Government of India's Hindi Imposition Agenda for 2002-2003

M. T.

TAMIL TRIBUNE, May 2002 (ID.2002-05-01)

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Hindians: People whose mother tongue is Hindi (similar to Tamil speakers are sometimes referred as Tamilans or Tamilians).


1. Introduction

2. Regions A, B and C

3. Detailed Discussion of the Hindi Imposition Agenda for 2002-2003

4. Enforcement of the Hindi Imposition Agenda


1. Introduction

Do you know that the Government of India prepares an agenda for Hindi imposition every year? It is true! Of course, they do not call it "Hindi Imposition Agenda". They call it the "Annual Programme of the Department of Official Language". When you read it, it becomes evident that this is in fact a Hindi imposition agenda. It presents (in their own words) "an intensive and comprehensive programme for speeding up the propagation of Hindi". Objective of this program is (in their own words) "to speed up our efforts in our march towards achieving the goal of replacing the use of English language by Hindi for official purposes of the union".

This annual program is the result of the Official Language Resolution passed by the Hindian-dominated Indian Parliament in 1967. This resolution requires that every year "an intensive and comprehensive program for speeding up the propagation of Hindi be prepared and implemented". Such a program (agenda) is prepared and implemented every year since 1968. This agenda is not presented to the parliament and it is kept out of public eye as much as possible, lest it stirs trouble in non-Hindi states, especially Tamil Nadu. But it is sent to every manager in the employ of the Indian Government and Indian Government undertakings such as the Indian  Government owned banks (example: State Bank of India), Life Insurance Corporationof India, etc. The top of the circular sent with this Annual Program says, "All Ministries/ Departments/ Offices are expected to comply with the programme with utmost devotion". Several thousand Hindi enforcement officers [see Reference 1] monitor closely if the goals set forth in the program are met. In fact, a manager is more likely to get into trouble, chastised and "punished" if he/she does not meet the "Hindi use" goals than if he he/she fails to meet other project objectives (for example, not meeting the goal of laying a center number of kilometers of rail lines). 

The Department of Official Language within the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India is responsible for enforcing the use of Hindi (in other words, "Hindi imposition")  in all departments and corporations / undertakings / banks, etc. of central government of India. When unwilling employees are forced to use Hindi, then it is Hindi imposition. Note that Hindi imposition is not limited to central government offices but also offices of the corporations, undertaking and banks the central government owns or controls. These include, for example, Life Insurance Corporation of India, State Bank of India, etc. 

2. Regions A, B and C

The Department of Official Language divides the various states of the "Indian Union" into three regions.  Region A includes all states where Hindi is the mother tongue of the majority of people (example: Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh); Region B includes those states where the knowledge of Hindi is prevalent (example: Maharashtra); Region C includes those states where the knowledge of Hindi is limited (example: West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu). In the following discussion we limit ourselves to Indian Governments agenda for Hindi use in Tamil Nadu (and other states in Region C). Required use of Hindi in Regions B and C are equal or more than those required for Region C. 

3. Detailed Discussion of the Hindi Imposition Agenda for 2002-2003

The following information is taken from the document "Annual Programme 2002-2003" issued by the Department of Official Language in March 2002. This document presents the required use of Hindi for the one-year period from April 2002 to March 2003. Please note that the following Table excerpted from that document is the target for Region C (that is, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, etc. where the knowledge of Hindi is limited). The target for the states in Regions B and C are usually higher.


Targets for 2002 - 2003 for the implementation of official language policy in ministries/ departments & their attached/sub-ordinate offices & corporations / undertakings / banks etc. of central government


Details of Works

C Region


Originating Correspondence in Hindi (including Telegrams, Wireless, Telex, Fax, Drawings etc.)

From C to A 55%

From C to B 55%

From C to C 55%

From Region C to Offices/ individuals in States/UTs of A & B region 85%


Hindi Typists, Stenographers & Devnagri Typewriters



Hindi Training



Expenditure for the purchase of Hindi books out of the total Library grant



Joint inspections by the officers of the concerned departments & those of the Department of Official Language of Foreign based Undertakings/Offices etc. owned or controlled by the Central Government.

At least one inspection in a year


Meetings regarding Official Language


(A) Hindi Salahkar Samiti

4 meetings in a year (one meeting every quarter)


(B) Town Official Language Implementation Committee

2 meetings in a year (One meeting every 6 months)


(C) Official Language Implementation Committee

4 meetings in a year (One meeting every quarter)


Translation of Codes, Manuals, Forms, Procedural literature



Sections of the Ministries/Departments where entire work to be done in Hindi

Minimum 7 Sections

We are not going to discuss each and every item listed above. We will just look at couple of them. In Item 1, what does "from C to C 55%" mean in real practical terms? That means, more than half of all letters (55% to be precise) that go between, for example, an Indian Railways employee at the Chennai office to small, rural Railway Station Masters in Tamil Nadu must be written in Hindi. Is it not Hindi imposition on both the writer and the recipient?

