ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Game of Gestures

Far from being a matter of any substance, the promotion of Hindi is a mere posture.


The month of June brings brief, dusty storms in Delhi. This one raked up some dust that had settled half a century ago. After the long-drawn-out parliamentary election, the country barely had time to decide on how to characterise the election outcome, when a controversy erupted over a positive reference to the old three-language formula in the draft national policy on education. As soon as an objection arose from Tamil Nadu over the mention of Hindi in the formula, the Ministry of Human ­Resource Development swiftly withdrew and changed the concerned paragraph in the draft displayed online. For what it is worth, a new generation of readers should know this old official matter and why the three-language formula still has a life.

There are times when an old document looks more contemporary and feels fresher than the one presented for discussion. The three-language formula, which surfaced to public attention within a week of the renewal of the government, was first brought into the domain of policy drafting by the Education Commission (1964–66), chaired by D S Kothari. Its member-secretary, J P Naik, who drafted the voluminous report, was deeply familiar with the problems of India’s system of education in different regions and as a whole. The commission’s report says that the three-language formula was devised by the Central Advisory Board of Education in 1956 and approved in a somewhat simplified form by the Conference of Chief Ministers in 1961. “The impelling considerations,” the Kothari Commission says, “were more political and social, than educational.”

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Updated On : 19th Jun, 2019
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