Tamil

Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNV), Hindi Imposition and Madras High Court Ruling (India)

Part II

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, October 2017 (ID. 2017-10-02)
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OUTLINE

If you have not read Part I, we suggest you read it now: click here

Outline of Part I:

Preface

1. Background

2. Madras High Court Ruling

3. Discussion and a Few Unanswered Questions

4. High Court Should Order Indian Government to Use Tamil in Tamil Nadu

5. Final Words

Part II

6. Is it Hindi Imposition?

7. Is this Really Democracy?

8. Whose Money is it Anyway?

9. Can the Indian Government Use Our Tax Monies to Force States to Surrender Their Rights?

10. Don't Blame the Courts, Amend the Constitution


6. Is it Hindi Imposition?

Some argue that no one is compelling students to study at Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas; they could go to schools where there is no Hindi. We would have no objection if some Hindi enthusiasts or Hindi states open a private school in Tamil Nadu and require students to learn Hindi in exchange for top notch education. But Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (Modern Schools) are operated with both non-Hindi and Hindi taxpayer monies. If the only way to get the benefit of a well-funded, taxpayer paid schools is agreeing to learn Hindi, then that is Hindi imposition?

Let me tell you a story to reinforce my point. There were two brothers living together in the same house. The older brother had 6 children and the younger 4. Older brother is non-vegetarian and the younger vegetarian. Because the older brother outnumbers the younger brother he made all household decisions even though the younger brother earned more money and gave more towards household expenses. Older brother cooked very nutritious and tasty non-vegetarian dishes every day but only mediocre vegetarian dishes. When the younger brother complained, the older brother told him, "no one is preventing you from eating the nutritious, tasty non-vegetarian meals; so why are you complaining? If you do not want meat, that is your problem." What should the younger brother do? May be he should leave the house and set up his own separate household.

7. Is this Really Democracy?

Political parties opposing Hindi in Tamil Nadu schools have won state assembly elections ever since 1967. The current (2017) ruling party at the central government, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), got only 2% votes in Tamil Nadu in the 2014 parliamentary elections. Another party that supports Hindi in schools is the Congress Party. The combined votes these two parties got in Tamil Nadu in 2014 were just 10%. Yet the will of these two parties over-rules the will of the duly elected state government on a matter internal to the state. Is this democracy for the approximately 80 million people of Tamil Nadu? Something is wrong here.

8. Whose Money is it Anyway?

Some may argue that Indian government is funding these schools and so they can dictate what languages to teach. To start with, as we mentioned earlier, it is both Hindi and non-Hindi taxpayers' money that is used, and it should not be used as an inducement to make students learn Hindi. It seems these arguments do not work because the Indian constitution and laws are such that Indian government has enormous power on how to give taxpayer monies. Indian government uses the money as carrots and sticks to force states to its pet projects violating whatever semi-federalism, state rights and devolution states have. Hindi imposition and propagation is one of those pet projects.

9. Can the Indian Government Use Our Tax Monies to Force States to Surrender Their Rights?

In the opinion of this writer this ruling raises questions far beyond Hindi at Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (Modern Schools). As I understand it, the Madras High Court ruling says that it is legal for the Indian government to use tax monies collected from both Hindi and non-Hindi states to force states to accept its language policy. That goes to undermine the very root of the semi-federal system of the Indian Union, state rights and devolution of power.

In case of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, Indian government says that it would set up the well funded schools only if the schools follows its three-language policy even while it contradicts state's two language policy. Court ruled that states must accept the schools along with the accompanying three language formula (Hindi imposition) because it  provides top-notch education to a few hundred rural students.

Stretching matters further, can Indian government say that it would give 1000 crore Rupees to the state government every year, if it teaches Hindi in every state school? Will the High Court force the state to do so because that is the only way it can get 1000 crore Rupees? What happened to state right to run its own schools? Will some lawyer explain the intricacies to me? Today it is Hindi in schools. Next time, can the Indian government tell the state that it would allocate 10000 crore Rupees if it allows Hindi in the state legislature? Will the court ask states to do so because the 10000 crore Rupees would benefit the people of the state? How is it different from the court telling Tamil Nadu to teach Hindi in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) because the Indian government funds would benefit the students in those schools?

Instead, why not tell the Indian government to give the state the 10000 crore Rupees with out the Hindi stipulation because the 10000 crore Rupees would benefit the people? Same way, tell the Indian government to fund these Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas without attaching the stipulation that Hindi must be taught in these schools. Funds for these modern schools does not come from Hindi taxpayers alone, they come from all taxpayers; Hindi and non-Hindi taxpayers. So allocation of funds should not be attached to teaching Hindi.

It seems these arguments do not work because the Indian constitution and laws are such that Indian government has enormous power on how to give taxpayer monies. Indian government uses the money as carrots and sticks to force states to its pet projects violating whatever semi-federalism, state rights and devolution states have. Hindi imposition and propagation is one of those pet projects.

10. Don't Blame the Courts, Amend the Constitution

Since courts have to interpret the constitution and laws as they exist, the only way out for non-Hindi people from Hindi imperialism is to amend the Indian constitution pertaining to language issues. Therein lies the problem. Constitution cannot be amended, will not be amended because it needs two-third majority (over 66%) in parliament and Hindi Members of Parliament (MPs) number more than one-third the total members. I can categorically say that Indian constitution can never be amended to remove Hindi as the official language of India and make all Indian languages equal.

Since the constitution cannot be amended, the only way for non-Hindi states to escape Hindi imposition is for these states to get out of the Indian Union and form their own federal union of states or separate countries, as each non-Hindi state chooses. This option is something that needs to be considered and discussed.

If you have not read Part I, we suggest you read it now: click here

Outline of Part I:

Preface

1. Background

2. Madras High Court Ruling

3. Discussion and a Few Unanswered Questions

4. High Court Should Order Indian Government to Use Tamil in Tamil Nadu

5. Final Words

REFERENCES

1. Indian Economy 2016 Data

RELATED ARTICLES

1. Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (Modern Schools) and Hindi Imposition (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, February 2010 (11 KB) (h)

2. India, Tamil Nadu and Hindi Imposition

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