Hindi has never been India's national language. It has only been an official language.

Delve Fake News Wednesday, January 29, 2020 - 19:17

Two days before Republic Day, that is, on January 24, Doordarshan Kisan, the official account put out a tweet. With the '#RepublicDaywithDoordarshan' the tweet said —  “On 26th January 1965, Hindi language was declared as the National Language of India.”

DD Kisan is a TV channel under India's public service broadcaster, Prasar Bharati, which focuses on Indian agriculture. This information put out by an official government channel is not true. In fact, Hindi has never been India's national language. It has only been an official language.

In 1950, in the Indian Constitution, it was declared that Hindi and English will be used as official languages, be it in Parliament, Centre-State communication or intra-state communication. This was meant to be in place for the next 15 years. From 1965, it was planned that Hindi alone will be the official language unless Parliament decides otherwise.

But as this date, January 26, 1965 grew closer, protests erupted in Tamil Nadu. The erstwhile Madras State witnessed and an anti-Hindi agitation, which grew stronger after January 26, and led to riots in the first week of February 1965.

Finally, the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri announced on All India Radio that both Hindi and English will continue to be used as official languages. In 1967, an amendment was made to the Official Languages Act to keep the status of English intact.  

Section 3(2) of the Official Languages Act, 1963 (amended in 1967) provided for continuing the use of English in official work even after 1965. The Act laid down that both Hindi and English will compulsorily be used for resolutions, general orders, rules, notifications and press communication. Administrative and official papers to be laid before the Parliament would also be in both languages. In addition to this, contracts, agreements, licences, permits and tender notices being issued by the government should also have an English translation.

In conclusion, Doordarshan Kisan's tweet is wrong and should not be consumed without critical thought.