We were freshers then some sixteen years ago when we newly recruited employees entered the Auditorium to celebrate the Hindi Fortnight in the month of September. We never knew what it meant then. As anxiety settled in we were told that in Central Government Offices the fortnight is celebrated for the promotion of our National Language Hindi (Errr.. Hindi is not our National Language, Government has never declared it one till date. Just as Hockey is not our National Game. Don’t look shocked !! Government has announced that there is no Official Notification issued till date on these subjects. ).
The story goes on that at the time of Independence Hindi worked as a common language that wove the country together into one nation as a whole. After Independence the Government set before itself that all the Official work will be done in Hindi and ten years period was given for transition from English Correspondence to Hindi. As usual Government failed to achieve its target, the transition never took place, so a cosmetic action was initiated, celebration of hindi fortnight is one of this cosmetic effort to promote hindi as official language.
I am not against the language, it is one of the oldest language with variety of shades, spoken in different tones in different parts of India and Indian Sub Continent, yes even today it has woven the country together. A couple of months ago when we went to the northern tip of India at Ladakh, we found ourselves at comfort because of our common language i.e. Hindi. Though the pronounciation of ours was Bambayya (Bombay styled) and their was typical Ladakhi (gorkha styled). But we could talk for hours. In fact we made good friends in our Drivers Manoj & Angdu. That is the beauty of this language. Why do we require symbolic programmes and fortnights???
Now for people not aware of what exactly transpires in this fortnight. At the Inaugural Ceremony a fax or email from one of the Ministers that usually comes a couple of days before is read out (this year the Home Minister of our country sent the message). A Guest is invited, he speaks about the beauty of this language an tries to motivate everybody to work in hindi. Yes, we all express our resolve to work in hindi, back to our desks we already know what we are supposed to do, i.e. work in english. Some programmes like Essay Writing Competitions, Music Competitions etc are organized. Thanks to my blogging habits, I have been winning the Essay Writing Competition for last five years in a row. No, this blog will not be in hindi though 🙂 As an alibi to promote Hindi, on public demand (employees demand), the popular Bollywood Flick during that particular period is shown. Is this the way one promotes his/her language ? Everything is smack of formality, we all do it religiously, just for the sake of doing. What we sincerely do is to to munch our dishes that are served during these fortnights. Is it not wasteful expenditure, especially in country like ours where millions go to bed hungry. Its not just the question of one Government Office, there are hundred and thousands of such offices and more than four million odd people working and “celebrating” these fortnights and wasting tax payers money. Isn’t it ? Each Central Government Office has a nominated Hindi Officer. I dont know much about others, but our Officer is a lucky guy to get salary cheque for doing nothing. The guy was entrusted a task of bringing out a bi-monthly newsletter. I was asked to ensure that it is converted in web format and soft copies are made available on our Official website. Till date, since last six month, the guy was able to write only one page of the newsletter that will perhaps never come.
This year’s celebration had been more frank, thanks to one of our colleague who spoke directly on the dias that yes we all do it as a formality, we do not use the language in official use, and we are not going to use it after the fortnight. The Guest was taken aback by such candid expression. He overdid trying to explain how this language was essential and how it helped all. Just when he was succeeding one of our trainee from our workshop raised hands and put forward a simple question. He said Sir, Hindi is fine, but it does not gives you job. For jobs and for interviews, we require English. The Guest fumbled even more.
Why do we need to celebrate a fortnight to promote a language ? We never celebrated any fortnights or weeks or even days to learn and love our mother tongue. Did we? Hindi in any case is a stronger language, it is not as if the language is dying. Even IT Companies likes Windows & Microsoft and Google had to incorporate the language in their softwares. The language will not die by not celebrating and expending the money by wasteful expenditure, poor do die, die of hunger even today…
The celebrations wont end so soon anyways…