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Overview:

The Eight Schedule of the Constitution lists 22 official languages, leaving out scores of tribal languages. All the official languages, except Sanskrit, Urdu and Sindhi, are spoken by groups of people in particular regions of the country. Many form the basis for specific states. (Tamil Nadu is a good example of this.) However, there are also ethno-linguistic differences—between Indo-Aryans, including the Hindi-speaking people, spread across the north, west and east; the Tibeto-Burman in the northeast; and the Dravidians in the south. When the federal government planned to gradually replace English with Hindi as the official language, the thousands who took to the streets and hundreds who lost their lives in Madras State (now Tamil Nadu) saw this as not only as an attempt to establish the supremacy of another language but also another culture.

 

Agitations, debates, laws, more agitations and resolutions finally led to the formation of the Department of Official Language (DOL) in 1975 as a department of the Ministry of Home Affairs. It ensures that all federal government ministries, departments and federally owned banks and companies adhere to the constitutional and legal provisions on the official language that steer clear of both imposing Hindi on the non-Hindi-speaking states as well as retreating to the language of the colonists, English.

more
History:

The debate on adopting Hindi as the national language predates the country’s independence from the British. While the leaders of the Hindi-speaking north like Raghunath Vinayak Dhulekar held the view that “people who do not speak Hindustani have no right to stay in India,” their opponents, including C. Rajagopalachari maintained that “Hindi is as much foreign to non-Hindi-speaking people as English is to protagonists of Hindi.”

 

So, those who framed the Constitution stopped well short of declaring Hindi the national language. While they termed it the official language, they inserted a provision for the use of English for 15 years after the Constitution came into effect. That was the year 1950.

As more debates and protests followed, in 1963, two years before all uses of English by the government was to cease, the Official Languages Act was passed by the Parliament, ensuring status quo: English would continue to be used for all official purposes. The act also provided for Committee of Parliament on Official Language to be set up, starting 10 years after it came into force, which would review the progress made in the use of Hindi by the government and present a report to the Parliament. Rules could also be framed to gradually introduce Hindi in all forms of official communication. In 1975, along with the formation of the DOL, the first set of rules was written, which has periodically been amended since but incidentally is not applicable to the state of Tamil Nadu. The other states, depending on their historical association with Hindi, are divided into three groups, each with a separate guideline on the use of the language in official communication between federal and the state governments and between the state governments.

 

more
What it Does:

DOL is the hub and the regulatory agency for all efforts being made toward progressive use of Hindi in federal government functions. It prepares an annual program, sets targets for Hindi divisions of federal government ministries, departments, banks and companies and presents an annual assessment report in both houses of Parliament. DOL oversees an integrated cadre of all posts created in the Hindi divisions of different ministries and departments and their attached offices called the Central Secretariat Official Language Service. The cadre comprises 865 positions with directors, joint directors, deputy directors, assistant directors, senior translators and junior translators among them.

While DOL works with the Parliamentary Committee on Official Language, Hindi advisory committees of various departments and ministries, Central Translation Bureau and Central Hindi Training Institute to promote the use of Hindi among the employees of the federal government, the responsibility of promoting the language and other regional languages to the masses lies with the Ministry of Human Resources. DOL also ensures that English is the language used in the Supreme Court and High Courts and that required approvals are obtained for the use of other languages, including Hindi.

 

 

Attached Bodies

Central Hindi Training Institute conducts a Hindi crash course for new recruits to federal government service. It has five “sub-institutes” in Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai. While the institute was established in 1985, its precursor, the Hindi Teaching Scheme, had been part of the Ministry of Education since 1952. DOL took over the program when it came into being in 1975.

 

Central Translation Bureau is involved in the translation of “non-statutory procedural” literature of federal government’s ministries, departments, banks and corporations. The bureau has translated several key commissions, including the Sarkaria report on center-state relations and Jain Commission’s report on former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. The bureau was set up in March 1971 but it began as the Central Hindi Directorate in the Ministry of Education in 1960. It also provides the much-needed training to translators.

 

Eight Regional Implementation Offices ensure that the federal government organizations and federal government-owned banks and companies in their jurisdictions adhere to the provisions of the Official Language Act, 1963. These offices represent DOL in their jurisdictions and also coordinate with the Central Hindi Training Institute and the Central Translation Bureau. They inspect the units, review reports and organize conferences. There are implementation offices in Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi, Ghaziabad, Bhopal, Bengaluru, Guwahati and Kochi.

