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Indian Railways: Hindi Imposition and Safety of Non-Hindi Passengers

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, April 2018 (ID. 2018-04-01)
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OUTLINE

1. Introduction

2. Safety-Related Advertisements in Hindi

3. Safety Instructions in Trains in Hindi and English Only

4. Concluding Remarks


1. Introduction

Train travel is popular in India. Hundreds of thousands of people travel by train everyday. Railways are owned and operated by the Indian government. This article discusses how Indian government’s and Indian Railways’ zealousness in imposing Hindi is endangering the safety of non-Hindi passengers who do not know Hindi or English. That is millions of people.

2. Safety-Related Advertisements in Hindi

Indian Railways placed a train travel safety related advertisement in the Tamil daily newspaper Thinathanthi on May 24, 2012; Thinathanthi has the largest number of readers among Tamil daily newspapers. A rough translation of the advertisement is as follows: "Small articles lead to big accidents. Please do not carry inflammable articles during your rail journey. Indian Railways --- Your safety ... Our aim."

It is surely a good idea to educate people about safe travel practices and the danger of carrying inflammable articles in trains. The problem here is that the advertisement in the Tamil Newspaper Thinathanthi is not in Tamil but in Hindi. Very few readers of this newspaper understand Hindi. A good idea of informing people of the danger of inflammable articles in trains is hijacked by Hindi zealots in top positions in the Indian government to impose Hindi on non-Hindi peoples, thus putting the lives of passengers at risk.

3. Safety Instructions in Trains in Hindi and English Only

Safety Instructions are placed in most trains to encourage and help safe travel practices. Here are two photographs found on the Internet.

Photo 1 (click here and see Photo H-178): This photograph is from around 2014. This board was in a train traveling between Chennai (Madras) and Bengaluru (Bangalore). The first city is in Tamil Nadu State and the second in Karnataka State; both are non-Hindi states. The board says in Hindi and English, “To exit in emergency break glass, pull out pin and lift window frame grill". Passengers who do not know Hindi or English would not know what to do in case of a fire or other major accidents. If people die in case of an accident or fire, Indian governments Hindi-supremacy language policy is responsible. Blood is on the heads of those politicians and officials responsible for denying the use of state languages in these important boards.

Photo 2 (click here and see Photo H-232): This photograph of a safety instruction board was taken in 2014 in Nellai Express between Chennai and Thirunelveli (both cities located in the non-Hindi state of Tamil Nadu). There are instructions on the board in English under the titles, “Travel Safely”, “Guidelines Under Emergency” and “Prevent Fire”. Same information is in Hindi also. Passengers who do not know English or Hindi are deprived of this critical information. Ability to read these instructions may mean life or death in an emergency situation. Yet the instruction is not printed in the state language.

4. Concluding Remarks

Is Indian Railways interested in the safety of Hindi speakers only? In the name of establishing Hindi supremacy all over India, it is blacking out useful safety message to non-Hindi speakers. Indian Railways' attitude seems to be, "Learn Hindi if you want to benefit from our safety messages. We don’t care if non-Hindi passengers live, injured or die during accidents and emergencies." This is Hindi arrogance of the worst kind.

Reference 1 lists several other instances where Indian government issued important safety and health related information in Hindi and English only, thus endangering the safety and welfare of non-Hindi citizens who know neither language.



REFERENCES

1. How the Indian Government Puts Safety, Health and Welfare of Non-Hindi Peoples at Risk to Further its Hindi Imposition Agenda

Examples, brief descriptions and links to detailed information about each example (AIDS prevention information, drug labels, cooking gas safety instruction, railways emergency instructions, coast guards, ...)

RELATED ARTICLES

Collection of articles on Hindi Imposition

ARCHIVED ARTICLES
Index to Archived Articles

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Thanjai Nalangkilli


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