The Constituent Assembly of India met in the Constitution Hall, New Delhi, at Nine of the Clock, Mr. President (The Honourable Dr. Rajendra Prasad) in the Chair.
ABOLITION OF PRIVY COUNCIL JURISDICTION BILL
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: The first item on the Order Paper today is notice, of a motion by Dr. Ambedkar to introduce a Bill to abolish the jurisdiction of His Majesty in Council.
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: Sir, I move for leave to introduce a Bill to abolish the jurisdiction of His Majesty in Council in respect of Indian appeals and petitions.
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: The question is:
That leave be granted to introduce a Bill to abolish the jurisdiction of His Majesty in Council in respect of Indian appeals and petitions.
The motion was adopted.
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: Sir, I introduce the Bill.
DRAFT CONSTITUTION - (Contd.)
NEW PART XIV-A (LANGUAGE)-(Contd.)
(Several Honourable Members rose to speak)
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May I know, Sir, whether we have to stand up every time to catch your eye or is there some other method so that those who have amendments would get chances ?
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I shall try to give a chance to as many Members as possible, but it is difficult for me to promise that every Member will get a chance. I may just explain the position. Yesterday, I calculated the number of speeches and the time that was spent on them, and the average comes to 22 minutes per speech. Today I do not know how long the House would like to sit. Originally we had fixed two days or rather 14 hours, out of which we have already spent 10 hours. We have got only 4 hours, from now till 1 o'clock. If the House would like to finish by 1 o'clock then it will be necessary....
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: On a point of information, what about those amendments which not come up before the House ?
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: Every amendment is before the House.
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: But they have not been discussed.
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Now, after the discussion is finished the mere act of putting, all the 300 amendments to vote will take at least one hour. That has also to be taken out of the 4 hours if we have to finish by 1 o'clock and then probably there may be reply.
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: I propose that we should extend the time for speeches and voting should take place in the evening between 6 and 7.
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: If that is the wish of the House, I do not mind. I would not stand in the way. I would like to know the wish of the House in the matter.
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: There are several amendments which have not been moved at all. Would they get any time?
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: Just as I have said, I have been trying to give a chance to representatives of every school of thought here, but if there are some who have been left out, they might remind me and I will give them a chance.
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The matter is so important that I would again request you to extend to time to the evening.
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I personally would have no objection if that was the wish of the House. May I know if the House wishes the time to extend till the evening? (Several Honourable Members : Yes.) I think the 'Ayes' have it. Shrimati Durgabai-May I request you that the point of view which you have to represent has been represented by other speakers and there may be others also. So I would request you to confine yourself to the most important points.
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: Mr. President, the question of national language for India which was an almost agreed proposition until recently has suddenly become a highly controversial issue. Whether rightly or wrongly, the people of non-Hindi speaking areas have been made to feel that this fight or this attitude on behalf of the Hindi speaking areas is a fight for effectively preventing the natural influence of other powerful languages of India on the composite culture of this nation. I have heard some honourable Members who are supporters of Hindi with Hindi numerals say, "You have accepted nearly 90 per cent. of our thesis; therefore, why hesitate to accept the other 10 per cent ?" May I ask them with what sacrifice, we have accepted this? Some friends said : 'Absolutely there is no sacrifice on your part. You have to accept. You must'. This is the attitude in approaching the people of the non-Hindi speaking areas for asking them to accept their proposition in its entirety.
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Sir, the National language of India should not be and cannot be any other than Hindustani which is Hindi plus Urdu. For the sake of satisfying the sentiments of our friends we have accepted Hindi in Devanagari script. It is no less sacrifice for us to have had to depart from a principle, which we have all along fought for and lived for. This departure means a very serious inconvenience to us and it is not without a pang that we have agreed to this departure from the tolerant Gandhian ideology, the Gandhian philosophy and the Gandhian proposition, namely, that the official language of India should be only that which is commonly understood and easily spoken and learnt. Sir, this is the sacrifice that we have made.
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Perhaps Tandonji, Seth Govind Dasji and others do not know this and are not aware of the powerful opposition in the South against the Hindi language. The opponents feel perhaps justly that this propaganda for Hindi cuts at the very root of the provincial languages and is a serious obstacle to the growth of the provincial languages and provincial culture. Sir, the anti-Hindi agitation in the south is very powerful. My Friend Dr. Subbaroyan dealt at some length on this point yesterday. But, Sir, what did we do we the supporters of Hindi ? We braved that fierce agitation and propagated Hindi in the South. Long before the Pandits of Hindi Satihya Sammelan realised the importance of having a national language for India. We all in the South obeyed the call of Mahatma Gandhi and carried on Hindi propaganda in the South. We started schools and conducted classes in Hindi. Thus with great inconvenience we dedicated ourselves very long ago to the propagation and learning of Hindi.
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Sir, leaving alone the efforts of the Dakshina Bharat Hindi Pracharak Sabha, I must in this connection pay a glowing tribute to the women and children of the south who have taken with great zeal and earnestness to the learning of Hindi. Sir, Gandhiji's efforts and influence, worked tremendously on the students of colleges who, after putting in hard work in their colleges, used to come in the evenings to the Hindi classes to learn this language. Not only the students, even the lawyers after their court hours, officers after finishing their office work, instead of going in the evenings to the recreation clubs, attended Hindi classes and learnt Hindi. Iam impressing this fact upon you just to show how genuinely and honestly we took to this propagation of Hindi as a result of Mahatmaji's call and appeal to us.
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My friends will do well to note that all this was a voluntary effort on our part to paid in line with the national sentiment. In this connection I may refer to a visit which was paid to by the late Seth Jamnalal Bajaj in 1923. In that year, when Sethji visited Cocanada for the Congress Session he visited some ladies' institutions where he found some hundreds of women learning Hindi. Remember, Sir, that this was in the year 1923, some two and a half decades ago. Sethji was so happy to see the ladies learning Hindi that he offered a very handsome donation to the Hindi institution then working. But, the organisers declined the donation saying: "We also feel that we should have a national language. We are therefore conducting the school in Hindi with our own efforts." That is the spirit with which we worked.
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Now what is the result of it all? I am shocked to see this agitation against that enthusiasm of ours with which we took to Hindi in the early years of this century. Sir, this attitude on your part to give a national character to what is purely a provincial language is responsible for embittering the feelings of the non-Hindi speaking people. I am afraid this would certainly adversely affect the sentiments and the feelings of those who have already accepted Hindi with Devanagari script. In short, Sir, this overdone and misused propaganda on their part is responsible and would be responsible for losing the support of people who know and who are supporters on Hindi like me.
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I have already said that in the interests of national unity, Hindustani alone could be, the national language of India. We urge caution and an accommodating spirit on their part, in the interests of the minorities here who, like the Muslims, need time and sympathy to adjust themselves. Sir, they have all displayed large-hearted readiness to fall in line with the predominant sentiment purely from the point of view of excellence of literature and international reputation, Bengali is worthy of adoption as the national language. From the point of view of sweetness and also from the fact that it is the second largest of the languages spoken in India, Telugu could be worthy of adoption as the national language. Sir, we have, given up our claims for Telugu. We have not spoken one word in favour of it. We have not advocated it. We have not suggested that one of these provincial languages should be accepted as the national language of our country.
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Now, Sir, when we have made this sacrifice, you come out and say, sacrifice another point and swallow the other five per cent remaining out of the hundred per cent and adopt the Hindi numerals. I should say that is the height. I hesitate to put it that way but I must say it--of language tyranny and intolerance. We have agreed to adopt Hindi in the Devanagari script, but I must remind the House that we have agreed to the adoption of Hindi in the Devanagari script, subject to certain conditions. Condition No. 1 is, whatever be the name of the language--I do not propose to speak about the controversy about Hindi versus Hindustani-whatever name you may give it, it must be all inclusive and therefore the clause concerned in Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar's draft should commend itself to the House and the House should unhesitatingly and unanimously agree to that clause. That language should be capable of absorbing the words which are already in use, whether of Urdu or any other regional language. It is only then you will convince us that you are asking us to accept it as a national language and not the special brand of C. P. or U. P. Hindi.
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Another condition which is equally important is that the status quo should be maintained at least for a period of fifteen years, which would enable us to learn and to speak and also to adjust ourselves to the new environment. People from the Hindi areas are not even willing to concede this point. They say, "some of you can speak Hindi and so bring it into effect from tomorrow or at least in the shortest possible time." I have heard some people say-
Tumari jindagi me hindi kabhi nahi rashtra bhasha banegi
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I ask you, Sir are we going to have this Constitution only for ourselves and our lives? What about our children and the generations to come ? Are they not to follow this ? I am speaking from my own personal experience. I learnt Hindi, I taught Hindi to some hundreds of women at least, in the South. My experience is this : Those who have passed the highest examinations in Hindi can read and write, but it is impossible for them to speak, because for speaking there must be some kind of environment, some kind of atmosphere. In the South, where do we find this atmosphere? Nowhere in the South have we opportunities of speaking what we have learnt. You will only realise this difficulty when you come to the South and you have to speak one of the provincial languages there. Therefore be patient and cultivate the spirit of accommodation and tolerance. This is the thing that we ask of you to show to us.
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The third condition which is not clear from Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar's draft is that there is some obligation placed on the non-Hindi speaking people to speak Hindi. There should be equally an obligation on your part to learn one of the provincial languages. It does not matter whether it is Bengali, Tamil, Telugu or Kannada or any other language for that matter. Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, while speaking on this subject yesterday, dwelt on this point sufficiently and on the resolution which the Sahitya Sammelan passed recently in their conference in Delhi. We will carefully wait and watch and see how that resolution would be implemented by the premiers of provinces who were parties to that resolution.
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On the question of numerals, I do not want to say anything because sufficient has already been said. You have already understood the gravity of the situation. suffice it to say, is there be no sentiment or let there be no question of its being a religion with anybody. If that is religion with you, it would be a powerful religious force with us, not to have adopted a language which is not our own, which is only a provincial language, which is not sufficiently developed. Therefore let not anybody say that it is religious with him or her.
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Sir, the other question which I wanted to speak about is that in the non Hindi speaking areas we have got to learn Hindi which we have raised to the position of an official language. Our purse is very meagre and we are already spending so much for the removal of illiteracy our provinces. Therefore it becomes the duty and responsibility of the Centre to give sufficient grants to the provinces which are non-Hindi speaking areas to develop and also to propagate this Hindi.
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Sir, you have given me an opportunity to speak and I should not take much time of the House. Please remember that we are accepting Hindi only with these conditions which I have stated. For your part, you should have no hesitation to accept Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar's draft. Even we do not agree with some of the provisions there, but we have accepted it, and therefore you should have no hesitation in accepting it and supporting it. Thank you, Sir.
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: Mr. President, Sir, I would like to make clear at the outset that I stand here to support the amendment moved by my friend, Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar, not that I agree with every detail and every clause of that amendment-which is not possible, because in the very nature of things, it is a compromise formula, and when we come to a compromise, we cannot have hundred per cent of what we want.
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It is not a compromise formula. Nobody has agreed to it.
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There may be a few who do not agree, but I understand that many have agreed. According to me, there are many things in it which I do not like or do not appreciate. Still, I think it is the best solution of this problem in the present state of things. Therefore, as I have said, I stand to support that amendment. I myself have moved some amendments and I would request the House to accept them, because without changing the fundamental structure of the amendment, they will improve it and it will help some of us to accept that amendment more willingly.
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Sir, as you have yourself said, this question of language has agitated our minds most, in my opinion, next only to freedom, because this question is most vital for the future development and growth of this nation. Those who have preceded me have already spoken much about the importance of language in the building and the growth of an individual or nation. To me, next to my mother, it is the language which is dear, because, my mother has given me birth, no doubt, but it is the language which has made me what I am today. That is why though many of us do not like it, this controversy has stirred our passions to their depth and sentiments have been roused and many a time, it blurs our judgment. I would request my friends from the South as well as from the North not to look at this question from an emotional or from a sentimental point of view. Let us be as objective as possible; let us bring reason to work on this issue.
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What is it that we are out to achieve? We are told that we are going to choose a language for our country. The next question is what is it that this language is expected to do for us and what are its functions? We are told that we must have one language to take the place of English. Everybody is agreed that English cannot hold the same position that it used to do during the last one century or more when the Englishmen were ruling over this country. I need not go into the importance of that language or whether in the future that language must have a good and proper place in this country's education, administration. various branches of science, advancement and so on. But everybody is agreed that English is to be replaced by some other language; the difference of opinion is about what is that language which should take the place of English and what should be its functions.
