Indian Government job entrance (or selection) examinations

Triple Injustice of Hindi in Indian Government Offices

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, September 2008 (ID. 2008-09-02)
Click here for MAIN INDEX to archived articles (main page)
www.tamiltribune.com

OUTLINE

1. Introduction

2. The Triple Injustice of Making Hindi the Official Language of India (Even if one Learns Hindi, Still is Disadvantaged in Indian Government Jobs)

2.1 The First Injustice: Entrance Examinations for Indian Government Jobs
2.2 The Second Injustice: Hindi Examinations at Indian Government Jobs
2.3 The Third Injustice: Working in Hindi at Indian Government Offices

3. Language of the Ruling Race becomes the Official Language

4. Injustice Behind Closed Doors


1. Introduction

Hindi was made the official language of India on January 26, 1950 against the opposition of Tamil people and leaders. Most Congress Party members from Madras Province (that included much of today's Tamil Nadu State) opposed Hindi vehemently during initial discussions. But they voted for it in the end, obeying Congress Party leadership that was in the hands of Hindi belt politicians [Reference 1]. The dark cloud of Hindi set over the Tamil people from then on until this day.

Hindi is thrust forcibly into unwilling non-Hindi throats with the full force and power of every Indian Government apparatus. Hindi is forced into non-Hindi regions in many forms: Hindi signs on everything owned or operated by Indian Government, even forced Hindi on the labels of lifesaving drugs (no Tamil on the labels though), non-stop Hindi on broadcast television and government operated cable and satellite television, and through government jobs. This article discusses how Hindi in Indian Government offices is adversely affecting non-Hindi employees, even if they learn Hindi.

2. The Triple Injustice of Making Hindi the Official Language of India (Even if one Learns Hindi, Still is Disadvantaged in Indian Government Jobs)

2.1 The First Injustice: Entrance Examinations for Indian Government Jobs

Many Indian Government job entrance (or selection) examinations are held in English and Hindi. (In recent years SOME examinations are also held in mother tongue). This gives a great advantage to those whose mother tongue is Hindi (let us refer them as "Hindians" to make it short). They write the examinations in their mother tongue while non-Hindians have to write in one of two foreign tongues--English or Hindi. Even if you learn Hindi at school it does not put you at par with those whose mother tongue is Hindi. This is unfair and unjust [Reference 2]. All job examinations should be held in mother tongue to make everyone equal.

2.2 The Second Injustice: Hindi Examinations at Indian Government Jobs

Let us say that you pass the job entrance (selection) examination and got a job at an Indian Government office. Non-Hindi employees are required to attend Hindi classes and pass Hindi examinations even if they are working in non-Hindi states. Those who do not do so are reprimanded and there are many cases where salary increments and promotions were withheld until they pass the examinations. A memorandum sent to Southern Railways managers says, "Employees not attending Hindi training classes should be severely dealt with" [Reference 3].

A Hindi friend once argued with me that Indian Government is very fair because it does not require knowledge of Hindi to get the job but only asks [actually forces] employees to study Hindi after getting the job. He is not right on two counts. As discussed in Section 2.1, conducting entrance examinations in English and Hindi is unfair to non-Hindi candidates. Secondly, requiring that non-Hindi employees attend Hindi classes and pass Hindi examinations is totally unfair. This requires time commitment on the part of non-Hindi employees to study Hindi at some point in their life (during school years or later after joining Indian Government service). While non-Hindians are studying Hindi, which has no use except for the fact that Hindi is forced on them as India's official language, Hindians can utilize that time to study more useful subjects like computer programming or advanced English which would be useful in a broader array of careers anywhere in the world. Don't you think non-Hindians are getting the short end of the stick?

2.3 The Third Injustice: Working in Hindi at Indian Government Offices

Alright, let us say a non-Hindi employee has (1) passed the selection examination in spite of the injustice of holding many of those examinations in English and Hindi only, and (2) then studied and passed the required Hindi examination in order to get annual salary increment. What then? Is it all fair and just from then on? No, it is not. Non-Hindi employees have to jump through hoops all through their career at Indian Government offices.

All Indian Government offices are required to carry out certain percentage of work in Hindi. At the time of writing this article, 55% of work should be done in Hindi in Indian Government offices located in Tamilnadu. This puts a great burden on non-Hindi employees even if they know Hindi. Hindians are working in their mother tongue while we are required to do more than half the work in their mother tongue. However much you have learned Hindi, you cannot think and work in Hindi as fast and as well as those whose mother tongue is Hindi. You are stressed out more and are less productive. In spite of these discriminatory disadvantage many non-Hindi employees still excel in their jobs, that is a testament to their hard work while Hindi employees have it a little easier and less stressful. Is it not unjust? Is it not unfair?

3. Language of the Ruling Race becomes the Official Language

Ruling race always want to do government business in its mother tongue. When the French ruled Puducherry, all official work there was done in French. When the Portuguese ruled Goa, all official work was done in Portuguese. Now central government work in Puducherry and Goa are done in Hindi because Hindians have become the rulers.

"If Hindi is made the Union official language,... it gives to a section of the people of India the position of a ruling race". - Former Madras State Chief Minister C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) [Rajaji was a supporter of Hindi but changed his mind after seeing its discriminatory effect on non-Hindi peoples.]

4. Injustice Behind Closed Doors

Most people do not know the injustice meted out to non-Hindi employees behind the closed doors of Indian Government offices. Many think that there is no Hindi imposition because they do not know non-Hindi employees are forced to work in Hindi. There is nothing the non-Hindi employees could do because they need the job to feed and take care of their families. They grit their teeth, bite their tongues and do the work in Hindi while the Hindi employees sitting next to them are doing their work in their own mother tongue. It is more stressful and more time-consuming to non-Hindi employees. If a Hindi employee and a non-Hindi employee of comparable intelligence, subject knowledge and work ethics were competing for a promotion, the Hindian is likely to get it because he is working in his mother tongue. Yet, many non-Hindi employees do rise up because of their harder work and perseverance. It is like a star marathon runner running with a five-kilogram weight tied to his ankles. If he still wins the race it is his higher athletic prowess, hard work and perseverance.

Let us hope that one day we could end the Hindi rule over us. Let that day come soon.

REFERENCES

1. Three Quotes on Hindi Imposition from Indian Constituent Assembly Members (by Tamil Tribune Staff and Writers), TAMIL TRIBUNE, January 2006 (8 KB) (see Section 3)

2. How India's Official Language Policy is Hurting Non-Hindi Peoples (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, April 2003 (21 KB)

3. Hindi in Southern Railways (by AT), TAMIL TRIBUNE, October 2004 (8 KB)

RELATED ARTICLES

India, Tamil Nadu and Hindi Imposition (Or, search for "Nalankilli Hindi imposition" on the web)

If you would like to translate this article to Tamil for us, please write us. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanjai Nalangkilli
FIS080826    2008-a1d


This is a "Category B" article.  Free to publish as long as the entire article, author and Tamil Tribune name are included (no permission needed). Click here for more details.


 

Your comments on this article or any other matter relating to Tamil are welcome

(e-mail to: tamiltribuneatasia.com Please replace "at" with the @ sign.)

Copyright Ó 2009 by TAMIL TRIBUNE. All rights reserved.

http://www.tamiltribune.com