Part I: First A Few Un-Publicized Facts About Navodaya Vidyalayas (the "modern schools")


Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNV), Hindi Imposition and Madras High Court Ruling (India)

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, February 2018 (ID. 2018-02-01)
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Although this article is centered on Tamil Nadu, the arguments and concerns raised are equally true for other non-Hindi states, be it Maharashtra (Marathi), Karnataka (Kannada), Andhra/Telangana (Telugu), Kerala (Malayalam), West Bengal (Bengali), Odisha (Odia or Odiya), Gujarat (Gujarati), ...


1. Introduction

2. Outrage Number One

3. Outrage Number Two

4. Arguments to the Supreme Court

1. Introduction

Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) (Jawahar Modern Schools) are operated by Government of India through Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development. As Indian government run schools, these schools have to obey and implement all rules and regulations of the Indian government regarding Hindi.

These schools are established to provide high quality education to talented children in rural areas. Number of student admitted to these schools is only a minute fraction of the total students in India. Parents pay no or very little for the education. Most of the funding comes from the Indian government, that is Indian taxpayers. State government provides land and infrastructure.

Surely it is a good idea but it comes with a catch, a hook. Hindi reigns supreme in these schools. As we will explain in Part I of the article, these schools are outposts of Hindi imperialism in rural areas of non-Hindi states. Most well-known, much publicized form of Hindi imposition in these schools is that Hindi is a compulsory subject in these schools. This is only the tip of the Hindi imposition iceberg. There are even more outrageous rules of Hindi imposition and imperialism in these schools. These are not widely known. Here, in Part I of the article, we discuss two of the most outrageous rules of Hindi supremacy in these schools. These two rules are not widely known in Tamil Nadu.

2. Outrage Number One

Most students are admitted to Navodaya Vidyalayas at the sixth grade (Class 6) but some are admitted at the ninth grade (Class 9); if there are vacancies. Selection examinations for the ninth grade are in 4 subjects Mathematics, Science, Hindi and English. Notice that there is no examination in the state language. That slap to non-Hindi state languages aside, most schools in Tamil Nadu do not teach Hindi. So this gives an undue advantage to students knowledgeable in Hindi taught in some private schools.

If the purpose of establishing Navodaya Vidyalayas (“Modern Schools”) is to give high quality education to talented rural students, why is an examination in Hindi? High intelligence or talent does not mean knowledge of Hindi. Navodaya Vidyalayas are just another vehicle to thrust Hindi into non-Hindi states and promote the study of Hindi in rural areas. Instead of operating or administering Navodaya Vidyalayas, Indian government should handover the money to state governments and let them run these schools with or without Hindi as they choose.

3. Outrage Number Two

This second point is even more Hindi supremacist that the first. This is yet another Hindi imperialistic requirement at Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas. State language is the medium of instruction in Class 6, 7 and 8. Then comes the Hindi juggernaut. In Class 9, 10 and 11, mathematics and science are taught in English and social science taught in Hindi (Mathruboomi; September 29, 2017). This is not just Hindi imposition but an insult to non-Hindi languages. Non-Hindi languages are good enough to teach social science in the lower grades but not good enough for the upper grades; only the “superior Hindi” is good enough for the upper grades.

The stated objective of Navodaya Vidyalayas is to provide high quality education to talented rural students. Will students absorb more knowledge of social science by studying it in the mother tongue or in Hindi? Undoubtedly social science is better understood in the mother tongue. Navodaya Vidyalayas are being established as outposts of Hindi imperialism in rural areas of non-Hindi states. “Providing high quality education” is the goatskin used by the Hindi imposition wolf sent to impose Hindi on non-Hindi students. Establishment of Navodaya Vidyalayas should be opposed and the Indian government should be forced to handover the monies allocated for these schools to state governments.

4. Arguments to the Supreme Court

Madras High Court has ruled that Tamil Nadu State government must allow Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) in the state and also provide free land and infrastructure. At the time of this writing (January 2018) Tamil Nadu is appealing to the Supreme Court.

Based on what I read in newspapers, Tamil Nadu government lawyers argued that these schools should not established in Tamil Nadu because Hindi is taught as a compulsory subject. Indian government lawyers argued that Tamil is also taught in these schools. Tamil Nadu government lawyers did not counter with the two "outrages" we listed in the previous two sections. They clearly show Tamil is lowered well below Hindi in these schools. We hope that Tamil Nadu lawyers appearing before the Indian Supreme Court would present these also the judges. I request readers to contact your MLAs and the Minister for Education to instruct the lawyers to present all forms of Hindi imposition and imperialism to the judges. Let us hope Hindi imposition and imperialism through Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas can be stopped. (MLA – Member of Legislative Assembly)

In Part II [Reference 1], we discuss the Madras High Court ruling that forces Tamil Nadu state government to allow these schools and provide land and infrastructure.

Part II

5. Background

6. Opposition to Hindi Imposition in Tamil Nadu

7. Madras High Court Ruling

8. Discussion and a Few Unanswered Questions

9. High Court Should Order Indian Government to Use Tamil in Tamil Nadu


In Part III [Reference 2], we discuss the Navodaya Vidyalayas controversy in the overall context of democracy, devolution, allocation of tax revenues and amendment to the Indian constitution.

Part III

10. Background

11. Is it Hindi Imposition?

12. Is this Really Democracy?

13. Whose Money is it Anyway?

14. Can the Indian Government Use Our Tax Monies to Force States to Surrender Their Rights?

15. Don't Blame the Courts, Amend the Constitution


1. Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNV), Hindi Imposition and Madras High Court Ruling (India): Part II (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, October 2017 (16 KB) (h)

2. Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNV), Hindi Imposition and Madras High Court Ruling (India): Part III (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, October 2017 (12 KB) (h, tn)

Thanjai Nalangkilli

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