Letters to the editor: Imposition of Hindi as primary language
Sir — India is a polyglot, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic nation. In recent years, however, there has been a growing and consistent push towards making Hindi the primary language of communication (“Forked tongue”, Sep 23). The Constitution has not accorded prominence to any one language and rightly so. The States Reorganisation Act, 1956 — it redrew the boundaries of states along linguistic lines — was indicative of the predominance of regional languages in shaping identity and politics.
One must ask that if Hindi is indeed the great unifier that the Bharatiya Janata Party touts it to be, then why were Hindi-speaking states such as Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh carved out of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh respectively? Moreover, a bevy of languages — Bhojpuri, Rajasthani, Chhattisgarhi — spoken in different parts of northern India are often subsumed under Hindi.
This targeted attack on regional languages must be resisted. The imposition of a single language is not only unethical but also goes against the spirit of our Constitution. There is no harm in celebrating the contributions of Hindi as a language. But such celebrations must not come at the cost of others.
Sir — Ever since the BJP government came to power, there has been a constant push towards adopting Hindi as the “rashtra bhasha”. In fact, some government offices hold language competitions on Hindi Divas. No other language has received this kind of support from the Central government.
This sends a clear message to all non-Hindi speakers that the government does not value their mother tongues as much as Hindi. If this continues, the BJP will surely lose all support outside the Hindi-speaking belt.
Sir — The inequalities between men and women have exacerbated since the outbreak of the pandemic (“Hardest hit”, Sep 24). Not only were more women laid off from work than men, but according to an estimate by the International Labour Organization, 13 million fewer women are expected to be working in 2021 compared to 2019, while men’s employment will recover to 2019 levels. Between 2019 and 2020, there was a 4.2 per cent decline in women’s employment as a result of the pandemic, representing a drop
of 54 million jobs, compared to 3 per cent for men or 60 million jobs. The report admits that although the projected job growth for women in 2021 exceeds that of men, it will nonetheless be difficult to bring women’s employment back to pre-pandemic levels. Only 43.2 per cent of working-age women will be employed in 2021, compared to 68.6 per cent men.
Over the last year and a half, it has become apparent that working women are burdened with a greater share of housework than their male counterparts. Women have not only experienced a severe loss of income but also continue to be primary caregivers of their families. Many have been compelled to exit the workforce altogether. Furthermore, there has been a drop in the number of female children enrolled in schools along with a sharp rise in child marriages. These are horrifying developments and must be addressed immediately. Governments as well as private companies must do their all to ensure that the social, economic and educational progress of women — hard-earned through generations of struggle — is not negated in a matter of 18 months.
Show the way
Sir — The Tata Group chairman emeritus, Ratan Tata, recently shared a picture of an employee of the Taj Hotel giving shelter to a stray dog underneath his umbrella in pouring rain. This is not the first time Tata has shown his love for stray animals. Last year, the businessman spent Diwali with the dogs living in the company headquarters and has even helped find homes for stray dogs. Tata must be lauded for his constant dedication towards animals. His gestures show how people in public positions can effectively spread the word and help those in need. Others should follow suit.