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Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


Language is a means of communication. Defining it so simply will not be
justifiable on its part. Language can be understood better in terms of its
functions and role in the society. Functions of language can be studied
under two headings, micro and macro. Micro functions of language work
at individual level and the macro covers the whole society. Some of the
important functions of language are Physiological function (releasing
physical and nervous energy), Phatic function (for sociability),
Identifying function, Pleasure functions, Reasoning function (instrument
of thought), Communicating function, etc. Language is the most
important link between an individual and the society. Currently
approximately 6000 languages are being spoken all over the world, out of
which many are on the verge of extinction. Many factors affect the
growth and decline of languages. And a language policy can either
exacerbate or mitigate the growth or existence of a language. Every
language works under certain policy. So it cannot be said, that society or
community does not have a language policy. Some kind of language
policy is always working in every society; at some places it is written or
made prominent via Constitution and at some it is only in practice.
Language policy has active role in domains like home, school, religion,
work place, supra-national groupings. Before going into the details of
complexities of a language policy, one must be clear regarding what is a
language policy?

3.1 What is a Language Policy?
Any decision or principle of action adopted with regard to the usage of
language or languages by an organization or individual is known as a
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


language policy. Language polices are basically designed to promote one
or more languages and also it specify the usage of language in different
domains, like education, administration, media, etc. So we can say that
language policy is a cover term for all the linguistic behaviours,
assumptions, cultural forms, folk believes, attitude towards a language
etc. A language policy is multidimensional. Language policy has been an
area of interest for many scholars. Eminent work on language policy has
been done by Charles Ferguson, Haugen, Heinz Kloss, Joan Rubin, and
Richard Baldauf. People like Schiffman 1996; Spolsky 2004; Ricento
2006; MCarty 2002 has also done a lot in the area of language policy.
Ruth Wodak viewed language policy
As every public influence on the communication radius of languages;
the sum of those top-down and bottom-up political initiatives
through which a particular language or languages is/are supported in
their public validity, their functionality, and their dissemination.
(Wodak, 2006:170)
There are certain factors which affect the framing of language policy i.e.
socio-linguistic settings, attitude of the language speakers, the strength of
the political set up, etc. If the speaker of a language develops a positive
attitude towards his/her own language s/he can change or modify the
existing language policy of that society. According to Fasold (1984),
language policies are constructs, and they change over time. (Schiffman
Language policy can either be a written clause in the Constitution of a
country or a language law, or a cabinet document or on administrative
regulation. 125 of the worlds Constitution express some policy about
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


language. (Spolsky 2004:11-12). But this doesnt mean others dont have
any language policy. One cannot say no to a language policy. Whether it
is implicit or explicit it is present everywhere. Good language policies are
always needed for the effective working of a nation and language policy
cannot be studied without knowing about language planning. The need
for a language policy is there at different levels. Like:
For official use of language (e.g. Administration, law, etc.)
Use of language at regional level
Language for wider communication (mass media)
Language for International communication
Use of languages at specific domains like education, etc.
For all these purposes we need to choose a language and sometimes the
need is to develop that language. For an effective language policy, good
language planning is equally important.
Planning involves a choice that is made on the basis of a conscious
effort to predict the consequences of the proposed alternatives.
(Chaklader, 1990:151)
In the process of language planning various academies and committees
are involved. The goals of language planning differ from one nation to
other and from one organization to other. Sometimes language planning
is done for assimilating the languages i.e. the dominant language of the
society is forced on native speakers of other languages. So they are
assimilationist in nature. Some are done for maintaining linguistic
pluralism i.e. multilingualism is recognized and supported. Other goals of
language planning are standardization, language revitalization, language
reform, language maintenance, etc. Planning can be either seen as a
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


management of language or manipulation of language. Most of the time
language planning is governed by power and politics. According to
cooper (1989:45) language planning is a deliberate effort to influence
the behaviour of others with respect to acquisition, structure or functional
allocation of their language codes. Various sociolinguists divided the
process of language planning into various steps. The general sub-division
is of: policy formation, codification, elaboration and implementation. To
these sub-processes Eastman added two more namely language choice
and evaluation. The process of language choice is never neutral. Choice
inevitably means selection and selection is always at the cost of rejection.
On the background of various questions language choice can be
understood. For example, who is choosing whom under what
circumstances? This shows the power dynamics working in the selection.
The question of choice, covertly takes note of who is being eliminated
and with whom, is the pressure group. In the selection process various
economic, political, sociological considerations work. So planning should
be so that most of the languages get benefit from it.
3.2 Types of Language Planning:
Corpus Planning: Corpus planning basically takes into account the
development, modernization and standardization of languages which
involve coining of new terms, adopting new script, etc. All the languages
in the world are not fully developed, for example some languages of the
world do not have a written form and some do not have literary tradition,
etc. So languages which are inadequate to perform in different domains
need to be expanded in terms of lexicon, style, etc. In broader term corpus
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planning can be divided into three categories: graphization,
modernization and standardization
In the process of graphization, languages which have oral tradition are
made to adopt or create a new orthographic system or script. So that it
can be used in formal education, literacy programs and in the
development of literary traditions. The corpus planners either use an
existing writing system or create a new one.
Modernization on the other hand is the expansion of the resources of a
language, like its lexicon, style, etc. Modernization of a language
generally occurs when there is a change in the status of a language or also
we can say it is vice- versa. Every day new inventions and concepts are
coming so up gradation of the languages on account of these changes is
Standardization is a process where preference is given to on variety or
dialect of a language over others. Also it can be termed as a common
language acceptable to the people of an area over other dialectical
variations. The choice of a language as a standard language is generally
power oriented. By making one language variety as a standard language
we are depriving others to gain position in various domains (like
education). By this one section of the society is having privileged and rest
are deprived.
Status Planning: It refers to the choice of a language for various
functional domains within a society. It involves the selection of a
language for official purposes, for education, for mass media or for wider
communication. It allocates status to the chosen language. According to
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


Rubin (1977:36) status planning encompasses governmental policy
decisions concerning which language should be assigned or recognized
for which purpose within a country or region, as well as the various
implementation steps taken to support the policy that has been adopted.
The distinction of dialect and language is an area of status planning.
3.3 Typologies of Language Policy:
Language policies may be categorized into different types. Schiffman in
his book Linguistic Culture and Language Policy has reviewed the
typologies of language policies given by Kloss (1966a).
Language policy can be categorized as:
Covert and Overt language policy:
Covert policies do not name any language in any legal document or
anywhere. In a covert language policy the agenda is hidden. Its use
is implicit. Overt policies on the other hand are open-ended and
clearly define the role of a language in a polity. The domains of
usage, its status, everything is explicitly stated.
De facto and De jure language policies:
De jure policy may promote any language in any domain but the de
facto policy is the usage of any other language, i.e. by law a certain
language was made to be used but in reality some other language is
being widely used.
Promotive and Tolerance policies:
A promotive policy explicitly or non-explicitly promotes or
encourages the use of a language(s) by Constitution and has legal
guarantees like Hindi in India. In a tolerance policy a language is
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


allowed but not as such guarantee is provided and no domains are
Egalitarian and Restricted policies:
Policy which keeps all the languages on the same platform i.e.
giving equal footing to all the languages present in that society is
egalitarian policy, for example, Lenins language policy in the
Soviet Union. On the other hand restricted policies are made to
tolerate certain languages only in restricted domains or functions.
The rights to use certain languages are restricted.
These are some of the typologies given by Kloss and Schiffman.
Haugen (1966b) classified language policy into four headings- selection
of norm, codification of its written or spoken form, implementation
and elaboration. The same concept of selection was termed status
planning and codification as corpus planning by Kloss in 1969.
(Spolsky 2004:6)
Language policy can best be understood in terms of number of
language(s) recognized as national or official language(s). It is not that
only multilingual polities or societies require language policy for the
smooth governance but the monolingual equally need one. Lambart
(1999) has categorized countries into three groups and so the language
policy based on that.
Monolingual Countries: Many countries claim to be monolingual
in defining its policy. But if the polity is monolingual it doesnt
mean its people or individual are too monolingual. Around 78
countries claim to be monolingual out of which 32 provide special
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


