Mamata Banerjee-led TMC-Congress government of West Bengal has taken an “innovative” and “revolutionary” decision.
From now, apart from Bengali and English, West Bengal will have 6 more “second” official languages - Urdu, Punjabi, Nepali, Ol-Chiki, Oriya and Hindi.
So from now onwards every government communication will be printed in all these languages, the Calcutta Doordarshan will have news programme in all these languages, and so on. Wow, what a revolutionary step by our firebrand Chief Minister.
However, I am such a nagging person that instead of appreciating this step for promoting communal harmony, I rather find the decision to be a bitter ill to swallow. I am so sorry.
Actually, I completely fail to understand the logic behind declaring 6 more languages as the second official language fails me. There are some loopholes in the government’s logic, which I cannot ignore.
For example, the government has said that Punjabi has been chosen as an official language to recognize the fact that the Punjabi speaking community has made a huge contribution in the development of the state. Besides, the Punjabi community has a sizeable presence in West Bengal, that too for several years.
Nobody can dare to contradict the logic that Punjabis have really played a very appreciable role in the in various developments of West Bengal, especially in the field of trade & commerce (courtesy their legendary entrepreneurial skill).
But if by that logic the beautiful Punjabi language can be given an official status, then why not the same be done to the Rajasthani language? Punjabis of West Bengal have been staying here for many years, and the community has also played key role in the economic and other developments of the state. But in that case why Rajasthani (the language of Marwari community) was left out? Marwaris have also been in the state since the days of Jobe Charnock and Sirajdaulla, and have played a very significant role in the overall development of the state, with the main area again being the field of trade & commerce. In fact, if today we try to think of any Calcutta based industrialist, then the two names that will obviously come in our mind ar R.P. Goenka and Harsh Neotia (both Marwaris).
And by what logic was Oriya (one of the world’s richest languages) selected? With due respect to Oriya friends who stay in West Bengal (and we cherish their presence), Odisha or Oriya community has historically not played that much a significant role in any aspect of West Bengal’s development and growth, (though since ancient days we have had cultural and business relations with that region). Nor it is so that the educated and erudite Oriya community has any sizeable presence here. (I wish more Oriya friends made West Bengal their home).
Every community should enjoy equal right/prestige/honour on the soil of every Indian state, with the so-called “sons of the soil” enjoying no special status. But this is certainly not the way to offer the “equal treatment”. Rather I find this decision of the West Bengal government to be a big joke.
By the way, I hope nobody will misunderstand me. While opposing the selection of a language as West Bengal’s official language, I have only questioned the cultural and historical logic behind it. And by no means I have tried to show lack of respect to those languages and their speakers.
Thank you so much for reading the post. You have honoured me.