the position of an official language. Our purse is very meagre and we are already spending so much for the removal of illiteracy our provinces. Therefore it becomes the duty and responsibility of the Centre to give sufficient grants to the provinces which are non-Hindi speaking areas to develop and also to propagate this Hindi.
Sir, you have given me an opportunity to speak and I should not take much time of the House. Please remember that we are accepting Hindi only with these conditions which I have stated. For your part, you should have no hesitation to accept Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar’s draft. Even we do not agree with some of the provisions there, but we have accepted it, and therefore you should have no hesitation in accepting it and supporting it. Thank you, Sir.
Shri Shankarrao Deo (Bombay: General) : Mr. President, Sir, I would like to make clear at the outset that I stand here to support the amendment moved by my friend, Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar, not that I agree with every detail and every clause of that amendment-which is not possible, because in the very nature of things, it is a compromise formula, and when we come to a compromise, we cannot have hundred per cent. of what we want.
The Honourable Shri Ravi Shankar Shukla (C.P. & Berar: General) : It is not a compromise formula. Nobody has agreed to it.
Shri Shankarrao Deo : There may be a few who do not agree, but I understand that many have agreed. According to me, there are many things in it which I do not like or do not appreciate. Still, I think it is the best solution of this problem in the present state of things. Therefore, as I have said, I stand to support that amendment. I myself have moved some amendments and I would request the House to accept them, because without changing the fundamental structure of the amendment, they will improve it and it will help some of us to accept that amendment more willingly.
Sir, as you have yourself said, this question of language has agitated our minds most, in my opinion, next only to freedom, because this question is most vital for the future development and growth of this nation. Those who have preceded me have already spoken much about the importance of language in the building and the growth of an individual or nation. To me, next to my mother, it is the language which is dear, because, my mother has given me birth, no doubt, but it is the language which has made me what I am today. That is why though many of us do not like it, this controversy has stirred our passions to their depth and sentiments have been roused and many a time, it blurs our judgment. I would request my friends from the South as well as from the North not to look at this question from an emotional or from a sentimental point of view. Let us be as objective as possible; let us bring reason to work on this issue.
What is it that we are out to achieve ? We are told that we are going to choose a language for our country. The next question is what is it that this language is expected to do for us and what are its functions ? We are told that we must have one language to take the place of English. Everybody is agreed that English cannot hold the same position that it used to do during the last one century or more when the Englishmen were ruling over this country. I need not go into the importance of that language or whether in the future that language must have a good and proper place in this country’s education, administration. various branches of science, advancement and so on. But everybody is agreed that English is to be replaced by some other language; the difference of opinion is about what is that language which should take the place of English and what should be its functions.
They appeal to us in the name of unity, in the name of culture, that this country must have one language. They say unless this country has one language, there cannot be unity and one culture; and if there is no unity, and one culture, then, this country has no future. in the same breath we antold that die regional languages must be enriched. The Working Committee Resolution says that though English may be replaced by some other language, as far as the regional languages are concerned, they must not only be maintained, kept intact, but they must be enriched. The, Working Committee Resolution which was recently passed says “in the provinces or States where more than one language is spoken, many of these languages are rich and have valuable literature of theirs. They should not only be preserved, but further developed and enriched and nothing should be done to act as a handicap to their growth.”
I cannot understand how these two things can go together. I think we are speaking with two minds. We cannot hope to have one language for the whole country and at the same time work for the enrichment of the regional languages and assert that they must be maintained, and they must have a permanent place in the national structure or life. I have tried my best to understand how these two things can go together but failed. If you sincerely believe that this country requires one language, all the regional languages, whatever may be their past, whatever may be their present position, they must go. Those who have their regional languages will know at least where they stand and what they have gained by attaining freedom. If you really mean, if you are sincere and honest when you say that these regional languages must be enriched and nothing should be done to harm them, you cannot appeal in the name of unity or culture for one language. If in the course of things this country evolves one language, and the other regional languages disappear, if that is to be the future, who am I, who are you, to stop it ? But, I will not allow any group, any region or any Government, however powerful it may be, to do anything consciously or deliberately which will result in the disappearance of these languages from India. If they have to die, let them die a natural death when no tear will be shed.
Mr. President : Nobody has suggested that.
Shri Shankarrao Deo : I know it, Sir; though the suggestion is not there, the actions are such that there is a suspicion or a feeling to that effect. You will excuse me for that feeling if I have it; because, after all, an appeal from this House goes to the country, to the people and to the world that for unity, for culture we must have on language. If it is not so, then, let us be definite. What are to be the functions of this language which will replace English ? In that matter also, the Working Committee Resolution is quite clear.
Mr. President : I suppose the same functions as English performed.
Shri Shankarrao Deo: No; not that also.
Mr. President: That is the Resolution I think, so far as I-can judge.
Shri Shankarrao Deo: English was performing many functions which I would not like it to do now. I will show, Sir; if you will bear with me for some time. The language that will take the place of English has to perform some definite functions. These are enumerated as I said in the Working Committee Resolution. “For all India purposes, there will be a State language in which the business of the Union will be conducted. That will be the language of correspondence with the Provincial an,: ‘-“ate Governments. All the records of the Centre will be kept and maintained in that language and it will serve as the language for inter-provincial, inter-state commerce and correspondence.”
This is exactly how the functions have been defined, of the language that will replace English. There is no mention of culture, there is no mention of unity : not that I am against this country evolving a common culture. I would like to point out that the cry, namely, tone culture’ has dangerous implications. The very word ‘culture’ has dangerous meaning. One does not know exactly what it means. The Chief of the R.S.S. Organisation appeals in the name of culture. Some Congressmen also appeal in the name of culture. Nobody tells us what exactly this word ‘culture’ means. Today, as it is interpreted and understood, it only means the domination of the few over the many. Therefore, in the Working Committee Resolution, there is no mention of culture, there is no mention of unity. Not that we do not want a culture for this country. But we should call it rather a composite culture; then the different varieties of Indian culture must have an equal opportunity of contributing to the moulding, evolving of this composite culture. If you appeal to this country and insist upon having one culture, then, to me it means the killing of the soul of India.
As I have tried to understand Indian culture, Sanskriti, Indian religion and Indian spiritual traditions, it is not uniformity but unity in diversity. It is Vividhata that India stands for. That is our richness; that is the contribution that India can make to the world-culture and world progress. I would like to maintain the variety of cultures, the different languages, ‘each without obstructing, hindering or killing the unity of the country. Therefore when people use the term ‘national language’ my heart does not respond to it. I admit India is a nation and I am an Indian, but if you will ask me “what is your language”, Sir, you will excuse me if I say ‘My language is Marathi’. I am one of those who have been insisting that this language which will replace English should not be called the national language. If you mean by national language one language for the whole country, then I am against it. I must make it quite clear. India is a nation and I am an Indian but my language is Marathi.