clause for protecting the minorities. Countries like Armenia, Iran,
Iraq, Singapore, Nepal, etc claim to be monolingual but also
protect the minority rights. Also there are countries that
marginalize the rights of the minorities and hegimonically impose
one language and claim to be ethno-linguistically homogeneous.
Countries like China, Japan, United States, etc falls under this
Dyadic/Triadic Countries: Countries claiming two or three
languages as official or national languages have dyadic and triadic
language policy. Both the linguistic groups are relatively equal in
number and share equal power. So these polities make a dyadic
policy. Countries like Switzerland, Canada, Belgium, Afghanistan,
etc recognizes two or three languages.
Mosaic/Multilingual Countries: There are many countries which
give recognition to more than two languages either as the national
or official language. In multilingual countries the debate is usually
directed towards language choice. Countries like India, South
Africa, Republic of Congo, etc recognizes more than four
languages.(as cited in Spolsky 2004: 58-59)
Countries having one language as the National/Official language are
more complex in nature. Thinking that their language policy is simple and
the language policy of a multilingual country is complex is nothing more
than a disguise. The mental pressures on the people of monolingual
countries are no less as compared to multilingual because monolingual
countries are not monolingual in the real sense. With the advent of
globalization and spread of other languages the chances of resentment are
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


more there. Problems are everywhere whether it is a monolingual polity
or a multilingual. Spolsky (2004:159) states:
While there may have been a time when it seemed for a nation state to
announce its recognition of a single national and official language,
analyzing actual cases reveals that countries monolingual in both
practice and management are quite rare.

a) External forces b) Internal conflict
No community lives in isolation. In the world of globalization all
countries are in direct contact with each other. Also labour mobility or
migration of people is very common among countries. Due to mass media
and information technology most of the people in the world have become
multilingual. So the countries who claim to be monolingual are not
monolingual in the real sense. The ground reality is something different.
So in a monolingual country it is not necessary that the individuals are
also monolingual. But in a multilingual country apart from the internal



Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


conflicts all other external factors like globalization can be easily handled
as the polity and individuals are accustomed to linguistic diversity.
3.5 Language Policy of India:
Indias linguistic, cultural, ethnic, religious diversity is very strong and
wide spread. Heterogeneity and multilingualism is not a recent product. It
goes back to the time when Aryans came to India with Sanskrit and
thereafter many came, invaded and settled in India and with them was
their languages. Since that time India is managing its diversity and
multilingualism very beautifully and ardently. At that time also
multilingualism in India never created problem in the smooth functioning
of the government. Different languages were assigned different roles in
different domains but there was no conflicting situation. Even at the time
of British rule, the British promoted the Indian vernaculars as well as
English too. It isnt that the making of a language policy in India was
thought after independence but it was there much before that. Even at the
time of Mughal empires this policy existed. Language policy is about
language choice or the usage of languages in different domains.
But a very strong face of policy was seen at the time of Macaulays
minute. Macaulay insisted on providing English education to the Indians.
Macaulay said,
We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters
between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons,
Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals,
and in intellect.
(Thirumalai, 2003)
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


Before this the British government was not very keen on promoting
English language as it was seen as the tool of governance in their hand.
On March 7, 1835 Governor General Bentinck issued an order in favour
of Macaulay and agreed to spend funds for the purpose of education to be
employed for English education alone, but with that guaranteed not to
abolish any College or School of native learning. On the other hand the
Orientalists wanted to promote the indigenous languages and were
against English education. The conflict between the Anglicist and
Orientalist led to the polarization of language policy.
The Indian language policy took a U-turn when the Indian National
Congress started supporting and promoting Hindi language written in
Devanagri. The nationalists wanted to compete with the British by their
own language. But Gandhiji was not supportive of this view because he
knew that if Hindi with Sanskritized words will be chosen then the
Muslims having Urdu will be marginalized. This will create a great cleft
between them and will be a threat to the unity of the country. So he went
for a mid-way introducing Hindustani as the common language for pan
Then in 1947 India got its independence and thus formulated the
Constitution. That was a great turning point in the history of this country.
The essence of being independent led every heart grow with its own
desire. At that time the most important task was to administer the newly
independent country. For proper administration, the areas important were
that of law and order, education, etc. A language was needed to convey
the ideas to its people. But India being a vast polity with lots of
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


diversities led a big question in front of the leaders of the country. The
leaders wanted an India where the government passing a law in a
language should be understood to all, anyone can easily communicate to
others via a common language. One of the motives behind this thought
was the eradication of English language. The imposition of a common
language was nothing but was a determination to eradicate all the
memories of colonial rule, so that India can have its own voice. But the
mark of colonial history was so deep that the government of India was
unable to remove English.
At that time many had little idea of the issues at stake. There was a need
to make a language policy for India. For effective administration, a
language commission was appointed to meet the need of having a
language policy. The commission was formed to have a thorough study of
the language policies of the multilingual countries across the world. After
looking into all the reports and policies of different polities the
commissioners came to the conclusion of adopting the Soviet Model of
language policy. A report regarding the adoption of the soviet model
was given by secretary of the commission, S. G. Barve (1957) who
warned against the borrowing of any model without adapting it, saying,
Obviously no two cases in a field like this are exactly or even broadly
similar; therefore any lessons to be had from the experiences of like
circumstances in other countries must be drawn with great care.
(Schiffman, 1996:162)

Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


3.6 Soviet Language Policy:
In the 20
century it was the Soviet Union which had its language policy
for the minorities. It was Lenin who tried for the notion of self-
determination of all nations. At that time the Soviet language policy was
to make all the ethnic languages grow and led them stand on one
platform. As stated by Spolsky,(2004:116),Martin (2002) judged this the
most ambitious affirmative action program that any state had so far tried
to implement.
But Stalin revised the Leninist policy in 1930s and followed the
continuation of Czarist Russification, but the Constitution kept its clauses
for minority languages rights. The policy was not supportive of diversity
as its prior goal was of Russification. The native language instruction was
not obligatory but was made optional. The bilingualism was
unidirectional i.e. many left their mother tongue by learning Russian. By
the 1970s, Russian had become the primary and in many instances the
sole language of instruction in education.
3.6.1 Importation of Soviet Language Policy:
The effort to import the soviet language policy on India has been
considered a fatal error by Schiffman. He further argued that,
The 1950 policy was without any doubt a clone of the Soviet model
developed and implemented by Lenin in the USSR in the 1920s, with
the role occupied by Russian in that policy tailored for Hindi in Indias
(Schiffman 1996:150)
Russia and India undoubtly are multilingual polities but the role and
status of the languages working in different domains in these two
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countries are totally different. Russian was and is the majority or
dominant language i.e. more than all the minorities in Russia. This
position is there since the Czarist rule but in India, Hindi is not a
dominant language. Hindi is a major language (39%) but still the
percentage is not even 50%. Also the regional languages of India are very
strong as compared to the indigenous languages of Russia.
Table 3.1: Speakers of Hindi and the State Dominant Languages in
each State
State Dominant
Language of
the state
No. of Hindi
No. of
%age of
%age of
Telugu 2,464,194 63,924,954 03.25 84.41
Nepali 81,186 94,919 7.39 8.70
Assam Assamese 1,569,662 13,010,478 5.89 48.84
Bihar Hindi 60,635,284 60,635,284 73.06 -
Chhattisgarh Hindi 17,210,481 17,210,481 82.61 -
Delhi Hindi 11,210,843 11,210,843 80.94 -
Gujarat Gujarati 2,388,814 42,768,386 4.71 84.53
Haryana Hindi 18,460,843 18,460,843 87.31 -
Hindi 5,409,758 5,409,758 89.01 -
Jammu &
Kashmiri 1,870,264 5,425,733 18.44 53.88
Jharkhand Hindi 15,510,587 15,510,587 57.56 -
Karnataka Kannada 1,344,877 34,838,035 02.54 66.06
Kerala Malayalam 26,386 30,803,747 0.08 96.75
Hindi 52,658,687 52,658,687 87.26 -
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Maharashtra Marathi 10,681,641 66,643,942 11.03 68.88
Manipur Manipuri 24,720 1,266,098 01.14 53.01
Meghalaya Khasi and
50,055 1,091,087
02.16 47.31
Mizoram Mizo 10,530 674756 01.19 75.73
Nagaland *Nagamese 56,981 30000 02.86 -
Orissa Oriya 1,043,243 30,563,507 02.83 83.26
Punjab Punjabi 1,851,128 22,334,369 07.60 91.95
Rajasthan Hindi 51,407,216 51,407,216 90.97 -
Sikkim Nepali 36,072 338,606 06.67 62.65
Tamil Nadu Tamil 189,474 59,377,942 0.30 95.60
Tripura Bengali 53,691 2,147,994 01.68 67.31
Hindi 151,770,131 151,770,131 91.32 -
Uttaranchal Hindi 7,466,413 7,466,413 87.95 -
West Bengal Bengali 5,747,099 68,369,255 07.17 85.23

