“Hindi saptah” is being celebrated all over the country
India is a place with many languages. At every 8thKm, there is a change of language being spoken by the native people. But one language which is spoken and understood all over the country by most people is Hindi. And on the 14th of September every year, we celebrate Hindi Divas all over the country to mark an important historical underpinning in Indian History. Many of you might not know that Hindi Divas are also celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of Beohar Rajendra Simha who was very instrumental in getting the official status for Hindi.
On the 14th of September in 1949, the Indian Constituent Assembly moved a resolution to adopt Hindi as the official language of India. The resolution was passed by one vote. Hindi Divas are celebrated to mark this important day of Indian History. The decision was taken to make Hindi the official language of India while English was given the status of associate language for a period of 15 years. This compromise was finalized to accommodate the demands of the Hindi protagonists and South Indian delegates who wanted English to become the official language. The name of this pact was the Munshi-Ayyangar formula named after the members of the Constituent Assembly who helped in finalizing this pact, K M Munshi and N Gopalaswamy Ayyangar.
When the 15-year term drew to an end, protests broke out in significant areas of Hindi-speaking India, particularly in Tamil Nadu, due to the fear of the imposition of Hindi. In January 1965, riots started in Madurai and quickly extended to Madras. Due to the opposition, the Official Languages Act was passed by the Centre, stipulating that Hindi and English would both remain recognized as official languages.
In all government colleges and schools, many cultural programs are organized to promote awareness about the Hindi Divas. Speech-giving ceremonies, debate competitions, poetry, storytelling, etc. are all organized in the Hindi language. Students are asked to come up with Hindi slogans and one-liners to generate interest in the language. In offices too, the work is carried out in the Hindi language and many competitions are organized to boost the morale of the employees on Hindi Divas.
There are 121 mother tongues included in the 2011 linguistic census, including 22 that are classified in the Constitution’s 8th Schedule. With 52.8 crore people or 43.6% of the population, claiming Hindi as their mother tongue, it is the most widely spoken language. Bengali, the mother tongue of 9.7 crores (8%) people and less than one-fifth of Hindi’s population come in second. Over half of the population of the country speaks Hindi, according to the count. Hindi is either the mother tongue or the second language for close to 55% of the population, according to the over 13.9 crores almost 11%) who listed it as their second language.
Over the years, Hindi has been the mother tongue of choice in India, with its share of the population growing with each census. Hindi was listed as the mother tongue of 37% of Indians in 1971; this percentage increased over the course of the following four censuses to 38.7%, 39.2%, 41%, and 43.6% as of the most recent count. Hindi was listed as the mother tongue of 2.6 times as many people between 1971 and 2011, going from 20.2 crores to 52.8 crores. For Punjabi, Maithili, Bengali, Gujarati, and Kannada, the numbers more than doubled; for Marathi, they nearly doubled.