An Honourable Member: My Friend is harping against an imaginary purpose.
Shri Shankarrao Deo: Some people even lack imagination.
Mr. President : I hope the honourable Member will not take the House on an imaginary discussion.
Shri Shankarrao Deo : Therefore this language and its function should be made clear. This language is either a State language or Union language or a federal language because we have accepted a Federation for our country. We have got autonomous States and therefore the States are expected to have their own languages, and as I have already said the Working Committee has made it clear what are to be the functions of the State language.
Now I come to the next point. Many of my friends here know when this question was first discussed somewhere else I was one of those who pleaded that this State language should be called Hindustani instead of Hindi. Not that we had anything particularly against Hindi, but as Congressmen we have been accustomed, we have been taught by Mahatma Gandhi and we were ourselves convinced that if the masses were to enjoy the freedom, the country must have a language which they will understand. Then alone the freedom can be translated in their daily life and they can contribute to the building of the nation. Therefore the Congress accepted Hindustani as its language and it wanted the State to accept the same nomenclature and not only nomenclature but the content and the implications. As I have already said one cannot have everything in an Assembly or in a society, that is why I have agreed to the word Hindi with its contents defined, as has been done now. I wanted Hindustani because I felt that in that case there would be no restrictions and there will be no special privileged class in building the new language.Those who have followed the discussion during the las two days minutely must have understood how the difficulty has arisen in accepting the international numerals. Why are they objecting to them ? One of the reasons according to them is that they are not Hindi. As you are accepting Hindi they argue that you must also accept the Hindi numerals. They have not only taken for granted that we have accepted Hindi but also we have accepted Hindi of the pattern followed in U.P. and Bihar, and therefore they will dictate to us what is Hindi.
I want to free myself from such restrictions and I do not want to be dictated what is Hindi or Hindustani. What will be our choice will be decided by this Assembly. Nobody can come and say you cannot do that. This Assembly cannot be dictate to by anybody. We are going to choose our language and its name. You cannot say “this is not Hindi.” U.P., C.P., Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhyabharat etc. may have Hindi and Hindi numerals. They may evolve their language according to their genius. Because U.P. and Bihar do not use these international numerals, it cannot mean that the Central Government will not use them.
I would remind my friends that they are living under an illusion if they think that we have accepted their language and we are going to build it according to their pattern. That is why there is a special directive about the content of the Hindi language to be adopted by the State. I know my friends from the North were not very enthusiastic about it. They said that if you want it you may have it. They were not as anxious as we were to define the contents of this language. They said “if you want it we are ready to satisfy you” but then they kept it not in the chapter of the language but in the chapter of the Directives.
Pandit Balkrishna Sharma (United Provinces: General) : Will you permit me to inform the honourable Member who is speaking that it was not we but the Drafting Committee who gave the Directive?
Shri Shankarrao Deo: I am glad to say and I must be obliged to Pandi Nehru because it was he who suggested that this Directive or this definition must find a place in the chapter of the language.
Pandit Balkrishna Sharma: Certainly not.
Shri Shankarrao Deo : But for him the thing would not have been so easily done. That is my opinion-I may be wrong. But I wanted to draw specially the attention of the House to this fact. This Directive says “It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of Hindi and to develop the language so as to serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India”
The word ‘composite culture’ of India is a very fine word there. But my fear is–and fears are not rational, generally they are irrational but they play an important part in the life of a man that these words imply that we must evolve a language in which all these varied cultures of India will find expression. What I feel is that ultimately you want us to evolve such a language in which the whole culture, religion and our life’s business will be expressed. If this has to come it must come so naturally that we will not feel the pangs or pain.
Let my friends of U.P. and Bihar realise what we have been asked to do. I do not want to appeal to you on bended knees-I am not one of those who are accustomed to do that. But I would appeal to your reason It is not we who are asking anything from you, but it is the nation which is demandingsomething from us. And we are willing to give it. After all when the time comes we will have to accept one language and other languages may go to the background. I will be ready if and when it comes. But if you want to allay my tears, if you want my whole-hearted support, you must not do now anything which may raise my suspicions and which will strengthen my fears.
Sir, I do not want to take any more time of the House. I only wanted to draw the attention of the House to the fact that we must act wisely. We should not give ground for suspicion or fear. For, suspicions and fears though irrational have a place in deciding our action. So I would appeal to my friends who are the protagonists of Hindi, to see clearly the position. Let us be definite that we are not accepting any particular culture or language, We are making a free choice of a language.
After all, what is the claim that is now put forward ? The claim is that this language is spoken by a majority-I am not sure about that even I know when I go to Rajen Babu and when people from Bihar come to him they do not speak Hindi. If I am not wrong, neither Tandonji speaks Hindi at home.
So when you say that Hindi is spoken by the majority of the country I doubt it. I can only concede that it is perhaps understood by the majority, and that too, not the present high-flown Sanskritised Hindi which is understood by Pandits only. As Gandhiji said it should be a simple language which could be understood by the people in the villages of the North. Just as we speak Marathi, others speak tamil or Telugu. Hindi is not spoken by 14 crores. If to-morrow it so happens that the capital is transferred from here, to Madura or to Trivandrum, I am not sure after fifty years the language spoken by the majority in this country will not be Tamil or Telugu. After all, people from the South come to the North, not for the language, not for the culture that Hindi gives but to earn their livelihood. I do not want to belittle the culture or the richness of Hindi, but as far as culture goes, I can receive it from my own language, Marathi and Sanskrit, the grandmother of all languages. They are rich enough to do that.
Our forefathers accepted the English language not only because it was the language of the rulers, but they believed as Jawaharlalji pointed out that it opened a new world for them. They thought that it brought us into close touch with the outside world, and its various activities. Even today no Indian language can put forward the same claim. Some of our languages may do that to-morrow. Thus, rightly or wrongly our forefathers accepted English for its superiority.
People come from the South and they speak Hindi because they come here for bread. After all, it is for bread that people quarrel. Why this dispute about having English for fifteen for ten years more? Apart from the difficulty of learning a language, people are afraid that in the Secretariat and in the offices, they may be pushed out, not by superior men, but because they are backward in a particular language. My Friend Pandit Shukla has given lot of praise to the friends from the South therefore I need not put in any claims on their behalf.
An Honourable Member: Please speak in the mike. We cannot hear you.
Shri Shankarrao Deo : I am sorry, I will do so. I am not accustomed to the mike.
Sir. I was saying that today it is tot a question of culture or of religion or of tradition, but it is a question of bread and jobs. And if today Hindi is so much valued and people prefer it to any other language, it is not because it is superior to other languages but it is a means to get a job. When I comehere, I cannot speak in Marathi, except in the Maharashtra Club but it cannot give me a job.
