Salomone Publishes Commentary in University World News


Professor Rosemary Salomone has published a commentary, “Hindi expansion: Modi may come to regret what he wished for,” in the November 5th issue of University World News.

In the commentary Professor Salomone focuses on the not yet released report of India’s Committee on Official Languages recommending the expanded use of Hindi at the expense of English in higher education.

Professor Salomone discusses the enduring debate over Hindi and English—going back to the compromise reached in the 1949 Constitution and subsequent laws making both languages official languages while avoiding the question of a national language. She ties the discussion to debates surrounding the 2020 National Education Policy, which also took an anti-English position on the Three Language Formula adopted in 1968. She argues that for the nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to now promote Hindi in the name of “the nation,” unshackling the country from its colonial past, ignores the country’s rich multilingual character, the political sensitivity of Hindi especially in the south, and the role that English has played in building India’s economy, providing educational opportunities and jobs in India and abroad, and facilitating trade and investment in Africa.

In the end, she warns that using Hindi as a lever to create a monopoly in language and thought—while pushing English aside—will destroy the essence of India as a multilingual and multicultural democracy and weaken the country’s place in the global economy.