Hindi is one of the most widely spoken languages in India, with over 500 million speakers worldwide. It is the official language of the Indian government, and it is also one of the 22 scheduled languages of the country. But when did Hindi become the national language of India? Let’s explore the history of this fascinating language.
The roots of Hindi can be traced back to the ancient language of Sanskrit, which was used for religious and philosophical texts in ancient India. Over time, as India was colonized by various foreign powers, including the British, Hindi began to develop as a distinct language with its own grammar and vocabulary.
In 1947, when India gained independence from the British, the country was divided into two: India and Pakistan. At the time of independence, Hindi was not yet recognized as the national language of India. Instead, the Indian Constitution declared that English would be the official language of the country. However, this decision was met with criticism from many Indians, who felt that English would continue to perpetuate the colonial mentality that had dominated India for centuries.
In 1950, the Indian government established the Official Language Commission to determine which language should be designated as the national language. The commission recommended that Hindi be made the official language of the country, with English remaining as a subsidiary official language. However, this decision was met with resistance from South India, where many people spoke Dravidian languages such as Tamil and Telugu.
After much debate and negotiation, the Indian government passed the Official Languages Act in 1963, which declared Hindi to be the national language of India. However, the act also stipulated that English would continue to be used as a subsidiary official language for a period of 15 years, in order to give people time to adjust to the new language policy.
Today, Hindi is recognized as the official language of the Indian government, and it is widely used in education, business, and media throughout the country. However, India remains a linguistically diverse country, with over 19,500 languages and dialects spoken by its people. While Hindi may be the national language of India, it is important to remember the rich linguistic heritage of the country and to celebrate the diversity of its people and cultures.