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Re: In Defence of Hindi Movies

A "native" national language (presumably Hindi) provides the following major
benefits to India:
1] Decreased transactions cost of doing business
2] Potentially increased national unity (making intra-India migration
easier, greater transmission of cultural work throughout India, etc)

I do not wish to include pride in a national language as a benefit, because
it seems to be a symptom of the lack of feelings of national unity, and lack
of pride, in other areas. I.e., provide we somehow enforce a national
language, we will still feel a sense of disunity by focusing on religion,
caste, North-South, etc.

To me, the costs are much greater, namely the repression of a
deeply-ingrained aspect of an individual's cultural background. (Evidence of
the difficulty of doing so can also be seen in India's history in the 50s
and 60s.) Usually, a minority's rights are preserved if the numerical
majority (in a democracy) is willing to political tolerate it. (In India's
case, we may have to reverse the words 'majority' and 'minority', as the
majority of Indians are non-Hindi speakers.) In this case of language, if
Hindi is expounded as the national language, we must ask whether the
potential gains (mostly lower domestic transactions costs) are worth the
cost of suppressing a vital aspect of a minority's life and culture.

On the constructive side, I propose the following solution (not too
different from the situation):
1] English becomes the official inter-State medium of communication (other
languages may become an adjuct medium if agreed by the two states involved)
2] Regional mother tongues (which, remember, include English in the
North-East) should be the medium of teaching up to the secondary level
3] National level communication (i.e., Parliament, Supreme Court) should be
officially in English
4] Intra-state level communication should be done in the language of choice
to be decided by state legislatures

Note: to prevent the suppression of linguistic minorities in large states, a
redivision into, e.g., 60-70 states may be desirable (as well as for many
other reasons)

Note that the issue of national languages (Schedule 8, I believe) will
disappear, while only the 'pride' will have to be swallowed in using a
'foreign' language. Of course, this is the price to be paid for inheriting
extreme diversity, which cannot be altered w/o 'brutal' suppression.

I also add that, even after another linguistic reorganizaiton of states into
smaller units, we still run the risk of suppressing much of our diversity
though at a much smaller scale.

- Pratap

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