 

The Committee of Parliament on Official Language consists of 30 members of Parliament, 20 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha. The chairman has conventionally been the Union Home Minister. The committee reviews the progress of Hindi as an official language and presents a report along with its recommendations to the President. The eighth report was submitted in 2005. Each of the Committee’s report so far has touched on a different aspect of the language—from its use in legislation and judgments to computerization of processes. The committee has a secretariat headed by its secretary and assisted by two junior secretaries.

more
Where Does the Money Go:

DOL’s expenses take the form of trainings, seminars, translations, publications and computer software for Hindi. Among the computer applications developed at the department’s initiative are LILA (Learn Indian Languages through Artificial intelligence) for learning Hindi through English and other regional languages on the Internet; MANTRA (Machine Assisted Translation) for translating official correspondence of federal government from English to Hindi; and SHRUTLEKHAN, a Hindi speech-to-text system.

more
Controversies:

DOL Budget

In 1968, the Parliament adopted the Official Language Resolution. While it resolved “that a more intensive and comprehensive program shall be prepared and implemented by the Government of India for accelerating the spread and development of Hindi and its progressive use for the various official purposes of the Union,” it also expressed the need for “concerted measures” to ensure “full development” of “14 major languages of India besides Hindi” mentioned in the Eight Schedule of the Constitution. However, scholars say these other major languages do not even get a tenth of the DOL’s budget for promoting Hindi. In 2009-2010, DOL’s budget was nearly 360,000,000, which exceeded the amount allocated to the National Institute of Communicable diseases (250,000,000) and Central Drug Standard Control Organization (less than 320,000,000).

 

Maharashtra Navanirman Sena

It wasn’t a pretty sight when Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi stood up to take oath in the newly elected Maharashtra legislative assembly in November 2009. He was assaulted, the microphone snatched and the podium uprooted. Azmi had not heeded to Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS) members’ demands that he switch from Hindi to Marathi. Four MNS members of the assembly were suspended. These MNS MLAs (Members of Legislative Assembly) found Hindi irksome as opportunities in their state had attracted plenty of migrant workers from the Hindi-speaking North. Regional chauvinism was the means of existence of their party that broke away from the similarly founded Shiv Sena and the party members resorted to violence like the protestors in Madras State from 1940s to late 60s. Hindi and Marathi, however, share the ethno-linguistic origin (both being Indo-Aryan) and the MNS’ way to power, Raj Thackeray and co. realized, was to cash in on the economic insecurity of the Marathi-speaking community in the country’s richest state.

 

Yet, to them, English was a necessity and not the language of the British who once ruled and ruthlessly exploited India. An inquiry by a newspaper revealed that the children of most of MNS MLAs had been through or attended schools that taught in English. MNS leader Raj Thackeray’s son is a graduate of Mumbai’s s elite Scottish High School. Ram Kadam, who attacked Azmi as he took oath, did not answer the paper’s questions on the “personal issue” but his aides did. His son attends an English-medium convent in Bandra, a Mumbai suburb.

more

Comments

Latasha 2 years ago
Thanks for spending time on the computer (witnrig) so others don't have to.

Leave a comment

Founded: 1975
Annual Budget:
Employees: 50
Official Website:
Department of Official Language
  • Latest News
Bookmark and Share
Overview:

The Eight Schedule of the Constitution lists 22 official languages, leaving out scores of tribal languages. All the official languages, except Sanskrit, Urdu and Sindhi, are spoken by groups of people in particular regions of the country. Many form the basis for specific states. (Tamil Nadu is a good example of this.) However, there are also ethno-linguistic differences—between Indo-Aryans, including the Hindi-speaking people, spread across the north, west and east; the Tibeto-Burman in the northeast; and the Dravidians in the south. When the federal government planned to gradually replace English with Hindi as the official language, the thousands who took to the streets and hundreds who lost their lives in Madras State (now Tamil Nadu) saw this as not only as an attempt to establish the supremacy of another language but also another culture.

 

Agitations, debates, laws, more agitations and resolutions finally led to the formation of the Department of Official Language (DOL) in 1975 as a department of the Ministry of Home Affairs. It ensures that all federal government ministries, departments and federally owned banks and companies adhere to the constitutional and legal provisions on the official language that steer clear of both imposing Hindi on the non-Hindi-speaking states as well as retreating to the language of the colonists, English.

more
History:

The debate on adopting Hindi as the national language predates the country’s independence from the British. While the leaders of the Hindi-speaking north like Raghunath Vinayak Dhulekar held the view that “people who do not speak Hindustani have no right to stay in India,” their opponents, including C. Rajagopalachari maintained that “Hindi is as much foreign to non-Hindi-speaking people as English is to protagonists of Hindi.”

 

So, those who framed the Constitution stopped well short of declaring Hindi the national language. While they termed it the official language, they inserted a provision for the use of English for 15 years after the Constitution came into effect. That was the year 1950.

As more debates and protests followed, in 1963, two years before all uses of English by the government was to cease, the Official Languages Act was passed by the Parliament, ensuring status quo: English would continue to be used for all official purposes. The act also provided for Committee of Parliament on Official Language to be set up, starting 10 years after it came into force, which would review the progress made in the use of Hindi by the government and present a report to the Parliament. Rules could also be framed to gradually introduce Hindi in all forms of official communication. In 1975, along with the formation of the DOL, the first set of rules was written, which has periodically been amended since but incidentally is not applicable to the state of Tamil Nadu. The other states, depending on their historical association with Hindi, are divided into three groups, each with a separate guideline on the use of the language in official communication between federal and the state governments and between the state governments.

