From the Constituent Assembly Debate on National Language. Well, forget the Gandhi part. And the sort of North Indian bias reminds me of a word Vishnubhat Godse used in his book – he is going to pilgrimage to Hindustan. In his days, Hindustan is North India, Desh is Maratha core lands and South India, god only knows what name it is. This argument, just because it’s the prominent language of North India, India should accept it. Wonder what sort of an argument is that.
Mohd Hifzur Rahman: Then please repeat what you have said. You made the following statement only because you accept Urdu as the language of a particular community :—
“I am compelled to say that in Urdu we find foreign expressions.” I would like to submit that Muslims did not bring the language from Persia, Spain, or Arabia. Urdu is the product of Hindu-Muslim unity; their conservations and way of life, the glimpses of which could be found in every market-place, in every house and every lane and by-lane. It was the product of their mutual love and affection. But today it is looked down with contempt because it contains foreign expressions, and for this reason it cannot be the language of the Union” But I say with all the emphasis at my command that this proposition is wholly incorrect; because in spite of the assertion to the contrary, in point of fact, Urdu is pregnant with Indian thoughts and expressions. If you would study Urdu poetry and Urdu poets, you would realize your mistake. One of the modern poets of Urdu, namely Mushim of Kakori, while praising the Holy Prophet of Islam says thus :—
“From Kashi clouds are proceeding towards. Mathura. The cool breeze has brought the sacred waters of the Ganges on her shoulders. The news has just reached that clouds are coming for ‘Tirath’ (Pilgrimage) : on the wings of clouds, etc. etc.” Even in a religious poetry like this ‘Ganges’ and ‘Mathura’ has been mentioned. The poet has substituted ‘Kashi’, ‘Mathura’ and ‘Ganges’ for ‘Macca’, ‘Medina’ and ‘Zem-Zem’. This is the correct position and I would like to say that any assertion to the contrary is wholly incorrect.
Like Muhsim, Nazir of Akbarabad also draws his similes mataphors and inspiration from Indian background. Here is an example :—
He gives us a pen-picture of death and says:—
The poet means to say that when the “Banjara” (grain merchant) puts his loads on his carriers to leave the place, he has to leave behind all his grandeur, That is to say, when a man would die, he would leave behind all his wordly things here. In these lines the following words are purely of Indian origin an have nothing to do with Arabic and Persian :—
“(bullock) (worldly things)
(grain merchant) , (daughter)
In this connection I can also mention Amir Khusrau arid the modern poets like Iqbal and Akbar of Allahabad, who were influenced by the thoughts and ideals of this country.
This will have to be accepted in clearest terms that the present Sanskritized form of language which is being proclaimed as the lingua franca of India can never be the national language of our country. Similarly that form of Urdu which is encrusted with Arabic and Persian words, can never be the language of our day to day life, market-place and business. This is the reason why Mahatmaji had rightly said “If there is any language which can be the language of the Union, it is Hindustani in which both Urdu and Hindi are incorporated.” Even Bengali words and expressions of other languages of India have been included in this language.
The protagonists of Hindi assert that the State language should be the language which has been developed through Sanskrit, and thousands of Urdu, Persian and Arabic words should be eliminated which are generally used and are included in the language of the country, and these words should be replaced by the words of Sanskrit origin and thus literary Hindi should become the language of the country. Similarly, adoption of Urdu, as lingua franca means, the adoption of that language which has been developed through Arabic and Persian and which has no place for the words of Sanskrit origin.
Both these assertions are faulty. And I say that the language which is spoken in northern India should be accepted as State Language. It is simple and easy and possesses the tendencies of smooth development and popularity throughout the country, because it is not the creation of any particular individual.
There is yet another point. Some of my colleagues, while talking of Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, have said that Mahatma Gandhi had said that India’s language was Hindi : I want to inform you that he had changed this view, and consequently Mahatmaji, through the “Hindustani Pracharni Sabha”, adovcat-ed till his death that “Rashtra Bhasha” of the whole country should be Hindustani. Moreover, for the last thirty years, it has been declared over and over again from the platform of the Indian National Congress with unanimity that the State language of India would be Hindustani. And Hindustani has always been defined in these words :—”Hindustani is that language which is spoken from Bihar right up to Frontier”. If we leave the excluded area of the Frontier, even then the fact remains that this language is spoken and understood from Bihar up to East Punjab. Not only this, there are Hindus and Muslims all over the country who understand and speak this language. You are ignoring the principle of Mahatmaji and the thirty years old history of the Indian National Congress and compelling us to accept that thing which is against the history of language; and Congress and you want to impose it upon us and you tell us in authoritative tone that only that language can be and will be the language of the country which you decide to be the language of the Union. I had challenged it in the Party meeting and I am enquiring here also. Tell me why this baseless thing, which is against the principle of Mahatmaji and the thirty years’ old decision of the Congress, is being put forward. But I regret to say that neither was I given a reply there nor have I received any reply here.
