Defense Service Entrance Examination in English and Hindi Only (India's Discriminatory Language Policy)

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, August 2005 (ID. 2005-08-01); Updated: 2018-10-01
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On December 17, 2003, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) Member of Parliament Mr. P.G. Narayanan raised the issue of continued Hindi imposition by the Indian Government. He said that until then the Combined Defense Service entrance examination was held in English only and a recent government order now allows candidates to write the examination in either English or Hindi. He pointed out that this is discriminatory to non-Hindi candidates because both English and Hindi are alien to them while Hindi is the mother tongue of Hindi speakers. He said that this gives an unfair advantage to Hindi speakers. He urged the Indian Government to hold the examination in all Indian languages so that all candidates can choose to write the examination in their own mother tongue.

Defense Minister Mr. George Fernandes replied that Hindi was added in addition to English on the recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defense in order to attract talented youth from rural areas to enter Defense Service. Read the reason for making Hindi as an examination language again: "in order to attract talented youth from rural areas to enter Defense Service" [The Hindu; December 18, 2003].

I am at a total loss to understand how making Hindi an examination language would attract "talented rural youth from Tamilnadu or Andhra Pradesh or West Bengal or Nagaland to Defense Service. The only talented rural youth who would benefit are those from Hindi speaking states and possibly those states closer to them where Hindi is widely known. Rural youth from the south or northeast or other non-Hindi regions would in no way benefit from the new Indian Government policy to attract talented rural youth to Defense Service. On the contrary the new policy hurts their chances of employment with the Defense Department.

To the Hindi belt politicians who set India's language policies, Indian rural youth means Hindi rural youth. The non-Hindi rural youth do not matter to them; they do not care if talented rural youth from non-Hindi states lose out in the competition for jobs in the defense department. Only the Hindi people count; others are second-class citizens. Laws are passed, decisions are made and orders are issued to benefit the Hindi people, be it in financial grants, jobs, education or television programmes. In every one of these spheres the Indian Government decisions, laws and orders give Hindi people a decided advantage. This is the fact of life in India.

"We will go to every part of Tamil Nadu and tell the people that Hindi is coming and that it is like a thunder strike on the heads of Tamil and Dravidian people.... If Hindi were to become the official language of India, Hindi-speaking people will govern us. We will be treated like third rate citizens".- Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister C. N. Annadurai, Public Meeting at Chennai Marina (Madras Marina), April 29, 1963.


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