Indian Government enters the Publishing Industry
TAMIL TRIBUNE, June 2002 (ID.2002-06-03)
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Hindians: People whose mother tongue is Hindi (similar to Tamil speakers are sometimes referred as Tamilans or Tamilians).
Wherever the Indian Government enters, there follows Hindi behind it. Hindi politicians who dominate the Indian Government would say that it is the constitutional obligation of the Indian Government to introduce, promote, propagate and use Hindi wherever it has an influence. All other languages, with the exception of Sanskrit, will of course be ignored although about two-thirds of the Indian Government revenues comes from non-Hindi peoples.
It is with this background in mind that we oppose Indian Government's interest in helping non-English book publishers and in setting up a "National Translation Board" to translate non-English books into English and other languages. Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee expressed this interest in February 2002. We oppose it because we know that much of the Indian Government funds (taxpayer monies) allocated for this project will go for Hindi books. What is the basis for this statement?Indian government order that at least 50% of the Indian government library grants should go for the purchase of Hindi books (remember, it can be more than 50%; no limit on that) [Reference 1]. An impartial order would be that monies should be allocated to different language books approximately in the same proportion as the population of each language.
Recently the Indian Government introduced an awards scheme to encourage technical and scientific book writing in Hindi (National Awards scheme for original book writing on Gyan -Vigyan). Of course there is no such encouragement for non-Hindi languages although taxes paid by non-Hindi peoples are used for this purpose.
With such a record in its recent past, it is reasonable to conclude that lion's share of the money allocated for book-publishing grants will go for Hindi books. Most of the books translated into English and other languages would be Hindi books. In summary Tamil and other non-Hindi peoples will be subsidizing Hindi books.
What is the alternative? In an artificially created country like India, with so many cultures and languages, cultural and language development, preservation and propagation (including book publishing and translation) should be left to the states. Finances (tax revenues) should be devolved to the states so the state governments have revenues to fund these projects. Only then will all languages receive fair treatment. Otherwise Indian government would spend bulk of the allocated budget for Hindi books and throw away a pittance to other languages. Tamil Nadu had pleaded for devolution of revenues for over a quarter of a century. Absolutely nothing has happened. We do not expect anything to happen in the future either. Quarter century is more than enough of a wait. In our opinion, future of non-Hindi (and non-Sanskrit) cultures and languages within India is bleak. What are we going to do?
1. Government of India's Hindi Imposition Agenda for 2002-2003 (by M. T.), TAMIL TRIBUNE, May 2002 (26 KB) (h)
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