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They appeal to us in the name of unity, in the name of culture, that this country must have one language. They say unless this country has one language, there cannot be unity and one culture; and if there is no unity, and one culture, then, this country has no future. in the same breath we are told that the regional languages must be enriched. The Working Committee Resolution says that though English may be replaced by some other language, as far as the regional languages are concerned, they must not only be maintained, kept intact, but they must be enriched. The, Working Committee Resolution which was recently passed says "in the provinces or States where more than one language is spoken, many of these languages are rich and have valuable literature of theirs. They should not only be preserved, but further developed and enriched and nothing should be done to act as a handicap to their growth."
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I cannot understand how these two things can go together. I think we are speaking with two minds. We cannot hope to have one language for the whole country and at the same time work for the enrichment of the regional languages and assert that they must be maintained, and they must have a permanent place in the national structure or life. I have tried my best to understand how these two things can go together but failed. If you sincerely believe that this country requires one language, all the regional languages, whatever may be their past, whatever may be their present position, they must go. Those who have their regional languages will know at least where they stand and what they have gained by attaining freedom. If you really mean, if you are sincere and honest when you say that these regional languages must be enriched and nothing should be done to harm them, you cannot appeal in the name of unity or culture for one language. If in the course of things this country evolves one language, and the other regional languages disappear, if that is to be the future, who am I, who are you, to stop it? But, I will not allow any group, any region or any Government, however powerful it may be, to do anything consciously or deliberately which will result in the disappearance of these languages from India. If they have to die, let them die a natural death when no tear will be shed.
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: Nobody has suggested that.
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I know it, Sir; though the suggestion is not there, the actions are such that there is a suspicion or a feeling to that effect. You will excuse me for that feeling if I have it; because, after all, an appeal from this House goes to the country, to the people and to the world that for unity, for culture we must have on language. If it is not so, then, let us be definite. What are to be the functions of this language which will replace English ? In that matter also, the Working Committee Resolution is quite clear.
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I suppose the same functions as English performed.
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No; not that also.
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That is the Resolution I think, so far as I can judge.
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English was performing many functions which I would not like it to do now. I will show, Sir; if you will bear with me for some time. The language that will take the place of English has to perform some definite functions. These are enumerated as I said in the Working Committee Resolution. "For all India purposes, there will be a State language in which the business of the Union will be conducted. That will be the language of correspondence with the Provincial and state Governments. All the records of the Centre will be kept and maintained in that language and it will serve as the language for inter-provincial, inter-state commerce and correspondence."
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This is exactly how the functions have been defined, of the language that will replace English. There is no mention of culture, there is no mention of unity : not that I am against this country evolving a common culture. I would like to point out that the cry, namely, 'one culture' has dangerous implications. The very word 'culture' has dangerous meaning. One does not know exactly what it means. The Chief of the R. S. S. Organisation appeals in the name of culture. Some Congressmen also appeal in the name of culture. Nobody tells us what exactly this word 'culture' means. Today, as it is interpreted and understood, it only means the domination of the few over the many. Therefore, in the Working Committee Resolution, there is no mention of culture, there is no mention of unity. Not that we do not want a culture for this country. But we should call it rather a composite culture; then the different varieties of Indian culture must have an equal opportunity of contributing to the moulding, evolving of this composite culture. If you appeal to this country and insist upon having one culture, then, to me it means the killing of the soul of India.
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As I have tried to understand Indian culture, Sanskriti, Indian religion and Indian spiritual traditions, it is not uniformity but unity in diversity. It is Vividhata that India stands for. That is our richness; that is the contribution that India can make to the world-culture and world progress. I would like to maintain the variety of cultures, the different languages, each without obstructing, hindering or killing the unity of the country. Therefore when people use the term 'national language' my heart does not respond to it. I admit India is a nation and I am an Indian, but if you will ask me "what is your language", Sir, you will excuse me if I say 'My language is Marathi'. I am one of those who have been insisting that this language which will replace English should not be called the national language. If you mean by national language one language for the whole country, then I am against it. I must make it quite clear. India is a nation and I am an Indian but my language is Marathi.
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: My Friend is harping against an imaginary purpose.
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: Some people even lack imagination.
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I hope the honourable Member will not take the House on an imaginary discussion.
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Therefore this language and its function should be made clear. This language is either a State language or Union language or a federal language because we have accepted a Federation for our country. We have got autonomous States and therefore the States are expected to have their own languages, and as I have already said the Working Committee has made it clear what are to be the functions of the State language.
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Now I come to the next point. Many of my friends here know when this question was first discussed somewhere else I was one of those who pleaded that this State language should be called Hindustani instead of Hindi. Not that we had anything particularly against Hindi, but as Congressmen we have been accustomed, we have been taught by Mahatma Gandhi and we were ourselves convinced that if the masses were to enjoy the freedom, the country must have a language which they will understand. Then alone the freedom can be translated in their daily life and they can contribute to the building of the nation. Therefore the Congress accepted Hindustani as its language and it wanted the State to accept the same nomenclature and not only nomenclature but the content and the implications. As I have already said one cannot have everything in an Assembly or in a society, that is why I have agreed to the word Hindi with its contents defined, as has been done now. I wanted Hindustani because I felt that in that case there would be no restrictions and there will be no special privileged class in building the new language.
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Those who have followed the discussion during the last two days minutely must have understood how the difficulty has arisen in accepting the international numerals. Why are they objecting to them ? One of the reasons according to them is that they are not Hindi. As you are accepting Hindi they argue that you must also accept the Hindi numerals. They have not only taken for granted that we have accepted Hindi but also we have accepted Hindi of the pattern followed in U. P. and Bihar, and therefore they will dictate to us what is Hindi.
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I want to free myself from such restrictions and I do not want to be dictated what is Hindi or Hindustani. What will be our choice will be decided by this Assembly. Nobody can come and say you cannot do that. This Assembly cannot be dictate to by anybody. We are going to choose our language and its name. You cannot say "this is not Hindi." U. P., C. P., Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhyabharat etc. may have Hindi and Hindi numerals. They may evolve their language according to their genius. Because U. P. and Bihar do not use these international numerals, it cannot mean that the Central Government will not use them.
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I would remind my friends that they are living under an illusion if they think that we have accepted their language and we are going to build it according to their pattern. That is why there is a special directive about the content of the Hindi language to be adopted by the State. I know my friends from the North were not very enthusiastic about it. They said that if you want it you may have it. They were not as anxious as we were to define the contents of this language. They said "if you want it we are ready to satisfy you" but then they kept it not in the chapter of the language but in the chapter of the Directives.
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: Will you permit me to inform the honourable Member who is speaking that it was not we but the Drafting Committee who gave the Directive?
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I am glad to say and I must be obliged to Pandit Nehru because it was he who suggested that this Directive or this definition must find a place in the chapter of the language.
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: But for him the thing would not have been so easily done. That is my opinion-I may be wrong. But I wanted to draw specially the attention of the House to this fact. This Directive says:
It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of Hindi and to develop the language so as to serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India.
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The word 'composite culture' of India is a very fine word there. But my fear is--and fears are not rational, generally they are irrational but they play an important part in the life of a man that these words imply that we must evolve a language in which all these varied cultures of India will find expression. What I feel is that ultimately you want us to evolve such a language in which the whole culture, religion and our life's business will be expressed. If this has to come it must come so naturally that we will not feel the pangs or pain.
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Let my friends of U. P. and Bihar realise what we have been asked to do. I do not want to appeal to you on bended knees-I am not one of those who are accustomed to do that. But I would appeal to your reason It is not we who are asking anything from you, but it is the nation which is demanding something from us. And we are willing to give it. After all when the time comes we will have to accept one language and other languages may go to the background. I will be ready if and when it comes. But if you want to allay my tears, if you want my whole-hearted support, you must not do now anything which may raise my suspicions and which will strengthen my fears.
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Sir, I do not want to take any more time of the House. I only wanted to draw the attention of the House to the fact that we must act wisely. We should not give ground for suspicion or fear. For, suspicions and fears though irrational have a place in deciding our action. So I would appeal to my friends who are the protagonists of Hindi, to see clearly the position. Let us be definite that we are not accepting any particular culture or language, We are making a free choice of a language.
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After all, what is the claim that is now put forward ? The claim is that this language is spoken by a majority-I am not sure about that even I know when I go to Rajen Babu and when people from Bihar come to him they do not speak Hindi. If I am not wrong, neither Tandonji speaks Hindi at home. So when you say that Hindi is spoken by the majority of the country I doubt it. I can only concede that it is perhaps understood by the majority, and that too, not the present high-flown Sanskritised Hindi which is understood by Pandits only. As Gandhiji said it should be a simple language which could be understood by the people in the villages of the North. Just as we speak Marathi, others speak tamil or Telugu. Hindi is not spoken by 14 crores.
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If tomorrow it so happens that the capital is transferred from here, to Madura or to Trivandrum, I am not sure after fifty years the language spoken by the majority in this country will not be Tamil or Telugu. After all, people from the South come to the North, not for the language, not for the culture that Hindi gives but to earn their livelihood. I do not want to belittle the culture or the richness of Hindi, but as far as culture goes, I can receive it from my own language, Marathi and Sanskrit, the grandmother of all languages. They are rich enough to do that.
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Our forefathers accepted the English language not only because it was the language of the rulers, but they believed as Jawaharlalji pointed out that it opened a new world for them. They thought that it brought us into close touch with the outside world, and its various activities. Even today no Indian language can put forward the same claim. Some of our languages may do that tomorrow. Thus, rightly or wrongly our forefathers accepted English for its superiority.
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People come from the South and they speak Hindi because they come here for bread. After all, it is for bread that people quarrel. Why this dispute about having English for fifteen for ten years more? Apart from the difficulty of learning a language, people are afraid that in the Secretariat and in the offices, they may be pushed out, not by superior men, but because they are backward in a particular language. My Friend Pandit Shukla has given lot of praise to the friends from the South therefore I need not put in any claims on their behalf.
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: Please speak in the mike. We cannot hear you.
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: I am sorry, I will do so. I am not accustomed to the mike.
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Sir, I was saying that today it is not a question of culture or of religion or of tradition, but it is a question of bread and jobs. And if today Hindi is so much valued and people prefer it to any other language, it is not because it is superior to other languages but it is a means to get a job. When I come here, I cannot speak in Marathi, except in the Maharashtra Club but it cannot give me a job.
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People come to us and say "Why are you fighting for such small things ? After all, you have given 95 per cent. Why not yield 5 per cent. more ?" I want to make the position perfectly clear. I have not given anything to anybody. That is a wrong notion that some people seem to have that we have yielded 95 per cent. and so we should yield another 5 per cent; I have accepted this language because I feel I will have full liberty and full opportunity to would this language which is going to would me. I am one of those who would like to support the suggestion that even English should be one of those languages to be mentioned in the Schedule.
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Sir, in the list of regional languages, if you look at it, you will see Hindi mentioned. So Hindi is accepted as a regional language today. To that we have no objection. But please appreciate our difficulty. You want to keep Hindi as a regional language and at the same time make it the Union or State language. That gives you a superior position. You will excuse me, for I know you do not want it; still it comes to you, and you cannot help it. You must admit that however much a person may learn Hindi or Hindustani or any other language, unless it is his mother-tongue, unless he uses it all the 24 hours, he cannot master it. And unless he masters it, he cannot have a superior or a high position in the Secretariat or in any other field. I know the difficulty of the friends from the South. Since the English language lost its prestige in our national Organisation, they are practically only witness to its proceedings and are obliged to raise their hands. I have learned English, but I know what that learning means. It only enables me to utter a few words of that language. But if I have to administer the country, and to maintain a position, then learning must mean command over the language; for that a long number of years are necessary.
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Let the Honourable Member address the right side also. We cannot hear him.
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He has now finished.
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I am sorry. I speak here for the first time, I will learn the lesson and will make it a point to come here often.