People come to us and say “Why are you fighting for such small things ? After all, you have given 95 per cent. Why not yield 5 per cent. more ?” I want to make the position perfectly clear. I have not given anything to anybody. That is a wrong notion that some people seem to have that we have yielded 95 per cent. and so we should yield another 5 per cent; I have accepted this language because I feel I will have full liberty and full opportunity to would this language which is going to would me. I am one of those who would like to support the suggestion that even English should be one of those languages to be mentioned in the Schedule.
Sir, in the list of regional languages, if you look at it, you will see Hindi mentioned. So Hindi is accepted as a regional language today. To that we have no objection. But please appreciate our difficulty. You want to keep Hindi as a regional language and at the same time make it the Union or State language. That gives you a superior position. You will excuse me, for I know you do not want it; still it comes to you, and you cannot help it. You must admit that however much a person may learn Hindi or Hindustani or any other language, unless it is his mother-tongue, unless he uses it all the 24 hours, he cannot master it. And unless he masters it, he cannot have a superior or a high position in the Secretariat or in any other field. I know the difficulty of the friends from the South. Since the English language lost its prestige in our national Organisation, they are practically only witness to its proceedings and are obliged to raise their hands. I have learned English, but I know what that learning means. It only enables me to utter a few words of that language. But if I have to administer the country, and to maintain a position, then learning must mean command over the language; for that a long number of years are necessary.
Honourable Members: Let the Honourable Member address the right side also. We cannot bear him.
Mr. President: He has now finished.
Shri Shankarrao. Deo: I am sorry. I speak here for the first time, I will learn the lesson and will make it a point to come here often.
As far as the international numerals and period are concerned, I will only say, let no Member of this House have the feeling that he is giving something, and we are accepting something. It is not charity. We are not beggars in this House. Everybody must have equal right and equal position. We are all together trying to build something which is so vital to us. Therefore, when we say, let international numerals be there, please do not misunderstand us. Do you know what is happening and what havoc is being done with the Nagari script by a few friends who know and who say that it is for facility of printing, for typing and composing that it must be changed. Do you know how Vinoba Bhave writes Devanagari ? If some of my Hindi friends would see it they’ would weep: they would not recognise their mother tongue I myself feel the pang of it. When I read Vinoba Bhave’s writing, I ask : Is this Devanagari ?
The protagonists of this change say that Devanagari will go and Roman script will come. I do not know which is better or superior. But today you are fighting for the numerals : To-morrow you will fight for the script, and you will say this is our script and no one will change it. Then what shall we do ? Shall we appeal to you and beg of you and say, “will you allow us to make this change ?” No, Sir. If you are labouring under the wrong idea thatthis is something which you are giving to us and we are in duty bound to maintain it as you gave it to us, and yours will, be the last word as to the correctness or wrongness about it, then please remove that idea.
Pandit Balkrishna Sharma: (Vehemently) Who has said all this?
Mr. President: I would appeal to the honourable Member to keep his temper. It is no use losing one’s temper in a matter like this.
Pandit Balkrishna Sharma (More vehemently) : I would like to protest against the allegations which are purely imaginary. Mr. Shankarrao Deo is creating imaginary ghosts and slaying them. I can admire his swordmanship but he cannot in this way inspire any respect for his logic.
Mr. President: Even that is no reason.
Shri Shankarrao Deo: My honourable Friend can allow a fool to play with his imagination. No harm will be done. If it is so imaginary, and if it does not touch him, why is he so angry. The very fact that he is so angry and he has lost his temper, shows that what I have said touches him.
Pandit Balkrishna Sharma : (Very vehemently) : I must protest….
Mr. President: I am afraid this is not right and the honourable Member must keep his temper if he wishes to sit in this House.
Pandit Balkrishna Sharma : I can walk out if you so wish.
Mr. President : No one has. the right to lose his temper.
Shri Shankarrao Deo : I am sorry that one friend has to lose his temper for what I have said. We must have freedom even to use our imagination unless it is unparliamentary. I do not want to go further. According to me these are not imaginary things. I have. been carefully following this controversy and I am one of those who want this House to come to some unanimous decision and I feel that unless the ground is cleared and people are not left under any illusion, the unanimity which is so necessary and which everyone longs for, will not come. It must be made clear that this Constituent Assembly is making the choice of a language for the State, for the Union, which does not belong to any group or any region.
Mr. President : You have made that point clear mom than once.
Shri Shankarrao Deo : I shall now refer to my amendments. I hope my friends will appreciate that one of my amendments says that after fifteen years English must be replaced by Hindi or any other language which we will choose as the State-language automatically. But that does not preclude or prevent us from using English for some specific purposes.
There are some friends from the South who do not agree with me. I can appreciate that also. But that is my feeling and here I would like my friends to listen to the voice which we have been accustomed to listen for the last thirty years, That voice says : “Unless the Governments and their Secretariats take care, the English language is likely to usurp the place of Hindustani” (of course Gandhiji wanted Hindustani). “This must do infinite harm to the millions of Indians who would never be able to understand English. Surely, it must be quite easy for the Provincial Governments to have a provincial language and the inter-provincial language, which in my opinion can only be Hidustani, written in Nagari or Urdu script”
I want this position to be accepted by this Assembly.
Shri Satish Chandra (United Provinces: General) : Please read the complete sentence.Shri Shankarrao Deo : I have gone to the end of the para. If I have done anything wrong you may correct me when your turn comes. What was relevant to my point I have read……
Shri Satish Chandra : You may read another paragraph from this very article where Gandhiji has envisaged the possibility of Hindi in Nagri script alone being adopted as the State language of India.
Shri Shankarrao Deo: I have read the first paragraph completely because I have the paper in front of me. That is what I take my stand on. After fifteen years English will cease automatically to be the language of the State. That does not mean that we are precluded or prevented from allowing English to be used further or to serve a definite specific purpose.
I have finished, except for one last sentence which I would like to utter here with all the seriousness that I can command. As I have said, I am not an accomplished speaker. I have come for the first time here to, speak. I am sincerely sorry and my friends may accept this apology if I have uttered words or sentiments which they have not liked. I also extend my appeal to the whole House, that as far as possible let us avoid a division. Let us not divide this House on this issue because it is a most vital issue, and if we are divided and if we go from this House with our hearts weeping or sorry, I am afraid that the implementation of the Constitution and the translating of freedom in the terms and the needs of the masses will be a very difficult task. Therefore, I would appeal to all my friends, irrespective of the fact whether they are from the South, or the North, or the East or the West or the Centre. My appeal is to all. Let us be unanimous. I admit that the amendment of the Honourable Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar is not an ideal one; still it is the only formula on which unanimity is possible.
