Static – Modern History (Post-Independence) – The Language Problem (4) | Focus – Mains

Notes for Modern History (Post-Independence)

The Language Problem I

  • The language problem was the most divisive issue in the first twenty years of independent India, and it created the apprehension among many that the political and cultural unity of the country was in danger.
  • People love their language; it is an integral part of culture. Consequently , linguistic identity has been a strong force in all societies. This is even more true of a multilingual society like India’s.
  • Linguistic diversity would inevitably give birth to strong political currents around issues linked to language, such as educational and economic development, job and other economic opportunities and access to political power.
  • The Indian constitution recognizes twenty -two major languages, including English and Sanskrit. In addition, there are a myriad languages spoken by the tribals and others, with or without their own scripts.
  • The problem posed to national consolidation by linguistic diversity has taken two major forms:
    • (i) the dispute over official language of the union and
    • (ii) the linguistic reorganization of the states.

The Language Problem II

  • The controversy on the language issue became most virulent when it took the form of opposition to Hindi and tended to create conflict between Hindi-speaking and non-Hindi-speaking regions of the country .
  • The issue of a national language was resolved when the constitution-makers virtually accepted all the major languages as ‘languages of India’ or India’s national languages. But the matter could not end there, for the country ’s official work could not be carried on in so many languages. There had to be one common language in which the central government would carry on its work and maintain contact with the state governments.
  • The question arose what would be this language of all-India communication? Or what would be India’s official and link language?
  • Only two candidates were available for the purpose: English and Hindi. Hindi or Hindustani, the other candidate for the status of the official or link language, had already played this role during the nationalist struggle, especially during the phase of mass mobilization.
  • Hindi had been accepted by leaders from non-Hindi-speaking regions because it was considered to be the most widely spoken and understood language in the country . The real debate in the Constituent Assembly occurred over two questions: Would Hindi or Hindustani replace English? And what would be the time-frame for such a replacement to happen?

The Language Problem III

  • The question of Hindi or Hindustani was soon resolved. Gandhiji and Nehru both supported Hindustani, written in the Devanagari or Urdu script. Though many supporters of Hindi disagreed, they had tended to accept the Gandhi–Nehru viewpoint.
  • The issue of the time-frame for a shift from English to Hindi produced a divide between Hindi and non-Hindi areas. The spokespersons of Hindi areas were for the immediate switchover to Hindi, while those from non-Hindi areas advocated retention of English for a long if not indefinite period.
  • The case for Hindi basically rested on the fact that it was the language of the largest number, though not of the majority , of the people of India; it was also understood at least in the urban areas of most of northern India from Bengal to Punjab and in Maharashtra and Gujarat.
  • The critics of Hindi talked about it being less developed than other languages as a literary language and as a language of science and politics. But their main fear was that Hindi’s adoption as the official language would place non-Hindi areas, especially South India, at a disadvantage in the educational and economic spheres, and particularly in competition for appointments in government and the public sector.
  • Such opponents tended to argue that imposition of Hindi on non-Hindi areas would lead to their economic, political, social and cultural domination by Hindi areas.

The Language Problem IV

  • A compromise was arrived at. The constitution provided that Hindi in Devanagari script with international numerals would be India’s official language. English was to continue for use in all official purposes till 1965, when it would be replaced by Hindi. Hindi was to be introduced in a phased manner. After 1965 it would become the sole official language.
  • Implementation of the language provisions of the constitution proved to be a formidable task. The issue remained a subject of intense controversy , and became increasingly acrimonious with the passage of time.
  • Sharp differences on the official language issue surfaced during 1956–60. In 1956, the Report of the Official Language Commission recommended that Hindi should start progressively replacing English in various functions of the central government with effective change taking place in 1965.
  • Fully aware of the danger that the official language issue could pose to Indian polity , the leadership of the Congress took the grievances of the non-Hindi areas seriously and handled the issue with great care and caution. In pursuance of Nehru’s assurances, though with delay caused by internal party pressures and the India–China war, an Official Languages Act was passed in 1963.
  • Lal Bahadur Shastri, Nehru’s successor as prime minister, was unfortunately not sensitive enough to the opinion of non-Hindi groups. Instead of taking effective steps to counter their fears of Hindi becoming the sole official language, he declared that he was considering making Hindi an alternative medium in public service examinations. This meant that while non-Hindi speakers could still compete in the all-India services in English, Hindi speakers would have the advantage of being able to use their mother tongue.
  • Many non-Hindi leaders in protest changed their line of approach to the problem of the official language. While previously they had wanted a slowing down of the replacement of English, now they started demanding that there should be no deadline fixed for the changeover.
  • Some of the leaders went much further. On 17 January , the DMK organized the Madras State Anti-Hindi Conference which gave a call for observing 26 January as a day of mourning. Widespread rioting and violence followed in the early weeks of February leading to large-scale destruction of railway s and other Union property. The agitation continued for about two months, taking a toll of over sixty lives through police firings.
  • With the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri in January 1966, Indira Gandhi became the prime minister. As she had already won the trust of the people of the South, they were convinced that a genuine effort would be made to resolve the long-festering dispute.
  • Indira Gandhi moved the bill to amend the 1963 Official Language Act. The Act provided that the use of English as an associate language in addition to Hindi for the official work at the Centre and for communication between the Centre and non-Hindi states would continue as long as the non-Hindi states wanted it, giving them full veto powers on the question.


Editorial Simplified: Define Strategic Partners | GS – II

Relevance: GS Paper II (International Relations)

Theme of the article

The Indian and U.S. conceptions are different. This needs to be addressed.

Why has this article cropped up?

U.S. President Donald Trump has turned down an invitation from India to attend next year’s Republic Day parade as the chief guest.

Changing Indo-US relations

  • Former U.S. President Barack Obama had shifted the date of his State of the Union address so that he could come to India in January 2015.
  • But the U.S.’s relationship with India is drastically different now, amid the revolution in its foreign policy since Mr. Trump’s arrival in the White House.
  • For more than a decade, US had supported India’s entry into an exclusive club of the U.S.’s strategic partners. Today, U.S. pays only lip service to notions of a strategic partnership with India.
  • The Trump administration is transactional to the core. There’s nothing wrong with transactional relationships. Indeed, Mr. Trump’s emphasis on deal-making has helped move the needle forward on U.S.-India security cooperation, as evidenced by the recent inking of the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement. Additionally, the emphasis on the transactional hasn’t harmed bilateral ties.
  • On the contrary, the fact that U.S.-India relations have remained relatively robust despite a flurry of new tension points — from U.S. tariffs and sanction policies to controversial statements by Mr. Trump about India — attests to the partnership’s overall strength.
  • Still, what’s missing from the relationship in the Trump era is a commitment from the U.S. side to go deeper than deal-making. For example, Washington and New Delhi need to resolve critical definitional issues to make the relationship truly strategic.

What does “strategic partnership” mean for each side?

Indian conceptions emphasise technology transfers and intelligence-sharing, while U.S. conceptions envision deep levels of operational cooperation to which New Delhi hasn’t assented.


To fully take advantage of the relationship’s repositories of trust and goodwill, and of its enduring shared interests — from China’s rise to terrorism — the fundamental questions must be addressed.


Editorial Simplified: Universities and Patents | GS – III

Relevance: GS Paper III (Science and Technology)

Theme of the article

The ambitious goal set by India’s IPR Policy rests on how universities embrace patents.

Why has this article cropped up?

In its biggest push to create entrepreneurial universities, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has now asked all universities in India to set up Intellectual Property (IP) Centres.

Universities and patents

  • Universities and patents benefit each other. Patents help universities to improve their ranking, establish an innovation ecosystem, incubate knowledge-based start-ups, earn additional revenue and measure research activity.
  • The UGC’s call to universities has come after a series of policy directives to introduce awareness about IP in higher educational institutions.
  • The number of patents applied for, granted and commercialised by universities and institutes is factored in in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) rankings: the top ranked engineering institutes in India are also the leading filers of patents.
  • The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) model curriculum for its member institutions lays emphasis on the need for IPR education in technical institutes.

The roadblocks

  • As universities line up to set up these centres, they will face a strange human resources problem: despite the policy push to have more IP, we simply do not have enough IP professionals in the country.
  • The dearth of IP professionals is a problem related to the field of intellectual property itself. Law schools and colleges are the only institutions which mandate teaching subjects like intellectual property. This is the reason why the supply of IP professionals is not keeping pace with demand.
  • India has a poor patent agent density, with only about 2,000 registered patent agents currently in practice.

Evolution of the intellectual property culture in India

  • India witnessed significant changes in IPRs since the introduction of the National IPR Policy in 2016.
  • The grants rates at the Patent Office have increased: in 2017-2018, there was a 32% increase in the number of patents granted compared to the earlier year.
  • The Patent Office increased its workforce with the inclusion of 459 new examiners and is on the lookout for more.
  • The timeline for filing responses to official objections for patents has been reduced by half.
  • While the disposal rate has increased, the filing rate for patents has not changed significantly.

Way forward to strengthen the IP culture

  • Online courses on IPR are available on the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning platform, which must be popularised.
  • Though thousands register every year, much needs to be done to build capacity on IP in universities.
  • The Central government conducts the only competitive examination in the country to check a person’s proficiency in IP. Fine-tuning the patent agent examination to cater to the growing IP needs of the country can be a successful way to build a band of professionals and create career opportunities.
  • We need to focus on careers rather than courses. The ambitious goal set by India’s IPR Policy will be realised only when the examination becomes the foundation for making a career in IPR.
  • In order to create a band of qualified IP professionals there should be a push towards post-qualification continuous education as well. To achieve this, the format, membership, syllabus and the frequency of the patent agent examination will need to be addressed.


CSE-2019 | Prelims Daily Quiz 22


Which of the following statements with regard to the CBI is/are correct?

1. The committee that recommends the appointment of the CBI Director consists of Chief Justice of India among others.

2. The CVC has power to recommend the appointment of CBI officers except CBI Director.


Choose the correct answer from the codes given below:

A) 1 only

B) 2 only

C) Both 1 and 2

D) Neither 1 nor 2

C) Both 1 and 2

  • The CBI Director can be appointed by the Centre only on the basis of a recommendation made by a high-powered committee led by the Prime Minister and including the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India.
  • The CVC, under Section 4C of DSPE Act, has power only to recommend the appointment, curtail or extend the terms of CBI officers from the level of the Superintendent of Police to above, including the CBI Special Director, but not the CBI Director.