On September 14, 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India adopted Hindi as the official language of the Republic of India. Since then, this day is celebrated every year as Hindi Diwas, with thousands paying homage. Spoken as a native language by more than 258 million people across the world, Hindi is a significant part of India's history and culture. The Indo-Aryan Language is based on the Devanagari script, and is primarily spoken in Northern and central India.
"Wishing you all a very Happy Hindi Diwas. People from different regions have played a remarkable role in making Hindi a capable and vigorous language. It is the result of all your efforts that Hindi is continuously creating a strong identity for itself on the global stage," PM Modi's tweet, roughly translated from Hindi, said.
"On the occasion of Hindi Diwas, I urge all the countrymen to take a pledge to progressively use Hindi which is one of the official languages along with their mother tongue in basic works. The progress of India is contained in the coordination of mother tongue and official language. Wishing you all a very Happy Hindi Diwas," added Home Minister Amit Shah, in a tweet roughly translated from Hindi.
But while Hindi in Devanagari script is the official language of the Union (alongside English when applicable), this is different from being the National language of India. Despite some public assertions made by government officials at various time, official records indicate that India has no National Language altogether. In 2017 for example, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu had insisted that Hindi was the National Language, even as he lamented India's "obsession" with English.
The debate has been raging since before independence. A Constituent Assembly meeting in 1946 for example saw RV Dhulekar speaking in Hindustani and later contending that those who did not understand the language "had no right to stay in India”.
In 2010, the Gujarat High Court had observed that while a majority of people in India have accepted it as a national language, "there is nothing on record to suggest that any provision has been made or order issued declaring Hindi as a national language of the country".
Over the years, government proposals including those that proposed mandatory teaching of Hindi in school have sparked debate. Many non-Hindi speaking states have also railed against the pan-India adoption of the another language. In daily usage, while Hindi or English are the preferred chose, other languages are often entertained. In the Parliament for example, any member who cannot adequately express himself in Hindi or in English may be permitted to address the House in his mother-tongue.
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