Sir, I have done.
Sardar Hukam Singh : Sir, the atmosphere has been very tense and voices have been very loud Ad I hope I will bring the atmosphere down by my mild tone, though I am afraid that in view of the fact that Mr. Shankarrao Deo has not been heard so patiently I might also be interrupted. But I hope that I will have greater indulgence, because even if I enter into some controversial points my mild tone would be subdued further. There are several amendments but I will confine myself to 323 and 330.
My amendment No. 323 is that instead of Hindi in Devanagari script it should be Hindustani in the Roman script. That has already been moved by a very distinguished scholar and an eminent Member like Dr. Subbaroyan. I would not go over the ground again that has been covered already but I must say something about it.
I may make it clear in the beginning that when I passed my primary standard and had the option to elect Sanskrit or Persian as one of my elective subjects I chose Sanskrit and I developed a liking for it. I read it up to the matriculation. Even after I was elected a Member of this House and when this question arose here for the first time I was consulted by several Members and I gave my unreserved support for Hindi in the Devanagari script. I might emphasise here that I took it for granted that there could be no other language which could be accepted as the lingua franca or Rashtra Bhasha of our country.
As the days have passed I have changed my mind. The most enthusiastic Protagonists of this Hindi have alienated my sympathy and I must say that I agree with Mr. Anthony. I am one of those who have withdrawn their support from Hindi in Devanagari script simply because of the fanaticism and intolerance of those who support it. When I supported Hindi I understood that it was the language of the common people that could be spoken and understood by the ordinary man and that might sing sweet to his ears. Certainly I am for that language even now.
But when I have heard the ardent supporters of Hindi delivering their speeches on public platforms and in this house I am afraid that they axe, trying not to leave the language open to enrich itself from all other languages and let it grow as our common language, but they are trying to Sanskritise it and make it a close preserve. I do again make it clear that I am not against Sanskrit, and it’ that is taken up straightaway I would support it. But as I find that it is not the intention of the House to take that up, therefore I say that we should be honest and say whether we are going to have a classical language and call it Hindi or whether we are going to adopt that language which is commonly understood and spoken by a majority of the population.
There was a keen contest before partition between Urdu and Hindi to become the Rashtra Bhasha. There were two fanaticisms, if I were permitted to say so. Urdu used to draw from Persian and Arabic and Hindi from Sanskrit. So there was antagonism. So far as I believe, it was on this account that a common language was sought to be evolved and that was named Hindustani. The fear again was in the minds of some of our Members and people outside that Hindustani might be a synonym for Urdu. In my humble opinion that fear is no longer there. After the partition there is no chance that any language that we adopt would draw so freely from Persian and Arabic. Of course they would not be excluded but there is no fear now that they will be the chief sources now. But if that fear is gone the other fear is there. If there is no danger of the language being Persianised or Arbicised the other danger is there that the language might be termed Hindi but may be Sanskritised. So we desire to exclude that fear as well, and that we, can only do if we call our language Hindustani., which will be commonly understood by most of our people and not call it Hindi which has those associations. This is my reason for moving that it should be Hindustani.
Then I come to the script. I would not repeat those grounds that have already been covered but I will only give four or five reasons in favour of Hindustani in the Roman script :
(1) Hindustani in the Roman script is compulsory in all the armed forces and all people, whether from the North or South, find it equally convenient to learn it.
(2)There is a larger section of the population who are more proficient in the Roman script.
(3)Unless modified very radically, the Devanagari script would be an unsuitable medium for printing.
(4)The Roman script can be modified a little to suit our purpose by adding a few dots or dashes. The names of places, the railway time table, the telegraph code, etc., will not be thrown into a confusion.
(5)The most important reason is that this will link us up with the world outside and I borrow in this connection the name of Mr. Subash Chandra Bose who also advocated it.
(6)My last ground is that this will remove the antagonism that is apparent in this House and will enable our Southern friends as well to learn the language more easily.
Then I come to my second amendment No. 330.So far as regional languages are concerned, it has been laid down that-
“subject to the provisions of 301D and 301E, a State may by law adopt any of the languages in use in the State or Hindi as the language or languages to be used for all official purposes of that State.”
My amendment says that–
“subject to the provisions of 301D and 301E, a State shall by law adopt the language spoken, according to the last census figures available for the purpose by the majority of the population as the language to be used for all official purposes of that State.”
This might seem queer to some of our honourable Members, but the Punjab is a peculiar province. It is not an inter-provincial or inter-territorial question in the Punjab, but a communal question. This is a legacy of the pre-partition days. If we look at the census reports of 1931 and 1941, it would be clear that the Census Commissioners of those reports pointed out that persons, very respectable and honourable, gave wrong answers in their enthusiasm to choose one language or the other. People who wanted Urdu to be their language, while they actually spoke Punjabi, replied to the question that their mother-tongue was Urdu. Similarly, to counteract it, the answer from the other side was that their mother-tongue was Hindi while they spoke and were conversant only with Punjabi. Under these circumstances the figures that were collected were wrong and the Census Commissioner had to give up that attempt which he recommended might be dropped altogether.
That was the reason why in the 1941 census these figures were not collected at all. My submission is this that this communalism about giving wrong answers and denying the mother-tongue is a legacy of the past and it has stayed even after Partition. If it is left to the States-I am talking of the Punjab particularly-to choose any language there which the State legislature likes, the danger is that the majority of a section of our people who deny that Punjabi is their mother-tongue might adopt a language which is not the main language as the official language of the State. I might also say here that Hindi has no fears from Punjabi if the (Hindi) is adopted as Rashtrabhasha.
If that is going to be the lingua franca, certainly every member of the community, whether he is a Hindu or a Sikh, whether he belongs to a majority community or minority community, will have to read it and write it and learn it in higher studies as well, because without it he would not be considered anywhere in this country. Therefore, Hindi’s future even in States is safeguarded and guaranteed, but my fears are that Punjabi could not have its own status if it is left to the State Legislature. Communalism has not been correctly defined anywhere, but a convenient definition may be that whatever is said and done by the majority in a democratic country or at least in India is pure nationalism and whatever is said by a minority community is communalism. This is the basis on which we are proceeding. As there were fears in the minds of the minority that Punjabi might be swept away altogether, they advocated its adoption as one of their demands to the majority community, but I fear that just a,, the protagonists of Hindi have done a disservice to that language so have the Sikhs by taking up the cause of Punjabi done it a great disservice because this demand has been dubbed as a communal demand.