Similarly more than half the letters written by employees working at the State Bank of India offices in Tamil Nadu must be in Hindi even if that letter is going to another office located in Tamil Nadu. More than half the letters written by Life Insurance Corporation of India employees in Tamil Nadu should be in Hindi. Is this not Hindi imposition? Not only that, if the Passport Office in Chennai has to write to the Indian High Commission in England or the Indian Embassy in America, more than half of them should be in Hindi. 

Look at this another way. Tamil central government employees working in an office in Tamil Nadu writing to other Tamils in Tamil Nadu must write in Hindi at least 55% of the time. Of course, the goal is to make it 100% as soon as possible! A memorandum from the Department of Official Language to managerial central government employees says, "It is the constitutional obligation of all officers and staff to do their official work in Hindi language".

We also want to point out Item 4. It stipulates that at least half the books (50%) purchase using central government Library Grants should be Hindi books. This is applicable in Tamil Nadu.

We will not discuss the other items here. Readers may read them through and see how vigorously Hindi is imposed through central government offices and corporations / undertakings / banks under central government control.

4. Enforcement of the Hindi Imposition Agenda

In Section 3, we presented the targets for Hindi use for April 2002 to March 2003.  It is the duty of the Administrative Head of each office to see to it that the targets are met. A letter to the Administrative Heads from the Department of Official Language minces no words about it. It says, "It should be clearly understood that according to the Official Language Rules, 1976, the responsibility for the compliance of the Official Language Policy rests with the Administrative Head of each office. Other senior officers in the department should also comply with and ensure compliance of orders relating to the use of official language." As we said in Section 1, there are Hindi Enforcement Officers in each office and they act like overlords to supervise the Hindi use and report on errant Administrative Heads to the Department of Official Language. 

There are strict procedures to ensure that Hindi is used as targeted. Every office should submit a progress report every three months to the Department of Official Language, giving the following information. This includes central government offices as well as offices of corporations / undertakings / banks under central government control.


Quarterly Progress Report regarding Progressive Use of Official Language Hindi


(a) Total number of documents issued

(b) Total number of documents issued in English only

Documents include "General Orders, Memorandums, Resolutions, Notifications, Rules, Agreements, Contracts, Tenders, Notices, Parliament Questions, etc."



2. (a) Total Number of letters received in Hindi

(b) Out of these how many replied to in English
Letters include Telegrams, Telex and  Fax.
3. (a) Total Number of letters issued

(b) Percentage of letters issued in Hindi
Letters include Telegrams, Telex and  Fax.
4.  (a) Total number of files opened
(b) In how many files noting are being made in Hindi
5.  (a) Number of Hindi workshops organized
(b) Number of officers/officials trained in those workshops
6. (a) Number of top administrative meetings held
(b) In how many meetings discussions/proceedings were in Hindi
7. Brief description of the specific achievements/work regarding Implementation of the Official Language Policy during the 3-month period.  

There is an Official Languages Implementation Committee in each office and this committee shall meet at least 4 times a year to make sure Hindi is used per target requirements. At least once a year officers from the Department of Official Language come down from New Delhi to offices of the central government as well as offices of corporations, undertakings and banks controlled by the central government in Tamil Nadu on "Inspection Visits" to assure that Hindi use (Hindi imposition) is progressing as scheduled. Pity the Administrative Heads of offices that fall short. They get a thorough "talking to" and they will also feel the impact on their promotions (or denial of promotions) and salary increments. A letter from the Department of Official Language warns the Administrative Heads that, "laxity in compliance of the Government Orders (about Hindi use) shall not be accepted".


You have now read the program for 2002-2003 as well as how rigorous steps are taken to implement the program. As we noted in Section 1, such Hindi Imposition Agenda are prepared and circulated every year since 1968. Tell me, is this Hindi imposition or not? Is it not Hindi imposition when a non-Hindi employee is told that he/she has to prepare certain percentage of documents in Hindi (irrespective of whether he/she wants to or not)? 

This annual program of systematic Hindi Imposition started from 1968. Prime Ministers of India between 1968 and now (May 2002) are Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai, Charan Singh, Rajiv Gandhi, Vishwanath Pratap Singh (V. P. Singh), P. V. Narasimha Rao, Chandra Shekhar, H. D. Deve Gowda, Inder Kumar Gujral (I. K. Gujral) and Atal Behari Vajpayee.  Every one of these Prime Ministers has assured Tamil Nadu that there was no Hindi imposition and that there would be no Hindi imposition. Are their promises worth anything at all? How can the Tamil people believe anything the Indian Prime Ministers say?

(SUMMARY: This article provides detailed information on Indian government's Hindi Imposition Agenda for 2002-2003. Similar agenda is set every year. Search the Internet for such documents.)

FNI020429    2002-a1d


1. Hindi Commissars in the Indian Government (by J. Panneerselvam), TAMIL TRIBUNE, July 2001.


Archived articles on Opposition to Hindi Imposition in India (OR Search the internet with the following key words: Hindi imposition India Thanjai Nalankilli ) 

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