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Hindi imposition: Mixed response in Nagaland to Shah’s statement

By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Apr 10, 2022 9:55 pm

DoSE dept. clarifies on Hindi row

Henlly Phom Odyuo
Dimapur, April 10 (EMN): The statement of Union Home Minister Amit Shah about emphasising Hindi language and making it compulsory till Class 10 in the Northeastern states has evoked mixed response in Nagaland. While the statement has miffed some sections, some are of the opinion that the imposition will hinder student’s interest.  

A headmistress of a school in Dimapur, who wished not to be named, told Eastern Mirror that ‘making Hindi compulsory in Northeast states would mean forceful implementation of the interest of a few to popularise Hindi’.

English, she said, is the main medium of education in India and other Indian languages are made optional depending on the interest of the students.

‘The right to choose should not be hampered with language made compulsory, since we live in a country with a rich diversity of culture, language and tradition,’ she said.

She also revealed that there are schools struggling to find Hindi teachers as not many Naga students opt for Hindi during the course of their education.     

The chairman of Livingstone Foundation International Dimapur Dr. Andrew Ahoto, who is also the president of All Nagaland Private Schools’ Association (ANPSA), Dimapur unit, told this newspaper that the state government, before implementation, should understand the prerogative of the Centre and the state.

Ahoto said that every board has a different curriculum and the choice is basically of the board.

Imposing, he opined, is not good and it should be a matter of choice. He also said the choice of words used by Shah may have ‘ruined the intention’. However he viewed that if the statement can be perceived in a positive note, learning Hindi will give a good leverage.

He opined that the tribal languages should also be included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, which may also make it easier or leave scope for local languages to come as second languages.

‘No harm in making Hindi compulsory’

Another principal of a government school of a district outside Dimapur, who also wished to remain anonymous, was of the view that it would help students in learning a language ‘which can make a helpful contribution to a situation’.

 “If we look from a positive angle, I feel there is no harm in making Hindi compulsory, enabling the students to learn the language through the regular curriculum.  During our school days, we had a nonchalant attitude towards the subject, that’s why sometimes it becomes a hindrance when we can’t catch up with the conversations with the mainlanders”, the principal asserted.

She also observed that the present younger generation children are trying to learn different languages like French, Korean, Chinese, etc without being forced.

“The only thing we should keep in mind is that while framing the curriculum for Hindi subject, the contents should not be sensitive, which might infringe on other culture and religion,” she said.

Imposing Hindi may affect pass percentage’

On the other hand, guardians of school going students were irked by the statement of Shah as most of them pointed out that the ‘declaration was to enforce Hindi especially in Northeast as the region is geographically and culturally different while most of the states do not speak or understand Hindi’.

This is a tactic of the Central government, a parent pointed out.

A parent shared that most of the Naga families engage and pay for separate Hindi tuition apart from Mathematics and Science subject. 

‘Even after engaging in a separate tuition for Hindi subject most of the students are able to score a minimum pass mark while some do not attain pass mark so imposing till Class 10 will hinder their pass percentage’, the parent said.

‘While there was no objection to learning Hindi, the mandatory learning till Class 10 cannot be welcomed and there should be an alternative. Only few MILs are included in the board, which is also not given much importance and the mandatory teaching and learning of Hindi will discourage the students from learning one’s local language’, the parents opined.     

A Hindi teacher of a government school in Dimapur pointed out that in a class of about 50 students, only 20 students manage to score average and above average marks.

“There are some who do not manage to score even 10 marks while most of the students are eager to cross Class 8 to avoid taking Hindi. So if Hindi is made mandatory till Class 10 it may affect their board exam percentage”, she observed.

It may be recalled that in February, Advisor of School Education K T Sukhalu, during an event, had stated that “the government of India has refused to release the fund as many Hindi teachers in the state don’t meet the required eligibility. The state had randomly appointed many teachers when thousands of Hindi teachers were sanctioned by the government of India, but now, as per the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) norm, only class 12th pass with a Hindi diploma are eligible for undergraduate Hindi teacher’s post”.

Nagaland legislators and bureaucrats are yet to comment on the statement of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. When this newspaper reached out to a few legislators, most of them chose to remain silent and unavailable for comment and share their opinion.  

Impossible to impose Hindi in totality — Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu

Meanwhile, president of Naga People’s Front (NPF) Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu in a statement on Sunday opined that if the Central government imposes a language on people who do not know the language, “it will amount to alienation which may not certainly be in the interest of the nation.”

Liezietsu said that there has not been any serious effort on the part of the Central Govt. towards development of the language, whichever party is in power in Delhi.

“We are not against Hindi. But we cannot agree at the moment to use Hindi as an alternative to English in Nagaland because it is impossible in its totality.  This is the ground reality and we do not find any other option at the moment,” he said.

Principal Director clarifies on Hindi row

Principal Director of the department of School Education Shanavas C meanwhile clarified on Sunday that the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 ‘advocates adopting three language policy up to secondary, but it does not impose any language on states’.

The principal director stated that as per NEP 2020, the three languages learned by students would be the choices of states, regions, and students themselves.

“The time line for the implementation of NEP 2020 is within 2030 and the Ministry of Education has not issued any instructions for making Hindi compulsory in the secondary stage,” the statement read.

He said that Nagaland follows three language formula up to class 8 and Hindi is offered as a compulsory language subject up to class 8.

“In classes 9 and 10, students have the liberty to study either Hindi or anyone Modern Indian Language(Ao/Bengali/Lotha/Sumi/Tenyidie) or Alternative English as the second language,” he added.

By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Apr 10, 2022 9:55:56 pm