But there was no other choice for them. as the majority community denied it to be their mother-tongue, so it was left to the minority community to advocate it and when they did so, the reply came that it was a communal demand. Certainly, that was a perplexing answer. The Press carried on a vigorous propaganda. They said the Sikhs were out to have a separate State,, they were separatists they were disruptionists. With this fear in mind that Punjabi was going to be ousted, the minority community wanted the adjustment of bounda-ries to be taken up and wanted that linguistic provinces may be demarcated. That too was again decried as a communal demand. It was not communal in other parts of the country, but it is communal so far as the cry of the minority community in the Punjab is concerned. I might also mention here that the Commission also has ruled out that so far as Punjab is concerned, it is no, going to be considered,These boundaries would remain as they are. When the minority community wanted that the Punjabi language might be conceded as the official language of the State, the result was that they said it was no language at all; it was only a dialect of the Hindi language. That surprised them most, because in 1932 the Punjab University had appointed a Commission and that had made a clear report that it was one of the richest languages of this country.
Another method has now been adopted. “Why should there be coercion on anybody ? Everybody should be free to choose what medium of instruction he wants. Nobody should be compelled to give instruction to his child in any language which he does not know”. Now that is the state of affairs that is prevalent in the Punjab. I may here submit in all humility that we have been snubbed as communalism’s. I might make it clear that now, after Partition no minority can be communal. It could be said that when the third party was there the minority communities were communalists and were looking to the third party for support-But now the minority has to look to the majority for everything that it wants. It has to look to the majority for favours, for rights or for concessions. It does not pay any minority to be communal now. What the minorities say or do now is not communalism. Their outlook has changed absolutely. They want pure democracy, because it is only in democracy that they can thrive and flourish. It would be to their disadvantage and would not pay them if they persist in communalism. But what they are afraid of is not the democracy of the majority, but the communalism of the majority. And Punjab is suffering from that. I request you and I appeal to this House to note that what I want is that I should be saved from the communalism of the majority and therefore I commend this amendment of mine to the House.
Shri Jaipal Singh (Bihar: General) : Mr. President, Sir, I feel that I would not be discharging my duty properly if I did not plead with the House that in Schedule VIIA some of the Adibasi languages that are spoken, not by a few, but, literally, by millions, should also be included. My amendment No. 272 says :
“That in amendment No. 65 of Fourth List, in the proposed new Schedule VIIA, the following new items be added:-
16. Oraon.”‘ Sir, if you look at the list of Scheduled Tribes in the last Census, you will find there enumerated 176 of them. Of course there are not 176 languages. There may be dialects, in patois form, and the same language may be a shade different in different areas. You might ask me why I have singled. out only three out of 176. Sir, I do not wish that the Schedule should be overburdened with numerous languages and that is why I have selected only three important ones. To deal first with the Mundari language, the first in my amendment, I may say that I have not mentioned Santhali because Mundari is the generic term given to the family of languages sometimes called Austric and at other times called Mon-Khmer. I find that in the last census, forty lakhs of people have been recorded as speaking the Mundari language. In the list or the Schedule as it is. I find that there are included in it languages spoken by fewer people than the Mundaris.Similarly my reason for including Oraons is that the Oraons are not a small group in our country. There are as many as eleven lakhs of Oraons. Of course, this language finds a place in the Schedule under the language called Kanarese ; So, actually, if Kanarese were to embrace Oraon, and if my Friend Mr. Boniface Lakra who speaks that language is satisfied that it does I would withdraw item 16 Oraon.
I have asked also that Gondi should be one of the languages as it is spoken by 32 lakhs of people. My main reason toy asking the House to accept these three languages is that I feel that by accepting them we will be encouraging- the cause of unearthing ancient history.
‘The, House, somehow or other, finds itself divided into two groups-the Hindi purists and others who are generous enough to accept that it should be left to time to evolve a language. Let me confess that I am prepared to accept whatever the House decides. But I do feel very strongly opposed to the puritancial fanaticism that has gripped many people. What is a language ? A language is that which is spoken. I think we are taking a retrograde step in trying to think that we can enrich the language that is spoken to-day by sanskritising it one hundred per cent for sentimental reasons. I am a great admirer of Sanskrit. I do speak Hindi as it is spoken in my province of Bihar, but that is not the Hindi which my friends want me to accept here. Let Hindi be the language as it is spoken everywhere. Let it enrich itself by taking words from other languages. Let us not think that, if other words are brought into Hindi or Hindustani, we shall be impoverishing it. A language grows and is enriched because it has the courage to borrow words from other languages. I do not mind whether you call it Hindustani or Hindi. Whatever. you decide I will readily learn. The Adibasis will learn it. They are bilingual or trilingual. In West Bengal, the Santhals speak Bengali as well as their mother-tongue. Wherever you go you find that the Adibasi has accepted the language of the area in addition to his mother-tongue.
There is not a single Member here from Bihar who has had to learn an Adibasi language. Does my Friend Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla tell me that although there are 32 lakhs of Gonds in the, Central Provinces he has tried to learn the Gondi language ? Has any Bihari tried to learn Santhali though the Adibasis are asked to learn the other languages ? It is a matter of pride with us that we can talk in other languages also.
I think there should be some reciprocity. There should be some spirit of accommodation, and the provinces that speak Hindi should make it a Point to learn another language. That is the spirit that should be shown by us. We should not move in a groove and say that the rest of the country must learn our language because we ourselves shall not learn anything else.
Sir, as I said, we have yet to unearth the hoary antiquity of India. We know very little of ancient India and there is only one way of learning about ancient India and that is by learning the languages that existed in this country before the Indo-Ayan hordes came into this country. Then alone shall we know what India in ancient days was like. I know my Friend, Mr. Munshi, has the idea that everytime I use the word “Adibasis” I think in terms of Adibasi republics. He thinks perhaps that by this amendment I am trying to create three linguistic republics. Sir that is not the case. Take Santhali. If my amendment is accepted , it is going to affect West Bengal. Assam, certainly Bihar and Orissa. Take the case of Gondi. Gondi exits mainly in the C.P. but it stretches to Hyderabad a little bit to Madras and a little bit to Bombay also. Not one of these is an isolated area. They spread over distant provinces. All that I want is that these language should be encouraged and developed so that they themselves can become enriched and by their enrichment they enrich the Rashtrabasha of the country. I do not want that linguistic imperialism should get the better of us. Wherever I have been, it has been a pleasure to learn the language of the place I have had to live in.
So far as the script is concerned, I have very strong views and for practical reasons. I feel that we are making a wrong choice in accepting Devanagari. I belong to that school of thought which has been led, for the last thirty years by Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee who has advocated international phonetics for all the Indian languages. By international phonetics, I can pronounce Tamil as a Tamilian speaks it. I can speak Kanarese as a Kanarese speaks it. Without knowing a language, I can read and pronounce it as a person whose language it is pronounces it, but I know that the House is not in a mood to accept it. So long as my friends suffer from a complex, the fear complex, I am afraid it is useless to appeal to them to have. a script that is practical not only for the purpose of teaching others or teaching oneself.
