A group of Hindi professors on 20 January 2017 asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to forbid the addition of Hindi dialects like Bhojpuri and Rajasthani in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution as full-fledged Indian languages.
Eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution states that the independent identity of a language and Hindi’s prime strength is the large number of its speakers.
However, the scholars opine that recognition of its dialects as separate languages will deprive Hindi of millions of its speakers. They also fear that eventually there will be no Hindi left, if its key dialects are recognised as separate languages.
The Eighth Schedule contains the list of 22 scheduled languages that are recognised officially.These languages are Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Urdu, Sindhi, Konkani, Manipuri, Nepali, Bodo, Dogri, Maithili and Santal.
The list originally had only 14 languages but subsequently through amendments 8 new languages were added.Out of these languages, Sindhi was added by 21st Amendment Act, 1967, Nepali language was added by 71st Amendment Act, 1992 and Santal was added through 92nd Amendment Act, 2003.Subsequently Bodo, Dogri and Maithili languages were added in 2004.
This development came months after Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal announced that Rajasthani will be added to 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution. In December 2016, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also raised a similar demand for addition of Bhojpuri language in the 8th Schedule.
Over hundred and thirteen Hindi academics and writers from across India have signed the letter which has been sent to PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.