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Hindi in passports is yet another political step towards imposing a single language on a multilingual India


Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, a Bjp hindu leader, announced that from now on, all details in the passport of a citizen of the Indian Union will be in Hindi, in addition to English. Currently, the cover page of the passport has Hindi while registration details, a “caution” note, a presidential order printed in the passport, and the various fields – type, country code, passport number, name, surname, nationality, sex, date and place of birth, date and place of issue, date of expiry, name of father/mother/spouse/legal guardian, address, old passport number with date and place of issue and file number – are all in Hindi.

Foreign Minister “Sushma Swaraj” says ‘why can’t we make it Hindi?’ This statement is good for people loving hindi but not so good for people who can’t understand hindi as India is a multilingual country not a single language speaking country.

The change is drastically different from previous as now the content to be provided in these fields will be in Hindi. For example, the passport holder’s name and surname, under these fields, will be printed in Hindi. These details are at present printed only in English language.

When asked about why this has been done in India then to justify the introduction of Hindi and Hindi only along with English, Swaraj said: “All Arab countries have their passport in Arabic, Germany makes it in German and Russia makes it in Russian. Why can’t we make it Hindi?”

What Swaraj said makes perfect sense to people in places from where her party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, got more than 70% of its seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, that is, the Hindi-speaking states. However, it does not make sense to the majority of Indians who do not speak Hindi.

but in Whole India there are just 30 percentage of people whom true mother language is Hindi, then how it can justify other people who are left behind these 30 % of people.

Compared to the less than 30% Hindi-speaking people in India, more than 95% people in Germany speak German as their first language, and over 96% of people of the Russian Federation speak Russian. So, when Swaraj compares India to Russia or Germany, she either has in mind, at best, only the Hindustan area of the Indian Union, or worst, what she wants the Indian Union to become.

If Sushma Swaraj had taken her eyes away from these practically monolinguistic nations to nearby Sri Lanka, she would have seen that Tamil along with Sinhalese and English is embossed on the passport cover, even though Sinhala is the mother tongue of 74.9% of people there. She could have studied another multilingual formation (it is hard to call it a nation) like Switzerland, whose passport has five languages on its cover (Switzerland’s population is 8.2 million, India’s is 1,311 million). Thus, feasibility is not an issue.

Hindi in passports would serve no purpose at immigration checkpoints, where English is the internationally understood language. So is this move then solely to help India’s Hindi-speaking citizens understand the details in their passports? If so, do the non-Hindi-speaking citizens not have the right? It is a political decision.

 

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