On September 14, 1949, Hindi was adopted as one of the official languages by the Constituent Assembly of India. Since then, this day is celebrated as Hindi Diwas in the country and commemorates the beauty of the language. While the Indian Constitution recognises a total of 22 languages, Hindi and English are India’s two official languages for the Union government.
Mahatma Gandhi once called Hindi, the language of the masses and even recommended that it should be made the national language of India. Thus, the government of India since its independence has tried to make Hindi a globally recognised language and we have succeeded to a great extent. Many a time, we have witnessed global leaders, including US presidents using Hindi terms in their speech as a symbol of respect for the language.
However, Hindi has evolved tremendously after India's independence in 1947. The efforts started even before the independence. The Indian National Congress in its 1925 Karachi session decided that Hindustani, the popular, undifferentiated blend of Hindi and Urdu, should be the lingua franca of the independent nation.
This resolution, however, was modified after some years due to the influence of Hindi Sahitya Sammelan which suggested that Hindi should be the national language. The idea disappointed many members of Congress at the time, including the Muslims who wanted Urdu to be incorporated in that category, and in many ways got a communal angle.
The Muslim League, which was formed in 1906, tried to endorse Urdu as a symbol of Muslim identity and thus most fit to be India’s lingua franca. As India headed towards partition following communal riots, Urdu started to be perceived as a language aligned with Pakistan and thus, was discarded from national language contenders of the independent India.
Meanwhile, the pro-Hindi/Hindustani group, which included prominent leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi were in favour of adopting one of the two languages- Hindi and English, as the sole national language. On the other hand, anti-Hindi groups, which are highly influenced by the British culture, opposed that and favoured retaining English as the official language of India.
Following the debate, the Indian Constitution Committee arrived at a mutual agreement in 1949. The name of the adopted language was Hindi (in Devanagari script), and for the pro-Hindustani advocates, Sanskrit was taken as the mainstay of Hindi vocabulary, with an explicit non-boycott of words within it from other languages. However, there was no mention of Hindi as a 'national language' and described only the Indian union’s two official languages. The official use of English, initially, was to cease 15 years after the Constitution came into effect, that is, on January 26, 1965.
However, after 15 of the Constitution of India came into effect, the Congress’ working committee agreed to a resolution that stated that the position of English as an official language would not change unless all states consented to it. Finally, via the Official Languages Act of 1967, the government adopted a policy of bilingualism that indefinitely guaranteed the use of English and Hindi as official languages in independent India.