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As far as the international numerals and period are concerned, I will only say, let no Member of this House have the feeling that he is giving something, and we are accepting something. It is not charity. We are not beggars in this House. Everybody must have equal right and equal position. We are all together trying to build something which is so vital to us. Therefore, when we say, let international numerals be there, please do not misunderstand us. Do you know what is happening and what havoc is being done with the Nagari script by a few friends who know and who say that it is for facility of printing, for typing and composing that it must be changed. Do you know how Vinoba Bhave writes Devanagari ? If some of my Hindi friends would see it they would weep: they would not recognise their mother tongue I myself feel the pang of it. When I read Vinoba Bhave's writing, I ask : Is this Devanagari?
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The protagonists of this change say that Devanagari will go and Roman script will come. I do not know which is better or superior. But today you are fighting for the numerals: Tomorrow you will fight for the script, and you will say this is our script and no one will change it. Then what shall we do ? Shall we appeal to you and beg of you and say, "will you allow us to make this change ?" No, Sir. If you are labouring under the wrong idea that this is something which you are giving to us and we are in duty bound to maintain it as you gave it to us, and yours will, be the last word as to the correctness or wrongness about it, then please remove that idea.
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Who has said all this?
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: I would appeal to the honourable Member to keep his temper. It is no use losing one's temper in a matter like this.
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would like to protest against the allegations which are purely imaginary. Mr. Shankarrao Deo is creating imaginary ghosts and slaying them. I can admire his swordmanship but he cannot in this way inspire any respect for his logic.
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Even that is no reason.
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My honourable Friend can allow a fool to play with his imagination. No harm will be done. If it is so imaginary, and if it does not touch him, why is he so angry. The very fact that he is so angry and he has lost his temper, shows that what I have said touches him.
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I must protest....
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: I am afraid this is not right and the honourable Member must keep his temper if he wishes to sit in this House.
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I can walk out if you so wish.
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No one has the right to lose his temper.
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: I am sorry that one friend has to lose his temper for what I have said. We must have freedom even to use our imagination unless it is unparliamentary. I do not want to go further. According to me these are not imaginary things. I have. been carefully following this controversy and I am one of those who want this House to come to some unanimous decision and I feel that unless the ground is cleared and people are not left under any illusion, the unanimity which is so necessary and which everyone longs for, will not come. It must be made clear that this Constituent Assembly is making the choice of a language for the State, for the Union, which does not belong to any group or any region.
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You have made that point clear more than once.
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I shall now refer to my amendments. I hope my friends will appreciate that one of my amendments says that after fifteen years English must be replaced by Hindi or any other language which we will choose as the State-language automatically. But that does not preclude or prevent us from using English for some specific purposes.
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There are some friends from the South who do not agree with me. I can appreciate that also. But that is my feeling and here I would like my friends to listen to the voice which we have been accustomed to listen for the last thirty years, That voice says: "Unless the Governments and their Secretariats take care, the English language is likely to usurp the place of Hindustani" (of course Gandhiji wanted Hindustani). "This must do infinite harm to the millions of Indians who would never be able to understand English. Surely, it must be quite easy for the Provincial Governments to have a provincial language and the inter-provincial language, which in my opinion can only be Hidustani, written in Nagari or Urdu script"
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I want this position to be accepted by this Assembly.
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: Please read the complete sentence.
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: I have gone to the end of the para. If I have done anything wrong you may correct me when your turn comes. What was relevant to my point I have read......
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You may read another paragraph from this very article where Gandhiji has envisaged the possibility of Hindi in Nagari script alone being adopted as the State language of India.
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I have read the first paragraph completely because I have the paper in front of me. That is what I take my stand on. After fifteen years English will cease automatically to be the language of the State. That does not mean that we are precluded or prevented from allowing English to be used further or to serve a definite specific purpose.
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I have finished, except for one last sentence which I would like to utter here with all the seriousness that I can command. As I have said, I am not an accomplished speaker. I have come for the first time here to, speak. I am sincerely sorry and my friends may accept this apology if I have uttered words or sentiments which they have not liked. I also extend my appeal to the whole House, that as far as possible let us avoid a division. Let us not divide this House on this issue because it is a most vital issue, and if we are divided and if we go from this House with our hearts weeping or sorry, I am afraid that the implementation of the Constitution and the translating of freedom in the terms and the needs of the masses will be a very difficult task. Therefore, I would appeal to all my friends, irrespective of the fact whether they are from the South, or the North, or the East or the West or the Centre. My appeal is to all. Let us be unanimous. I admit that the amendment of the Honourable Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar is not an ideal one; still it is the only formula on which unanimity is possible.
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Sir, I have done.
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: Sir, the atmosphere has been very tense and voices have been very loud And I hope I will bring the atmosphere down by my mild tone, though I am afraid that in view of the fact that Mr. Shankarrao Deo has not been heard so patiently I might also be interrupted. But I hope that I will have greater indulgence, because even if I enter into some controversial points my mild tone would be subdued further. There are several amendments but I will confine myself to 323 and 330.
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My amendment No. 323 is that instead of Hindi in Devanagari script it should be Hindustani in the Roman script. That has already been moved by a very distinguished scholar and an eminent Member like Dr. Subbaroyan. I would not go over the ground again that has been covered already but I must say something about it.
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I may make it clear in the beginning that when I passed my primary standard and had the option to elect Sanskrit or Persian as one of my elective subjects I chose Sanskrit and I developed a liking for it. I read it up to the matriculation. Even after I was elected a Member of this House and when this question arose here for the first time I was consulted by several Members and I gave my unreserved support for Hindi in the Devanagari script. I might emphasise here that I took it for granted that there could be no other language which could be accepted as the lingua franca or Rashtra Bhasha of our country.
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As the days have passed I have changed my mind. The most enthusiastic Protagonists of this Hindi have alienated my sympathy and I must say that I agree with Mr. Anthony. I am one of those who have withdrawn their support from Hindi in Devanagari script simply because of the fanaticism and intolerance of those who support it. When I supported Hindi I understood that it was the language of the common people that could be spoken and understood by the ordinary man and that might sing sweet to his ears. Certainly I am for that language even now.
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But when I have heard the ardent supporters of Hindi delivering their speeches on public platforms and in this house I am afraid that they are trying not to leave the language open to enrich itself from all other languages and let it grow as our common language, but they are trying to Sanskritise it and make it a close preserve. I do again make it clear that I am not against Sanskrit, and it' that is taken up straightaway I would support it. But as I find that it is not the intention of the House to take that up, therefore I say that we should be honest and say whether we are going to have a classical language and call it Hindi or whether we are going to adopt that language which is commonly understood and spoken by a majority of the population.
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There was a keen contest before partition between Urdu and Hindi to become the Rashtra Bhasha. There were two fanaticisms, if I were permitted to say so. Urdu used to draw from Persian and Arabic and Hindi from Sanskrit. So there was antagonism. So far as I believe, it was on this account that a common language was sought to be evolved and that was named Hindustani. The fear again was in the minds of some of our Members and people outside that Hindustani might be a synonym for Urdu. In my humble opinion that fear is no longer there. After the partition there is no chance that any language that we adopt would draw so freely from Persian and Arabic. Of course they would not be excluded but there is no fear now that they will be the chief sources now. But if that fear is gone the other fear is there. If there is no danger of the language being Persianised or Arbicised the other danger is there that the language might be termed Hindi but may be Sanskritised. So we desire to exclude that fear as well, and that we, can only do if we call our language Hindustani., which will be commonly understood by most of our people and not call it Hindi which has those associations. This is my reason for moving that it should be Hindustani.
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Then I come to the script. I would not repeat those grounds that have already been covered but I will only give four or five reasons in favour of Hindustani in the Roman script : (1) Hindustani in the Roman script is compulsory in all the armed forces and all people, whether from the North or South, find it equally convenient to learn it. (2) There is a larger section of the population who are more proficient in the Roman script. (3) Unless modified very radically, the Devanagari script would be an unsuitable medium for printing. (4) The Roman script can be modified a little to suit our purpose by adding a few dots or dashes. The names of places, the railway time table, the telegraph code, etc., will not be thrown into a confusion. (5) The most important reason is that this will link us up with the world outside and I borrow in this connection the name of Mr. Subash Chandra Bose who also advocated it. (6) My last ground is that this will remove the antagonism that is apparent in this House and will enable our Southern friends as well to learn the language more easily.
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Then I come to my second amendment No. 330.
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So far as regional languages are concerned, it has been laid down that-
subject to the provisions of 301 D and 301 E, a State may by law adopt any of the languages in use in the State or Hindi as the language or languages to be used for all official purposes of that State.
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My amendment says that--
subject to the provisions of 301 D and 301 E, a State shall by law adopt the language spoken, according to the last census figures available for the purpose by the majority of the population as the language to be used for all official purposes of that State.
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This might seem queer to some of our honourable Members, but the Punjab is a peculiar province. It is not an inter-provincial or inter-territorial question in the Punjab, but a communal question. This is a legacy of the pre-partition days. If we look at the census reports of 1931 and 1941, it would be clear that the Census Commissioners of those reports pointed out that persons, very respectable and honourable, gave wrong answers in their enthusiasm to choose one language or the other. People who wanted Urdu to be their language, while they actually spoke Punjabi, replied to the question that their mother-tongue was Urdu. Similarly, to counteract it, the answer from the other side was that their mother-tongue was Hindi while they spoke and were conversant only with Punjabi. Under these circumstances the figures that were collected were wrong and the Census Commissioner had to give up that attempt which he recommended might be dropped altogether.
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That was the reason why in the 1941 census these figures were not collected at all. My submission is this that this communalism about giving wrong answers and denying the mother-tongue is a legacy of the past and it has stayed even after Partition. If it is left to the States-I am talking of the Punjab particularly-to choose any language there which the State legislature likes, the danger is that the majority of a section of our people who deny that Punjabi is their mother-tongue might adopt a language which is not the main language as the official language of the State. I might also say here that Hindi has no fears from Punjabi if the (Hindi) is adopted as Rashtrabhasha.
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If that is going to be the lingua franca, certainly every member of the community, whether he is a Hindu or a Sikh, whether he belongs to a majority community or minority community, will have to read it and write it and learn it in higher studies as well, because without it he would not be considered anywhere in this country. Therefore, Hindi's future even in States is safeguarded and guaranteed, but my fears are that Punjabi could not have its own status if it is left to the State Legislature. Communalism has not been correctly defined anywhere, but a convenient definition may be that whatever is said and done by the majority in a democratic country or at least in India is pure nationalism and whatever is said by a minority community is communalism. This is the basis on which we are proceeding. As there were fears in the minds of the minority that Punjabi might be swept away altogether, they advocated its adoption as one of their demands to the majority community, but I fear that just as the protagonists of Hindi have done a disservice to that language so have the Sikhs by taking up the cause of Punjabi done it a great disservice because this demand has been dubbed as a communal demand.
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But there was no other choice for them, as the majority community denied it to be their mother-tongue, so it was left to the minority community to advocate it and when they did so, the reply came that it was a communal demand. Certainly, that was a perplexing answer. The Press carried on a vigorous propaganda. They said the Sikhs were out to have a separate State,, they were separatists they were disruptionists. With this fear in mind that Punjabi was going to be ousted, the minority community wanted the adjustment of boundaries to be taken up and wanted that linguistic provinces may be demarcated. That too was again decried as a communal demand. It was not communal in other parts of the country, but it is communal so far as the cry of the minority community in the Punjab is concerned. I might also mention here that the Commission also has ruled out that so far as Punjab is concerned, it is not going to be considered. These boundaries would remain as they are. When the minority community wanted that the Punjabi language might be conceded as the official language of the State, the result was that they said it was no language at all; it was only a dialect of the Hindi language. That surprised them most, because in 1932 the Punjab University had appointed a Commission and that had made a clear report that it was one of the richest languages of this country.
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Another method has now been adopted. "Why should there be coercion on anybody? Everybody should be free to choose what medium of instruction he wants. Nobody should be compelled to give instruction to his child in any language which he does not know". Now that is the state of affairs that is prevalent in the Punjab. I may here submit in all humility that we have been snubbed as communalism's. I might make it clear that now, after Partition no minority can be communal. It could be said that when the third party was there the minority communities were communalists and were looking to the third party for support-But now the minority has to look to the majority for everything that it wants. It has to look to the majority for favours, for rights or for concessions. It does not pay any minority to be communal now. What the minorities say or do now is not communalism. Their outlook has changed absolutely. They want pure democracy, because it is only in democracy that they can thrive and flourish. It would be to their disadvantage and would not pay them if they persist in communalism. But what they are afraid of is not the democracy of the majority, but the communalism of the majority. And Punjab is suffering from that. I request you and I appeal to this House to note that what I want is that I should be saved from the communalism of the majority and therefore I commend this amendment of mine to the House.
