Hindi as Rajbhasha – Official Language

I worked in a public sector undertaking where the yearly rituals of Rajbhasha Saptah used to take place with much fanfare making no real progress in the successful implementation of official language in our country. Personally I do strongly feel that English has to continue as an associate official language in the country forever. At the same time Hindi should be a commonly accepted official language in the entire country. I said “accepted” which automatically means that it should be wholeheartedly accepted by all the people and never imposed. For the same reason it is necessary to take our Rajbhash to people in a way they identify themselves with it. Bollywood is doing a much better job of it than the government. But the government has yet to take the essense of Rajbhasha to the people.

I used to have an impression that the north Indian elite deliberately Sanskritized the Rajbhasha making it difficult for the common man which actually resulted in the failure of its implementation. Doordarshan was considered the vanguard of their mission. Amita Malik, the famous TV critic of eighties used to ridicule DD’s Hindi, saying, ‘Ab aap samachar mein Hindi suniye’.

But I changed my impression when I heard a lecture by a senior Hindi officer of my organization when he visited our office for one of those “Hindi Weeks”. He was explaining how as an official language Hindi is very well suited and how the so called Sanskritization actually was deliberately attempted to structure the language as a n easily adapted official language by limiting its vocabulary (making it easier to learn) and building the language scientifically. Sanskritization can also make it more easily adaptable for computers. Sanskrit is one of the most scientifically structured languages. It has a small vocabulary and its structure helps using the language for any expression by adding branch words to the root words.

Here is an example. English language has a different word for each type of educational institution, like a nursery, school, college and university. Now if you come to Sanskrit, you simply attach branch words to the root word alaya and arrive at Vidyalaya, Bal Vidyalaya, Uchcha Vidyalaya, Maha Vidyalaya and Vishwa Vidyalaya. Imagine how easy it will be for a new learner or for using it in computer. In the same way you use ‘nyaya’, to arrive at nyayalay, nyayaadish, nyayamurti, nyayasabha etc. (court, advocate, judge, etc.. – all different and unconnected words in English). May be the same reason, of having a simple and small vocabulary, makes Sanskrit less attractive. The same goes with the rajbhasha also. The problem with rajbhasha in India, in my opinion, was that like Sanskrit, it was kept with the elite and never properly taken to the people. All the attempts were superfluous and ornamental.