After all, tell me why this change has been made in the principles laid down by Mahatmaji and the decision of the Congress? I would like to say frankly that unfortunately the partition has caused this bad effect on our minds and it was the result of this fact which has made us oblivious of such an important principle. This is the reaction of the partition. And it is due to this reaction that we are thinking in these terms. And in this state of grief and anger, which is the outcome of their own hands and for which all must share the blame, they are showing their narrow-mindedness against a particular community of the Indian Union. They want to settle the language question in the atmosphere of political bigotry and do not want to solve this problem as the Language problem of a country.
This is dangerous. I am astonished that in speeches this very sentiment is being expressed over and over again. And instead of settling this question amicably with mutual love, attempts are being made to overawe us with anger. But in my opinion, rather in the opinion of very wise man, this attitude is in no way helpful for the development of either the country or the language. In short, State language should be easily understandable and readily acceptable by the whole country. I should not be imposed by the majority, otherwise it would never attain popularity. For this very reason Mahatmaji had suggested Hindustani as the language of the Indian Union. The cause of Hindustani was espoused and advocated by the Congress for full thirty years before the whole world.
If we want to go back and decide to remain in the narrow sphere, as is happening today, we must not forget that in this world languages do not develop by putting limitations; on the contrary, they develop by expansion and by borrowing words from every language. They are not imposed on people. They attain popularity by their mode of expansion. History tells us that the languages of the world develop through expansion and by borrowing words from other languages. And if you coin and put forward new words for radio etc., it would become something like fun. The same sort of fun I find in the Assembly of U. P. As a member of the Assembly I have had chance to see that Ministers stand up and begin to read such words which they themselves find difficult to understand. But just after ten or twenty minutes when they stand to make a speech, they again begin to speak the same language which was declared by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress as Hindustani.
Therefore, if you do not recognize the Hindustani language and adopt Hindi, it means that you are not following the right path. It is just possible that there would have been no intention to consider this matter on-communal lines and this thing would have come to our minds spontaneously. But I think that the communal tinge is there. Sometimes it so happens that a thing enters into one’s mind and he cannot explain how he conceived it. So it is quite possible that the change from Hindustani to Hindi would have occurred in this very way. Partition took place and created this bitterness and reaction. Today it is thought that to overawe a particular community, such a thing should be brought forward which might prove that the language question is being settled in a different way and not in the manner in which it ought to have been settled.
It has been said, we want only one Hindi language for this reason that we want one “Sanskriti”. It fail to understand what you mean by that. In India some people speak Punjabi, some Bengali and other speak some other languages. If this thing affects and influences ‘Sanskriti’ then the languages of all the States and Provinces of India should be wiped out, because “Sanskriti” remains safe only when the language of the entire country is one. But I think that speaking of different languages does not affect culture. Switzerland is a small country, where four languages, namely, Italian, French, German and Swiss are spoken, and work is carried on in all these four languages which are recognized by the State. But this does not affect the culture of Switzerland. And if here it stands in the way of the cultural unity of India, then a pet language of a particular community should not be recognized by the State and a language easily understandable by all the communities and acceptable to all the citizens of India should be declared as the “Rashtra Bhasha” of our country. It is against justice and integrity to impose one’s “Sanskriti” on others.
Some people say that in Russia people have same names and they have the same way of living. Excuse me, this is not the issue. This has been simply dragged in. You must know that in Russia’s ‘several hundred different languages are spoken and all of them have been recognized by the State. In Russia people have still such names as Abdur Rahman,: etc. If somebody’s name is Abdur Rehman or Shanti Parshad, it does not effect the culture of any country. It does not make any difference if on religious ground somebody is named after “Khuda” or Ishwara”. If you talk of such a “Sanskriti” in which culturally all are one, I would submit that in this country I do not find that “Sanskriti”. The honourable Members sitting here are putting on different costumes, speak different languages, and have different names. Do these things affect their culture? No; finis reaction is the product of Partition and under the influence of this reaction you are impressing upon- a particular community in a roundabout way that they have to accept this particular way of life.