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Mr. President, Sir, I feel that I would not be discharging my duty properly if I did not plead with the House that in Schedule VII A some of the Adibasi languages that are spoken, not by a few, but, literally, by millions, should also be included. My amendment No. 272 says:
That in amendment No. 65 of Fourth List, in the proposed new Schedule VII A, the following new items be added:-
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Sir, if you look at the list of Scheduled Tribes in the last Census, you will find there enumerated 176 of them. Of course there are not 176 languages. There may be dialects, in patois form, and the same language may be a shade different in different areas. You might ask me why I have singled. out only three out of 176. Sir, I do not wish that the Schedule should be overburdened with numerous languages and that is why I have selected only three important ones. To deal first with the Mundari language, the first in my amendment, I may say that I have not mentioned Santhali because Mundari is the generic term given to the family of languages sometimes called Austric and at other times called Mon-Khmer. I find that in the last census, forty lakhs of people have been recorded as speaking the Mundari language. In the list or the Schedule as it is. I find that there are included in it languages spoken by fewer people than the Mundaris.
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Similarly my reason for including Oraons is that the Oraons are not a small group in our country. There are as many as eleven lakhs of Oraons. Of course, this language finds a place in the Schedule under the language called Kanarese ; So, actually, if Kanarese were to embrace Oraon, and if my Friend Mr. Boniface Lakra who speaks that language is satisfied that it does I would withdraw item 16 Oraon.
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I have asked also that Gondi should be one of the languages as it is spoken by 32 lakhs of people. My main reason toy asking the House to accept these three languages is that I feel that by accepting them we will be encouraging the cause of unearthing ancient history.
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The House, somehow or other, finds itself divided into two groups-the Hindi purists and others who are generous enough to accept that it should be left to time to evolve a language. Let me confess that I am prepared to accept whatever the House decides. But I do feel very strongly opposed to the puritancial fanaticism that has gripped many people. What is a language ? A language is that which is spoken. I think we are taking a retrograde step in trying to think that we can enrich the language that is spoken to-day by sanskritising it one hundred per cent for sentimental reasons. I am a great admirer of Sanskrit. I do speak Hindi as it is spoken in my province of Bihar, but that is not the Hindi which my friends want me to accept here. Let Hindi be the language as it is spoken everywhere. Let it enrich itself by taking words from other languages. Let us not think that, if other words are brought into Hindi or Hindustani, we shall be impoverishing it. A language grows and is enriched because it has the courage to borrow words from other languages. I do not mind whether you call it Hindustani or Hindi. Whatever. you decide I will readily learn. The Adibasis will learn it. They are bilingual or trilingual. In West Bengal, the Santhals speak Bengali as well as their mother-tongue. Wherever you go you find that the Adibasi has accepted the language of the area in addition to his mother-tongue.
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There is not a single Member here from Bihar who has had to learn an Adibasi language. Does my Friend Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla tell me that although there are 32 lakhs of Gonds in the Central Provinces he has tried to learn the Gondi language? Has any Bihari tried to learn Santhali though the Adibasis are asked to learn the other languages? It is a matter of pride with us that we can talk in other languages also.
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I think there should be some reciprocity. There should be some spirit of accommodation, and the provinces that speak Hindi should make it a point to learn another language. That is the spirit that should be shown by us. We should not move in a groove and say that the rest of the country must learn our language because we ourselves shall not learn anything else.
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Sir, as I said, we have yet to unearth the hoary antiquity of India. We know very little of ancient India and there is only one way of learning about ancient India and that is by learning the languages that existed in this country before the Indo-Ayan hordes came into this country. Then alone shall we know what India in ancient days was like. I know my Friend, Mr. Munshi, has the idea that every time I use the word "Adibasis" I think in terms of Adibasi republics. He thinks perhaps that by this amendment I am trying to create three linguistic republics. Sir that is not the case. Take Santhali. If my amendment is accepted , it is going to affect West Bengal. Assam, certainly Bihar and Orissa. Take the case of Gondi. Gondi exits mainly in the C. P. but it stretches to Hyderabad a little bit to Madras and a little bit to Bombay also. Not one of these is an isolated area. They spread over distant provinces. All that I want is that these language should be encouraged and developed so that they themselves can become enriched and by their enrichment they enrich the Rashtrabasha of the country. I do not want that linguistic imperialism should get the better of us. Wherever I have been, it has been a pleasure to learn the language of the place I have had to live in.
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So far as the script is concerned, I have very strong views and for practical reasons. I feel that we are making a wrong choice in accepting Devanagari. I belong to that school of thought which has been led, for the last thirty years by Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee who has advocated international phonetics for all the Indian languages. By international phonetics, I can pronounce Tamil as a Tamilian speaks it. I can speak Kanarese as a Kanarese speaks it. Without knowing a language, I can read and pronounce it as a person whose language it is pronounces it, but I know that the House is not in a mood to accept it. So long as my friends suffer from a complex, the fear complex, I am afraid it is useless to appeal to them to have. a script that is practical not only for the purpose of teaching others or teaching oneself.
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There is the commercial aspect of it also. It is a well-known fact that the Devanagari script has given headache to all the producers of printing machinery. In the time you can print something like fifteen thousand copies or twenty thousand copies in English, you cannot print even one-tenth of this number in Devanagari. Now, that is the commercial and practical aspect of it. I am not being sentimental. I think the country would have been wise to have done nothing which would retard its progress. By accepting Devanagari, we are impeding ourselves; we shall not be able to move fast enough, until such time as my friends can produce machinery that will move as fast as the international alphabet or something which is only slightly less speedy.
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Sir, there is not very much more that I want to say. All that I plead, is that the languages of the most ancient peoples of this country should find a place of honour in the Schedule. I need not say more. I want to assure the Members on both sides that I do not wish to be drawn into this quarrel about language and script. Whatever the House accepts, I and my people will readily accept, and it is in that spirit that I ask the House also to show a spirit of accommodation in accepting my amendment.
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: Mr. President. Sir, I do not propose to traverse the wide grounds which have been covered by some of the speakers who have preceded me. I have moved certain amendments to the amendments proposed by Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar and in whatever I have to say, I shall try to keep as close as possible to the object of my proposals.
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The speech which Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar made reflects the spirit of the proposals made by him. According to him, it was on the strength of the English language that freedom was achieved, and it is therefore necessary to maintain English for administrative purposes for-to quote his words-many many years to come, in fact for a much longer period than the fifteen years during which under his own proposals, English should continue to be the language of the Union. His second predominent idea is that none of the provincial languages, and Hindi along with the rest, is sufficiently developed to meet the requirements of a language which has to carry the burden of administration in all its various phases, particularly in the realm of legal concepts and complexities. The whole scheme of his proposals is based on and coloured by these two dominent notions.
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There is a third novel idea too in his proposal, namely that whatever may happen in course of time to the English language in India, the numerals which we have learnt from the English language and which are designated in his, draft as international forms of Indian numerals, must, in any event, stay and become an intrinsic part of the Nagari script, taking the place of our Devanagari-Sanskrit numerals, wherever and whenever the Devanagari script is to be used for purposes of the Union.
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I would, in all humanity, request the honourable Members of this House to examine these three ideas a little closely, remembering that whatever we do today concerns not merely ourselves or those few men and women in the different provinces who are educated in the English way and nurtured and fed on the English language, but that our decisions will affect, influence and shape the lives of those millions of men and women who have no contact with the English language, for whom any contact with the English language is impossible and who have to be lifted up from their present state and trained in the ways of democracy and administration. We have also to remember, Sir, that the decisions we take here today will affect not merely the present generation, but will shape the destinies of the generations yet unborn.
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The Prime Minister has, in his own manner warned us against looking backward, taking any steps which might lead us backward. I have always entirely agreed with the view, and have myself put it forward on many occasions, that we cannot rest content with what we have achieved in the past, and that we cannot entirely would ourselves on the pattern that existed in the past.
Samaya bhedena Dharma Bhedah
Avastha bhedena Dharma Bhedah
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are the mottos which I have placed before the people. With times and conditions our dharma our duties change: these are ancient mottos. We have to remember that our little systems have their day and then cease to be. The world moves on. The system of today yield place to new systems, new manners, new ways of thought. There is always a fresh perfection treading on the heels of the old. We cannot, even if we would, get out of that great fundamental fact of existence.
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At the same time, Sir, we have to remember, as was said by the Prime Minister, that we are all rooted in the past, and that we cannot cut ourselves away from it. In a way, we are bound to the past by a strong but invisible chain, an Akashik chain, which is, ever lengthening with time, but which remains unbroken and unbreakable. Therefore, in whatever we attempt to do, we have to take care that while we move forward to our destiny, the long, strong chain that binds us to the past is not weakened, but strengthened at every step. That, Sir, I submit, should be our basic political philosophy not to live in the past, but to live in the present which connects us with the past.
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I stand for taking in the fullest measure the good that the West can give us. But I ask every one present here to remember that all that glitters in the West is not gold, that what is Western is not necessarily good, that our own country has produced concepts and traditions of a high order which are likely with the passage of time to influence more and more the destinies of the whole race of mankind.
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It is in the light of these principles that I wish Honourable Members to examine the draft which has been placed for acceptance by out Friend Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar. I shall not read it out. I take it that you are familiar with every important clause in it. This draft visualises the existence of the English language for at least fifteen years, and not merely the existence but the predominance of that language in all that concerns the Union. I had imagined that-although it would be necessary that for some time to come English should be retained for our official purposes that that time would not be so long. I had thought that within a much shorter time we might be able to go near the people and work in a language understandable by them. I do not forget that for our brethren who are here from the South Hindi which is proposed to be the official language will not be very easy to learn. At the same time I submit that the people in the South are not strangers to Hindi Under the direction of the Father of the Nation, whose name always strikes a sensitive chord in our hearts, the work of Hindi began in 1918 in South India and during this period several lakhs of men and women have learnt Hindi and, as my Friend Shri Moturi Satyanarayana sitting here can tell you better, every year there are about 55 to 60 thousand examinees sitting in Hindi examinations held by the Dakshina Bharat Hindi, recently named Hindustani Prachar Sabha.
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They can only read and write but they cannot express themselves.
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: That may be. An that I say is that that shows that the Hindi language will not be a new thing in South India, I was under the impression that such a long time as fifteen years would not be required to bring Hindi near to the young generation of Madras but, as Pantji said, it is for our brethren in the South to say as to what time they require and I entirely agree with the view that it is not for us to force their hands in the matter. We will offer our services, we can tender advice but we leave it to them to say how long they want and within what time, they will make their people ready to use Hindi for purposes of the Union.
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It is in that spirit that we agreed to the fifteen years time. We had begun with five, then we went upto ten and then we saw that our brethren from the South wanted fifteen years' and we agreed to that. But in Shri Ayyangar's draft there is a hard provision in regard to Hindi not being used at all except in addition to English for five years and more, till a commission makes a recommendation and that recommendation is accepted by the President. That seems to me a rather hard provision. It might have been' somewhat softer. Why is it necessary to keep out Hindi entirely from those official purposes for which Hindi can be used without any inconvience to our friends of the South ? Under the present clauses a Minister of the Union cannot write a letter in Hindi on any official business to anyone unless that letter is accompanied by an English translation. Obviously, then, Hindi is not likely to be used at all. So it comes to this that for five years and more, so long as the Commission does not make a recommendation and that is not accepted by the President, no work can be done in Hindi except in the shape of translation from English. You may publish a book in English and you may translate it into Hindi also. That is all the work that will be done for five years and more. That is rather hard. Nevertheless I agree even to this--that nothing is to be done for five years in Hindi except when it is in addition to English.
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But I ask you to give thought to what comes after five years. Under Shri Ayyangar's proposal, at the expiration of five years, a Commission is to be appointed to go into the question of language. This will necessarily mean an extension of the period of five years by another, two years or so, because the Commission after its appointment will meet and probably wander about in the country and then make a report. After that a Parliamentary Committee will sit and examine the Commission's proposals and then make its own final report. Let the appointment of the Commission be before the expiry of five years. I do not fix any time. All that my amendment says is "substitute before' for , at so that the report may be ready and Government may be in a position to direct that after the expiry of five years some changes which may be thought necessary in regard to the use of Hindi, may come into effect. This is a small amendment which I have suggested and I hope it will be accepted. It simply means that before five years have expired, the Commission will be appointed But I make it clear in my amendment that whatever recommendations art adopted, will be brought into effect only after the expiry of five years. And. shall be content that within five years, only that workwill be done in Hindi which is a translation of English.
