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Constituent Assembly Debate on 14 September, 1949

Constituent Assembly Debate on 14 September, 1949

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Citedby 1 docsArticle 348 in The Constitution Of India 1949
Constituent Assembly Debates
Constituent Assembly Debate On 14 September, 1949
 CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY OF INDIA - VOLUME IXWednesday, the 14th September, 1949 May I ask how long has this idea about the numerals been before thecountry ? No member could have the courage of coming before this Assembly, with a proposition about the acceptance of the Hindi language if that languagehad not already been more or less accepted by the people for years and years. It is on that basis that that clause in the Draft Constitution relatingto language has been framed. But how long have people been discussing aboutthese numerals ? Only for about two or three weeks,The Honourable ShriK. Santhanam (Madras : General) : I may inform the honourable Member thatthis question came up before us in the South in connection with the HindiPrachar Sabha at least fifteen years ago and we decided that Hindi Pracharin the South should be conducted with international numerals. The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tandon : I accept Mr. Santhanam'sstatement as correct. I never knew about it. But neither Mr. Santhanamnor the Hindi Prachar Sabha of Madras ever brought up this question beforethe country  
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Shri Moturi Satyanarayana (Madras : General) : You yourself were thereon the Hindi Prachar Sabha fifteen years back ? The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tandon: When I was in touch withthe Hindi Prachar Sabha, it was the Nagari digits that were being used.I may give that information to my honourable Friend Mr. Satyanarayana whoseconnection with that Sabha, began long after mine. When I had somethingto do with that Sabha, when that Sabha was being guided from Allahabadall the work was being done through the Hindi numerals. It was at a laterstage that he probably brought in the English numerals; and even today,I may remind him, some at least of the Hindi books that he has publishedhave Nagari numerals. I have seen at least one of them. Shri M. Satyanarayana: It was in 1927. The Honourable Shri R. R. Diwakar: What about Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu whoare using these numerals today ? The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tadon: When you are adopting Hindias the language, adopt also its numerals. I ask you to consider whetherthis is the proper time, when the country is not prepared with any viewson that matter, to force English numerals upon Hindi ? I have said so many times that I would not force Hindi upon any province, but by the Constitution you are practically forcing this script for all official purposes uponall those who do their work through the Nagari script. I ask you to stay  your hand there. The Prime Minister has repeatedly said that languagesgrow, that they are not born in a day. He has said that several times.(A voice-He is right). He is right. Languages grow. But the numerals grow also. (Interruption.) The numerals grow also, they have grown. (Interruption.)The numerals have grown along with the script. The script grows. like thelanguage which uses it. The script is not born in a day. It has grown withall parts of it, the vowels, the consonants and the numerals. It is oneartistic whole. You cannot patch something upon. the face of that whole.Today you say, "Take out the Nagari numerals." You might as well say-though you are not saying it today-"Take out the vowels, let the English vowels
Constituent Assembly Debate On 14 September, 1949http://www.indiankanoon.org/doc/1734262 42
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 be used and let the consonants alone be Hindi". I say you would be creatinga monstrosity. The Honourable Shri N. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar (Madras: General) : Thatis is a caricature. The Honourable Shri Purushottam Des Tandon: My friend says that is acaricature. He sees the absurdity of taking away the vowels. So far as we are concerned, we also see the absurdity of taking away the numerals.It does nobody any good. You are taking away something from us which doesnot enrich you but makes us poor indeed. Our numerals are an ancient heritage. It has sometimes been said thatthese English numerals are our numerals and the question has been put: why should we not take them back ? As if we had lost our numerals and wearegoing to re-possess them Nothing of the kind. The knowledge of thesenumerals certainly went to Europe through Arabia from our country. We are allproud of that fact. There are many other matters in which Europe is indebtedto us. But that does not mean that an object which has grown amongst usshould be given up and we must bring back in their changed forms thosethings which originally went from here. They have modified their formsaccording to their needs and we have modified our forms in consonance withour genius. Circumstances and environments everywhere introduce changes.Changes have been made in our country also. Our numerals have grown asI said. They were written in a certain manner during Vedic times. Thenchanges came and for about sixteen centuries they have been written inthe present style. Are we to give up now what has been used here for sucha long time ? I say internationalism is no argument and it is not fairthat our people should suddenly in this manner be asked to give up theirown numerals. The Honourable Shri R. R. Diwakar: We are using them in the South today.
Constituent Assembly Debate On 14 September, 1949http://www.indiankanoon.org/doc/1734263 42
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