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No language mandatory, states can choose any 3 languages, HRD ministry says

The issue was discussed at the Central Advisory Board of Education meeting with Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' and education ministers from 26 states.

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New Delhi: Amid a raging debate about the Centre’s perceived attempts to impose Hindi on all states, the Human Resource Development Ministry (HRD) Saturday said that it would not force any language on states via the three-language formula in schools.

The matter was discussed at the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) meeting with Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ and education ministers from 26 states. CABE is the highest decision-making body for education in the country.

“Most of the states demanded education in their own mother tongues and the government is positive about it. The states have been told that they will not have to teach mandatory Hindi and can chose any three languages, including their mother tongue, under the three-language formula,” a ministry source present at the CABE meeting said.

Several ministers, specially those from the south Indian states, had earlier expressed their apprehension over the Centre’s reported moves to impose Hindi.

Also read: Amit Shah’s love for Hindi is definitely not going to help BJP win the south

Uproar over NEP draft

When the first draft of the National Education Policy (NEP) was made public on 31 May, a controversy had erupted over the three-language formula. A line in the policy draft was misinterpreted as the government’s stand on making Hindi compulsory for all states.

The provision had kicked up a huge uproar in states such as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, which criticised it as an attempt to thrust Hindi on them. Eminent scientist K. Kasturirangan, head of the committee that drafted the policy, had earlier told ThePrint that there was a mistake in its interpretation which led to the confusion.

The three-language formula spells out that students learn their mother tongue or a regional language, the official language of the union (English) or the associate official language of the union (Hindi), and a modern Indian language.

In Hindi-speaking states, the formula translated into learning Hindi, English and a modern Indian language (preferably south Indian). For students in non-Hindi speaking states, it mandated lessons in Hindi, English and the regional language.

But the contours of implementation still lay with states since education is a state subject.

The headline of this report has been updated to indicate that HRD ministry didn’t specifically refer to Hindi but any language.

Also read: Kamal Haasan says no ‘Shah, Samrat’ must renege on promise to not impose Hindi


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  1. Why should we have a mandatory three languages formula? It should be a two language formula- i. e. Mother tongue and Hindi or English. If Hindi is the mother tongue, the child can take English as the second language. The third language should be kept as a voluntary option. In the field of education, we should learn to afford freedom to students rather than attempting to restrict their choices.

  2. Avoid any divisive topic please. This includes religion, language, caste, region, etc. Focus on improving education, economy and health care. How did we become this weak and poor?! Because of this rubbish.

  3. This is a joke. Northern India teaches kid Hindi only and RSS then wants Hindi in IIT and UPSC. If not managed properly and sincerly, this issue alone will divide India into two countries:United States of South India with English as official lanuage of communication and united States of North India with Hindi as official language of communication. Illiterates like Amit Shah and RSS not comprehende…

    • Keep your language chauvinism to your home. Why English? A Colonial language if you are so much concerned about Tamil and other regional language.

      • I think you should fight for Sanskrit or Pali or Tamil for national language ? Hindi has roots in Urdu , which might be objectionable to few people.

    • Never talk about division, days of your any chauvinism are over. Any such agenda will be dealt with iron head.

  4. Three languages are spoken by a linguist, planning to join the IFS. It would place a strain on a normal child, also studying other important subjects. In the North, a child could learn Hindi and English. In the South, mother tongue and English. Children in any part of the country who wish to learn Hindi voluntarily should be encouraged to do so.

    • Why English? Didn’t India fought Independence from British. These language Chauvinists have issue with an Indian language but not with English a foreign language.

      • Language chavanists….! Call us linguistic minorities… You can not bulldoze your mother tongue on us unilaterally…. Can you speak any of Indian language other than your mother tongue?… NO? Because you never felt like you need it… Because you don’t need it… You don’t bother to respect any indian language other than hindi… Politics of Cast supremacy, hindu supremacy and now hindi supremacy…this majoritarianism is crushing very basics of Democracy in the country.

      • Let’s be mutual. Are you ready to learn Tamil as your second language. I will learn Hindi as second language. This way we give importance to all languages. If you only expect people to learn Hindi, then it’s purely dictatorship and not democracy. And so far Tamilnadu is doing so good without Hindi, so there is no point in stressing for its importance here.

      • Why Pakistani language Hindi ???? Why are even Pakistani language speaking people i.e. Hindians being referred as Indians ???

    • I have a friend who lived in (Chennai) for over a decade… without learning very basics of tamil to interact with in daily life chores. You require two hands for clapping bro… Did any other language ever respected by hindi speaking people? How do you respect by the way? Just saying I respect your language! No, respect by trying to learn atleast one Non Hindi Indian language…. I can give N number of examples many Hindi speaking north indians spend whole life enjoying prospering south indian economy without any basic respect to their traditions and their language. What Amit Shah speaks is simple crap…. his views only gives way for divisiveness in the minds non Hindi speaking population. VOLUNTARYNESS SHOULD BE MUTUAL

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