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Similarly, in some other clauses I have proposed some modifications. As the President has directed, these amendments have been taken as moved. So I shall not read them. I shall only mention the general purpose. A Parliamentary Committee has been suggested and it has been said that it will report on the recommendations of the Commission. I have added a small clause to the effect that this committee may make its own recommendations also-"such recommendations as it may deem fit". These are the few words that I have added to that particular clause about the appointment of the Committee and its report on the recommendations of the Commission. All that I ask is, let this Parliamentary Committee also, if it thinks fit, make some recommendations, and let the Government decide on the recommendations of the Committee as well as of the Commission.
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These are the amendments which I have proposed in 301-B.
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I now come to Chapter II on Regional Languages--301-C of Sri Ayyangar's draft. It is stated here that:
... a State may by law adopt any of the languages in use in the State or Hindi as the language or languages to be used for all or any of the official purposes of that State.
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I agree with that. It is the proviso to which I take exception. It says-
Provided that until the Legislature of the State otherwise provides by law, the English language shall continue to be used for those official purposes within the States for which it was being used at the commencement of the constitution.
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I fail to understand why it should be at all necessary to encourage the use of English in States. It may be that at the commencement of the Constitution, they may be partially using English but they may want to change it. I know you provide that they may change it by law. But they may be. using not only English, but other languages. So I would like to put in this sentence in place of the proviso-
Provided that until the Legislature of the State otherwise Provides by law the English or languages which were being used for official purposes within the State at the commencement of the Constitution shall continue to be so used.
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In my own province, we are now using Hindi for official purposes. Bihar and C. P. also, I think, are using it. Why should it be necessary for us to pass a new law accepting Hindi? We are using Hindi at present under the direction of the Government, and therefore, the words that I have suggested would be more suitable.
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Then in article 301-E it is said that where the President is satisfied that a substantial proportion of the population desires the use of some other language, he may direct that such language shall also be officially recognised. I agree to that, but it seems to me that it would be better to follow the Congress Working Committee's direction in this matter and lay down a certain proportion of the population on whose demand a language may be recognised. I think the Working Committee laid down 20 per cent. and we might well adhere to that; otherwise it would become very difficult for the Central Government to decide as to where to give in and where to refuse and that might create some confusion and a certain amount of bitterness also in certain provinces. Where a proportion is fixed, the way for the Central Government will be clear.
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And then in Chapter III--"Language of the Supreme Court and High Court," the proposals put forward in are-and Mr. Ayyangar will pardon me for saying it-palpably retrograde. You have adopted Hindi as the official language. You desire, I take it, that gradually Hindi should replace English. But that can be done only when you give Hindi the opportunity to replace English at least in the Hindi provinces. I know that the non-Hindi provinces have their difficulties; but. the Hindi provinces have none in regard to the use of Hindi. Do not exaggerate the difficulties. It has been said that the proper idioms, the proper phrases or the proper terminology cannot be found. Well, leave that to those, who will work in Hindi. In my own province, all the original texts of Bills and enactments are in the Hindi language. Obviously our work creates no difficulties for our brethren in the South. Why should you force us to conduct all our official work in the English language, when we are already doing it in Hindi ? Again you say that so far as the Supreme Court and the High Courts are concerned, their work also must for fifteen years be done in English. I agree that the Supreme Court may work in English for fifteen years, but I submit that it is not necessary that all the High Courts should work in English for that period. The High Courts may be divided into two classes. There are those High Courts-some of them newly created in the States where work in done, and has traditionally been done in Hindi. Take for instance Gwalior or Indore. I am aware that English has also been used there, some of the judges imported from outside have done their work in English and it has been permitted; and yet a good deal of work is done in Hindi simultaneously. Will you now prevent it? Similarly, there is a High Court in Rajasthan, and in some of the other States also. Will you prevent these High Courts from functioning in Hindi ? Under the present proposal all Hindi work in these, High Courts will become impossible. I say that must be changed.
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Then there is another class of High Courts : those which have been doing their work in English but which can take up Hindi in a much shorter time than fifteen years. Take the High Court in my own province, or Bihar or the C. P. I am very. clear in my mind that our High Court can begin to function fully in Hindi after a lapse of five years. Gradually, during the next five years, the whole procedure can be built up and can be adapted to the needs of Hindi. Terminology will present no difficulty. It is already being created. A good deal of it is there, and it is, after all, not a very difficult task to coin necessary words. Hindi is not a new language. When Ireland framed its constitution it adopted the Irish language, which had not much literature and which had not a sufficient vocabulary and yet Ireland adopted it. Our language, Hindi, is a powerful language.
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Mr. Ayyangar said that that language is entirely lacking in the terminology which will be necessary. What shall I say to that proposition! He himself says that he is not conversant with that language and yet he pronounces judgment upon it. I submit that that is not fair. I, for my own part, submit that Hindi, with the resources of Sanskrit, about which so much has been said in this House and which I endorse fully-Hindi with the backing of Sanskrit, can face all the difficulties of vocabulary with ease. Even before the expiry of five years. it seems to me, we can conduct the work of the High Court in Hindi. But I say that in any case five years is a sufficient period. We do not require that for fifteen years ours work should be carried on in English. So why make it compulsory for us to continue to work in English for that long period ? Give us room enough to expand and then after fifteen years all the work that matters, for example the work of the Union, will become easier of accomplishment because Hindi provinces by that time will have created that atmosphere and built up that terminology which will be helpful to the whole country.
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: What do you mean by Hindi provinces?
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: I am referring to those provinces which have adopted Hindi as their language; for example, the United Provinces has formally adopted Hindi as its language: so has Bihar . . .
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: The United Provinces is either a Urdu province or a Hindustani province. It cannot be a Hindi-speaking province.
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: That may be your view. I do not propose to go into that controversy about Hindi, Hindustani, or Urdu. All I say is that Hindi has been adopted as the official language of the United Provinces and it is the language in which all the official measures and enactments are being passed today. Undoubtedly, a good deal of work is still being done in English, but by and by that workwill also be done through the medium of the Hindi language. These are the smaller modifications which I have suggested.
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Now, I come to the main amendment in 301-A, which relates to numerals. I know, Sir, that controversy over the numerals has created a certain amount of bitterness. I would be the last man to add to that bitterness. I would as far as possible remove it. I know that our Madras friends want to change the Hindi numerals.
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: Bengal also
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If I am wrong you can correct me; but I never heard that from my Bengal friends.
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: Bombay also. As a matter of fact, all non-Hindi speaking people.
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My submission is that it is not correct, to say the least of it, that all non-Hindi areas want that change. ask Mr. Shankarrao Deo and Dr. Ambedkar, who are sitting here. to tell me whether the people of Maharashtra are going to accept it.
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I say that whatever stand I take the Maharashtrians will take that stand too.
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: From my knowledge of Maharashtra I submit, because the script is the same, that if there is a referendum there, the people of Maharashtra will not accept the so-called international numerals.
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If there is a referendum in India Hindi will go!
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: I would beg of honourable Members to interrupt me one by one and not many at a time. I shall be happy to hear Mr. Shankarrao Deo and Dr. Ambedkar.
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: Why not refer it to a referendum ?
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I am a Maharashtrian and I can say that if referendum is taken in Maharashtra they would not accept the international numerals.
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I am a Maharashtrian too and I can say that they would not accept the international numerals.
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It is not necessary that individual Members should express their opinion on any particular proposition.
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The honourable Member is asking for opinions.
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I submitted my view. You may agree with it or not. I did not ask Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee to express his opinion. What I said was, and I say it now and here, that if this proposition goes to the people of Maharashtra, they will not accept it. I am also in touch with that province. And I say, in spite of what my Friend, Mr. Munshi, may say, that when this provision goes into the hands of the Gujaratis, they will not accept it either.
(Interruption from several honourable Members)
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Is it necessary for so many persons to speak at the same time? If one man interrupts I can hear him but when four or five people speak at the same time I cannot hear any of them.
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I have heard Mr. Shankarrao Deo. He says that if the whole Constitution is referred to the people, they will not accept.
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: Much of it.
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If that is so then much of it is fit to be thrown into the waste paper basket. If there is any part of the Constitution which will not be accepted by the people then it must not be accepted here. I submit in all humility that I would gladly accept a referendum to the whole country. If the provinces do not accept Hindi, I would be the last man to force it upon them. I would then say at once that Hindi must not be the national language. Why should Hindi be forced upon any province ? It is for the provinces to decide whether they will or will not accept Hindi. They may continue with English or have an Esperanto if they like. I would agree to that entirely, if that is their view. But let some way be found for ascertaining the wish of the people. A gallup-poll has recently been taken by a body of students. We have read about it. Another method for gathering the views of the masses may be attempted in the whole country. Let that be done. in Madras also. Whatever my friends here may say I am hopeful that a very large number of people in Madras will desire Hindi.
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: But if there is no such reference to the people possible, I would appeal to all those who are in power today to listen to the small voice in their hearts and not to accept even one little thing which they feel is not likely to be accepted by the people......
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: I demand a referendum in U. P. on whether it is to be a Hindi or Hindustani province. Not a single person speaks Hindi in the Sanskritised form there.
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: May I just point out that this Constituent Assembly has been charged with the duty of framing a constitution for the country ? There is no provision in the Constitution of this Assembly for any referendum and therefore there is no question of a referendum either on the whole or a part of it So that need not give rise to any controversy, because it would be futile.
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I appeal to those who are in power to think over the matter. I do not propose that this matter should now go to a direct referendum. What is a referendum ? It simply means the will of the people., If it was left to the people, what would they say?.....
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: So far as the Constituent Assembly is concerned it reflects the will of the people.
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Sir, what the honourable Member says is a reflection on the Members of this Assembly.
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If every time we refer to the will of the people it is objected that that is a reflection on the Members of the House it would become impossible to proceed. Sometimes the views of the House may differ from the will of the people. So far as the question of numerals is concerned I ask you to reflect upon it. Perhaps you have made up your minds. Yet I ask you to listen to what I say. Do not get warmed up over this issue about numerals.
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: It is a warning for us.
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You have made up your minds and you want to laugh at your opponents. It will becomes you. I am serious about this question. I know that Mr. Ayyangar is serious about it. It is a matter which concerns the future of our people.
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We have been speaking of a national language for years and years. is not a now subject before the House. It was in the 19th century that this idea of a national language took shape in Bengal, not in U. P. or Bihar. I can quote to you extracts but I do not wish to take up the time of the House. I have with me the original of what Bankim Chandra Chatterjee wrote. I have the original of what Keshub Chandra Sen said on the subject. I have the Original before me of what was written in 1908 by the 'Bandemataram', the editor of which was Shri Arabindo Ghose.....
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: We have been amply rewarded for all that !
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: That idea took shape there and then Tilak supported it and Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, took it up. My point is that this movement has been there for years and people have worked in accordance with certain ideas about the acceptance of Hindi as the national language. It has been taken for granted more or less that Hindi is the national language and work has been going on in different provinces on that assumption.
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A few minutes ago I spoke of the work done in Madras. I may also mention that in Bengal, Assam, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Orissa that work has gone on for years. Today examinations are conducted from Wardha in Hindi and about 1,40,000 young men and women annually appear for them-young men and women who do not belong to Hindi-speaking provinces but who come from non-Hindi speaking regions. That shows that it is not a new idea, that there is work on the basis of that idea to the credit of the country.
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May I ask how long has this idea about the numerals been before the country ? No member could have the courage of coming before this Assembly, with a proposition about the acceptance of the Hindi language if that language had not already been more or less accepted by the people for years and years. It is on that basis that that clause in the Draft Constitution relating to language has been framed. But how long have people been discussing about these numerals ? Only for about two or three weeks.
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I may inform the honourable Member that this question came up before us in the South in connection with the Hindi Prachar Sabha at least fifteen years ago and we decided that Hindi Prachar in the South should be conducted with international numerals.
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: I accept Mr. Santhanam's statement as correct. I never knew about it. But neither Mr. Santhanam nor the Hindi Prachar Sabha of Madras ever brought up this question before the country.
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: You yourself were there on the Hindi Prachar Sabha fifteen years back?