There is the commercial aspect of it also. It is a well-known fact that the Devanagari script has given headache to all the producers of printing machinery. In the time you can print something like fifteen thousand copies or twenty thousand copies in English, you cannot print even one-tenth of this number in Devanagari. Now, that is the commercial and practical aspect of it. I am not being sentimental. I think the country would have been wise to have done nothing which would retard its progress. By accepting Devanagari, we are impeding ourselves; we shall not be able to move fast enough, until such time as my freinds car. produce machinery that will move as fast as the international alphabet or something which is only slightly less speedy.
Sir, there is not very much more that I want to say. All that I plead, is that the languages of the most ancient peoples of this country should find a place of honour in the Schedule,. I need not say more. I want to assure the Members on both sides that I do not wish to be drawn into this quarrel about language and script. Whatever the House accepts, I and my people will readily accept, and it is in that spirit that I ask the House also to show a spirit of accommodation in accepting my amendment.
The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tandon (United Provinces : General) :-Mr. President. Sir, I do not propose to traverse the wide grounds which have been covered by some of the speakers who have preceded me. I have moved certain amendments to the amendments proposed by Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar and in whatever I have to say, I shall try to keep as close as possible to the object of my proposals.
The speech which Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar made reflects the spirit of the proposals made by him. According to him, it was on the strength of the English language that freedom was achieved, and it is therefore necessary to maintain English for administrative purposes for-to quote his words-many many years to come, in fact for a much longer period than the fifteen years during which under his own proposals, English should continue to be the language of the Union. His second predominent idea is that none of the provincial languages, and Hindi along with the rest, is sufficiently developed to meet the requirements of a language which has to carry the burden of administration in all its various phases, particularly in the realm of legal concepts and complexities. The whole scheme of his proposals is based on and coloured by these two dominent notions.
There is a third novel idea too in his proposal, namely that whatever may happen in course of time to the English language in India, the numerals which we have learnt from the English language and which are designated in hi-, draft as international forms of Indian numerals, must, in any event, stay andbecome an intrinsic part of the Nagari script, taking the place of our Devanagari-Sanskrit numerals, wherever and whenever the Devanagari script is to be used for purposes of the Union.
I would, in all humanity, request the honourable Members of this House to examine these three ideas a little closely, remembering that whatever we do today concerns not merely ourselves or those few men and women in the different provinces who are educated in the English way and nurtured and fed on the English language, but that our decisions will affect, influence and shape the lives of those millions of men and women who have no contact with the English language, for whom any contact with the English language is impossible and who have to be lifted up from their present state and trained in the ways of democracy and administration. We have also to remember, Sir, that the decisions we take here today will affect not merely the present generation, but will shape the destinies of the ,generations yet unborn.
The Prime Minister has, in his own manner warned us against looking backward, taking any steps which might lead us backward. I have always entirely agreed with the view, and have myself put it forward on many occasions, that we cannot rest content with what we have achieved in the past, and that we cannot entirely would ourselves on the pattern that existed in the past.
“Samaya bhedena Dharma Bhedah Avastha bhedena Dharma Bhedah are the mottos which I have placed before the people. With times and conditions our dharma our duties change: these are ancient mottos. We have to remember that our little systems have their day and then cease to be. The world moves on. The system of today yield , place to new systems, new manners, new ways of thought. There is always a fresh perfection treading on the heels of the old. We cannot, even if we would, get out of that great fundamental fact of existence.
At the same time, Sir, we have to remember, as was said by the Prime Minister, that we are all rooted in the past, and that we cannot cut ourselves away from it. In a way, we are bound to the past by a strong but invisible chain, an Akashik chain, which is, ever lengthening with time, but which remains unbroken and unbreakable. Therefore, in whatever we attempt to do, we have to take care that while we move forward to our destiny, the long, strong chain that binds us to the past is not weakened, but strengthened at every step. That, Sir, I submit, should be our basic political philosophy not to live in the past, but to live in the present which connects us with the past.
I stand for taking in the fullest measure the good that the West can give us. But I ask every one present here to remember that all that glitters in the West is not gold, that what is Western is not necessarily good, that our own country has produced concepts and traditions of a high order which are likely with the passage of time to influence more and more the destinies of the whole race of mankind.
It is in the light of these principles that I wish Honourable Members to examine the draft which has been placed for acceptance by out Friend Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar. I shall not read it out. I take it that you are familiar with every important clause in it. This draft visualises the existenceof the English language for at least fifteen years, and not merely the existence but the predominance of that language in all that concerns the Union. I had imagined that although it would be necessary that for some time to come English should be retained for our official purposes that that time would not be so long. I had thought that within a much shorter time we might be able to go near the people and work in a language understandable by them. I do not forget that for our brethren who are here from the South Hindi which is proposed to be the official language will not be very easy to learn. At the same time I submit that the people in the South are not strangers to Hindi Under the direction of the Father of the Nation, whose name always strikes a sensitive chord in our hearts, the work of Hindi began in 1918 in South India and during this period several lakhs of men and women have learnt Hindi and, as my Friend Shri Moturi Satyanarayana sitting here can tell you better, every year there are about 55 to 60 thousand examinees sitting in Hindi examinations held by the Dakshina Bharat Hindi, recently named Hindustani Prachar Sabha.
An Honourable Member: They can only read and write but they cannot express themselves.
The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tandon: That may be. An that I say is that that shows that the Hindi language will not be a new thing in South India, I was under the impression that such a long time as fifteen years would not be required to bring Hindi near to the young generation of Madras but, as Pantji said, it is for our brethren in the South to say as to what time they require and I entirely agree with the view that it is not for us to force their hands in the matter. We will offer our services, we can tender advice but we leave it to them to say how long they want and within what time, they will make their people ready to use Hindi for purposes of the Union.
It is in that spirit that we agreed to the fifteen years time. We had begun with five, then we went upto ten and then we saw that our brethren from the South wanted fifteen years’ and we agreed to that. But in Shri Ayyangar’s draft there is a hard provision in regard to Hindi not being used at all except in addition to English for five years and more, till a commission makes a recommendation and that recommendation is accepted by the President. That seems to me a rather hard provision. It might have been’ somewhat softer. Why is it necessary to keep out Hindi entirely from those official purposes for which Hindi can be used without any inconvience to our friends of the South ? Under the present clauses a Minister of the Union cannot write a letter in Hindi on any official business to anyone unless that letter is accompanied by an English translation. Obviously, then, Hindi is not likely to be used at all. So it comes to this that for five years and more, so long as the Commission does not make a recommendation and that is not accepted by the President, no work can be done in Hindi except in the shape of translation from English. You may publish a book in English and you may translate it into Hindi also. That is all the work that will be done for five years and more. That is rather hard. Nevertheless I agree even to this–that nothing is to be done for five years in Hindi except when it is in addition to English.
