A person is judged by his work and ideas, not by the language he speaks. Therefore, countrymen should not hesitate to speak in their own language, said Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday. A Hindi Diwas program was being hosted by the Department of Languages of the ministry at Vigyan Bhawan when Shah spoke. Earlier, when Indian leaders spoke on international platforms, hardly anyone in the country understood what they said. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi changed that by speaking in Hindi across the world.
‘Don’t have an inferiority complex. The PM speaks in Hindi on the highest of international platforms. It is common to worry that if I speak in my language, how will I be evaluated? You will be evaluated by your work and your ideas, not by your language. It is simply a means of communication. No language can ever express itself better than your own,’ Shah stated, adding that many countries have made progress by conducting all of their work, including in the field of science and technology, in their own language.
‘Even when their children are studying in English medium schools, he advised parents to speak to them in the local language at home. The history of this nation can only be told in your own language. You will be cut off from your roots if you abandon your language’, Shah said. In addition, the Home Minister stressed that Hindi is not in competition with other Indian languages. ‘It is true that there are different opinions, but it is my intention to clarify that Hindi is not competing with other Indian languages. It is more like a sister of all Indian languages,’ Shah said.
A departure from Shah’s speech on Hindi Diwas in 2019, where he pushed for the idea of ‘One Nation, One Language’ and stressed that only Hindi could unite the entire nation. Opposition political parties, particularly in southern India, responded sharply to the remarks. When Shah addressed the nation via video last year during the pandemic, he stated that Hindi was not in competition with other languages.
In his Tuesday speech, Shah mentioned local languages whenever he mentioned the importance of Hindi, and referred to it mostly as ‘Rajbhasha’. Some people spread the myth that local languages interfere with personality development. ‘The best way to express oneself is through one’s own language. According to Mahatma Gandhi, primary education must be done in the national language. Children learn best in a language they know,’ Shah said.
According to him, that is why the government suggested teaching children in local languages as part of the New Education Policy. During the freedom struggle, Shah said, local languages played a prominent role and all key leaders, including Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, stressed the importance of local languages. Shah said Gandhi advised people to study the local languages if they wanted to understand their nation’s consciousness. Home Minister Rajnath Singh suggested that India did well in the battle against Covid because PM Narendra Modi communicated with states and the people of the country in Hindi.
Prior to this, (ministerial) files would not be prepared in Hindi. The situation has changed. Compared to the rest of the world, we have done better in fighting Covid-19. What made us successful? Throughout the world, the government fought Covid, but in India, the people and state governments along with the Centre fought it together. Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to states and people in Hindi through 35 meetings and events. ‘We created an environment to combat Covid,’ Shah said.
The government plans to promote Hindi more in the coming days, and it will hold seven different educational programs on the role of Hindi and other local languages in the freedom struggle. Additionally, he said every state has its own glorious history, which is written in the local language. The Hindi version needs to be translated so that everyone can become familiar with it.
Moreover, he said that Atmanirbhar Bharat was not just about manufacturing and trade but also about local languages. Shah stated that those who did not understand the significance of their language will be punished in history. Also, the Home Minister distributed awards for best Hindi work among government departments and public sector units and expressed delight that many of the winners were from non-Hindi speaking states.