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: When I was in touch with the Hindi Prachar Sabha, it was the Nagari digits that were being used. I may give that information to my honourable Friend Mr. Satyanarayana whose connection with that Sabha, began long after mine. When I had something to do with that Sabha, when that Sabha was being guided from Allahabad all the work was being done through the Hindi numerals. It was at a later stage that he probably brought in the English numerals; and even today, I may remind him, some at least of the Hindi books that he has published have Nagari numerals. I have seen at least one of them.
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: It was in 1927.
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: What about Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu who are using these numerals today?
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When you are adopting Hindi as the language, adopt also its numerals. I ask you to consider whether this is the proper time, when the country is not prepared with any views on that matter, to force English numerals upon Hindi ? I have said so many times that I would not force Hindi upon any province, but by the Constitution you are practically forcing this script for all official purposes upon all those who do their work through the Nagari script. I ask you to stay your hand there. The Prime Minister has repeatedly said that languages grow, that they are not born in a day. He has said that several times. (A voice-He is right). He is right. Languages grow. But the numerals grow also. (Interruption.) The numerals grow also, they have grown. (Interruption.) The numerals have grown along with the script. The script grows. like the language which uses it. The script is not born in a day. It has grown with all parts of it, the vowels, the consonants and the numerals. It is one artistic whole. You cannot patch something upon. the face of that whole. Today you say, "Take out the Nagari numerals." You might as well say-though you are not saying it today-"Take out the vowels, let the English vowels be used and let the consonants alone be Hindi". I say you would be creating a monstrosity.
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: That is a caricature.
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: My friend says that is a caricature. He sees the absurdity of taking away the vowels. So far as we are concerned, we also see the absurdity of taking away the numerals. It does nobody any good. You are taking away something from us which does not enrich you but makes us poor indeed.
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Our numerals are an ancient heritage. It has sometimes been said that these English numerals are our numerals and the question has been put: why should we not take them back? As if we had lost our numerals and we are going to re-possess them! Nothing of the kind. The knowledge of these numerals certainly went to Europe through Arabia from our country. We are all proud of that fact. There are many other matters in which Europe is indebted to us. But that does not mean that an object which has grown amongst us should be given up and we must bring back in their changed forms those things which originally went from here. They have modified their forms according to their needs and we have modified our forms in consonance with our genius. Circumstances and environments everywhere introduce changes. Changes have been made in our country also. Our numerals have grown as I said. They were written in a certain manner during Vedic times. Then changes came and for about sixteen centuries they have been written in the present style. Are we to give up now what has been used here for such a long time ? I say internationalism is no argument and it is not fair that our people should suddenly in this manner be asked to give up their own numerals.
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: We are using them in the South today.
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: I would beg of Mr. Diwakar to be patient. He can have his chance afterwards.
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It has been authoritatively said in regard to the Devanagari script including the numerals, that our system is the most perfect that exists in the world. shall quote to you one or two extracts, although I have many before me. Here is one from Prof Monier Williams:
And now a few words in explanation of the Deva-Nagari or Hindu system. This. although deficient in two important symbols, 'represented in the Roman by z and f,..
(which deficiency as you know, has been made up by means of dots)
........ is on the whole, the most perfect and symmetrical of fall known alphabets. The Hindus hold that it came directly from the Gods-whence its name (i.e. Devanagari) and truly its wonderful adaptation to the symmetry of the sacred Sanskrit-seems almost to raise it above the level of human inventions.
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The late Sir Isaac Pitman, the great English inventor of phonography said:
If in the world we have any alphabets the most perfect. it is those Hindi ones.
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I shall refrain from reading other extracts.
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Some friends suggested that the Roman script should be adopted. It is for them to think over the extracts which I have just read out. My view is that it is possible that when our country grows in strength the, European nations may themselves be drawn more and more to see the excellence of our alphabet. This question of romanising our language was raised in the 19th century also. Some of the savants of England wanted that the people here should be given education through the medium of the Roman script. There was a long controversy over it and at last it was decided by the British Government that the Roman script could not profitably be used in this country and that the Nagari script was the most suitable. It is too late in the day now to think of Romanising our language. I hope that question will not be pressed.
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Then, Sir, something was said about the adoption of Sanskrit. I bow to. those who love Sanskrit. I am one of them. I love Sanskrit. I think every Indian born in this country should learn Sanskrit. Sanskrit preserves our ancient heritage for us. But today it seems to me-if it could be adopted I would be happy and I would vote for it--but it seems to me that it is not a practicable proposition that Sanskrit should be adopted as the official language.
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After fifteen years it will be all right, though it is not today.
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: I do not think that today in our Constitution it will be possible for us to say that Sanskrit should take the place of Hindi. I think the most practical view is to adopt Hindi as the language for official purposes.
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What is your amendment about numerals, Sir?
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Therefore my submission is that in this perfect Devanagari script which has come down to us from time immemorial we should have Hindi as the official language. It is not right that all of a sudden, when the public have not been educated about it, when the subject has not been before them for a sufficiently long time, the Constituent Assembly should decide that Nagari numerals should be taken out of that script and the so-called international numerals or English numerals should take their place. There is some feeling among Members from South India about using the English numerals since they are using them in their languages, I am a man of peace. I do not desire to have any quarrel as far as possible.
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My Friend Dr. S. P. Mookerjee made a kind of personal appeal to me I am grateful to him for it. I also wish that our language resolution could be passed. unanimously. With that object, although I feel strongly that Devanagari numerals should not be, interfered with in any manner, in order to meet the wishes of our friends from the South I have come forward with a formula. I hope that it will be possible for you to accept it. I say : let both Indian and international numerals be recognised for the purpose of the Devanagari script for fifteen years and let the President, that is the Government, decide from time to time as to where one set of numerals is to be used and where the other set is to be used. The Government work will for a long number of years be done in English. Some friends particularly Shri T. T. Krishnamachari, suggested to me that for statistics, for accounting and for banking, the international numerals should be allowed. I saw that they were keen about that. Therefore in one of the sub-clauses I have provided that so far as these matters are concerned, during this whole period of fifteen years, only the English language should be used, so that the main purpose for which the international numerals are wanted will be served by the English language employing the English numerals as a matter of course. I do not suppose any one desires that English numerals should be use for printing ordinary Hindi books. But even there I have left it to the Government. If Government desire that for any particular work English numerals may be used, they may do so. They may use Hindi numerals only when they think them necessary.
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I appeal to you to accept the compromise and not to insist that for ever and for ever international numerals should be substituted, for the, Devanagari numerals. (Interruption.) I appeal to you not to pass that proposition here, because you will be then very hard on people who been using Hindi. Their minds are thoroughly unprepared for this kind of change. (Interruption.) After we have adopted the Devanagri as the official script and Hindi as the national language, it would be up to all of us to meet in Conventions. and decide what changes we should introduce in the Nagari character. Our system is perfect, but the shapes of some letters require a change. Also some new letters will have to be added.
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I submit it will be possible for all of us, after accepting the Nagari script as it is today, and it will be necessary for the Government of India in particular, to hold conferences to consider what changes should be made in the script and in the numerals for the needs of the modern times. The, Prime Minister mentioned that for purposes of composing matter for the Press the international numerals were more suitable. With all deference to him I say that he is not acquainted with the details of press work. The information given to me by press workers with whom I have come in contact is that it makes absolutely no difference at all whether they have to use Hindi or international numerals. The best composing work is done on monotype or linotype machines. In fact, I submit, our numerals are more artistic and more in keeping with the shapes of our letters. I appeal to you to accept the compromise in the spirit in which I have placed it before you. I ask you to save further bitterness. Otherwise, this thing cannot stop here. Do you think there would be no agitation over this matter ? This thing is bound to rankle in the hearts of those who have been using these numerals and love them-whether they be Hindi-speaking, or Marathi-speaking or Gujarati-speaking. We are not meddling with your Tamil or Telugu scripts at all, but here you are meddling with our Nagari script.
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: It is only for official purposes.
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I know it is only for official purposes of the Government of India. But once the Government of India begins this thing, it is bound to filter down and to spread as the Government is the centre of all activity. That is why we object to it. If you will kindly listen to me, I would request you in all humility to accept the compromise which I have placed before you and to adopt my amendments,.
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: Mr. President! I shall take some time of the House. I have come here to apprise you of my opinion about the language; also I would tell you the object with which I gave my advice to the Congress Party and the procedure adopted by the Drafting Committee, thereupon. I will place before you all these facts and through you will bring them to the notice of the country.
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In this connection many questions came before us. The first question was as to how we could remove English from the position it has come to occupy in the Governmental machinery and in the sphere of education,-whether it should be set aside immediately or gradually. You will remember that two years ago I had expressed my opinion that we should wait at least for five years. In other words, English should remain in its place in the universities and in the government offices for five years and that after this period a change in procedure be ushered in and during this interval we should try to bring our national language on such a footing that it can easily replace English.
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My opinion that English should not be brushed aside immediately was generally appreciated, but the time limit fixed by me was acceptable only to a very small number of my friends. Particularly my friends from South and Bengal were of the opinion that a much longer period was required for that, and that for such an important change a period of five years will not be sufficient. I admit that experience of work and contemplation forced me to a similar conclusion as that of my friends. Now I feel that my estimate was not correct. In no way can we cover this distance in five or six years. I am in full agreement with the amendment of Shri Ayyangar that a period of at least fifteen years be fixed for it. You know very well that nobody can be more eager in seeing our national language reigning supreme instead of English.
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Perhaps it would not be out of the place if I tell you that I am the first man who tried in the Assembly that Hindustani be heard from the Government benches instead of English. But considering the pros and cons of the matter I had to come to this conclusion that the matter could not be brought to reality merely by sentiments and wishes. We must realise the difficulties of the situation and formulate conclusion accordingly.
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Two great obstacles stand in our way. The first difficulty is that there is no national language as such which can immediately take the place of English. Time is needed to evolve it, brush it, and polish it. So far as the administration of the government offices and the imparting of higher education is concerned, none of our languages can all of a sudden claim the position of English. Though admission of this fact gives us heart-burning, we have to admit it with regret. During these one and a half centuries of the British rule, if our national language had been used in the administration and academic spheres then surely today our national language would have attained the same status with the other rich languages of the world, but unfortunately it was not so. The language of administration and instruction has been English with the result that today we are forced to carry on our state and private business through the medium of English. The other obstacle is the non-existence of a common language in our country. If we try to bring immediately our national language in place of English, then, which can be that language which is read and written alike throughout the whole country ? No doubt the language of Northern India is widely spoken and understood : but, firstly, it is not spoken and written everywhere, and secondly, the South does not come under its domain. There you will come across only a very small section of population which can express itself in broken Hindi. We have got to admit that so far as language is concerned North and South are two different parts. The union of North and South has been made possible only through the medium of English. If today we give up English then this linguistic relationship will cease to exist.
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Today, if we desire to replace English by our national language which would be the national as well as the Federal language, then there is no other way but to wait patiently and try to introduce instruction in the national language widespread, while keeping English for some time. In this we require the good will and co-operation of our brethren of the South more than of anybody else. Unless and until they lend us their hearty support. we cannot succeed in our mission. With full willingness they have asked for a period of fifteen years and it behoves us to accept that with pleasure. If such an important problem as, that of a national language can be solved only within fifteen years than we should accept the bargain because it is very easily settled, and at the same time a very complex problem of the national life will be solved with ease.
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In the life of a nation and a country a period of fifteen years is not long-nay it will not be more than fifteen days. To this some friends have raised this objection that this decision will have its repercussions on the provinces as well, though the fact is that some Provinces have already replaced English and some universities have decided that in the near future university education will be imparted through the medium of our national language. In this connection the names of two universities of the Central Provinces have been mentioned. I have no hesitation in saving that such a hasty decision will not benefit the object of having a national language. I am afraid that in this way the standard of education will suffer a set-back and it will not be in the interests of the academic capability of the students. The governments and the universities of the Provinces were aware of the fact that the Government of India are considering this matter and that a University Commission had been constituted which would consider this important matter in addition to other educational problems. It was necessary that they should have awaited the recommendations of the Commission and should have acted after due consideration. By acting divergently in the field of education we would not be serving the educational life of the country.
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: I would like to inform you that this decision was taken by the University three years ago and the University Commission has been set up now.
