Official State Languages query

Peter J. Claus pclaus at
Tue Aug 20 14:56:45 UTC 1996

While there is perhaps no law prohibiting having a school to teach any 
particular language, the question is rather what the medium of 
instruction is.  I believe that several sates have, in fact, placed 
restrictions on even private schools teaching in English and other 
language (eg. Urdu; Marathi in Karnataka, etc.) mediums. But possibly 
this has only to do with government recognition -- which is required in 
order to get the government to pay the teachers' salaries.  I am not 
clear on the details, but my point is that the examples cited evade the 
major political issues concerned.

On Tue, 20 Aug 1996, Narayan S. Raja wrote:

> Date: Tue, 20 Aug 1996 04:52:55 BST
> From: Narayan S. Raja <raja at galileo.IFA.Hawaii.Edu>
> To: Members of the list <indology at>
> Subject: Re: Official State Languages query
> On Mon, 19 Aug 1996 gail at wrote:
> > The important point
> > is granting people the *right* to open schools in their own languages.
> I'm pretty sure that this is
> not an issue at all, i.e., i.e.,
> it is perfectly legal, right now,
> to start a school and teach in 
> any language one wants!  Whether
> that school would be eligible for
> govt. subsidies, or whether govt. 
> subsidies would be available to 
> print textbooks in that language, 
> is a different matter.  There are
> three reasons why I think that this
> "right" already exists:
> 1.    I would guess that there is, in
>       fact, NO LAW that either explicitly 
>       permits, or prohibits, opening a school 
>       in whatever language one chooses --
>       just as there is probably no law
>       that explicitly permits, or prohibits,
>       people from wearing any ethnic clothes
>       they feel like.  I.e., I guess that
>       just as there is no reason to press for a 
>       law that explicitly permits people to wear
>       langotis -- the current legal position
>       presumably being that the law is blind
>       to langotis -- similarly, there is no 
>       reason to press for a law that explicitly 
>       allows, or disallows, teaching in any language.
> 2.    Further, I would guess that the right to
>       teach in any language is already
>       implied by the Fundamental Right
>       to "freedom of expression".  Probably,
>       this has never been tested in the courts,
>       for the simple reason that in India,
>       nobody could care less if you want to
>       teach, in, say, Albanian, so long as
>       you don't ask the govt. to pay for it.
> 3.    New States are created, and additional
>       languages are added to Section no. whatever
>       of the Constitution, with monotonous
>       regularity.  For example, Nepali and
>       Konkani were added only recently.  I
>       strongly doubt that Konkani- or Nepali-
>       medium schools were illegal, or non-existent,
>       before some politicians in Delhi got
>       around to adding those languages to the list.
> Regards,
> Raja.

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