*In Nagaland English is the official language but people of Nagaland
speak 60 dialects of Sino-Tibetan family. No one language is dominant
here but the wide spoken among them is nagamese which is a Creole.

From the above table we can see that in all the states Hindi is not the
dominant language. Out of twenty eight states Hindi is dominant in ten
states which is not even half of the total states. In almost sixteen states the
percentage of Hindi speakers is even less than 10%. By seeing the bar
diagram it is clear that Hindi is dominant mostly in the northern states. In
the southern and north-eastern states Hindi speakers occupy less space.
Therefore Hindi cannot be said the dominant language of India and so the
importation of the soviet language policy is not justified in Indian

Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


Figure 3.1: Bar Diagram showing Distribution of Hindi and Dominant
Language Speakers of each State.

One more distinction is that Hindi consists of 49 dialects in itself and then
it makes up the 39% and the speakers of these languages do not agree
they speak Hindi. Hindi is spoken in the Northern belt but Russian
occupies a wider territory. So we can see that like Russian, Hindi do not
have a strong background and platform. The selection of a language
policy without looking into the historical, social, cultural, educational and
0 20 40 60 80 100 120
Andhra Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh
Jammu & Kashmir
Madhya Pradesh
Tamil Nadu
Uttar Pradesh
West Bengal
State Dominant Language
Hindi speakers
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religious history will land up the nation in utter confusions. The kind of
promotion being given to Hindi is leading India towards Stalins model of
language policy i.e. hegemony of Hindi over all. The Government of
India for three consecutive years i.e. 1963-64, 1964-65 and 1965-66, has
spent Rs 4, 65, 00,000 for the propagation and development of Hindi.
for all other languages put together- Tamil, Malayalam,
Telugu........have spent a meagre amount for Rs 21,79,000. For Hindi
alone.........about Rs 4,65,00,000......for Hindi alone, they have spent
twenty times more than the amount spent for all the other languages
put together.
(CAD April 7, 1967:3632-33)
The idea of National flag, National Anthem, National bird, etc had
occupied the minds of the leaders but they were unaware of the
resentments being aroused by the idea of National language. So
Schiffman rightly said that, The biggest mistake of post-Independence
language policy in India was not that planners sought a policy that would
remove English and better suit Indian circumstances, but that they chose
another foreign model for their language policy, one that on the surface
seemed egalitarian and multilingual but was otherwise ill-equipped for
Indian circumstances.(Schiffman, 1996:165)
3.7 Hindi: From National to Official Language:
Hindi is our National Language, this is what most of the Indians know, in
fact more than half of Indias population is under the same impression.
They are ignorant of the fact that Hindi is only our official language and
there is no one national language in India. So it is very important to know
what is a national language, what is the difference between a national
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


language and an official language. A language which serves the whole
country is a national language or a language which is spoken by the
majorities or a language which binds the society with effective
communication. According to V. V. Vinogradov national language, is the
presence of a single standardized literary language, formed on a popular
basis, common for the whole nation and covering all the spheres of
communication. (Kluyev,1981:4)
For monolingual countries this term can be used successfully but for a
multilingual nation like India, this term is a bit abstract one, because it is
not possible to have an effective communication across the country from
Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Gujarat to extreme east in one
language. A language which integrates the people of a nation and serves
the function of nationalism is known as a national language and when
employed to achieve the end of nationalism is designated as official
language. (Srivastava,1984:111)
At the time of gaining Independence every ones primary attention was
on removing English by one language and that will be the national
language of India. Before Independence it was Hindustani which was
proposed as the national language of India. Gandhi, Nehru and others
thought that to represent a multi-ethnic nation like India it is important to
have a neutral language as the national language, so that the controversy
of Hindi-Urdu can be avoided.
According to Gandhi (1956:3) the criteria of a language for becoming the
national language were:
1. It should be easy to learn for Government officials.
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


2. It should be capable of serving all the domains, religion, politics,
3. It should be the majority language.
4. It should be easy enough to learn for everyone.
5. No temporary or passing interest should be considered while
choosing this language.
Gandhi while his Presidential address at the Second Gujarat Educational
Conference, Broach, Oct.20, 1917 gave these criteria. In his speech he
said that English cant fulfil all the criteria but Hindi can. So he very
strongly said,
Hindi has already established itself as the national language of India.
We have been using it as such for a long time. The birth of Urdu is due
to this fact.
(Gandhi, 1956:6)
Gandhi fully supported Hindustani because he knew that the Hindi-Urdu
controversy can become a hindrance in the path of development. So in
any case he wanted a common language i.e., Hindustani. His mind was
preoccupied with the fact of replacing English. He was more afraid of the
English encroachment than the Hindi-Urdu controversy. So his ideal
language of integration was Hindustani. But in doing so he forgot that
the language he was considering as a common language was made up of
Hindi-Urdu, which has nothing to do with the whole of South India. A
common language cannot be produced synthetically but the use and
development of a language by its user, flourishes a language into a pan
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


In the making of a common that is, national language, it is necessary to
take into account that in the relationship between language and society
there are present not two, but three elements: language, society and
The basic function of a language is communication and in a multilingual
country where there are more than hundred languages spoken,
communication will seize with the use of a single language, which is not
even spoken by half of the population. The people of South India had
more fear of dominance of Hindi than of English. In the essays written by
Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, it has been mentioned that: we must have two
scripts: the composite Devanagri-Bengali-Guajarati-Marathi; and the
Urdu-Sindhi; and if necessary, a script for the Southern languages, unless
this can be approximated to the first. (Gandhi, 1956:192)
While saying we was he referring the whole India and if so then why he
used this if necessary for scripts used in the south. Script is also one of
the important factors in determining a language as a standard language
and sometimes it plays even a bigger role as in Hindi-Urdu case.
Gandhi knew that to make Hindustani the pan India language it is
important to have the conscience of the South. So Gandhi in his
Presidential address at the second meeting of the All India Sahitya
Parishad in Madras (1937) said that:
Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada must be there and will be there.
But why not teach the illiterate in these parts these languages through
Devanagri script? In the interest of the national unity we desire to
achieve, the adoption of Devanagri: as a common script is so essential.
(Gandhi, 1956:46)
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


