TOPIC – Crisis Defused: On Hindi Imposition
“Compulsory Learning Should Be Limited To The Child’s Mother Tongue”
The Centre has moved quickly to defuse a potentially volatile controversy over the charge of Hindi imposition. It is quite apparent that the Narendra Modi government did not want the language issue to acquire disproportionate importance at a time when it is embarking on its second innings with a huge mandate. Further, given the impression that the ruling party does not have much of a presence in South India, barring Karnataka, it did not want to be seen as being insensitive to the concerns of southern States, especially Tamil Nadu. The reference in the newly unveiled draft National Education Policy to mandatory teaching of Hindi in all States was withdrawn following an outcry from political leaders in Tamil Nadu, a State that is quite sensitive to any hint of ‘Hindi imposition’ by the Centre. The modified draft under the heading ‘Flexibility in the choice of languages’, has omitted references to the language that students may choose. However, the broader recommendation regarding the implementation of a three-language formula remains, something Tamil Nadu, which will not budge from its two-language formula, is averse to. The gist of the original sentence in the draft NEP was that students could change one of the three languages of study in Grade 6, provided that in Hindi-speaking States they continued to study Hindi, English and one other Indian language of their choice, and those in non-Hindi-speaking States would study their regional language, besides Hindi and English. The revised draft merely says students may change one or more of their three languages in Grade 6 or 7, “so long as they still demonstrate proficiency in three languages (one language at the literature level) in their modular Board examinations some time during secondary school”. It may not amount to a complete reversal , but is still important in terms of conciliatory messaging. However, there is larger issue here. Ever since the Constitution adopted Hindi as the official language, with English also as an official language for 15 years initially, there has been considerable tension between those who favour the indefinite usage of English and those who want to phase it out and give Hindi primacy. In Tamil Nadu, it is seen as a creeping imposition of Hindi in subtle and not-so-subtle forms. The tension has been managed based on the statesmanship behind Jawaharlal Nehru’s assurance in 1959 that English would be an associate language as long as there are States that desire it. One would have thought that with the ascent of coalition politics the instinct to stoke differences based on language would die out. Unfortunately, it keeps coming up, especially in the form of imposing the three-language formula on States. Language is primarily a utilitarian tool. While acquisition of additional tools can indeed be beneficial, compulsory learning should be limited to one’s mother tongue and English as the language that provides access to global knowledge and as a link language within India. It is time attempts to force Indians proficient in their mother tongue and English to acquire proficiency in a third are given up.
MEANINGS AND WORDS
Meaning: remove the fuse from (an explosive device) in order to prevent it from exploding.
Synonym: Deactivate, disarm, disable, make safe
Example Sentence: “explosives specialists tried to defuse the grenade”
Meaning: liable to change rapidly and unpredictably, especially for the worse.
Synonym: Tense, strained, fraught, uneasy, uncomfortable
Antonym: stable, calm
Example Sentence: “the political situation was becoming more volatile”
Meaning: the action or process of imposing something or of being imposed.
Synonym: imposing, foisting, forcing, inflicting, obtruding
Antonym: Frankness, Cheating, Con, Craftiness
Example Sentence: “the imposition of martial law”
Meaning: clearly visible or understood; obvious.
Synonym: Evident, plain, obvious, clear, manifest, visible, discernible
Antonym: unclear, obscure
Example Sentence: “for no apparent reason she laughed”
Meaning: too large or too small in comparison with something else.
Synonym: Out of proportion to, not in proportion to, not appropriate to
Example Sentence: “people on lower incomes spend a disproportionate amount of their income on fuel”
- embarking on
Meaning: to start something new or important
Synonym: broach, Commence, Engage
Example Sentence: We’re embarking upon a new project later this year.
Meaning: except for; if not for.
Synonym: except for, with the exception of, excepting, if there is/are no, bar
Example Sentence: “barring accidents, we should win”
Meaning: showing or feeling no concern for others’ feelings.
Synonym: Heartless, unfeeling, inconsiderate, thoughtless, thick-skinned
Antonym: sensitive, compassionate
Example Sentence: “an insensitive remark”
Meaning: remove a veil or covering from, in particular uncover (a new monument or work of art) as part of a public ceremony.
Synonym: reveal, present, disclose, divulge, make known, make public, air, communicate, publish, broadcast
Antonym: Conceal, Cover, Hide, Secrete
Example Sentence: “the Princess unveiled a plaque”
Meaning: an exclamation or shout / a strong expression of public disapproval or anger.
Synonym: Shout, exclamation, cry, yell, howl, whoop, roar
Example Sentence: “an outcry of spontaneous passion”
Meaning: make or cause to make the slightest movement.
Synonym: move, shift, change position, stir, give way, go
Antonym: Discourage, Hinder, Hold, Keep
Example Sentence: “the queue in the bank hasn’t budged”
Meaning: having a strong dislike of or opposition to something.
Synonym: opposed to, against, antipathetic to, hostile to, antagonistic to
Example Sentence: “as a former CIA director, he is not averse to secrecy”
Meaning: the substance or general meaning of a speech or text.
Synonym: Essence, substance, quintessence, main idea/theme, central idea/theme
Antonym: Outside, Surface, Meaninglessness
Example Sentence: “it was hard to get the gist of Pedro’s talk”
Meaning: just; only.
Synonym: Only, purely, solely, simply, entirely, just
Example Sentence: “Gary, a silent boy, merely nodded”
Meaning: intended or likely to placate or pacify.
Synonym: Propitiatory, placatory, appeasing, pacifying, pacific, mollifying
Example Sentence: “a conciliatory approach”
- amount to
Meaning: to become a particular amount
Example Sentence: Their annual fuel bills amounted to over £6,000.
Meaning: a gradual stopping (as in operations or production) : a closing down by phases
Synonym: Cancel, Eliminate, Terminate
Example Sentence: The moves are leading some experts to step up estimates for the phaseout of coal power in the U.S.
Meaning: the fact of being pre-eminent or most important.
Synonym: greater importance, priority, precedence, pre-eminence, preference, superiority
Example Sentence: “London’s primacy as a financial centre”
Meaning: (of a negative characteristic or fact) occurring or developing gradually and almost imperceptibly.
Synonym: crawl, move on all fours, move on hands and knees
Example Sentence: “a creeping sense of dread”
Meaning: (especially of a change or distinction) so delicate or precise as to be difficult to analyse or describe.
Synonym: Fine, fine-drawn, ultra-fine, nice, overnice
Example Sentence: “his language expresses rich and subtle meanings”
Meaning: skill in managing public affairs.
Example Sentence: “we need strong statesmanship and leadership”
Meaning: an upward slope or path that one may walk or climb.
Synonym: upward) slope, incline, ramp, rise, bank, tilt, slant, upward gradient
Antonym: descent, drop
Example Sentence: “the ascent grew steeper”
Meaning: an innate, typically fixed pattern of behaviour in animals in response to certain stimuli.
Synonym: Natural tendency, inborn tendency, inherent tendency, inclination, inner prompting
Antonym: Inability, lack, Incapacity
Example Sentence: “the homing instinct”
Meaning: encourage or incite (a strong emotion or tendency).
Example Sentence: “his composure had the effect of stoking her anger”
- die out
Meaning: to become less common and finally stop existing
Example Sentence: Dinosaurs died out millions of years ago.