How relevant is Hindi in Digital India?

How relevant is Hindi in Digital India?

India is a diverse country with a bunch of cultures and languages. India has over 700 active languages and dialects. According to the Indian Constitution Article 343(1), Hindi is considered as the official language of India. By the Official Language Act of 1963, English and Hindi are recognized as the official languages of India. The Constitution’s 8th Schedule acknowledges 22 languages of Indian states, but interestingly India has no national language. Persian and English were the administrative languages of Mughul and Colonial India respectively, but during the Indian independence movement at its peak, the organizations and political campaigns preferred Hindi as their language to coordinate with the majority. This led the Free Indian government to choose Hindi as the governing language. Many campaigns were begun to develop the language through national radio, television, and the movie industry which helped Hindi to reach every corner of the nation. During this digital era, the popularity of English extensively elevated and customized and digitization began to resurrect local or regional languages.

In the 1990s the government liberalized the economy and the privatization of the broadcasting industry began, right after this India witnessed a satisfactory growth in the regional television broadcast. Contents aired through regional television gained popularity than Hindi shows, and several regional channels like Sun TV in Tamil, Asianet in Malayalam, ETV in Telugu knocked several public channels in their rating. Due to the less exposure to Hindi, people deliberately moved out of Bollywood and started seeing regional contents and international productions. In the meantime, the international broadcasters from the U.S and Britain started to target the Indian audience, the entertaining contents in the English language started to replace Hindi from numerous prime time; also the live sports-shows started preferring English commentary over Hindi accepting the diversity of linguistics. It is a truth that English gets more attention in the Indian education system over Hindi, so with the exposure to vast and, various contents made English as the connecting language of India. When free internet was introduced in 2018 by telecom companies like Reliance Jio there was a flow of contents in English that sidelined or minced Hindi. 

Like the rest of the commonwealths, the English language has more domination in India than Hindi. Indians are quite enthusiastic to learn and adopt the English language over the regional languages. Students are advised to learn English in early nurtures and when it comes to choosing a language as a medium of education or professional attainment English has an evident superiority over native Indian languages. The dilemmas of the employment sector in modern India push towards foreign languages and immigration. The number of new-learners for languages like German, French, Arabic, and Spanish aspire to a meaningful rise in these economies. The job sector drastically transformed after the popularity of the internet; according to several language learning platforms, they are making a higher number of subscriptions from India, this gradually influences them to marginalize Hindi. The revival of dead languages to root languages is another trend in India, languages like Tulu, Kodava, Gondi, Santali are sidelined by the mainstream linguistics and are on the stage of resurrection. The growing Indian’s urban culture and the Indian language-politics are also halting Hindi from expanding. Besides New Delhi, all other major cities/metropolitan like Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune are the cities with a superlative regional language. The majority and municipal bodies are intended to use and expand their native language over Hindi.

The union government always wants people to unite by the language Hindi, and develop Hindi as a global language that even gets a chair in the United Nations. India as a democratic republic, it is impossible to force a language on citizens like in China and Pakistan did to their people. Regional political parties, especially South Indian politics always express their distress towards Hindi. The language still wasn’t recognized as a global language even though it has almost 490 million active speakers globally. The union government campaigns, the new education policy with 3 language systems – still Indian government working vigorously to make Hindi as a pan-Indian language by reducing the influence of English. Even making Hindi as a “link language” is an improbable fantasy nowadays, we most possibly witness India as a country with multiple official languages or another commonwealth with the English system soon.

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