Decided on September 26,2002

Jayakant Mishra Appellant
STATE OF BIHAR Respondents


RAVI S.DHAVAN, J. - (1.) THIS petition has been filed as an affirmative action by one Dr. Jayakant Mishra, resident of village and Post Office Gajahara, district Madhubani. He claims that he is the President of All India Maithili Sahitya Samiti, Allahabad and has sufficient interest in the promotion and development of Maithili language, literature and script and the preservation and conservation of the culture of Mithila. He further mentions that he is filing this petition in a representative capacity for the Maithili speaking people of Bihar. He claims that Maithili is spoken in North and Central Bihar which consists of Sitamarhi, Sheohar, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Samastipur, Khagaria, Begusarai, Saharsa, Supaul, Madhepura, Araria, Vaishali (Hajipur), Munger, Bhagalpur and Banka and parts of the districts of Muzaffarpur, Motihari, Kishanganj, Katihar, Purnea, Sahebganj, Godda and Deoghar. The petition was filed in 1998 when the State of Bihar had not been split into two. Three of the districts, Deoghar, Godda and Sahebganj, at present are districts of new State of Jharkhand.
(2.) IN the writ petition a lot has been written in the praise of Mithila, Maithili and Mithila culture. But, since the purpose of the petition is entirely different, it will not be appropriate for the Court to get involved in the qualities of the head and the heart in a singular praise of Maithili language or culture so that by mistake odious comparison may be indulged in with other languages and ethnic cultures of the Nation. Plainly, the relief sought in the petition is that it is the obligation of the State to provide for mother tongue to be taught at the primary stage provided sufficient number of children are available and their guardians desire that instruction be imparted to primary school children in Maithili. Such a claim could be made by any section of the people of India who claim a distinct language and script so that the language is preserved for the benefit of the community which lays a claim for preservation.
(3.) THE State Government appears to be reacting in its approach to other languages of its peoples, not closely resembling Hindi or its various dialects. Part of the misunderstanding arises when those who run the Government make the mistake of misplaced chauvinism, projecting nationalism on the basis of the major language which the peoples of north India may speak with different dialects. The first basic mistake which has been taken place, in the context of the present matter, is that the Government of Bihar has misunderstood the difference between official language, national language and mother tongue -Raj Bhasha, Rashtra Bhasha and Matra Bhasha. The Hindi speaking States in their administration at times act as if the other languages of the nation are in juxtaposition to Hindi as rival. This is not so. Asserting the hegemony of Hindi and being belligerently pushing it under a misconception that it is the national language (rashtra bhasha) so ordained by the Constitution of India is the biggest misunderstanding and one solitary factor which contributes to discord with people of the nation where Hindi is not spoken. A person who does not speak Hindi is no less a nationalist than any other citizen who comes from a Hindi speaking State. That Hindi may be encouraged so that it becomes a standardised link language is another aspect. But, such an effort should not be pushed so far as to offend the sensibilities of other people of India who speak their languages and are equally proud of them.;

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