Addressing a function last Sunday to celebrate Hindi Divas (Day) Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh announced that in the SAARC meeting of Home Ministers in Nepal later this week he will deliver his speech in Hindi. He announced that Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi also will address the United National General Assembly on September 27 in Hindi. Mr. Singh recalled how Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee had earlier addressed the United Nations in Hindi. He said that 55 percent of India’s population speaks Hindi while over 85 percent understand it. His reference to Indian leaders delivering speeches in Hindi in international forums betrayed a sense of pride.
With due respect pride over leaders addressing international audiences in Hindi is hollow. Any language in the world can be spoken anywhere with the help of translators. Pretensions about winning Hindi international recognition appear pathetic when Hindi is not even accepted as the national language within India. Responding to a current government circular issued by the Home Ministry that educational institutes should teach Hindi along with English as a primary language, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Miss Jayalalithaa, and even BJP allies in the NDA government, PMK and MDMK, have strongly criticized the move. PMK leader Mr. Ramadoss said: “There is no doubt this is a blatant imposition of Hindi.” Language cannot be imposed. It must be accepted. This can be accomplished if the government were to follow the suggestion frequently voiced by this scribe.
On August 6, 2014 he wrote:
“Adopt the Roman script for Hindi retaining the Devanagari alphabet… Make the use of this script as a voluntarily chosen alternative in all schools in all regions. Most parents would like their children to facilitate learning of English without compromising the learning of the mother tongue…. many foreigners will learn Hindi. The language… will acquire a rich vocabulary like English… It will become the premier link language of all South Asia. Within ten years Hindi can become a global language… No wonder Roman Hindi was recommended by Netaji Subhash Bose!”
Already the Hunterian Roman script for Hindi created in 1872 by William Wilson Hunter has been accepted by the Indian Sahitya Academy as the transliteration method to maintain its bibliography of Indian-language works. Alternative to the Hunterian script the International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) and the Department of Classical Indology at University of Heidelberg have also produced Roman transliteration models for Devanagari. The government can choose the best model. In 1984 a visionary Mr. Madhukar N Gogote had formed the Roman Lipi Parishad in Mumbai to propagate Roman Hindi. President Venkataraman gave him an audience and endorsed his movement. But in 1995 the Parishad was dissolved for lack of sufficient support. Prime Minister Modi wants to make India a global power. Should not a global power have its globally recognized language? If Roman Hindi were adopted as suggested within a decade it could become a recognized global language. Why does not the government try Roman Hindi? It would lose nothing.