A group of academicians has started working towards making Hindi a national language and removing the “ideological pollution" from it. These academicians are members of a group ‘Hindi Sahitya Bharti’ which was floated by BJP MP-MLA Dr Ravinder Shukla in July 2020. Shukla held the post of State Minister Independent in charge of Basic Education, in 1997.
Members of the group have started a petition and aim at getting 25,000 signatures by Hindi Diwas and submit their request to make Hindi a National language to the President. “Our motive is to get signatures across India demanding to make Hindi our national language. We aim to get 25,000 signatures that can be sent to the President on Hindi Diwas," said Professor Mala Misra, from the University of Delhi’s Aditi Mahavidyalaya College, who is also international media coordinator and central in charge of the group.
“We are also working in other states with their regional languages telling them about the importance of Hindi as a national language. English is the language of the elites and Hindi is of the common man. This is one language that enjoys all India presence,” she said.
Since its inception, the group has organised lecture series where the Hindi writers were invited to speak. Some of the issues discussed were “Dharam Banaam Chadam Dharam Niskpekshta” (Religion versus pseudo-secularism), “Sahitya aur Sanskriti ka Antah Sambandh” (Interrelationship between Literature and Culture) and “Sanskar aur Sanskriti” (Virtues and Values and culture).
The idea of a common language has always met resistance from Southern states. In 2019 after Amit Shah made a pitch to make Hindi a national language, actor-turned-politician Rajnikanth had said that Hindi cannot be imposed and the concept of making Hindi a common language is not possible.
The same year the New Education Policy (NEP) draft was revised after the controversy erupted over three-language-formula interpreted as imposing Hindi in the education sphere. Later, the head of the NEP committee, K Kasturirangan clarified that there is no intention to impose a language.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had tweeted in response to the Hindi pitch, “My best wishes to all on #HindiDiwas. We should respect all languages and cultures equally. We may learn many languages but we should never forget our mother-language.”
In the core group advocating in favour of Hindi are Dr. Ravindra Shukla as central president, a former minister in UP and Hindi activist Dr Anil Kumar whi is the central organization secretary. Delhi university teachers, profesor Rama, associate professor Dr. Ramjee Dubey and Mala Misra are also holding positions in the group, as shared by Misra.
Speaking on the motives of the group, Misra said, “We want to make Hindi a national language. The formal brief our group has laid down that we need to ensure Hindi gets its constitutional place, for which we have to make a roadmap.”
The other listed motives are to take “Indian literature to the world, have Hindi taught in schools, provide support to financially weaker Hindi writers and get them published in reputed journals.
“Also to stop sahitya pradushad, sahityik, vaicharik, and bhasha ka pradushad, (pollution in literature, ideology, thought and historical)” added Misra. “We have to remove the ideological strains put in by the communists in Hindi writing and clean it to add Indian ethos on human values,” she said.