Q . The debate over the Three-language Formula has been revived with the National Education Policy. Examine the role that the language could play in national unity and also the issues associated with it. Suggest measures for the language controversy. 20TH, NOVEMBER,2020 (15 marks, 250 words, GS-2)




  • The introductory para to include the context and the history of three-language formula.
  • The second para could be about the impact and issue in implementation.
  • Then next para could include the Constitutional provisions with respect to language.
  • Final para to have the steps or measures that can be taken.

The controversy with respect to the three language formula emerged again with the National Education Policy 2020. It is the issue that has continued since independence. To decide on what language to be taught at schools so as to make it a common and connecting language for whole of India, has created political disturbances since independence.

It was Kothari Committee that recommended three-language formula in 1968 according to which the scheme was

  • First language: It will be the mother tongue or regional language.
  • Second language: In Hindi speaking states, it will be other modern Indian languages or English. In non-Hindi speaking states, it will be Hindi or English.
  • Third Language: In Hindi speaking states, it will be English or a modern Indian language. In the non-Hindi speaking state, it will be English or a modern Indian language.

The supporters of the three-language formula argue that it will promote multilingualism and the national harmony. They also states that this will help in bridging the language gap across the nation.

However the issue arises in implementation. The north Indian states could not promote the south Indian language and so the South Indian states. Most of the states are formed and organized on linguistic basis, so to force any language is against the identity.

The NEP 2020, however, mentions that the three-language formula where it says that of the three languages, two must be Indian languages, with English not to be considered as one. It also says that the freedom to choose the two Indian languages should be left to the states, regions or students.

The Constitutional provisions with respect to the language-

  • Article 350A facilities for instruction in mother-tongue at the primary stage
  • Article 350B provides for the establishment of a Special Officer for linguistic minorities
  • Article 351 gives power to the union government to issue a directive for development of the Hindi language
  • Article 347 gives the President the power to recognise a language as an official language of a given state, provided that the President is satisfied that a substantial proportion of that state desires that the language be recognized
  • Article 346 is about the official language for communication between the states and between a state and the Union
  • Article 343 provides for the official language of Union of India as Hindi in Devnagri script. It also states that English will continue to be used as an official language for 15 years from the commencement of the Constitution
  • Article 29 of the Constitution of India protects the interests of minorities

The three language formula is well intended to bring about national unity by bridging the linguistic gap between the states. However it is not the only option available to integrate the ethnic diversity of India. Hence, providing the autonomy of the state in the language policy seems to be a much more viable option than homogenous imposition of three language formula all over India.

[Additional information regarding topic is also being provided]



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