But Gandhi failed to popularize Hindustani Prachar Sabha in north India
because of some hard core orthodox movements like Shudhi and
Sangathan movements in favour of Hindi by Shraddhananda and Madan
Mohan Malaviya. Not only Gandhi tried to promote Hindustani but there
were others too working in favour of Hindustani. Like Hindustani
academy founded in 1927 by Raja Rajeshwar Bali, Hindustani culture
society in 1945 by Bhagwan Das, Tara Chand etc tried to promote
Hindustani so that in future it can be easily made the national language
without entering into any controversy. Some other important leaders who
supported Hindustani to become the national language are Dr. Rajendra
Prasad, Maulvi Abdul Haq, Mian Bashir Ahmad, Dr. Zakir Husain, Kaka
Kalelkar, Maulana Sulaiman Nadvi, Mr. Asaf Ali, Prof. Amaranath Jha,
and Mr. Rajagopalachariar etc. But there were others who considered
Hindustani as an abstract notion and thus not fit for becoming the national
language. Also there were some who were of the thought that Hindustani
is nothing but a simpler form of Urdu. So they strongly backed up Hindi
with Sanskritized form. People like Purushottamdas Tandon, K.M.
Munshi, Govind Das, Dr. Dhirendra Verma were of this view. There were
some like Sumittranandan pant, Mohammad Din Taseer who said there is
no need of a common language at this point and let Hindustani grow and
get accepted by all. Before partition people agreed for Hindustani but
after July 1947 the orthodox Hindi leaders dislodged Hindustani and
demanded that Hindi alone, written in the Devanagri script, be made the
national language but latter agreed on the term official instead of national
(Das Gupta, 1970:131). Despite the support of many important leaders
like Mahatma, Nehru, etc Hindustani failed to achieve its position. As
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soon as it happened many from the south started showing their
disagreement on behalf of Hindi. Even in the proceedings of the
Constitution assembly, the southern representatives regardless of their
mother tongue (Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam) were showing
their resistance against Hindi as the sole national language.
So after that Hindi along with English with a term of fifteen years was
termed as an associate official language. But still there was a strong
resentment against Hindi, because in the name of Hindustani, Hindi was
given the status of official language. The drafting Constitution which
appeared in 1948 changed Hindustani to Hindi even without the
official sanction of the assembly. (Chaklader, 1990:63). So it was
wrong on part of some leaders and scholars to use Hindustani and Hindi
interchangeably. The form of Hindi which became the official language
was never the Hindustani spoken at that time. So we can say that they are
two different forms, one being neutral and other being charged with
communal feelings. Mr. R. V. Dulekar in the Constituent Assembly on
Sep. 1949, while speaking on the question of the official language,

I say, it is..
-it means Hindi-
.the official language and it is a national language. You may
demure it; you may belong to another nation. But I belong to Indian
nation, the Hindi nation, the Hindustani nation, the Hindu nation.
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


Is Hindi fit to be called the national language or official language? It
was an important question which needed a strong answer. S. V.
Krishnamoorthy Rao of Karnataka argued that it was unfair to declare a
language that was not even understood by one third of the country and
still not standardized as an official language. (Agnihotri, 2007:192)
In 1961 only 30% of the population returned Hindi as their mother tongue
and is still being spoken only by 41.03% (2001 census), i.e., not even by
half of the population despite being promoted with a higher degree. As
we know Hindi in itself is an amalgamation of many dialects (as many as
49). There are many languages grouped under Hindi which are as
competent to be known as a language. Languages like Bhojpuri, Maithili,
Rajasthani etc are to be considered a dialect or language. The
representatives of these major regional languages are trying hard to get
them affiliation in the Eighth Schedule. Maithili has got and may be in
future others to will get. The growth of these dialects into languages will
ultimately affect the Hindi speaking claimants in future. Likewise there
are many contradicting situations which bring Hindi under question. With
the growing consciousness among the speakers of other languages and
dialects and with the growing popularity of English, where will Hindi
English is more popular as a second language than Hindi, 8% speak
English as their second language, 3.15% as a third language, whereas
just 6.15% of Indians, not having Hindi as their mother tongue choose
Hindi as second and 2.16% as third languages.
(Benedikter, 2009:170)

Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


Not only Hindi was opposed by the Southern people but also by the
supporters of Bengali and Sanskrit. So Hindi faces conflicts at various
1. As a language of national communication it comes into conflict
with English, which is recognized as an associate official language
of the union.
2. As a developed (inter-) regional language at the state level it comes
into conflict with Tamil, Bengali, etc.
3. As a lingua franca for its own dialects, it comes into conflict with
Maithili, Bhojpuri, etc.
4. As an alternate literary variant it comes into conflict with Urdu.
5. As an interethnic link language, it comes into conflict with
Santhali, Khasi, etc. (Sridhar, 1996)
Any coercive method of homogenization under the popular banner of
national integration or assimilation of cultures will give rise or can be
said has given rise to agitation and revolt.
3.8 The Official Language Act, 1993:
After facing lots of resentment and controversies on the issue of making
Hindi as the national language, the Constitution dropped this term
national and adopted official which was acceptable to all. The
forthcoming crisis was of making Hindi the sole official language of
India. The non-Hindi people wanted English also as one of the associate
official language. They were not ready to accept Hindi as the sole official
language. So a special committee was formed to bring out a
compromising position. The committee consisted of members like
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


Ayyangar, Krishnamachari, Munshi, Ayyar, Ambedkar, Sadulla, Rao,
Azad, Tandon, Pant, Sharma, Mookherjee and Santhanam. The
committee suggested English would be the sole official language for ten
years and for five more if Parliament agreed by two-thirds majority.
Somehow the formula did not have acceptance. Then a new formula was
suggested by Munshi-Ayyanagar which got popularized as the Munshi-
Ayyanagar formula, which got the largest support. The Munshi-
Ayyanagar formula was considered as the building blocks of the language
provisions of the constitution. Further with some modification this
formula got its place in the part XVII of the Constitution. (Chaklader,
Thus on Sept. 14
1949, the Constituent Assembly passed the
Constitutional provision regarding the Official Languages. Hindi was
made an official language instead of national language. So the
Constitution nowhere mentions or describes the term national. With
Hindi, the Constitution permitted the use of English for fifteen years from
the date of promulgation of the Constitution. It was after the death of
Nehru in 1964 that Gulzarilal Nanda the then Home Minister once again
tried to impose Hindi on others. This attempt of dropping English as the
official language led to a very strong protest from the Southern part of
India. As the people of the South had the fear of getting less job
opportunities as compared to the people of North. There insecurity
regarding Hindi led to a massive protest in the South and in June 1965 a
meeting of all the Chief Ministers held in Delhi in which it was decided
to retain English.
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