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: That is right. They decided upon it three years ago, but we have to see whether this decision was expedient or not. I have no doubt that this decision does not fit in with what is expedient concerning our education and it is necessary to reconsider it. The Governmeat are in possession of the recommendations of the University Commission. Government will take an early opportunity to consider them.
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I know that you will agree with me that in this connection the universities should not have different decisions. On the other hand, the country should act upon one uniform decision.
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So far as education is concerned I am not of the opinion that we should wait for fifteen years. We can bring about this change earlier, provided that we prepare ourselves on the right lines. But any such change which is brought about immediately will surely be a wrong step, and it will put higher education in a topsy-turvey condition.
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In this connection the question of courts has also come before us. It is my firm conviction that for fifteen years, English should be continued in the High Courts. If we replace English in haste, then legal tangles of various kinds will crop up. Over and above this, there would not be any common relationship or uniformity of language between the different courts of the provinces. This change should be ushered in only when a national language can be read and written in every part of the country and becomes mature enough for the expression of highly technical subjects. Surely for this work a period of fifteen years will not be too long.
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Regarding language another question which confronts us is what should be our national language, what name should be given to it?
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So far as language in concerned, this has been admitted on all hands that the language spoken in Northern India can only be made the Lingua Franca, but it has got three names-Urdu, Hindi and Hindustani. Now, the point of dispute is as to what name should be given to it. Naturally, with different names are associated different forms and styles of the language; so in reality it is not a quarrel about the names but about the form or style. I want to give you a brief resume of the points of difference in these three names.
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The general framework or the set up of the language spoken all over Northern India is one and the same, but in its literary style it has got two names-a style resplendent with Persian is called Urdu and a style leaning towards Sanskrit is known as Hindi. The term "Hindustani" has developed a wider connotation: it embraces all forms of the language spoken in Northern India. It includes 'Hindi' as well as 'Urdu' and even more than that. It includes each and every shade of the spoken language of the North. It does not exclude any. It covers all.
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It was on my suggestion that, about a quarter of century ago, the All-India Congress Committee. when the question was before it, decided in favour of Hindustani. The object behind the decision was that in this language question we should not act with narrow-mindedness; rather we should try to extend its field. By adopting the name of "Hindustani" we had tried to do away with the differences that separated Urdu and Hindi, because when we try to speak in or write easy Hindi and easy Urdu then both becomes identical, and the distinction of Hindi and Urdu disappears. In the new framework of this easy vehicle of expression you can coin as many new words and new phrases as you please, there would be no obstacle. Besides, by adopting the name of Hindustani we leave untouched that vast and extensive field which the people of North India have created for their language. We do not put any check or obstacle upon them from above.
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Think for a moment of the position in which people of this area find themselves today! Only seventy or eighty years ago Urdu language was spoken and written by them. The movement for Hindi was started much later and a new literary style came into being which was known as Hindi. Now Urdu and Hindi are being used as two separate names for it. Even then, the language commonly spoken all over U. P., C. P., Bihar and Punjab is the same in shape and form. Those who have a liking for Sanskrit literature generally use words of Sanskrit origin and those who have got Persian education commonly use words of Persian origin. What the Congress had decided was that in Hindustani both these styles were included. They all speak Hindustani. If we want to develop a powerful, extensive and a literary language then we ought not to place any artificial obstacles in its way. We should let people speak the language they desire. After sometime a peculiar style would evolve by itself; words which are more natural and near to the rules of philology would come to stay in common use and uncommon words would be dropped out. Literary languages are not made to order by imposing artificial rules and checks. Languages are never made; they evolve. They are never given a shape; they shape themselves. You cannot shut the mouths of people by artificial locks. It you do that, you Will fail. Your locks would drop down. The law of language is beyond your reach; you can legislate for every other thing but not for ordering its natural evolution. That takes its own course, and only through that course it would reach its culmination.
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Anyway, by adopting the name of Hindustani, Congress had recognised that natural law according to which languages evolve. Congress only wanted to save it from artificial restrictions. Both Gandhiji and the Congress acted on this principle. He toured all over the country and everywhere he spoke in Hindustani. He did not belong to Delhi or Lucknow. He was brought up in Kathiawar. His Hindustani was neither literary Urdu nor literary Hindi, but an inter-mixture of both. In his vocabulary were many a words and phrases current in Bombay and Gujarat and he used them quite freely. Even them, the language he spoke was Hindustani, and through its medium his message did reach millions of Indians. If you look at the Congress you will see to what a great extent it has been influenced by him. Prior to his coming speeches only in English used to be made from the Congress platform, but since his arrival Hindustani came into vogue and upto this day speeches are made in Hindustani. But his Hindustani was neither the idiomatic Urdu of Delhi or Lucknow nor the Sanskritised Hindi of Banares. The language used by him was wider and more expansive. Any speaker could express himself freely in that language according to his own taste and learning and could make himself intelligible to thousands of his countrymen. Urdu-knowing people could speak in Urdu while Hindi knowing people could speak in Hindi. A speaker from Bombay would use Bombay-style Hindustani, while a Bengali speaker would speak in Hindustani with his own accent and style. All of them are covered by the wider term of 'Hindustani'. Hindustani has a place for all these styles.
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It is necessary for us to maintain this extensive Character of the language, rather we should let it grow wider and richer. We should not try to keep it confined in any limited sphere. We have to replace English, which is a literary and extensive language, with a national language. That can only be done by making our own language rich and extensive rather than limiting its scope and extent, if you call it 'Urdu' then surely you narrow down its circle; likewise if you name it 'Hindi' you limit its extent, therefore by giving it the name of 'Hindustani' alone, you can widen its scope. It is the exact and right word which describes the real state of our language for the present.
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For these reasons I have held this opinion for the last so many years that our national language should be called 'Hindustani'. I need not say that Gandhiji also held the same view upto the end. That was why he had started "Hindustani Pracharni Sabha", and had severed his connections from the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan. Now, when in connection with this Constitution this question came up before the Congress Party, naturally I emphasised the same view and I had hoped that at least the older congressmen would not forsake their previous stand and would continue to adhere to the Gandhian principles; but I need not hide my own feelings from you when I say that I was greatly disappointed. I realized that with few exceptions all have retraced their steps.
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As you are aware, in the party meeting this question was thrashed out for several days, but they could not arrive at any conclusion. The question of fixing a time-limit for the retention of English and enforcement of the now change was the focus of the greater part of these discussions. Several fresh resolutions relating to language were also introduced. One resolution was to retain the word "Hindi" in the Constitution with this interpretation that Hindi includes that style of language also which is commonly known as Urdu. The object was to create that expensive spirit in "Hindi" which is associated with the name of "Hindustani". At last, the question was left to the Drafting Committee with the request to prepare a fresh draft of this part for the consideration of the party in the light of all those resolutions which were moved during the discussions in the party meeting. Several new members were also added to the Drafting Committee. I was also one of the members.
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I attended the first meeting of the Committee, but I felt that the majority of members had a particular type of pre-conceived motion and they could not agree to adopt "Hindustani" in place of "Hindi", nor were they prepared to accept any such interpretation which can widen the scope of "Hindi". In the circumstances I could not associate myself with this Committee. Therefore I resigned and severed my connection with the Committee.
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After my resignation this question was raised in the Committee afresh and an effort was made to introduce breadth of vision in solving the problem to a certain extent. The amendment of Mr. Ayyangar which he had moved in the party meetings was a product of this effort. It is the same amendment which is now before you for your consideration.
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This amendment has introduced several alterations in the original Draft which are worthy of consideration :- (1) So far the name of the language is concerned, the name given in the original draft, namely "Hindi" has been retained. Then again an effort has been-made to explain the characteristic of "Hindi" by adding an Article. and it has been emphasised that it includes "Hindustani" also. (2) It has been emphasised that India has a "composite culture", and the national language of India should be the focus of this "composite culture." (3) Regarding Urdu it has been made clear that it is one of the recognized languages.......... of the country.
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So far Urdu is concerned, all of a sudden the events had taken such a turn that in future it might have affected the rights of millions of people, but this amendment has removed that apprehension to a great extent. Although Urdu had spread throughout the length and breadth of Northern India, yet in point of fact, U. P. was its place of birth and growth. After the downfall of Delhi, Lucknow became the centre of its activities, and in the 18th and 19th centuries, it gave to this country a fully developed language. If according to the previous decision of the Congress, "Hindustani" in two scripts would have been accepted, then the question of Urdu would not have been taken separately; for in that case according to the commonly accepted concept. Urdu would have been a part and parcel of "Hindustani" and to be sure, eventually after mutual assimilation the language would have taken a definite shape; this was not done and "Hindi" was adopted in place of "Hindustani". In the circumstances, fact and fair play demanded that Urdu should have been given official recognition at least in its place of birth, namely, U. P. But it has not been done and "Hindi" in one script has been accepted as the official language.
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Naturally the question arose whether Urdu will have any place in the Indian Union? True, if 'a language is spoken by millions of people in their day-to-day life, its life need not depend on the recognition or non-recognition of any Government, as long as the people themselves do not give it up by common consent. None can compel them to renounce it. Nevertheless it would have been inappropriate for the Democratic Constitution of the country not to acknowledge a language which is the common heritage of millions of Hindus and Muslims, and which is their mother-tongue. This amendment has made it abundantly clear that Urdu is also one of the recognized languages of the country and it will receive same treatment at the hands of the Government which all the recognized languages should receive. Perhaps I should also tell you that the interpretation of language given in this article was not included in the Constitution at first; it was placed under Directives. But later on it was incorporated in the Constitution as an irrevocable article. This alteration made the position of Urdu more manifest and firm.
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So far as the question of script is concerned, the decision of the Congress was to adopt both the scripts, namely, both Devanagari and Urdu scripts. There was objection against this decision on the ground that if acceptance of both the script involves the commitment of giving equal right to both, the scripts for the documents in the Government offices then it would create difficulties, for the reason that offices will have to work harder and that expenses would increase I had felt the full weight of this argument and had agreed to adopt Devanagari as the script for Government offices. At the same time I had emphasised that all the Government declarations, resolutions, communiques and other similar documents should be published in both the scripts and that Government offices and courts should accept applications and petitions in both the scripts. I had also emphasised that this proposal should be incorporated in the Constitution, but this was not accepted. True, the right of the people to submit petitions In the recognized languages of the Indian Union has been accepted.
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I do not propose, because I do not think it necessary to conceal the impression which I have got during the discussions over this problem. I was totally disappointed to find out that from one end to the other, narrow-mindedness reigned supreme. Do you know what is narrow-mindedness? Narrow-mindedness means pettiness and density of mind and refusal to accept higher, nobler and purer thoughts. I would like to tell you that with such small minds we cannot aspire to be a great nation in the world. It was this narrow-mindedness which was the product of a later period, which had buried the glory and advancement of ancient India in the darkness of gloom; and the danger is that once again we are succumbing to this tendency. of all the arguments employed against "Hindustani", greatest emphasis has been laid on the point that if "Hindustani" is accepted then Urdu also will have to be accommodated. But I would like to tell you that by accommodating Urdu, the heavens will not come down. After all Urdu is one of the Indian Languages. It was born and bred and brought up in India and it is the mother-tongue of millions of Hindus and Muslims of this country. Even today this is the language which serves the purpose of a medium of expression between different provinces and it is the only means of inter-provincial relations. Why should we allow our minds to be prejudiced to this extent against one of the languages of our country ? Why should we allow ourselves to be swept away by the currents of our narrow-mindedness to such a great distance?
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My friends would pardon me if I say that I have witnessed an exhibition of this narrow-mindedness during the debates on numerals. One may differ from those who want international numerals in place of Devanagari numerals, but I fail to understand why it should create bitter passions and why it should be opposed so vehemently. After all it is a small matter. Again and again it has been emphasised that why should we borrow anything from another country when we have our own. But this is altogether baseless. These numerals, which are in use among all European nations today, are really a gift from India, which we had given to the world centuries ago. If we are going to adopt them today we are taking back our own thing.
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These Indian numerals first reached Arabia, then from Arabia they reached Europe. This is the reason why in Europe they were known as Arabic numerals, though they originated from India. This style of the numerals is the greatest scientific invention of India, which she is rightly entitled to be proud of, and today the whole world recognises it, The story of how these numerals had reached Arabia has been preserved in the pages of history.
