The Hindu – Sep 10 1949 – India’s State Language – Claims of Sanskrit – Amendment to be moved to Article
India’s Law Minister Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, is among those who have sponsored Sanskrit as the official language of the Indian Union. One of his supporters is Dr. B. V. Keskar, India’s Deputy Minister for External Affairs, another Mr. Naziruddin Ahmed.
Questioned about this move, Dr. Ambedkar asked a PTI correspondent this evening, “What is wrong with Sanskrit?” An amendment seeking Sanskrit to be India’s official language will be taken up by the Constituent Assembly when the question of official language is considered by the House.
Other Signatories to the amendment are: Pandit Lakshmikanta Maitra(West Bengal), Mr. T. T. Krishnamachari(Madras), Mr. G. S. Guha(Tripura-Manipur and Khasi States), Mr. C.M. Poonacha(Coorg), Mr. V. Ramaiah(Pudukkottah), Mr. V.I. Muniswami Pillai(Madras), Mr. Kallur Subba Rao(Madras), Mr. V.C. Kesava Rao(Madras), Mr. D. Govinda Das(Madras), Mr. P. Subbarayan(Madras), Dr. V. Subramaniam(Madras) and Mrs. Dakshayini Velayudhan (Madras)
The amendment reads: Article 310:
1. The official language of the Union shall be Sanskrit.
2. Notwithstanding anything contained in Clause 1 of this article, for a period of 15 years from the commencement of this constitution, the English language shall continue to be used for the official purposes of the Union for which it was being used at such commencement provided that the President may, during the said period, by order authorise for any of the official purposes of the Union the use of Sanskrit in addition to the English language.
3. Notwithstanding anything contained in this Article, Parliament may by law provide for the use of the English language after the said period of 15 years for such purposes as may be specified in such law.
Consequential changes substituting Sanskrit for Hindi have also been suggested for the rest of the Articles
Well, this amendment failed, as expected. The story was that, if you look at the names, none from the Hindi belt, which sadly, got termed as BIMARU later proposed the motion. All of them who proposed had a non Hindi language as their mother tongue. Now, the question is this. What have we achieved by this hegemony? Tamil Nadu burned once, English is still the predominant one and Hindi is no where visible as a powerful language in the world. On the other side, Bhojpuri is now recognized as a separate language, may be, someone else will do a Bhojpuri to save themselves from the Khadi Boli hegemony. Look at the proceedings, the proposal was shooted down by the weight of numbers.
Mr. Mohamed Ismail: Sir, with regard to numerals I would like to say a few words. I am insisting upon the international form of numerals because many languages of the country have adopted these numerals. It was asked whether this question of numerals was before the country as long as the question of the official language was. I ask the question whether people do not know that this question of numerals is thoroughly different from the question of official language. Now English is the official language of the Union. This has not permeated the masses. But the case is different with the numerals. The masses are making use of these so-called “English” numerals, which are really Indian numerals, in their everyday life. I have seen cart-men, manual labourers making use of these numerals. Now millions upon millions of the masses are already making use of these numerals. Therefore when my friends insisted that these numerals must be made a permanent feature of the official language of the Union, they were only echoing the sentiments of the people. They were only representing what is already there in existence in the country.
If we make any change in the form of the numerals, it will create a lot of confusion in addition to expense and waste of energy. As has been frequently pointed out, these are after all our own numerals. So I still appeal to the House that these numerals must be made a permanent feature of the official language and that it should not be changed into anything else after any number of years.
In brief, my proposal is that Hindustani with Urdu and Devanagari scripts must be accepted as the official language of the Union and the international form of Indian numerals must be made a permanent feature of that official language.
The Honourable Shri Satyanarayan Sinha (Bihar: General): Sir, the question be now put.
Maulana Hasrat Mohani: Sir, I request you to give me a chance.
Mr. President: Closure has been moved.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad : Sir, I submit I have some serious thing to point out in amendment No. 4.
Maulana Hasrat Mohani: Sir, I request you……..
Mr. President : Closure has been moved and I cannot allow you to speak. I think you had promised not to speak at a previous stage.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Sir, acceptance of the closure is entirely in the hands of the President. I want to submit a few words regarding amendment No. 4.
Mr. President : You want to oppose the amendment ?
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad : Yes, Sir. Acceptance of the closure depends on this, that the President is satisfied that there has been sufficient debate.
Honourable Members: Closure, closure.
Mr. President: I have to put the closure to vote. I think the House is not in a mood to have further discussion.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Is it your ruling that closure should be accepted?
Mr. President: I have to put it to the House.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: No, Sir, it is not necessary. I submit you are not bound to put it to the House.
Mr. President : I do not say I am bound to, but I propose to put it to the House.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: I wanted to say a few words. There are serious flaws in this amendment.
Honourable Members : No, no. Order, order.
Mr. President: The question is:
“That the question be put”.
The motion was adopted.