This is not the way of solving the language problem. Solve the language problem scientifically. Solve it reasonably. The arguments which have been put forward are neither in accordance with the principles of Mahatma Gandhi nor with that of the Congress. If you consider the language question in the right way, you will find that neither literary Hindi nor literary Urdu can be the language of this country. Only simple Hindustani can be the language of the country. Therefore, we should adopt this language (Hindustani) and only this can be the language of the people.
In so far as the, question of script is concerned, I would submit that there is some difference between this question and the question of language. We find that in certain scripts some phonetic sounds cannot be expressed correctly. After declaring Hindi as the “Rashtra Bhasha”, will you not tell us. “you ought to say “Shakti” and not “Taqat” because the supporters of Hindi say that the word “Shakti” should be used and not the word “Taqat” They say, use the word “Hirday” and not “Qalb” or “Dil” : say “Samaj” and not “Majlis“ “Bhawan” and not “Aiwan” Hindi says use the world “Bhawan” and Urdu says use the word “Aiwan” then Hindustani comes forward and puts forth the compromise. It says use “Samaj” as well as “Majlis”. Therefore, I say that the language ought to be such which contains all those words which are used generally. It should contain both the words “Taqat” and “Shakti”, “Hirday” and “Qalb”. It should accommodate all such words as “Samaj”, “Majlis” and “Society”. And it should be such a language which we can speak freely. If you want to adopt Devanagri script, I am not against it. But if you give Devanagri the first position, give Urdu script also an additional position.
For governmental information, communique and court proceedings Urdu script, too, should be permissible.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: How will you accept numerals ?
Mohd. Hifzur Rahman: I feel if you solve the language question in this way, then certainly the language of the country would be such with which every one would be completely satisfied, and it will be spoken and understood throughout the length and breadth of the country and people would be able to take part in the affairs of the country freely. Numerals are also connected with this question as has been pointed out by my Friend Mr. Tyagi. I have nothing to say on the question of retaining English for fifteen years. I have already spoken about it on a previous occasion. I say you may adopt the language of the country, whether you call it Hindi or Hindustani, as soon as you like. I am not against it. But I agree with the arguments that have been put forward in support of retaining English for fifteen years and adopting English numerals. By accepting English for fifteen years, English numerals would automatically come in.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: If you will write in Urdu seven hundred and eighty six, then you will have to write these figures in English numerals.
Mohd. Hifzur Rahman : If you accept English numerals, I do not think there would be any difficulty in expressing these figures either in Urdu or English. Before hearing the arguments in support of the English numerals I was not aware of their importance. Of course after hearing these arguments, I have realized that it would be more convenient to adopt the numerals of a language which has been in use for a considerably long time than to adopt the Devanagari numerals. But with the gradual development of Hindustani and with the progressive replacement of English by it, you can certainly use the Hindustani numerals also. I mean to say, you can use Nagri numerals by all means.
As regards the directive principles in which you have said that Hindi ought to be developed in such a way that it may contain all the languages and cultures of India, I would like to submit that you give this status to Hindustani and not to Hindi. And it should be made clear herein that the language should be all-embracing, so that it may absorb literary Hindi, literary Urdu, Oriya, Punjabi and Bengali, etc.
I agree with the regional languages which are mentioned in this list. It has my full support. I accept that in various regions and Provinces these languages should have the second place as State language. This is my honest opinion that in Delhi and in U. P., which is a big Province, Urdu, the simple and easy language too, should have been the State language, for the simple reason that U. P. is the cradle of Urdu and it has been nursed and nurtured here. In the first place, Hindustani ought to be the State language in UP. but if Hindi has been adopted, then Urdu also should be given the status of second language which like a State language should remain in use in educational institutions High courts and Legislature. It may get a place there and may be used freely.
In conclusion I appeal to the House to accept Hindustani as the language of the Union and the country, because in comparison to other languages it is simpler and more appropriate to be the lingua franca of India. As I have told you that in Switzerland four languages are in use, in the same way, I do not think that there would be any difficulty if Hindi and Urdu script also remain in constant use for fifteen years with English. There would be no difficulty if in such a big country two scripts remain in use for ever.
If we recognize the secular State with all its implications, then I would submit that secular State is an assertion and no assertion can be true unless it has for its support some arguments and reasons. It we really believe in the secularity of the State then we should not consider such matters with a narrow outlook. And we should not give up those languages which we have nurtured here. We would not ignore Urdu which we even today own as ours.
we ought to consider these matters with a clean heart. If you will consider this matter in this way, I am sure will with me that the language of this country ought to be Hindustani, Hindustani and nothing but Hindustani , with Devanagari script, Urdu script should also remain.