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In the eighth century A.D. during the reign of the second Abbaside Caliph, Al Mansoor a party of the Indian Vedic physicians had reached Baghdad and had got admittance at the court of Al Mansoor. A certain physician of this party was a specialist in astronomy and he had Brahmaguptas' book "Siddhanta" with him. Al Mansoor, having learnt this, ordered an Arab philosopher, Ibraheem Algazari, to translate the "Siddhanta" into Arabic with the help of the Indian scholar. It is said that the Arabs learnt about the Indian numerals in connection with this translation, and having seen its overwhelming advantage, they at once adopted it in Arabic. Like Latin, in Arabic also there were no specific symbols for counting figures. Every number and figure was expressed in words. In cases of abbreviations various letters were made use of, which were given certain numerals values. At that time Indian numerals put before them a very easy way of counting. They became famous as Arabic numerals. And after reaching Europe they took that form in which we find them in International numerals at present.
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I have emphasised that these numerals are India's own It. is not a foreign thing. But suppose it is an European invention. But if in accounting and arithmetic these are more clear, more striking and more useful, then why should we not adopt them without any hesitation? Why should their use become objectionable for us, on the ground that they belong to some other country? Surely you cannot deny the fact that the form of these numerals is more clear and more striking than the form of the Devanagari numerals. These can be identified more easily. In their aggregate form they look more prominent, more clear and more beautiful. Everybody would admit that in arithmetic and accounting these numerals are more useful than other numerals.
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Since when has this thing been experienced ?
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This peculiarity of these numerals has attained this fame since the beginning of the popularity of these numerals. I shall tell you about the other oriental countries. Almost in all the oriental countries these numerals have been adopted. Even those people who do not know European languages have learnt these numerals and use them. However, so far as the question of numerals is concerned, I totally agree with the amendment of Mr. Ayyangar and I am glad that this essential reform is being worked upon.
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So far as the question of language is concerned I have expressed my views clearly. I am sorry that the problem of language has not been settled in the way in which it ought to have been settled. I and some of my colleagues tried to solve this problem, but at last we realized that in the present circumstances no improvement can be made on Mr. Ayyangar's formula.
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Today you will decide that the national language of the Indian Union will be "Hindi". You may decide that. There is nothing substantial in the name of "Hindi". The real problem is the question of the characteristic of the language. We wanted to keep it in its real form by calling it "Hindustani" Your majority did not agree to it. But it is still in the hands of our countrymen not to allow the shape of Hindi to be deformed and instead of making it an artificial language let it remain an easy and intelligible medium of expression. Let us hope that the present atmosphere of narrow-mindedness which is the residue of the past misfortune will not last long and very soon such an environment will be created in which people freeing themselves from all sorts of sentiments would see the problem of language in its real and true perspective.
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Mr. President, I have already taken much time of the House and I shall not burden the attention of my friends any longer.
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I have finished.
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Mr. President, so far the consideration of the language question has been by persons who have been predominently carried away by political considerations. Heat has been brought into problems which ought to have been considered with perfect coolness, and here agreement or disagreement would not, or should not have mattered in the least. My predecessor, the Honourable Maulana Saheb, has brought to our notice a very important item of nomenclature, namely, Hindi and Hindustani. Ordinarily these names may not have much different Significance attached to them. But in the history of the last one century and a half the two words Hindi and Hindustani-have come to connote very different things. Unfortunately they have been taken up by opposing political parties in the country and given different connotations. They have made an effort to change the connotation of the word Hindustani and there now seem to be a great difference of opinion about Hindi and Urdu also.
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The difference was exactly brought out by a European Philologist, Mr. Grouse, and this is what he said long ago about Urdu and there is no difference of opinion on it. "Urdu" is a Turkish word and we are familiar with the word in another form, the English word "horde" as in "military hordes". The word Urdu is clear in its connotation. I shall not be mincing matters when I say that the protagonists of Urdu have a responsibility on them and I hope they will not shirk it. It lies in the manner in which they started the bifurcation in the 19th century.
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In the beginning the difference between Hindi and Urdu literature was not great. If I had time at my disposal I would give you quotations and authorities from the 19th century. The writers of Urdu in the 19th century made it a law or an article of faith that not a single literary word shall be derived from Indian sources. While they took the grammar and construction of the language from India, the literary inspiration and other factors were taken from Arabic and Persian. In the 19th century it was felt that the loss which people had sustained from the disappearance of. Persian had to be made up by rearing up, Urdu. There are quotations without number from European writers in the 19th century who have made it clear beyond a shadow of doubt that the loss of Persian was a loss to the Muslim conquerors, a loss to the language of the Emperors. So that loss had to be made up. It was said that the streets of Lucknow should be transformed into the streets of Ispahan in Persia.
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So, the tradition was developed in the 19th century whereby Urdu became the repository of Persian and Arabic words and culture. There was a reaction in the same 19th century and hence developed the Hindi literature which had for its basis and structure the same language which was the basis of Urdu but whose literary tradition was native to the soil. This difference wept on developing and developing until today we find two literatures, which though they had the same basis have developed differently.
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Then there is the third word. Hindustani. This word has been interpreted differently by different writers. As a student of languages I have myself tried to come to some conclusion whether we could or could not use the word Hindustani in one and one sense only. I have found it impossible. It is not a case where the Assembly can give a definite meaning to the word which has been used in different senses. In the Indian army the word Hindustani has been used widely, more widely than the word Urdu. Hundreds of books have been published. A few days ago I collected a number of books which bore the title Hindustani. I went to the bazar in Delhi and collected all the books I could and here I have one of the very important books published in Germany by Germans. It is "Hindustani Conversation--Grammar." From the beginning to the end, it is Urdu and nothing but Urdu. There are thousands and thousands of passages where Hindustani means nothing but Urdu. There are other passages though rare but important where the word Hindustani is used as a generic term to include both Hindi and Urdu. But one thing remains clear and absolutely clear, that that language which we call literary Hindi cannot be included in the word Hindustani.
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I am neither pleading for Hindi nor Urdu but I am just putting to you the problem of nomenclature. If we take the case to an impartial tribunal composed of judges of the high courts, put the word Hindustani before them and all the evidence pertaining to it, the tribunal can come to only one conclusion and there can be no second, that Hindustani is Urdu. Nobody can deny that literary or high flown Urdu is Arabicised and Persianised. On the other hand Hindustani can include what we know as simple Hindi, the Hindi of the villages, what is called Khari boli. Literary Hindi, I submit, cannot be included in the word Hindustani. This is the difficulty before us but what we decide is a different matter. When the word Hindustani is capable of being interpreted differently by different people it is always better to use a clear word. I have great respect for the Honourable Maulana Saheb and I have to submit as a humble student of literature if you call Hindi a narrow language that is not the word to be used. That is not the limiting adjective. at any rate, that you can use for Hindi. Hindi is very widely based, more widely based than Urdu. Urdu is based at the most on the vernacular, in the words of Grierson, which is spoken in between Delhi and Meerut. He has given the figure as 52 lakhs for the vernacular Hindustani. Literary Hindi has for its basis the speeches from the borders of Bengal to the borders or Punjab, from the borders of Nepal to the borders of Gujerat. When you come to examinations in the Universities you will find literature of old Rajputana language, Dingal, the literature of Avadhi and other different dialects such as Braj and Bhojpuri whose literatures are included in literary Hindi. If you study literature for M.A. in Urdu you will never have literature of any one of the dialects of India to be studied. Why? Because Urdu does not concern itself with the dialects of India.
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Firstly, Hindi is a widely based language and a national language should be broad-based. Secondly, when we come to Urdu there is a preponderance of Arabic and Persian words. My first school language was Urdu and my second language was Persian and I had occasion to have a peep Arabic also. As a student of languages it is not possible for me to hate any particular language and so the question of hatred does not arise. It is only through love that you can appreciate the beauty of a language.
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I have here an Urdu magazine published by the Government of India bearing the title "Bisate Alam". It is a beautiful title in Arabic and nobody can quarrel with the content of the word. It is a literary word and denotes much. But does it denote anything for the Indian population ? If you look inside, the first line reads:
"Bainul Quvami sayasiyat va kaifiyat ke hamil musavvar mahnama
Bisate Alam ka salnama ;"
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This is the head line of this magazine. Whereas it could be perfectly intelligible in Persia or Arabia, it is not going to be intelligible in any part of India. I have been listening with great care to the fine speech of the Maulana Saheb. I have taken down certain words which if they were replaced by Indian words would be better understood. For instance, he used a word 'riyazi'. The friend sitting next to me said , "What does that mean ?" I told him it means "ganitam". Whether it is Tamil, Oriya, Assamese, Bengali or Gujarati, we have a certain common vocabulary, a common ideology and common life-values. An effort was made in the past and I hope that effort will be made in the future also, for simplifying Urdu; but when we simplify Urdu and call it Hindustani, even then we cannot include in it phraseology which will be used in other languages. When considering the Hindi and Urdu languages and their relative claims, it was contended by several front rank leaders of high name and prestige that we must have a bridge language which will bring the two languages nearer. But today the problem is not to bridge the gulf between Hindi and Urdu but to find a language which will bridge the gulf between Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Assamese, Oriya, Punjabi--all the languages of India. We have to find a language which will serve the needs not only of Hindi and Urdu but also of all the languages in the North and in the South............
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It is already one o'clock, Sir. The speaker may continue after Lunch.
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I know the time. Will the honourable Member take a long time to conclude ?
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At least half an hour.
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: I cannot allow so much. I will give a few minutes more in the afternoon.
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It has been suggested to me that the House should meet at 5 o'clock instead of 4 o'clock. So we shall meet at 5 o'clock.
The Assembly then adjourned till Five of the Clock in the afternoon.
The Assembly re-assembled at Five of the Clock in the afternoon. Mr. President (The Honourable Dr. Rajendra Prasad) in the Chair.
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Mr. President, may I, with your permission, move that the debate on this language question be closed and that Dr. Raghu Vira, if he wants to say a few words more and finish his speech, may be permitted to do so before the closure is put to the House ?
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If Dr. Raghu Vira considers it worthwhile to speak, very well, he may have two minutes.
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Mr. President, I join the other Members of the House in expressing our great satisfaction that a satisfactory arrangement has been reached between the different view points on the question of the numerals. Now discussion may be conducted in a friendly manner. This is a matter in which I should congratulate the House. As there is no controversy now, the discussion may be closed.
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Closure has been moved. I take it that the House accepts it.
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Sir, you have accepted the motion for closure. I beg to withdraw my amendment of which I gave notice, for the reason that I am thoroughly disgusted with the attitude adopted by our Prime Minister yesterday and the policy of appeasement adopted by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad today. I also give up my right to make any speech in this matter. I shall simply oppose the whole thing.
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I am concerned only with the fact of the withdrawal and not with the reasons therefore.
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Now I would like to know in what form I should put the question before the House. We have got something like 300 amendments.
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Sir, Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar is going to accept some of the amendments. Those amendments should then be placed before the House. All the other amendments may be treated as withdrawn.
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: Mr. President, may I request you to adjourn the House for about half an hour ? I am very glad to state to you that, on this very difficult question of language, most of us have come almost to a unanimous decision. One or two small points have been left outstanding in respect of which an amendment is being drafted. That will take a few minutes. If the House has no objection and if you permit it, Sir, we may adjourn for about half an hour.
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: I have no objection to the House adjourning for a short while.
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: I would require notice if any, new amendment is going to be brought forward.
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: There is no amendment that is going to be moved at this stage. I think they are considering which of the amendments to accept. That will take a little time.
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: Let the Drafting Committee be put in charge of all the amendments.
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I believe that a closure motion was moved only three or four minutes ago and that you accepted it. Unless the closure motion is withdrawn with the permission of the House, I do not see how any new amendment can be allowed to be moved either by Mr. Munshi or by anybody else.
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Dr. Kunzru has raised a point of order.
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: May I say a word about that point of order ? There are so many amendments on the Order Paper. The Mover of the main motion Shri Gopalaswami Ayyangar can pick and choose and accept or reject any of them. After the closure he has the right to speak. Therefore he can well speak and, while speaking, accept any of the amendments. closure does not mean that all the amendments moved are lost or thrown out. If he makes some verbal alterations here and there, that can be permitted by the vote of the House. Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad May I say a few words, Sir?
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to get the thing ready. They can do this while we are discussing the point of order.
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: Mr. President, Sir....
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: My proposal is that Pandit Balkrishna Sharma may withdraw his closure motion.
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Let me hear Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad.