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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Student's Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 1. March 3 1968

Indian Language Problem

Indian Language Problem

New York (News Features). —Students in many cities of India are embroiled in a bitter controversy over the government's desire to maintain both Hindi and English as official languages. Demonstrations first began at the Banaras Hindu University and rapidly spread to other university centres.

On 27 November last year the government introduced the Official Languages (Amendment) Bill.

According to the provisions of the bill, English is to be retained with Hindi as an official language on a national level until all of the constituent states of the country agree to drop it and all agree to accept Hindi.

But Hindi-speaking Indians, about 40 per cent of the population 'mostly in the central and northern parts of the country), feel that the development, acceptance and use of their language on a national level will be retarded by the retention of English and therefore want it removed alttogether from an official status at once.

On 28 November students of the Banaras Hindu University abstained from classes, and and some 5,000 of them marched to the railway station and damaged its property.

Government property—especially the railways—continued to bear the brunt of the students [unclear: ire].

In Lucknow, on 6 December, S. P. Rana, President of the Lucknow University Students' Union, was arrested holding up the Lucknow-Delhi mail train.

On the same day, police tear-gassed a violent crowd at the railway station in Agra.

News Features (New York) reports that the demonstrations in Delhi on 6 December became a riot.

English shop nameboards and direction and other signboards were torn down or blackened out and neon advertising signs smashed.

The University closed (tan days early) for its winter vacation on 14 December.

After riots and violence the bill was passed in the lower house on 13 December (by 224 votes to 75).

Delegates from 21 university unions met from 29 to 31 December at the 14th National Student Congress and General Council meeting.

They could achieve no consensus on the language issue.