Who plans what, for whom, and how? Discuss with reference to language planning in the Indian context.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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I am not clear what is meant by Language planning in Indian or any other context. However I will describe in brief the situation regarding language in context of Indian Government.

The language situation in India is rather knotty. The national language of India is Hindi, but the official language used by central government and many of the state governments in English. Each State has its own state language which can be Hindi or one of about 15 recognized regional languages. In addition to these recognized regional languages there are scores other regional languages, which are not officially recognized as regional languages but are used by large section of people. If we consider dialects, these languages run into hundreds.

Though at the time of independence of India in 1947, and at the time of adoption of its constitution in 1951, it was envisaged that India will have Hindi as a common national language for all its people. But as the work of government then was carried out completely in English, and higher education was also completely in English, it was thought necessary to provide some time for complete changeover from English to Hindi.

However there were delays in implementing change over from English to Hindi. In the mean time some groups of people started opposing introduction of Hindi, while others started opposing continuation of English. These language issues became very sensitive political issues. In due course different states started to promote within their states their regional language replacing English.

The net result is that the situation is rather confusing. Hindi is still the national language, but there appears to be no movement towards its implementation. The state governments are trying to promote regional language including in education. But general public finds that their job prospects are better when they study in institutions that teach through the medium of English language.

Thus there are many different forces pulling the nation in different direction in matters of language, and there is no clear movement in any one direction. Only one clear trend is that percentage of people with knowledge of English and Hindi is increasing. Also there is a tend towards people learning the regional language of place where they stay and study, in addition to learning their native regional language.

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