The language debate produced intense arguments in the constituent assembly.
• Prior independence, Hindustani was thought to be accepted as the national language. It was the blend of Hindi and Urdu and was a composite language enriched by the interaction of diverse cultures. Mahatma Gandhi felt that it was the ideal language of communication that could unify Hindus and Muslims, and people of the north and the south.
• But the course was changed due to the deepening of the communal conflicts. In the constituent assembly debates, R.V. Dhulekar pleads to make Hindi the language of constitution making. The language committee was set up to look into the issue. According to its report, it was decided that Hindi in the Devanagari script would be the official language, but the transition to Hindi would be gradual. For the first fifteen years, English would continue to be used for all official purposes. Each province was to be allowed to choose one of the regional languages for official work within the province.
• But this report was challenged with deep fears and worries. Shrimati G. Durgabai from Madras highlights that there was strong opposition against Hindi in the south. Although She accepted Hindustani as the language of the people but feared that imposition of Hindi would create anxieties and fears amongst different language groups.
• Many members appealed for a spirit of accommodation. Shri Shankarrao Deo from Bombay and T. A. Ramalingam Chettiar from madras argued for mutual adjustment so that national unity could not be compromised.
The rights of the Central Government and the states were intensely debated in the constituent assembly. Jawaharlal Nehru argued for a strong government. Even Ambedkar also proclaimed for a strong and united centre. The centre was made strong enough to enable it to stop the communal frenzy. It was argued that only a strong centre could plan for the well-being of the country, mobilize the available economic resources, establish a proper administration, and defend the country against foreign aggression. The violence witnessed at the time of partition further pushed the demand for centralization.
The constituent assembly protected the powers of the central government. The Draft Constitution provided for three lists of subjects: Union, State, and Concurrent. The Central Government preserved the subjects in the union list, states were vested with the second list while for the third list, Centre and state shared responsibility.
To make the centre more powerful it was given control of minerals and key industries.
It was also given emergency powers. Article 356 gave the Centre the powers to take over a state administration on the recommendation of the Governor.
In terms of fiscal distribution, the center retained all the proceeds such as customs duties and company taxes where as the states were assigned the estate duties, sales tax etc.
Rate this question :