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‘Why can’t Sanskrit be our official language?’, Former CJI SA Bobde asks, mentions that Dr Ambedkar also advocated for the same

"This issue pertaining to official language shouldn't, in my opinion, go unresolved. Since 1949, it has remained unresolved. Although this isn't the place to discuss, there are serious dangers involved with miscommunications in the administration of justice and governance," Bobde said.

On Friday, January 27, former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Bobde said that he asks himself ‘why Sanskrit cannot be the official language of India’. Citing media reports from 1949, the former CJI said that even Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, hailed as the architect of the Indian constitution, had also proposed the same.

Bobde also said that Hindi and English are used as the official languages of government and courts in accordance with the law, and every chief justice receives requests to approve the introduction of the respective regional languages. The introduction of regional languages is already happening in some high courts and district courts, the former CJP mentioned.

While speaking at the Akhil Bhartiya Chhatra Sammellan, which was organized by Sanskrit Bharti, the former CJI made these remarks. Although many High Courts have had to allow applications, petitions, as well as documents in regional languages, he said, the High Court’s official language is English.

“This issue pertaining to official language shouldn’t, in my opinion, go unresolved. Since 1949, it has remained unresolved. Although this isn’t the place to discuss, there are serious dangers involved with miscommunications in the administration of justice and governance,” Bobde said.

“On September 11, 1949, newspapers reported that Dr. Ambedkar was the one who first proposed making Sanskrit the official language of the Union of India. Many of our languages share vocabulary from Sanskrit. I ask myself why Sanskrit cannot be the official language, as Dr. Ambedkar had proposed,” he added.

According to the former CJI, introducing Sanskrit would not be equivalent to introducing any religion because 95 percent of the language deals with topics related to philosophy, law, science, literature, phonetics, architecture, astronomy, etc. rather than having anything to do with any religion.

Ambedkar on Sanskrit 

Despite his belief that English could be kept as the nation’s official language for at least 15 years after independence, Dr5 Bhimrao Ambedkar supported Sanskrit as a national language in the Constituent Assembly.  The proposal to make Sanskrit as the national language was moved by the late LK Maitra in the Constituent Assembly, and was supported by Dr. Ambedkar.

Ambedkar recommended making Sanskrit the official language of the Union of India to the Council of National Languages, which was set up as soon as the nation gained independence. Ambedkar opined that there would be no dispute in the country around Sanskrit as the national language.

On September 11, 1949, several newspapers including The Hindu, National Herald, and others, reported about the then Law Minister strongly advocating for Sanskrit. Ambedkar was supported by Dr. B.V. Keskar, the then Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasiruddin Ahmad and T.T. Krishnamachari, V.I. Muniswamy Pillai, G. Durgabai, P. Subbarayan, and Dakshayani Velayudhan.

Newspaper reports about Ambedkar’s support to the Sanskrit proposal dated 11th September 1949
National Herald article on Ambedkar backing proposal to adopt Sanskrit as India’s official language.

When questioned by a PTI reporter about his choice, he answered, “Why? What is wrong with Sanskrit?” Ambedkar stated that the Legislative Council would discuss the amendment and consider the issue of the official language as well. 

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Searched termsAmbedkar Sanskrit
OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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