The Non-Hindi states were assured that Hindi would never be imposed
upon them, that English will be retained as an associate additional
official language as long as even a single non-Hindi state desired it.
This was the Official Language Amendment Act 1967.
This forced the Government to retain English and thus led to amendment
in the official language act. Thus Section 3 of the Official Languages
Act, 1963 passed by the Parliament provides for the continued use of
English along with Hindi even after 1965.
The Chapter XVII (Article 343 to 351) of the Constitution gives detailed
information about the official languages of the Union and the State. (see
Appendix B). Also The Official Language Policy of the Union has been
thoroughly described under Article 120 (Part 5), Article 210 (Part 6),
Articles 343, 344 and from Article 348 to 357 of the Constitution. Like
article 343 discusses the languages used for the official purposes of the
Union, article 345 deals with the languages that are to be used for the
official purpose of each State and Union Territory, article 346 gives an
account for the language that are to be used for communication between
the Union and State inter se.
The provisions of the official language of India may be divided into nine
1. Official language of the Union.
2. Official languages of the State.
3. Language of inter-communication.
4. Language of the Supreme Court.
5. Formation of a language commission.
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6. Language to be used in Union Parliament and State legislatures.
7. Safeguards for Linguistic Minorities.
8. Miscellaneous provisions for the promotion, development and use
of Hindi language.
9. Specification of some important languages as the national
(Chaklader, 1990:67-68)
There are very few states in India which recognizes only one language as
the official language. Each state has some clause to protect its linguistic
minorities. Also Hindi is not the pan India language.
Table 3.2: Official/Officially Recognized Languages (2001)
No. State Official Language Other Officially
Recognized Languages
1. Andhra Pradesh Telugu (1964) Urdu, Oriya
2. Arunachal Pradesh English -
3. Assam Assamese (1960) Bengali, Bodo
4. Bihar Hindi Urdu (1980)
5. Chhattisgarh Hindi -
6. Goa Konkani Marathi, Kannada
7. Gujarat Guajarati, Hindi
8. Haryana Hindi Punjabi
9. Himachal Pradesh Hindi Punjabi
10. Jammu & Kashmir Urdu -
11. Jharkhand Hindi -
12. Karnataka Kannada (1963) Malayalam, Tamil, Urdu,
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


13. Kerala Malayalam (1969) English, Tamil, Kannada
14. Madhya Pradesh Hindi (1957) -
15. Maharashtra Marathi (1964)
16. Manipur Meitei/Manipuri -
17. Meghalaya English Khasi, Garo
18. Mizoram English Mizo
19. Nagaland English -
20. Orissa Oriya (1954) -
21. Punjab Punjabi -
22. Rajasthan Hindi (1956) -
23. Sikkim English Nepali, Lepcha, Bhotia
24. Tamil Nadu Tamil (1956) -
25. Tripura English Bengali, Kokborok
26. Uttarakhand Hindi, English Urdu
27. Uttar Pradesh Hindi Urdu (1982)
28. West Bengal Bengali (1961) Nepali (1973)
Union territory
1. Andaman &
Nicobar islands
Hindi, English Tamil, Telugu, Bengali
2. Chandigarh Punjabi, Hindi,
3. Dadar and Nagar
Marathi, Guajarati -
4. Daman and Diu Guajarati, English Marathi
5. Delhi Hindi, English Urdu, Punjabi
6. Lakshadweep Malayalam -
7. Puducherry Tamil, English &
Malayalam, Telugu

Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


Out of 28 states, 18 States do not have Hindi as their official language.
They are as follows:- Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa,
Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur,
Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu,
Tripura and West Bengal.
To promote the use of Hindi for the official purposes of the Union, the
Department of Official Language was set up in June, 1975 as an
independent Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The
Department of Official Language prepares an Annual Programme in
which targets are fixed for different items of work for the progress of
Hindi. Also Committees have been set up at different levels to promote
use of Hindi for official purposes of the Union. They include, Committee
of Parliament on Official Language, Kendriya Hindi Samiti, Hindi
Salahkar Samitis, Central Official Language Implementation Committee
and Town Official Language Implementation Committees. The
Government is spending lots of money for the promotion of Hindi.
In the years (2000-01,2001-02 and 2002-03) in all a sum of Rs. 1050-
00 lakhs under the Plan Programmes and Rs. 3681.00 lakhs under the
Non-Plan Programmes respectively, have been allotted to Department
of Official Language for the development of Official Language Hindi.
(http://www.rajbhasha.gov.in/parlquesteng.htm, Question No 2129, Lok Sabha)
The continuous effort to make Hindi the sole official language is going on
but in that the Government should not forget the other languages of India
they are equally important. It is these languages which makes India
different from any other nation and makes it a multilingual mosaic.
So to maintain this multilingual essence of India the Government has
given recognition to 22 scheduled languages in the Constitution. Starting
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


from 14 it has reached 22 and still languages are growing and finding
place in the Eighth Scheduled.
3.9 The Eighth Scheduled:
India has 114 languages in its Census records. Out of those only 22
languages have got place in the Eighth Schedule. It is not possible to
recognize all the languages. But what was the need of having a Eighth
Schedule in the Constitution. The Eighth Schedule was originally
Schedule VII-A in the draft Constitution. At the time of Independence
everyone was busy dealing the issue of National language. But it was
evident that a nation with such a vast linguistic diversity cannot be
governed only by implementing one language. So in order to maintain the
multilingual ethos of India the Constitution gave place to fourteen
languages when the Constitution was adopted by the Constituent
Assembly on 26
Nov, 1949. This Schedule has emerged as the most
important language policy statement. For the sake of national integration
many stated these fourteen languages as the national languages. Like
Nehru in 1963 while addressing the Indian Parliament said that, all the
thirteen or fourteen languages in the eighth Schedule are national
languages (Nehrus speech, 4:65). The report of the official language
commission refers to the languages in the eighth schedule as regional
languages, while the official report of the Committee on Emotional
Integration refers to all the fourteen languages listed in the original
Eighth Schedule as having the status of national languages. (as cited in
Das, 1970:38-39)
The first question which needs to be addressed is why there was a need to
have a Eighth Schedule in the Constitution. Was the Government keen to
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


give importance to some languages to maintain national integration or
there was some other political or linguistic reasons. The Schedules
original purpose was stated in the Article 351 and 344. First was the
corpus planning of Hindi as stated in Article 351 of the Constitution- It
shall be the duty of the union to promote the spread of the Hindi
language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for
all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its
enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms,
style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of
India specified in the Eighth Schedule and secondarily on other
languages. (Benidikter, 2009:25). The second Article 344-(1) states
Commission and Committee of Parliament on Official language-The
President shall, at the expiration of five years from the commencement of
this Constitution and thereafter at the expiration of ten years from such
commencement, by order constitute a Commission which shall consist of
a Chairman and such other members representing the different languages
specified in the Eighth Schedule as the President may appoint, and the
order shall define the procedure to be followed by the Commission.
As stated by Mr. Moturi Satyanaranana, a member of the Drafting
Committee on the Language Resolution States that after a discussion on
the fluidity of languages in India, Pandit Nehru asked him to prepare a list
of languages. He gave a list of twelve languages and after seeing that he
added one more and that was Urdu. (Viswanatham, 2001:303). But still it
is not clear that how he arrived at these twelve languages. The criteria of
selection of these languages were never clear. It was rather on political
preferences more. The Part XIV-A of the Draft Constitution in the
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


Constituent Assembly on 12
Sep, 1949 has Schedule VII-A consisting
of thirteen languages. They are Assamese, Bengali, Canarese, Gujarati,
Hindi, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, and
Urdu. (Viswanatham, 2001)
In 1950 the number became fourteen by adding some and replacing
others. For example the name of the language Canarese was substituted
by the name Kannada through an amendment moved by S. V.
Krishnamoorthy. (CAD, p. 1486). So after that the fourteen languages
were Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri,
Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.
Later on Sindhi was added in 1967 through the 21
amendment. Then
Nepali, Manipuri, Konkani in 1992 through 71
amendment and finally in
2003 Maithili, Dogri, Santali, Bodo got its place in the Eighth Schedule
through the 92
amendment. Now the number has risen to twenty-two.

