"Within the Constituent Assembly of India the language issue was intensely debated". Examine the views put forward by the members of the Assembly on this issue.
‘Within the Constituent Assembly of India, the language issue was intensely debated’. Many speakers participated in highly charged emotional debate.
- It was a daunting task before the Constituent Assembly to decide the official language of India. Because India had several states with distinct languages of their own, there was a fierce debate in the Constituent Assembly over the language policy. R. V. Dhulekar, a Congressman from the United Provinces, wanted Hindi to be used for writing the Constitution. When he was told that not all the members of the Constituent Assembly knew the language, he retorted, “People who are present in this house to fashion a constitution for India and do not know Hindustani are not worthy to be members of this Assembly. They better leave.”
- Three years later, Dhulekar again gave a fiery speech and wanted Hindi to be recognised as a national language. The committee then decided that Hindi in the Devanagari script would be the official language, but the transition to Hindi would be in stages. For the first 15 years, English would continue to be used for all official purposes.
- This irked Dhulekar as he wanted Hindi to be declared a national language. Shrimati G. Durgabai from Madras while speaking to the Assembly informed it that people in South opposed Hindi as the official language of India.
- At this time, many members of the Assembly appealed for a spirit of accommodation. Shri Shankar Rao Das, a member from Bombay, advocated Hindustani as the language of the nation. A. Ramalingam Chettiar emphasised that "Whatever was done had to be done with caution; the cause of Hindi would not be helped if it was pushed too aggressively.”