Indian constituent assembly debates on Hindi

Four Quotes on Hindi Imposition from Indian Constituent Assembly Members

TAMIL TRIBUNE, January 2006 (ID. 2006-01-01); Updated 2014-04-01
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1. Seth Govind Das

Seth Govind Das, from the Hindi belt region, was a staunch supporter of making Hindi the official language of India. Here is what he said in 1949:

"For thousands of years one and the same culture has all along been obtaining here.... It is in order to maintain this tradition that we want one language and one script for the whole country."

2. Sardar Hukam Singh

Sardar Hukam Singh, from Punjab, supported Hindi as the official language initially but he changed his mind later. This is what he had to say in 1949:

"I am one of those who have withdrawn their support from Hindi simply because of the fanaticism and intolerance of those who support it".

 [NOTES: (1) People of Punjab do not particularly object to Hindi as the official language because of the geographical proximity of Punjab to the Hindi region and some familiarity with Hindi. (2) The name "Sardar Hukam Singh" is also spelled as "Sardar Hukum Singh" in some documents. They refer to the same person.]

3. Krishnaswamy Bharathi

L. Krishnaswamy Bharathi, from Tamilnadu, was against making Hindi the official language of India but he voted for the constitution to obey the Congress Party dictate. He regretted it later and wrote against Hindi imposition in later years. This is what he had to say in the 1960s:

"In this country (India) of continental size with 13 different main territorial languages, no single language needs to be considered essential for all the 44 crores of people, nor is it practical or feasible. [44 crores = 440 million]

It is true that for administration of the Union Government (Indian Central Government) we want a language. Whereas the Hindi-speaking group wants Hindi to be the official language of India, the non-Hindi group opposes it because we do not wish to give a superior status to what is admittedly only a regional language. To allow Hindi to sit on the throne in Delhi as sole monarch is patently discriminatory and will have the effect of reducing the non-Hindi people to second-rate citizens.

The very fact that Hindi is there in the constitution as the official language of the India is enough imposition; to say that no one is imposing it on others has no meaning whatever. That they are going slow with Hindi is no consolation." [NOTE: Population statistics mentioned by Mr. Bharathi reflect the data in the 1960s.]

4. R.V. Dhulekar

R.V. Dhulekar made the following statement at the Indian Constitutional assembly on December 10, 1946)  [Constitution Assembly Debates-Official Report, Volume 1 (p 26-27), Lok Sabha Secretariat, 1988] 

"People who do not know Hindustani have no right to stay in India. 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 had better leave."

[Quotes from inside and outside the Indian constituent assembly debates on official language.]


1. Quotes on Hindi Imposition-1 (from General K. M. Kariappa, C. Rajagopalachari, First Governor-General of India, and Pattom Thanu Pillai, Former Chief Minister of Kerala State), TAMIL TRIBUNE, January 1999 (5 KB)

2. More Articles on Hindi Imposition

FIS051229    2006-a1d

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