Hindi, Local Languages as Medium of Instruction in All Institutions, Recommends Shah-Led Panel

New Delhi: The Committee of Parliament on Official Language headed by Union home minister Amit Shah has recommended that the medium of instruction should mandatorily be Hindi, and local languages, in all technical or non-technical educational institutions including central universities.

In its 11th volume of the report presented to President Droupadi Murmu last month, the committee said that English should be the medium of instruction only where it is absolutely necessary and gradually English should be replaced with Hindi in those institutions, the New Indian Express reported.

“Use of Hindi as medium of instruction and other activities should be Hindi in all technical and non-technical institutions in the country and use of English should be made optional,” the newspaper said, citing the committee’s recommendation.

The technical institutions include Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of management (IIMs), and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) under the Union government. Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs), Navodaya Vidyalayas (NVs) and central universities fall under the category of non-technical institutes.

Apart from making Hindi as the medium of instruction in training institutes, the committee has recommended elimination of compulsory English-language question paper in the recruitment examinations, the daily reported.

“In many recruitment examinations, Hindi medium option is not available and English-language question paper is compulsorily included. In this situation, the candidate gives preference to English over Hindi. Therefore, mandatory English-language question papers should be discontinued and Hindi options be given… requisite knowledge of Hindi for the selection of employees should be ensured and in the recruitment examinations, the question paper of Hindi should mandatorily be included in place of English,” the report said.

It has also asked for the adequate arrangement of Hindi translation for all relevant high court orders, with the option of high court proceedings in Hindi.

Added to that, it also noted that government officials who do not work in Hindi in Hindi-speaking states should be warned.

“The committee has found that some officers or employees don’t work in Hindi. So those officials should be given a warning and an explanation should be sought from them. If satisfactory reply is not received, it should be recorded in their Annual Performance Assessment Report (APAR),” it said.

It further recommended that Hindi should be made as one of the official languages in the United Nations.

Other recommendations include communication by central government offices, ministries or departments, such as letters, faxes, and emails, should take place in Hindi or local languages, simple and easy language should be used in official work and invitation letters, speeches, and moderation for any events organised by the central government should all be in Hindi or local languages.

The committee submits one report in five years. However, this time within three years, the committee submitted two reports. In its latest report, it has made 112 recommendations.

It was set up in 1976 under the Official Language Act, 1963, and comprises 30 members of Parliament – 20 from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha.

Biju Janata Dal leader Bhartruhari Mahtab, who is the deputy chairman of the committee, told news agency PTI that it has framed the recommendations as per the new National Education Policy which suggested that the medium of instruction should either be official or regional languages.

Mahtab said in higher education institutions such as Banaras Hindu University, Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University, Hindi is being used only 20 to 30%, whereas it should be used 100%.

Shah had earlier also suggested that people of different states should communicate with each other in Hindi, and not English.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided that the medium of running the government is the Official Language, and this will definitely increase the importance of Hindi. Now the time has come to make the Official Language an important part of the unity of the country,” he had said in April at the 37th meeting of the Parliamentary Official Language Committee.

However, while several debates over the imposition of the Hindi language in government institutions have emerged in recent times, many politicians and experts have criticised the idea of equating learning Hindi with a false sense of nationalism. Many have also questioned if there’s a culture of Hindi dominance in our country.

Featured image: Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks during the launch of a book Maharaja: Sahastra Varshon Ka Dharmyudh in New Delhi, Friday, June 10, 2022. Photo: Kamal Kishore/PTI

(With inputs from PTI)

This article was first published on The Wire.