The Indian government has attempted to quell fears that Hindi would be imposed over other Indian languages and stated that no such rule would be put into effect. The concern that Hindi would be forced over other languages has garnered recent protest, including a campaign called Namma Metro Hindi Beda, which has gained attention of the central government.
“Hindi is the official language, and all other Indian languages are national languages. There is no question of imposing one language over other languages,” stated union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju.
“It is not a question of trying to impose Hindi. Let us be very clear. There is no one language which is the national language, all languages are national languages. Hindi is the official language, so there is no question of discrimination. There is no special effort or attempt to promote Hindi,” Rijiju said.
While the official languages of the government of India are Hindi (written in Devanagari script) and English, there is no national language as declared by the Constitution of India. While Hindi and English are used for official purposes within the government on items such as parliamentary proceedings, states within India may specify their own official languages through legislation—and many do. There are 22 officially recognized languages in India.
Controversy rose when then-president Pranab Mukherjee accepted the recommendation that all dignitaries may be requested to give their speeches in Hindi only. Rijiju said on the government’s position, “We have made it clear that there is no question of imposition of Hindi over any other language. Hindi was made the official language taking into account the spirit of members of Parliament. Hindi has to be promoted, but at the same time all other regional languages also have to be promoted.”