The Kannada Grahakara Koota is petitioning the government to allow non-Hindi speakers to transact with the government in their mother tongues.

On Hindi Diwas a social media campaign to give all scheduled Indian languages official status
news Languages Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - 12:50

A social media campaign to give all scheduled languages the status of official languages is being conducted by a Kannada group on September 14. The Kannada Grahakara Koota is conducting a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #GOIMakeMyLanguageOfficial.

Tweeting about the campaign, the KGK writes, “This campaign is to demand Government of India (GOI) to declare all scheduled languages as official languages of GOI. Without this happening, non Hindi people will be deprived of services by GOI in their own languages.”

According to the People’s Linguistic Survey of India, the people of the country speak over 780 languages, many of which are spoken by small communities numbering a few thousand. But the Indian Constitution recognises 22 languages as Scheduled Languages. There are demands for the inclusion of 38 langauges from several parts in the eight Schedule of the Constitution.

The response to the campaign has been quite enthusiastic thus far, with numerous users expressing their desire to transact in daily life in their mother tongues.

Others argued that states contributed significantly to the country’s economy, their linguistic rights should also be respected.

Many users make the argument that since India is a multi-cultural, multi-lingual country, equal respect needs to be accorded to the various cultures.

Particular ire is being directed towards the celebration of Hindi Diwas, with users asking why only this language is celebrated officially, and on behalf of states in which Hindi speakers are not the majority.

The question of the status of Hindi versus other scheduled languages has periodically risen up in the recent past, with the central government making efforts to promote Hindi in a concerted manner. In June, for instance, the central government had announced that it would seek to promote not only official transactions of business but also the use of conversational Hindi in governmental offices in South India and the North East, where the language is less popularly spoken.

The DMK had then hit out at the BJP government, arguing that it was giving undue importance to Hindi and Sanskrit, and said that it should be sensitive to people’s sentiments.

Earlier in February, the union government had written to all central ministries announcing that central government employees would be rewarded with cash prizes of Rs 10,000 for displaying proficiency in Hindi. Candidates would have to score at least 70% marks in the exam for the 160-hour ‘Parangat’ Hindi proficiency course introduced by the government in April 2015.

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