Hindi PC DOS announced

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Wed Sep 24 14:31:17 UTC 1997

In a message dated 97-09-24 06:43:19 EDT, grotebev at UNI-KOELN.DE quotes Rob
Russell as saying:

<< September 14th is India's " Official Language Day."  It was initiated by
 Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first  President of India in 1950, as a commitment
 of the Government of India to promote Hindi as the Official Language. The
 Official Language Act of 1949, which makes the use of Hindi in Central
 Government Offices mandatory all across the country also resulted from this



 Robert Russell
 IBM Global Services Internet and Managed Networks
 rrussell at ibm.net, rob at apic.net >>

This message shows Mr. Robert Russell's apalling ignorance and insensitivity
towards the feelings of non-Hindi speakers. Adding insult to injury is his
cheerleading for the linguistic arrogance of Hindi-nationalistic
policy-makers in Indian Government. As far as I am concerned, the Official
Language Day is a day in infamy.

I welcome any person's ability to use the computer through his/her own
language. I also sympathize with the Hindi speakers who do not like the
elitistic value system of those Indians who look down on Indian languages.
But I cannot support the linguistic domination by one language to be replaced
by another. While  I welcome any language's ability to enlarge its sphere of
influence through what it has to offer in terms access to literature, culture
or market,  I absolutely abhor any government's efforts to impose/prefer one
language over the speakers of another language. If there is a market for
Hindi PC DOS, by all means let anybody develop it. But I hate a
government-created market for one language  which other languages cannot
match. Further, now one can expect a policy which will demand that all
non-Hindi speakers in Central Government will have to learn Hindi DOS.
Otherwise, their professional growth will be affected.

The treatment of Prof. William Harman by the representatives of Indian
Government can be seen from the letter which was posted by Robert Zydenbos in
this list on April 9, 1997. I have shown it below. I hope this will enlighten
the likes of Mr. Russell to the linguistic realities faced by the non-Hindi
speakers of India. Usually Indian bureaucrats treat dark-skinned Indians like
dirt while they treat light-skinned foreigners with obsequiousness. If an
American is treated like this by the embassy, can one imagine the treatment
of non-Hindi speakers by the Hindi-speaking officials of the Indian


S. Palaniappan

<<From: WILLIAM HARMAN <wharman at DEPAUW.EDU>
Subject: Your Letter from Embassy of India (March 27, 1997)

Honorable Siv S. Mukherjee
Embassy of India
2107 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone (202) 939-7041
Fax (202) 462-7276

I have received your letter describing the Indian Government's intention
to bring out a Directory of Scholars of Hindi living abroad to
commemorate India's 50th anniversary of independence. You describe your
intentions to produce a directory with personal biographies, and
photographs, as well as published works and awards and honors. You also
indicate that if my interest is not in Hindi, you are not interested in
including me in the directory. The message seems to me to be rather
clear, and quite damaging to the notion that India is a nation concerned
for the united cooperation of India's linguistic, cultural, and literary

I am a scholar of Tamil, and I regret that you have decided that the Tamil
language, culture, and people are irrelevant or, at best, secondary to
India's national celebration of independence.  I would like to remind you
that Tamilnadu has a long and remarkable history in terms of literary and
religious contributions to national life in India. India is a great
nation, but I would hate to see it diminished by parochial notions such as
those claiming that any one linguistic, racial, geographic, or religious
group carries the banner for the entire nation.

I send this letter to academics on several lists concerned with the study
of India. I encourage them not to participate in the project unless
the project is enlarged to include all languages of India.


                                        William P. Harman
                                        Associate Professor of Religion
                                        DePauw University>>

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