 

more
What it Does:

DOL is the hub and the regulatory agency for all efforts being made toward progressive use of Hindi in federal government functions. It prepares an annual program, sets targets for Hindi divisions of federal government ministries, departments, banks and companies and presents an annual assessment report in both houses of Parliament. DOL oversees an integrated cadre of all posts created in the Hindi divisions of different ministries and departments and their attached offices called the Central Secretariat Official Language Service. The cadre comprises 865 positions with directors, joint directors, deputy directors, assistant directors, senior translators and junior translators among them.

While DOL works with the Parliamentary Committee on Official Language, Hindi advisory committees of various departments and ministries, Central Translation Bureau and Central Hindi Training Institute to promote the use of Hindi among the employees of the federal government, the responsibility of promoting the language and other regional languages to the masses lies with the Ministry of Human Resources. DOL also ensures that English is the language used in the Supreme Court and High Courts and that required approvals are obtained for the use of other languages, including Hindi.

 

 

Attached Bodies

Central Hindi Training Institute conducts a Hindi crash course for new recruits to federal government service. It has five “sub-institutes” in Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai. While the institute was established in 1985, its precursor, the Hindi Teaching Scheme, had been part of the Ministry of Education since 1952. DOL took over the program when it came into being in 1975.

 

Central Translation Bureau is involved in the translation of “non-statutory procedural” literature of federal government’s ministries, departments, banks and corporations. The bureau has translated several key commissions, including the Sarkaria report on center-state relations and Jain Commission’s report on former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. The bureau was set up in March 1971 but it began as the Central Hindi Directorate in the Ministry of Education in 1960. It also provides the much-needed training to translators.

 

Eight Regional Implementation Offices ensure that the federal government organizations and federal government-owned banks and companies in their jurisdictions adhere to the provisions of the Official Language Act, 1963. These offices represent DOL in their jurisdictions and also coordinate with the Central Hindi Training Institute and the Central Translation Bureau. They inspect the units, review reports and organize conferences. There are implementation offices in Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi, Ghaziabad, Bhopal, Bengaluru, Guwahati and Kochi.

 

The Committee of Parliament on Official Language consists of 30 members of Parliament, 20 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha. The chairman has conventionally been the Union Home Minister. The committee reviews the progress of Hindi as an official language and presents a report along with its recommendations to the President. The eighth report was submitted in 2005. Each of the Committee’s report so far has touched on a different aspect of the language—from its use in legislation and judgments to computerization of processes. The committee has a secretariat headed by its secretary and assisted by two junior secretaries.

more
Where Does the Money Go:

DOL’s expenses take the form of trainings, seminars, translations, publications and computer software for Hindi. Among the computer applications developed at the department’s initiative are LILA (Learn Indian Languages through Artificial intelligence) for learning Hindi through English and other regional languages on the Internet; MANTRA (Machine Assisted Translation) for translating official correspondence of federal government from English to Hindi; and SHRUTLEKHAN, a Hindi speech-to-text system.

more
Controversies:

DOL Budget

In 1968, the Parliament adopted the Official Language Resolution. While it resolved “that a more intensive and comprehensive program shall be prepared and implemented by the Government of India for accelerating the spread and development of Hindi and its progressive use for the various official purposes of the Union,” it also expressed the need for “concerted measures” to ensure “full development” of “14 major languages of India besides Hindi” mentioned in the Eight Schedule of the Constitution. However, scholars say these other major languages do not even get a tenth of the DOL’s budget for promoting Hindi. In 2009-2010, DOL’s budget was nearly 360,000,000, which exceeded the amount allocated to the National Institute of Communicable diseases (250,000,000) and Central Drug Standard Control Organization (less than 320,000,000).

 

Maharashtra Navanirman Sena

It wasn’t a pretty sight when Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi stood up to take oath in the newly elected Maharashtra legislative assembly in November 2009. He was assaulted, the microphone snatched and the podium uprooted. Azmi had not heeded to Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS) members’ demands that he switch from Hindi to Marathi. Four MNS members of the assembly were suspended. These MNS MLAs (Members of Legislative Assembly) found Hindi irksome as opportunities in their state had attracted plenty of migrant workers from the Hindi-speaking North. Regional chauvinism was the means of existence of their party that broke away from the similarly founded Shiv Sena and the party members resorted to violence like the protestors in Madras State from 1940s to late 60s. Hindi and Marathi, however, share the ethno-linguistic origin (both being Indo-Aryan) and the MNS’ way to power, Raj Thackeray and co. realized, was to cash in on the economic insecurity of the Marathi-speaking community in the country’s richest state.

 

Yet, to them, English was a necessity and not the language of the British who once ruled and ruthlessly exploited India. An inquiry by a newspaper revealed that the children of most of MNS MLAs had been through or attended schools that taught in English. MNS leader Raj Thackeray’s son is a graduate of Mumbai’s s elite Scottish High School. Ram Kadam, who attacked Azmi as he took oath, did not answer the paper’s questions on the “personal issue” but his aides did. His son attends an English-medium convent in Bandra, a Mumbai suburb.

more

Comments

Latasha 2 years ago
Thanks for spending time on the computer (witnrig) so others don't have to.

Leave a comment

Founded: 1975
Annual Budget:
Employees: 50
Official Website:
Department of Official Language
  • Latest News