New Delhi: There is no official imposition of Hindi across India as many feared, but at the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the increased usage of the language in official work under new minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ is stressing out civil servants.
After Pokhriyal, a Hindi poet and writer, joined the Modi government last month, a large amount of official work in the ministry is now being done in Hindi — a dramatic change for the officials. Use of Hindi has not been this high under any previous minister, said multiple officials in the HRD ministry.
Official work in central government departments takes place in English, especially in ministries like the HRD, where the work is related to education.
Currently, officials are depending on translators in the HRD ministry and people from the Raj Bhasha department to translate official papers into Hindi. One official said that tech giant Google’s translation tool, ‘Google translate’, does not work for most official documents.
Officials are struggling to find the Hindi equivalent for words such as ‘infrastructure’, which translate into avasthapna in Hindi, and ‘scientific temperament’.
“Even if the entire document is in English, there has to be a paragraph at the end of the document in Hindi for the minister to understand, if the file is being sent to him,” said a ministry official who did not wish to be named.
Fluency in language is the issue
Ministry officials told ThePrint that these developments have come as Pokhriyal is not fluent in the English language and even prefers conversations in Hindi.
“Even during a conversation with the minister, if an English word is used, his translator translates it into Hindi for him. We understand that he is not fluent in English and hence we try to make sure that we avoid the language as much as possible while talking to him,” said another official in HRD ministry.
Ten days ago, some journalists covering HRD ministry even protested in a WhatsApp group that the Press Information Bureau had not sent them English press releases and was only issuing them in Hindi.
“The ministry is a central government department, with people from all over the country including that from non-Hindi speaking states working here, so it is a challenge to work in Hindi. Most people are fluent in speaking the language but doing official work in it is another task,” added a third official in the ministry.
Other Modi government ministries such as the rural development ministry and skill development ministry have been doing official work in Hindi but the HRD is a late entrant to this.