Table 3.3: List of Scheduled Languages and their Year of Recognition.
Languages Language
Yr. of
Areas Spoken in.
Assamese Indo-Aryan 1950 Assam
Bengali Indo-Aryan 1950 West Bengal, Assam,
Jharkhand, Tripura
Bodo Tibeto-
2003 Assam
Dogri Indo-Aryan 2003 Jammu and Kashmir
Gujrati Indo-Aryan 1950 Gujarat,
Hindi Indo-Aryan 1950 Most of Northern India
Kannada Dravidian 1950 Karnataka
Kashmiri Dardic 1950 Jammu and Kashmiri
Konkani Indo-Aryan 1992 Goa, Karnataka, Kerala,
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


Maithili Indo-Aryan 2003 Bihar
Malayalam Dravidian 1950 Kerala,
Manipuri Tibeto-
1992 Manipur
Marathi Indo-Aryan 1950 Maharashtra
Nepali Indo-Aryan 1992 Sikkim, West Bengal,
Oriya Indo-Aryan 1950 Orissa
Punjabi Indo-Aryan 1950 Punjab, Chandigarh,
Sanskrit Indo-Aryan 1950 Mattur
Santali Austro-
2003 Jharkhand
Sindhi Indo-Aryan 1967 Gujarat, Maharashtra,
Madhya Pradesh
Tamil Dravidian 1950 Tamil Nadu
Telugu Dravidian 1950 Andhra Pradesh
Urdu Indo-Aryan 1950 Jammu and Kashmir,
Andhra Pradesh, Uttar
Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi

Still the inclusion does not stop here. 38 languages are still on the waiting
list for getting recognition. They are Angika (Bihar), Banjara, Bajika
(Bihar), Bhojpuri (Bihar & Uttar Pradesh), Bhoti, Bhotia, Bundelkhandi,
Chhattisgarhi, Dhatki, English, Garhwali (Pahari), Gondi, Gujjar or
Gujjari, Ho, Kaachachhi, Kamtapuri, Karbi, Khasi, Kodava (Coorg), Kok
Barak, Kumaoni (Pahari), Kurak, Lepcha, Limbu, Mizo (Lushai), Magahi
(Bihar), Mundari, Nagpuri, Nicobarese, Pahari (Himachali), Pali,
Rajasthani, Sambalpuri or Kosali, Shaurseni (Prakrit), Siraiki, Tenyidi
and Tulu.
In India there are five language families and out of 22 Schedule
languages, 14 are of Indo-Aryan, 4 of Dravidian, 2 are of Tibeto-Burman
and 1 of Austro-Asiatic group. Out of 114 languages present in India, 88
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


languages are tribal languages. (Benedikter, 2009:58). Still the number of
tribal languages recognized under the Eighth Schedule is so meagre. The
two entire language families the Tibeto-Burman and the Austro-Asiatic
have been neglected. The development of the Schedule languages will
lead India to a greater cleavage between the major and minor languages.
This Reductionist policy of the government will hamper the
multilingual ethos of the country. The big fishes will swallow the smaller
one (those not listed in the Eighth Schedule). (Abbi, 2004). Abbi has
pointed out several negative consequences of the Eighth Schedule. One is
the marginalization and stigmatization of several languages. The Eighth
Schedule has created discord and tension by creating a list of prestigious
and privileged languages. The benefits the speakers of these languages
are availing are being eligible candidate for employment, having the
medium of instruction and examination, translation facility, being
language of mass media, thus creating a hierarchy of conflict. But if taken
positively this Eighth Schedule has made the speakers of other languages
think of developing their language in order to have place in the Eighth
Schedule. Thats why the number has risen from fourteen to twenty-two
and many more are trying hard to develop their language. Scholars like
Pattanayak, Abbi, U.N. Singh are strongly against the enlisting of
languages in the eighth Schedule. As stated by Pattanayak, the Eighth
Schedule instead of maintain and promoting multilingualism in the
country props up dominant monolingualism. By not recognizing diversity
it indirectly supports language imperialism at the national as well as
regional levels. (Pattnayak, 1995:55)
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


As stated by U. N. Singh (1995: 46-47) there are three views regarding
the Eighth Scheduled:
1. Some view it as the end- the ultimate goal.(like by language
2. Some view the Schedule as a port that lies in the mid course- as a
milestone for direction or as an instrument of change.
3. Some view the Schedule as a beginning- a preamble with expected
political overtones and an avowed policy of language engineering.
Table 3.4: Languages in the Eighth Schedule with their speakers
strength. (Census 2001)
No. Languages Number of
Percentage of total
1 Hindi 42,20,48,642 41.02
2 Bengali 8,33,69,769 8.1
3 Telugu 7,40,02,856 7.1
4 Marathi 7,19,36,894 6.9
5 Tamil 6,07,93,814 5.9
6 Urdu 5,15,36,111 5.0
7 Gujarati 4,60,91,617 4.4
8 Kannada 3,79,24,011 3.6
9 Malayalam 3,30,66,392 3.2
10 Oriya 3,30,17,446 3.2
11 Punjabi 2,91,02,477 2.8
12 Assamese 1,31,68,484 1.2
13 Maithili 1,21,79,122 1.1
14 Santali 64,69,600 0.6
15 Kashmiri 55,27,698 0.5
16 Sindhi 25,35,485 0.2
17 Nepali 28,71,749 0.2
18 Konkani 24,89,015 0.2
19 Dogri 22,82,589 0.2
20 Manipuri 14,66,705 0.1
21 Bodo 13,50,478 0.1
22. Sanskrit 14,135 N
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


However it is clear that the selection of these languages was not only on
the basis of number of speakers because there are languages added in the
Schedule which has lesser less number of speakers like Sindhi, Manipuri,
Kashmiri, etc. And there are languages whose population are more than
one million yet have not found any place in the Eighth Schedule.
Table 3.5: Non-Schedule Languages (spoken by more than one million
each) (2001 Census)
Languages No. of speakers States spoken in

Bhili 9,582,957 Madhya Pradesh,
Rajasthan, Maharashtra
Gondi 2,713,790 Andhra Pradesh, Madhya
Pradesh, Maharashtra,
Khandeshi 2,075,258 Maharashtra
Kurux 1,751,489 Jharkhand, Madhya
Pradesh, Orissa
Tulu 1,722,768 Karnataka, Kerala
Mundari 1,061,352 Jharkhand

Some of the criteria for the inclusion of languages in the Eighth Schedule
can be:
1. Literary traditions and scripts of their own.
2. Spoken by the largest number of people in large contiguous
geographical zones as dominant languages of certain regions.
3. Political concessions. (Sindhi, Nepali)
4. Being recognized as official languages in newly formed states.
(Konkani, Manipuri)
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


5. Being a classical language of culture and heritage and also a
resource language in modernizing the major literary
6. Being spoken by a large population, geographically distributed and
dispersed, but with its own script and literature. (Urdu)
(Krishnamurthi, 1995:15)
But these criteria are not enough to justify the inclusion of certain
languages and the non-inclusion of certain others. There are languages
whose speaker strength is strong or have enough literature to be included
in the Eighth Scheduled; also many have their own script, etc. So one can
see that the choice of languages in the Eighth Schedule is not really based
on these criteria. Only some got position are evident of the fact that many
have got entry due to political dominance.
3.10 The Linguistic State Reorganization:
The division of India on the basis of languages started under the British
rule which dates back to 1858. The movements for reorganization were
for the unification of territories having one language, thus making the
regional languages strong. India during the British rule was divided into
three presidencies, i.e. Bengal, Madras and Bombay. Later for ease in
administration there were more provinces made. In 1836 the North-
Western Provinces were made and in the 1861 the Central Provinces were
created. Bengal presidency went through numerous changes. In 1905
Lord Curzon divided Bengal into two parts. One province consisted of
Western part of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa and the other province
consisted of East Bengal and Assam. But in 1912 Bengal was reunified
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


under pressure of the national movement of the Bengalis. Later on in
1935, Sindh was made a separate province and Bihar and Orissa were
divided into two. Then in 1986, Mahesh Narayan of Bihar began a
movement for the removal of Hindi speaking regions from Bengal. With
the separation of Bengal by Lord Curzon in 1905 the leaders of the
nationalist movement began to give importance to the organization of
states on language basis. The linguistic reorganization gave a base for the
development of languages individually. Gandhi, Nehru, Tilak and other
Congress men supported this reorganization of the countrys
administrative division on a linguistic basis.
In November 1921 the congress working committee was emphatically
of the opinion that all provincial proceedings should be conducted and
provincial publications should be printed in the vernaculars of the
respective provinces.
(Kluyev, 1981:122)
It started before independence and was carried up to then. They were
unaware of the complicacies that can come due to the reorganization of
the states in India. After Independence a Commission (1948) was set to
enquire about the establishment of linguistic provinces. It was being
presided by S. K. Dar so was named Dar Commission. According to the
Dar Commission the formation of provinces on exclusively or even
mainly linguistic considerations is not in the large interests of the Indian
nation and should not be taken in hand. (i.bid, p123)
The Government intended to postpone the Reorganization. But the
Linguistic Reorganization got mass support and thus the All India
Congress Committee at Jaipur supervised by Nehru, Patel and Pattabhi
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


Sitaramaiah started a fresh move to enquire about the conditions of
reorganization. After the death of Potti Sreeramulu and the subsequent
riots in Andhra Pradesh, the congress government was forced to create
Andhra Pradesh in 1953. So in 1953 the Government was forced to
appoint a new committee to provide recommendations on reorganization.
Based on the report of the Committee, the Government of India passed
the Act on the Reorganization of States on the Linguistic Basis.
In December 1953 Pandit Nehru appointed State Reorganization
Commission. This was headed by Justice Fazal Ali and the commission
itself was also known as the Fazal Ali Commission. The efforts of this
commission were overseen by Govind Ballabh Pant, who served as Home
Minister from December 1954. The commission created a report in 1955
recommending the reorganisation of India's states. The state
reorganization Commission on 30-09-1955 gave report on the linguistic
reorganization of the states, in the report it was stated:
1. Not all the language groups are so placed that they can be grouped
into separate states;
2. There are large numbers of bilingual belts between different
linguistic areas;
3. There exist areas with a mixed population even within
monolingual areas.
As stated by Benedikter, (2009:37-38), The Commissions main aim was
to ensure Indias unity, linguistic and cultural homogeneity and to foster
administrative convenience. Before the linguistic state reorganization the
India was divided into part A, part B and part C.

Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


Figure 3.2: I ndian Provinces and Princely States before 14 August
retrieved on 28/10/09

Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


This Act of Reorganization of State was a very important language
policy. The first step towards the formation of Linguistic State was the
making of Andhra Pradesh on 1
October 1953. Very intense protests
followed by Hartal and Bandhs were made by the Telugu speakers for the
formation of Andhra. This was the result of promises made by the Indian
National Congress before Independence of giving each major linguistic
group their own provinces. After this others too started demanding their
own linguistic states and thus the States Reorganization Commission was
set up in 1953.
The act of reorganization of state led to the redrawing of the map of
India by creating linguistically homogeneous states. It erased the
distinction between Part A, Band C of the states and reduced the number
of states from 27 to 14 excluding the 6 Union Territories. Keeping in
mind the linguistic multiplicity of the country, the State Reorganization
Commission took many factors in consideration for the Reorganization.
1. Cost of change (paragraphs 92-106)
2. Unity and security of India (paragraphs 107-116)
3. Language and culture (paragraphs 117-169)
4. Financial viability (paragraphs 170-184)
5. Requirements of national development plans (paragraphs 185-196)
6. Regional planning and a balanced economy (paragraphs 197-210)
7. Smaller vs. larger states (paragraphs 211-220)
8. Wishes of the people (paragraphs 221-228)
9. The facts of the existing situation are more important than the
historical arguments. (paragraphs 229-231)
10. Geographical contiguity. (paragraphs 232-233)
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


11. No proposals for reorganization should be determined by a single
test. (paragraphs 235)
(Report, SRC,1955 )
According to the report of State Reorganization Commission, 1955, it
was decided to have sixteen constituent units, to be called States, and
three administered territories.
1. Madras: the state was reduced to its present boundaries by the
transfer of Malabar District to the new state of Kerala. Later on the
state was renamed Tamil Nadu in 1969. Also the five taluks of
Agastheeswaram, Thovala, Kalkulam, Vilavancode and Shencotta
were to be transferred to the state of Madras.
2. Kerala: should consist of the state of Travancore-Cochin minus the
five taluks given to Madras, the Malabar district, the Kasaragod
taluk and the Amindive islands.
3. Karnataka: will consist of the present state of Mysore, the four
Kannada speaking districts of Bombay namely Dharwar, Bijapur,
North Kanara and Belgaum, the districts of Raichur and Gulbarga
from Hyderabad, the South Kanara district of Madras, the Kollegal
taluk and Coorg.
4. Hyderabad: it will consist of of the Telugu speaking districts of the
present state of Hyderabad, namely, Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda,
Warangal, Karimnagar, Adilabad, Nizamabad, Hyderabad and
Medak, along with Bidar district and the Munagala enclave of
Andhra. It was also decided that after the general elections likely to
Chapter Three: Language Policy of India


be held in or about 1961, the residuary state of Hyderabad might
unite with Andhra, if gets a two-third majority support.
5. Andhra: the taluks of Siruguppa, Bellary and Hospet and a portion
of the Mallapuram should be transferred.
6. Bombay: will include the Bombay state, the Marathi speaking
districts of Hyderabad, namely, Osmanabad, Bhir, Aurangabad,
Parbhani and Nanded; Saurashtra and Kutch.
7. Vidarbha: should be consisting of Marathi speaking districts of
Madhya Pradesh, namely, Buldana. Akola, Amravati, Yeotmal,
Wardha, Nagpur, Bhandara and Chanda.
8. Madhya Pradesh: after the separation of Vidarbha a new state
known as Madhya Pradesh should be created consisting of 14
districts of the residuary Madhya Pradesh; Bhopal and Vindhya
Pradesh; Madhya Bharat except Mandsaur district and the Sironj
sub-dividion of the Kotah district.
9. Rajasthan: it will consist of Ajmer and the Abu Road taluk of the
Banaskantha district of Bombay and the Loharu sub-tehsil of the
Hissar district of Punjab.
10. The Punjab: there is no case of dividing the present Punjab state.
PEPSU and the Himachal Pradesh should, however, be merged in
the Punjab.
11. Uttar Pradesh: will continue in its existing form.
12. Bihar: Seraikella and Kharsawan should continue to be a part of
bihar and no further changes required.
13. West Bengal: a portion of the Purnea district east of river
Mahananda and the Purulia sub-district of the Manbhum district
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minus the Chas thana should be transferred from Bihar to West
14. Assam: Tripura should be merged in Assam and the present
arrangements with regard to the north east frontier agency should
15. Orissa: no changes required.
16. Jammu and Kashmir: no recommendations are made.
1. Delhi
2. Manipur
3. Andaman and Nicobar islands
(SRC, pp-256-60)
Finally in 1956 the Central Government agreed to create Linguistic
States. And the whole of India was divided into 13 major states on
linguistic lines.
Table 3.6: List of the Linguistic States formed on 1
November 1956.
States Region included
Andhra Pradesh Included Telangana region of Hyderabad state
Bombay state Included Saurashtra and Kutch, some part of
Nagpur division, Marathawada region of
Hyderabad.(in 1960 it split into Maharashtra and

Kerala Included Malabar District
Madhya Pradesh Included Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh and
Mysore state Renamed Karnataka in 1973
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Orissa Included all the 28 princely state
Punjab Included Patiala and east Punjab states union
Rajasthan Included Ajmer-Merwara state (earlier it was
Uttar Pradesh
West Bengal
Union territories
Andaman and Nicobar islands
Himachal Pradesh
Pondicherry(now puduchery)
(Wikipedia retrieved on 27/11/09)
So on, on November 1, 1956 the division of the states were as such:
1. Andhra Pradesh: it was enlarged by adding Telangana state and
Hyderabad state.
2. Assam
3. Bihar
4. Bombay state: Saurashtra and Kutch, the Marathi-speaking
districts of Nagpur Division of Madhya Pradesh, and the
Marathwada region of Hyderabad were added to Bombay state.
The southernmost districts of Bombay were transferred to Mysore
State. Further in 1960, the state was split into the modern states of
Maharashtra and Gujarat.
5. Jammu and Kashmir
6. Kerala: it was formed by the merger of Travancore-Cochin state
with the Malabar District of Madras State.
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7. Madhya Pradesh: Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh, and Bhopal
were merged into Madhya Pradesh.
8. Madras State: the state was reduced to its present boundaries by
the transfer of Malabar District to the new state of Kerala. Later on
the state was renamed Tamil Nadu in 1969.
9. Mysore State: it was enlarged by the addition of Coorg state and
the Kannada speaking districts from southern Bombay state and
western Hyderabad state. Later on in 1973 the state was renamed
10. Orissa: it was enlarged by the addition of 28 princely states
including two princely states of Saraikela and Kharsawan, but later
these two states merged with Bihar.
11. Punjab: the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU) was
merged into Punjab.
12. Rajasthan: Rajputana was renamed Rajasthan, and enlarged by the
addition of Ajmer-Merwara state.
13. Uttar Pradesh
14. West Bengal
(Wikipedia retrieved on 27/11/09)
Now in the present scenario there are 28 states and seven union territories
and all are equally heterogeneous and support multilingualism. To
maintain the multilingual essence of the states the state reorganization
commission suggested some points;
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1. A state should be considered monolingual when about 70% or
more of the entire population of the state speaks the same
2. A state should be considered as bilingual when about 30% or more
of the entire population of the state speaks a language other than
the language of the region.
3. The language of the minority should be used for conducting
official business in a district and not the official language of the
state if 70% or more of the population of the district speaks it.
4. In bilingual districts, municipal areas or in Taluks where minorities
contribute 15% to 20% documents like government notices,
electoral rolls, ration cards, etc. are to be reprinted in both the

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Figure 3.3: I ndian States after Linguistic Reorganization
retrieved on 28/10/09
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Thus at the time of independence Indias soul was divided not only in two
parts but in several smaller units. According to Khubchandani (1986:20),
in spite of the linguistic reorganization of the India states in 1956 based
on the language identity of the dominant pressure groups, regions are not
necessarily homogeneous.. every state, apart from the dominant
state language, has from one to six outside, or minority languages which
are spoken by more than 20 persons per 1000 population.(as cited in
Pattanayak, 1990:57) Now fresh demands are being made for the creation
of Telangana, Vidharbha and Gorkha land, etc. In 2008, UPA demanded
the centre to set up the 2
State Reorganization Commission (SRC) for
creating new states. (Zee news, 2008) The creation of states at that time
on linguistic basis was done because of administrative reasons.
But now in the present scenario this division is creating more problems.
Now with so many states and still the demand is rising, the power of the
Centre is weakening and the states are calling up the tune. This is leading
the nation towards Linguistic chauvinism, which is resulting in ethnic
killing in many places in India (Kuki-Naga clash, etc.). Recently a ruckus
over language happened in the Maharashtra Assembly. On the first day of
the session of the Maharashtra Assembly on 9
, November 2009 over a
dozen Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) members stormed the
podium and attacked a Samajwadi Party member Abu Azmi who was
taking the oath of office in Hindi instead of Marathi. The outrageous
incidents took place in the wake of the MNS president Raj Thackerays
open letter to party legislators asking them to take the oath in Marathi,
and his veiled warning against using any other language. (The Hindu, 10
Nov 2009). This is hampering the multilingual essence of the country. If
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people of same community and same language will be segregated then
instances of multilingualism will decrease. Multilingualism results only
when there is interaction among people of different community or
different linguistic background.
3.11 Language Provisions in the Constitution:
Apart from the Eighth Scheduled, keeping in mind the multilingual
situation of India, the planners of the constitution have paid special
attention in specifying which language to be used for official purposes,
which for regional, educational and administrative. The language policy
of India is pluristic in approach. For managing multilingualism the whole
of part xvii of the constitution is devoted to language. Some of the articles
describing the use of language in different domains are:
Article 29: it enunciates the fundamental rights of any section of
citizens residing anywhere in India to conserve its distinct
language, script or culture.
Article 30: seeks to protect the rights of all minorities based on
religion or language-to establish and administer educational
institution of their choice.
Article 120: lays down the official language of Parliament. It says
business in Parliament may be transacted in English or in Hindi.
However Honble Speaker of the Lok Sabha may permit any
member to address the house in his/her mother tongue under
special circumstances.
Article 210: lays down the corresponding language provision for
State legislature.
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Article 343: stipulates Hindi in Devanagri script as the official
language of the union.
Article 344: enables the President of India to constitute an official
language commission after five years and then to review the
progress made by Hindi.
Article 345: empowers the legislature of a state to adopt one or
more languages in use in that State as the official language or
languages for the State.
Article 346: provides that the official language of the union
(Hindi or English) shall be the official language for communication
between the Union and a State and between the States inter se.
Article 348: stipulates that the language of the Supreme Court and
High Court shall be English until the Parliament by law otherwise
provides. State may, in addition, use their official language(s) for
this purpose but the English text will be deemed authoritative.
Article 349: no change of article 348 can be contemplated for 15
years and after that period the President of India must be satisfied
of the need for a change.
Article 350A: inserted by the 7
Amendment provides for local
authorities in every state endeavouring to extent adequate facilities
for instruction in the mother tongue at the primary stage of
education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups and
for the President issuing necessary direction to any state.
An Article 394A (part 22): inserted by the 56
Amendment act
provided for an authoritative text of the constitution in the Hindi
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This shows that the constitution is working in favour of multilingualism.
At the Union level various commissions and boards have been formed to
look after the language development programs. The Government of India
has set up the following prominent institutions and agencies under the
Union Government of India:
Parliamentary Committee
The Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology
Central Institute of Indian Languages.
National Council for the Promotion of Urdu language.
Central Institute of Hindi or Kendriya Hindi Sansthan.
Central Hindi Directorate.
National Council for the Promotion of Sindhi Language.
Central Translation Bureau
National Council of Educational Research and Training
Sahitya Akademi
The main aim and objective of these institutions and agencies are the
development of Indian languages. Many textbooks, official documents,
etc are being translated in the regional languages. The Constitution does
favour multilingualism. However some social problems do come in the
way of success of these policies and laws of the Constitution.
So the Constitution of India has always kept provisions for the proper
working and development of the entire languages whether it is a major
language or a minor language. The Constitution of India is flexible
enough for maintaining the heterogeneous and multilingual essence of the
country. The language policy of India is pluralistic in nature. The
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language policies of India are made keeping in mind the multiplicity of
languages and heterogeneity. The only problem which it faces is at the
level of implementation.