But I ask you to give thought to what comes after five years. Under Shri Ayyangar’s proposal, at the expiration of five years, a Commission is to be appointed to go into the question of language. This will necessarily mean an extension of the period of five years by another, two years or so, because the Commission after its appointment will meet and probably wander about in the country and then make a report. After that a Parliamentary Committee will sit and examine the Commission’s proposals and then make its own final report. Let the appointment of the Commission be before the expiry of five years. I do not fix any time. All that my amendment says is “substitute before’ for , at so that the report may be ready and Government may be in a position todirect that after the expiry of five years some changes which may be thought necessary in regard to the use of Hindi, may come into effect. This is a small amendment which I have suggested and I hope it will be accepted. It simply means that before five years have expired, the Commission will be appointed But I make it clear in my amendment that whatever recommendations art adopted, will be brought into effect only after the expiry of five years. And. shall be content that within five years, only that work will be done in Hindi which is a translation of English.
Similarly, in some other clauses I have proposed some modifications. As the President has directed, these amendments have been taken as moved. So I shall not read them. I shall only mention the general purpose. A Parliamentary Committee has been suggested and it has been said that it will report on the recommendations of the Commission. I have added a small clause to the effect that this committee may make its own recommendations also-“such recommendations as it may deem fit”. These are the few words that I have added to that particular clause about the appointment of the Committee and its report on the recommendations of the Commission. All that I ask is, let this Parliamentary Committee also, if it thinks fit, make some recommendations, and let the Government decide on the recommendations of the Committee as well as of the Commission.
These are the amendments which I have proposed in 301-B.
I now come to Chapter II on Regional Languages–301 C of Sri Ayyangar’s draft. It is stated here that “… a State may by law adopt any of the languages in use in the State or Hindi as the language or languages to be used for all or any of the official purposes of that State.”
I agree with that. It is the proviso to which I take exception. It says-
“Provided that until the Legislature of the State otherwise provides by law, the English language shall continue to be used for those official purposes within the States for which it was being used at the commencement of the constitution.”
I fail to understand why it should be at all necessary to encourage the use of English in States. It may be that at the commencement of the Constitution, they may be partially using English but they may want to change it. I know you provide that they may change it by law. But they may be. using not only English, but other languages. So I would like to put in this sentence in place of the proviso-
“Provided that until the Legislature of the State otherwise Provides by law the English or languages which were being used for official purposes within the State at the commencement of the Constitution shall continue to be so used.”
In my own province, we are now using Hindi for official purposes. Bihar and C.P. also, I think, are using it. Why should it be necessary for us to pass a new law accepting Hindi? We are using Hindi at present under the direction of the Government, and therefore, *be words that I have suggested would be more suitable.
Then in article 301-E it is said that where the President is satisfied that a substantial proportion of the population desires the use of some other language, he may direct that such language shall also be officially recognised. I agree to that, but it seems to me that it would be better to follow the Congress Working Committee’s direction in this matter and Jay down a certain proportion of the population on whose demand a language may be recognised. I think the Working Committee laid down 20 per cent. and we might well adhere to that; otherwise it would become very difficult for the Central Government to decide as to where to give in and where to refuse and that might create someconfusion and a certain amount of bitterness also in certain provinces. Where a proportion is fixed, the way for the Central Government will be clear.
And then in Chapter III-“Language of the Supreme Court and High Court,” the proposals put forward in are-and Mr. Ayyangar will pardon me for saying it-palpably retrograde. You have adopted Hindi as the official language. You desire, I take it, that gradually Hindi should replace English. But that can be done only when you give Hindi the opportunity to replace English at least in the Hindi provinces. I know that the non-Hindi provinces have their difficulties; but. the Hindi provinces have none in regard to the use of Hindi. Do not exaggerate the difficulties. It has been said that the proper idioms, the proper phrases or the proper terminology cannot be found. Well, leave that to those, who will work in Hindi. In my own province, all the original texts of Bills and enactments are in the Hindi language. Obviously our work creates no difficulties for our brethren in the South. Why should you force us to conduct all our official work in the English language, when we are already doing it in Hindi ? Again you say that so far as the Supreme Court and the High Courts are concerned, their work also must for fifteen years be done in English. I agree that the Supreme Court may work in English for fifteen years, but I submit that it is not necessary that all the High Courts should work in English for that period. The High Courts may be divided into two classes. There are those High Courts-some of them newly created in the States where work in done, and has traditionally been done in Hindi. Take for instance Gwalior or Indore. I am aware that English has also been used there, some of the judges imported from outside have done their work in English and it has been permitted; and yet a good deal of work is done in Hindi simultaneously. Will you now prevent it? Similarly, there is a High Court in Rajasthan, and in some of the other States also. Will you prevent these High Courts’ from functioning in Hindi ? Under the present proposal all Hindi work in these, High Courts will become impossible. I say that must be changed.
Then there is another class of High Courts : those which have been doing their work in English but which can take up Hindi in a much shorter time than fifteen years. Take the High Court in my own province, or Bihar or the C.P. I am very. clear in my mind that our High Court can begin to function fully in Hindi after a lapse of five years. Gradually, during the next five years, the whole procedure can be built up and can be adapted to the needs of Hindi. Terminology will present no difficulty. It is already being created. A good deal of it is there, and it is, after all, not a very difficult task to coin necessary words. Hindi is not a new language. When Ireland framed its constitution it adopted the Irish language, which had not much literature and which had not a sufficient vocabulary and yet Ireland adopted it. Our language, Hindi, is a powerful language.
Mr. Ayyangar said that that language is entirely lacking in the terminology which will be necessary. What shall I say to that proposition He himself says that he is not conversant with that language and yet he pronounces judgment upon it. I submit that that is not fair. I for my own part, submit that Hindi, with the resources of Sanskrit, about which so much has been said in this House and which I endorse fully-Hindi with the backing of Sanskrit, can face all the difficulties of vocabulary with ease. Even before the expiry of five years. it seems to me, we can conduct the work of the High Court in Hindi. But I say that in any case five years is a sufficient period. We do not require that for fifteen years ours work should be carried on in English. So why make it compulsory for us to continue to work in English for that long period ? Give us room enough to expand and then after fifteen years all the work that matters, for example the work of the Union, will become easier of accomplishmentbecause Hindi provinces by that time will have created that atmosphere and built up that terminology which will be helpful to the whole country.
Maulana Hasrat Mohani (United Provinces: Muslim) : What do you mean by Hindi provinces?
