The Constitution of India, adopted in 1950, declares Hindi in the Devanagari script as the official language of the Union. So, first of all, we shouldn’t refer to it as our “National Language”. There is a huge difference. Neither the constitution of India nor any law accords the status of “National Language” to any single language. India is such a diverse country that it would be impossible to call one language as our “national language”. At the state level, Hindi is the official language of the following states: Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and Delhi. Also, Hindi is spoken by about 340 million Indians. It is commonly believed that Hindi emerged in 1000 AD.
Tamil, on the other hand, is the official language of Tamil Nadu. So, if people in Tamil Nadu don’t want to speak in Hindi, then I won’t say that there is anything wrong. Tamil is spoken by about 77 million people and is one of the oldest languages of the world.
But I do want to point out something. There were widespread protests in the ’50s and ’60s in Tamil Nadu when the Indian Government said that they would make Hindi the sole official language of India on 26th Jan, 1965 and in between the period 1950 and 1965, English and Hindi would both be co-official languages. The result – Come 1965, Hindi wasn’t made the official language of TN because of anti-Hindi protests. As we all know, Hindi and English are both official languages even today.
So why is it that every time I try to read something on Tamil language or Hindi, I can only find data about Anti- Hindi protests in Tamil Nadu? What about the other Southern States? I am sure Hindi was and is as alien a language in Kerala as it is in Tamil Nadu.