What do you understand by three language policy? Critically comment on the view that the language conundrum in India can be resolved only by making English the link language?(250 words) The three language policy was mentioned in the draft national education policy 2019 which meant that students at secondary level should be taught three languages i.e english , regional language and hindi for non-hindi speaking states and any modern indian language for hindi speaking states.This created a controversy similar to NEP 1968 where hindi was opposed by the non-hindi speaking states to be the official language. States like Tamil Nadu have seen issues over the use of hindi language.Such opposition indicates that not all states want hindi as official language.The constitution states in article 351 that it is the duty of the union to promote hindi as a language but there are many other ways that can be done without hurting the sentiments of non-hindi speaking states.Hindi was voted as the official language by the constituent assembly and english as alternate official language for 15 yrs after the commencement of the constitution.But later opposition was seen in 1986 when hindi was mentioned in NEP 1986 and 2019. English is used by all states and no sentiments will be hurt if it is used as a link language instead of hindi.The promotion of hindi can be done by other methods like offering free courses in hindi language in an online mode or through workshops.Instead any other language mentioned in the schedule eight should be the third language taught to students after english and regional language at secondary level.Also english is used at an international level and as inter-state language.
A 50-year-old controversy got a new lease of life recently when a paragraph in the Draft New Education Policy 2019 referred to the mandatory teaching of Hindi in States where Hindi is not spoken. This was a reiteration of the Central government’s three-language formula, but it set off a storm in Tamil Nadu, which stoutly opposes any attempt to impose Hindi and adheres to a two-language formula. The Union government sought to neutralise the hostile reaction by dropping the controversial reference to Hindi. What is the formula? It is commonly understood that the three languages referred to are Hindi, English and the regional language of the respective States. Origin: Though the teaching of Hindi across the country was part of a long-standing system, it was crystallised into a policy in an official document only in the National Policy on Education, 1968. This document said regional languages were already in use as the media of education in the primary and secondary stages. In addition, it said, “At the secondary stage, State governments should adopt and vigorously implement the three-language formula, which includes the study of a modern Indian language, preferably one of the southern languages, apart from Hindi and English in the Hindi-speaking States.” In the ‘non-Hindi speaking States’, Hindi should be studied along with the regional language and English. It added: “Suitable courses in Hindi and/or English should also be available in universities and colleges with a view to improving the proficiency of students in these languages up to the prescribed university standards.” What did NEP 1968 say on promotion of Hindi as the link language? On promotion of Hindi, the NPE 1968 said every effort should be made to promote the language and that “in developing Hindi as the link language, due care should be taken to ensure that it will serve, as provided for in Article 351 of the Constitution, as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India. The establishment, in non-Hindi States, of colleges and other institutions of higher education which use Hindi, as the medium of education should be encouraged”. Why is there opposition to the teaching of Hindi which crystallised into a policy in an official document in 1968? The origin of the linguistic row, however, goes back to the debate on official language. In the Constituent Assembly, Hindi was voted as the official language by a single vote. However, it added that English would continue to be used as an associate official language for 15 years. The Official Languages Act came into effect on the expiry of this 15-year period in 1965. This was the background in which the anti-Hindi agitation took place. However, as early as in 1959, Jawaharlal Nehru had given an assurance in Parliament that English would continue to be in use as long as non-Hindi speaking people wanted it. What needs to be done? There are numerous attractive ways to promote a language to the desired extent. So, instead of prescribing a set of languages, Draft NEP 2019 should give the freedom to choose “any three languages of 8th Schedule of the Constitution or official languages of the Union of India” as offered in the scheme of studies by the Boards of Secondary Education. This is a win-win solution for all.