The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tandon: I am referring to those provinces which have adopted Hindi as their language; for example, the United Provinces has formally adopted Hindi as its language: so has Bihar . . .
Maulana Hasrat Mohani : The United Provinces is either a Urdu province or a Hindustani province. It cannot be a Hindi-speaking province.
The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tandon: That may be your view. I do not propose to go into that controversy about Hindi, Hindustani, or Urdu. All I say is that Hindi has been adopted as the official language of the United Provinces and it is the language in which all the official measures and enactments are being passed today. Undoubtedly, a good deal of work is still being done in English, but by and by that work will also be done through the medium of the Hindi language. These are the smaller modifications which I have suggested.
Now, I come to the main amendment in 301-A, which relates to numerals. I know, Sir, that controversy over the numerals has created a certain amount of bitterness. I would be the last man to add to that bitterness. I would as far as possible remove it. I know that our Madras friends want to change the Hindi numerals.
Honourable Members: Bengal also The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tandon: If I am wrong you can correct me; but I never heard that from my Bengal friends.
Honourable Members : Bombay also. As a matter of fact, all non-Hindi speaking people.
The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tandon: My submission is that it is not correct, to say the least of it, that all non-Hindi areas want that change. ask Mr. Shankarrao Deo and Dr. Ambedkar, who are sitting here. to tell me whether the people of Maharashtra are going to accept it.
Shri Shankarrao Deo : I say that whatever stand I take the Maharashtrians will take that stand too.
The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tandon: From my knowledge of Maharashtra I submit, because the script is the same, that if there is a referendum there, the people of Maharashtra will not accept the so-called international numerals.
Honourable Members : If there is a referendum in India Hindi will go The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tandon: I would beg of honourable Members to interrupt me one by one and not many at a time. I shall be happy to hear Mr. Shankarrao Deo and Dr. Ambedkar.
The Honourable Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee: ‘Why not refer it to a referendum ?
Shri H. J. Khandekar (C. P. & Berar: General) : I am a Maharashtrian and I can say that if referendum is taken in Maharashtra they would not accept the international numerals.Dr. P. S. Deshmukh (C. P. & Berar: General) : I am a Maharashtrian too and I can say that they would not accept the international numerals.
Mr. President : It is not necessary that individual Members should express their opinion on any particular proposition.
The Honourable Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee: The honourable Member is asking for opinions.
The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tandon : I submitted my view. You may agree with it or not. I did not ask Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee to express his opinion. What I said was, and I say it now and here, that if this proposition goes to the people of Maharashtra, they will not accept it. I am also in touch with that province. And I say, in spite of what my Friend, Mr. Munshi, may say, that when this provision goes into the hands of the Gujaratis, they will not accept it either.
(Interruption from several honourable Members) Is it necessary for so many persons to speak at the same time? If one man interrupts I can hear him but when four or five people speak at the same time I cannot hear any of them.
I have heard Mi. Shankarrao Deo. He says that if the whole Constitution is referred to the people, they will not accept Shri Shankarrao Deo: Much of it.
The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tandon : If that is so then much of it is fit to be thrown into the waste paper basket. there is any part of the Constitution which will not be accepted by the people then it must not be accepted here. I submit in all humility that I would gladly accept a referendum to the whole country. If the provinces do not accept Hindi, I would be the last man to force it upon them. I would then say at once that Hindi must not be the national language. Why should Hindi be forced upon any province ? It is for the provinces to decide whether they will or will not accept Hindi. They may continue with English or have an Esperanto if they like. I would agree to that entirely, if that is their view. But let some way be found for ascertaining the wish of the people. A gallup-pool has recently been taken by a body of students. We have read about it. Another method for gathering the views of the masses may be attempted in the whole country. Let that the done. in Madras also. Whatever my friends here may say I am hopeful that a very large number of people in Madras will desire Hindi.
Several honourable Members: No, No. The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tandon : But if there is no such reference to the people possible, I would appeal to all those who are in power today to listen to the small voice in their hearts and not to accept even one little thing which they feel is not likely to be accepted by the people……
Maulana Hasrat Mohani: I demand a referendum in U.P. on whether it is to be a Hindi or Hindustani province. Not a single person speaks Hindi in the Sanskritised form there.
Mr. President : May I just point out that this Constituent Assembly has been charged with the duty of framing a constitution for the country ? There is no provision in the Constitution of this Assembly for any referendum and therefore there is no question of a referendum either on the whole or a part of it So that need not give rise to any controversy, because it would be futile.
The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tandon: I appeal to those who are in power to think over the matter. I do not propose that this matter shouldnow go to a direct referendum. What is a referendum ? It simply means the will of the people., If it was left to the people, what would they say?
Mr. President : So far as the Constituent Assembly is concerned it reflects the will of the people.
The Honourable Shri R. R. Diwakar (Bombay: General) : Sir, what the honourable Member says is a reflection on the Members, of this Assembly.
The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tandon : If every time we refer to the will of the people it is objected that that is a reflection on the Members of the House it would become impossible to proceed. Sometimes the views of the House may differ from the will of the people. So far as the question of numerals is concerned I ask you to reflect upon it. Perhaps you have made up your minds. Yet I ask you to listen to what I say. Do not get warmed up over this issue about numerals The Honourable Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee (West Bengal: General) : It is a warning for us.
The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tandon: You have made up your minds and you want to laugh at your opponents. It ill becomes you. I am serious about this question. I know that Mr. Ayyangar is serious about it. It is a matter which’. concerns the future of our people.
We have been speaking of a national language for years and years. is not a now subject before the House. It was in the 19th century that this idea of a national language took shape in Bengal, not in U.P. or Bihar. I can quote to you extracts but I do not wish to take up the time of the House. I have with me the original of what Bankim Chandra Chatterjee wrote. I have the original of what Keshub Chandra Sen said on the subject. I have the Original before me of what was written in 1908 by the ‘Bandemataram’ the editor of which was Shri Arabindo Ghose Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra (West Bengal: General) : We have been amply rewarded for all that I The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tandon: That idea took shape there and then Tilak supported it and Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, took it up. My point is that this movement has been there for years and people have worked in accordance with certain ideas about the acceptance of Hindi as the national language. It has been taken for granted more or less that Hindi is the national language and work has been going on in different provinces on that assumption.
A few minutes ago I spoke of the work done in Madras. I may also mention that in Bengal, Assam, Maharashtra, Gujerat and Orissa that work has gone on for years. Today examinations are conducted from Wardha in Hindi and about 1,40,000 young men and women annually appear for them-young men and women who do not belong to Hindi-speaking provinces but who come from non-Hindi speaking regions. That shows that it is not a new idea, that there is work on the basis of that idea to the credit of the country.