Tamil

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

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE,  Master Sub-cat: Hindi/health
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OUTLINE

1. Introduction

2. AIDS Prevention Information in Hindi Only

3. Drug Labels (Pharmacy) in Hindi and English Only

4. Cooking Gas Safety Instructions in Hindi and English only

5. Safety Instruction about Flammable Materials in Trains

6. Indian Coast Guards, Indian Railway Protection Force and Central Industrial Security Force

7. In-flight Safety Announcements in Airplanes

1. Introduction

Indian Government’s primary directive seems to be to make every Indian learn Hindi. It is done through a number of means [Reference 1]. One of the underhanded, callous methods is to provide important health and safety information in Hindi and English only, totally disregarding other languages. Indian government hopes that more and more people would learn Hindi if essential information is not made available in their mother tongues. This also makes non-Hindi languages more and more useless leading to their neglect and slow “death”. Sidelining non-Hindi languages is another objective of the Indian government thus Hindi-fying India [Reference 2].

In this page we summarize several examples of Indian government providing important health and safety information in Hindi and English only, totally ignoring other languages, each spoken by crores of people (1 crore = 10 million). Each of these examples is discussed in more detail in our referenced articles; some articles are short (one paragraph) and some are a little longer (3 or 4 paragraphs).

Hindi imposition is an ongoing process. If enough opposition builds up against a certain Indian government action, government may back off and give in to protests but it would introduce Hindi in a few othere places. It is like putting out an arsonist fire in one place to find out that arsonist has set two more fires elsewhere. So some of the problems listed in this article (written in 2018) may be rectified under pressure but surely Hindi would have been thrust elsewhere.

2. AIDS Prevention Information in Hindi Only [Reference 3]

Here is another example of Indian government's disregard for the welfare of non-Hindi peoples in order to establish the supremacy of Hindi. AIDS (Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome) is a menace to the human race. Although there is no cure for AIDS or vaccine to prevent it as of now (March 2018), certain relatively simple measures by individuals could protect them from getting this dreaded disease. So, in 1999, the Indian government Ministry of Health and Family Welfare funded the writing and publication of AIDS prevention related books in Hindi. What about the Assamese, Bengalis, Kannadigas, Malayalis, Tamils, Telugus, et al? This book is not meant for doctors; they get their knowledge from medical books (usually in English). These Indian government funded Hindi books are meant for paramedical personnel, social workers and such other personnel who help people with their health needs, especially in rural areas. The may not have adequate proficiency in English. So non-Hindi peoples, although they pay Indian government taxes, are not getting the benefit of these vital publications funded by their taxes.

3. Drug Labels (Pharmacy) in Hindi and English Only [Reference 4]

In 2006, India government required pharmaceutical companies (drug companies) to print labels in English and Hindi but not in local languages. These labels may include useful information like dosage, warnings, adverse effect of drugs and their symptoms. Hindi speakers can go anywhere in India and read drug labels in their mother tongue but others cannot have the labels in their mother tongue even in their own state. By the way, why pharmacy labels in non-Hindi states need to be in Hindi? Hindi people living in non-Hindi states should learn the local language in the same way non-Hindi people in Hindi states should learn Hindi.

4. Cooking Gas Safety Instructions in Hindi and English only [Reference 5]

Cooking Gas Safe Instructions on cooking gas cylinders distributed to houses are in Hindi and English only. This puts housewives and others who do not know Hindi or English in danger. Most housewives in rural South India do not know either language.

5. Safety Instruction about Flammable Materials in Trains [Reference 6]

Safety instructions in trains are printed in large boards and placed in many trains. These instructions are in Hindi and English only even in train in non-Hindi states.

In 2012, Indian Railways even placed advertisements in Hindi in Tamil newspapers about the dangers of carrying inflammable articles in trains; but no such Tamil advertisements. Does it at all make sense to place Hindi advertisements about an important issue in Tamil newspapers?

6. Indian Coast Guards, Indian Railway Protection Force and Central Industrial Security Force [Reference 7]

Many employees at Indian Coast Guards, Indian Railway Protection Force and Central Industrial Security Force do not know the local language. This puts the safety of non-Hindi peoples in danger. In fact, one Tamil Nadu fisherman died because the coastguards could not understand the distress call in Tamil.

Amend the constitution to require working knowledge of the state language to all Indian government security forces.

7. In-flight Safety Announcements in Airplanes

In-flight safety announcements made in Indian-government owned Air India are in Hindi and English only even in flights originating and terminating in non-Hindi states. What about those who do not know either Hindi or English? Die in case of an air crash? If you say, “those who fly know English”; one, everyone who fly does not necessarily know English; two, if every flyer knows English, why Hindi announcements? Make the announcements in English and the languages of the departure and destination cities.

India’s Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told the lower house of parliament that there are no plans to make announcements of pre-flight safety instructions in regional languages (News18.com, March 8, 2018). By the way, Hindi is a regional language too, language of the north-central region.

REFERENCES

1. Collection of articles on Hindi Imposition

2. Indian Government Language Policy: Destroy all Languages Except Hindi (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, March 2012 (10 KB) (h)

3. India: Health and Welfare for Hindi Speakers Only (AIDS prevention and control) (by K. S.), TAMIL TRIBUNE, June 2004 (10 KB) (h)

4. Pharmaceutical Labels (Drug Labels) in Hindi: What about the Health and Safety of Non-Hindi Peoples? (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, May 2006 (8 KB) (h)

5. Cooking Gas Explosions and Hindi Instructions (Tamil Nadu, India) (by K.S.), TAMIL TRIBUNE, January 2014 (10 KB) (h)

6. Indian Railways: Hindi Imposition and Safety of Non-Hindi Passengers (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, April 2018 (12 KB) (h)

7. Indian Coast Guards, Protection of non-Hindi Peoples and the Language Policy (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, April 2018 (12 KB) (h)

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