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Parliamentary committee violated Official Language Act, alleges John Brittas MP

BySaptarshi Das
Dec 23, 2022 04:53 PM IST

CPI(M) member of Parliament (MP) John Brittas objected to the use of Hindi as a medium of instruction in central universities

Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI (M) member of Parliament (MP) John Brittas on Thursday objected to the use of Hindi as a medium of instruction in central universities. While giving a Zero Hour Notice in the Rajya Sabha, Brittas noted how the Parliamentary Committee on Official Language had violated Section 4(iii) of the Official Language Act and gone beyond its ambit to submit such a report to President Droupadi Murmu.

CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas. (ANI)
CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas. (ANI)

Brittas while speaking at the Upper House said, “There have been overt and covert attempts for elevating Hindi as the official language of the country. A committee had recently sent a report to President Droupadi Murmu who herself hails from a state with a rich linguistic heritage that is dying out under the spread of Hindi. It recommends the use of Hindi as a medium of instruction in central universities like IIT/IIM in Hindi-speaking states.”

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“Imagine if Sundar Pichai was forced to write his exam in Hindi, would he have reached the top position in Google as we Indians are all proud of? There are thousands of students from North India who study in South India. Do you expect students from North India to learn their syllabus in Tamil/Malayalam or Kannada? If this is forced then most of the students have to come back. There shouldn’t be any attempt to make Hindi the sole language,” he said.

“Section 4(iii) of the Official Language Act stipulates the remit of the committee as to review the progress in the use of Hindi for the official purpose of the Union and make recommendations thereof. It’s beyond the ambit of the Act to deliberate on the medium of instruction in educational institutions and in fact the official language committee has gone beyond its brief; thereby recommending that the higher education institutes have to adopt Hindi as a medium of language.”

The Parliamentary Committee on Official Language, chaired by Union home minister Amit Shah, recently submitted the 11th volume of its report to President Droupadi Murmu. Among other things, it recommends the use of Hindi as the medium of instruction in central universities and institutes of national importance such as IITs, IIMs, and AIIMS in Hindi-speaking states while mentioning that ‘proficiency in Hindi must be a prime criterion for education and employment in central government.’

CPI(M) leader and Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had strongly objected to the recommendations of the committee. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 12, Vijayan had attested that the efforts to impose Hindi in central universities was ‘unacceptable’

Chief minister Vijayan in his letter to the PM had said, “The use of all the national languages specified in our Constitution is to be encouraged. Hindi cannot be imposed as the main language of instruction in our higher centres of learning. I take this opportunity to suggest that question papers for competitive exams for posts in the Government of India may be given in all languages specified in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. I also request that no language may be preferred as a medium of instruction over other languages, lest it should be seen as an imposition. This does not augur well for our cooperative federal setup.”

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