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What is the Need for Rajbhasha Adhikaris in Indian Government Offices? (Official Language Officers, Hindi Officers)

J. Panneerselvam and Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, July 2001 (ID. 2001-07-03); Updated: 2017-02-01
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"All that the people in Hindi divisions do is harass officers insisting that they sign their names in Hindi, keep tabs on how many letters you write in Hindi and so on. They spend their time putting up name plates and sign boards in Hindi even in non-Hindi speaking states. What sense does that make?," asked a government employee (Times of India; December 5,2009).


In order to promote (impose) Hindi in Indian government offices and its business undertakings, Indian government has appointed Rajbhasha Adhikaris (Official Language Officers) in every department of the Indian Government. Some employees refer them as Hindi officers and Hindi enforcement officers (although these are not the official names).

Rajbhasha Adhikaris or Official Language Officers are responsible for using Hindi as much as possible in offices in their jurisdiction; in correspondence and communications such as letters, memoranda, circulars, notices, etc. They are there to assure that use of Hindi is not neglected in the day to day operations, and annual time-bound programmes set forth by the Rajbhasha Department (Official Language Department) in the Ministry of Home Affairs are met; these time-bound programmes or milestones may, for example, be in the form of certain percentage (say, 40% or 60%) of all letters are written in Hindi. [See Reference 1 for more examples from official documents]. There may large numbers of Rajbhasha Adhikaris in every department at 3 levels: Senior Officers, Officers and Assistant Officers.

Procedures like observing Hindi weeks, writing a Hindi word and its English translation near the entrance of Indian government office building everyday, organizing Hindi writing contests and Hindi public-speaking contests for non-Hindi employees, asking officers to take notes and write comments in Hindi, sending out memoranda encouraging employee to converse in Hindi (even with non-Hindi employees), etc., etc. emanate from these Rajbhasha Adhikaris (Official Language Officers).

"All that the people in Hindi divisions do is harass officers insisting that they sign their names in Hindi, keep tabs on how many letters you write in Hindi and so on. They spend their time putting up name plates and sign boards in Hindi even in non-Hindi speaking states. What sense does that make?," asked a government employee (Times of India; December 5, 2009)

Not only Indian government offices but also offices of Public Service Undertakings (PSU) or Indian Government Undertakings like nationalized banks, Life Insurance Corporation, Neyveli Lignite Corporation, etc. have Rajbhasha Adhikaris.

Let us take the example of banks. Many of us have bank accounts and have to deal with banks. What should be the purpose of any employee of a banks? It should be to provide good financial services to local people. Instead it seems the prime objective of Official Language Officers in banks located in non-Hindi regions is to push Hindi into people's throats and flaunt Hindi before their eyes? Instead of hiring Hindi officers to make non-Hindi bank employees to work more and more in Hindi even in non-Hindi states, teach the out-of-state employees the local language. Print bank forms in the local language. Why cannot people fill forms in their mother tongue in a bank located not far from their homes they and their ancestors lived for centuries, while Hindi people coming from a thousand miles away can fill these forms in their mother tongue?

The prime directive of Indian Government seems to be the promotion of Hindi in every sphere even in non-Hindi states. This seems to be the number one goal of the Indian Government over and above everything else.

J. Panneerselvam and Thanjai Nalangkilli

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