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The issue of a common link-language for India has been around for long time now. However, the entrenched linguistic pride of speakers of different languages have made it difficult to attain the solution to the issue. The language "Hindi" which is being propagated by Central government as a candidate for link-language has met severe opposition, especially from South Indian states.
I propose a novel solution to this problem of linking the people of India with each other. The solution according to me is not common link-language, but a common script for writing all the Indic languages. Here, a tamil song written in Devanagari script is produced to demonstrate the ease with which it can be flawlessly rendered by any person who can read Naagari script.
The exercise of writing this song in Naagari script gave me an insight regarding the unity in diversity of India. One has to understand that script is not equal to language, it is merely a way of representing a language. I have represented Tamil in Devanaagari script, similarly it is possible to write any language in any script, as long as the pronunciation of that version is same as OR very closely similar to the original.
I noticed one thing during my stay in Europe, that over the period of time Europeans have standardized their script. All the major European languages, except Greek and Russian, use Roman script for writing their language. The linguistic rules and pronunciation patterns of different alphabets, vowels and words have been standardized according to the necessities of every individual language. However, the script in general is uniform. This makes it relatively easier to learn and partially understand other European languages, once one knows any particular European language proficiently.
For example, a French person does not find it difficult to read German language (although with French accent) as both languages are written in same script. Furthermore, since both the languages are derived from Latin, it is relatively easier to understand certain words which are derived from Latin/Greek because they more or less mean the same things in all the European languages. The Slavic languages (Polish, Czech, Slovakian, Macedonian) are somewhat different from Latin derived languages, with quite different pronunciation patterns, yet they too use Roman script with appropriate modifications.
When we apply this scenario to India, we have 26 official languages, most of which are written in at at least 10-15 different scripts. All of the North-Indian languages are derived from Sanskrit and South Indian languages have many Sanskrit words which have been borrowed over the period of time. It is easier for any Indian with fair understanding of his own mother-tongue to vaguely understand any other Indian language, if he is able to read it and give some thought to it.
If one script is used for writing all the languages of India, a Punjabi person who can proficiently read the common script, will be able to communicate with a Tamilian, when he is visiting Chennai. Similarly, a Bengali person will very easily be able to establish a very rudimentary communication with a Gujarati person in his own language.
As literacy is spreading in India, more people know to read and write. Written language will be of more and more importance in India henceforth. Single Common Script will bring about a tremendous boost to sense of National integrity in India. Instead of forcing some language (Hindi) on non-native Hindi speakers, it makes more sense to introduce common script and let everybody keep their own language, without having to force a common linking language on people.
A Maharashtrian like me can read this song exactly like a native Tamil speaker does, just because it is represented in script which I can read. Everybody on this blog, who can read Devanaagari script can perfectly read this song. Imagine how easy will it be for a Bengali tourist in interior Karnataka with a quick-learn kannada book (written in common script) to establish rudimentary communication with local Kannadiga in his own language. The sense of alienation will slowly start decreasing and integration will be on rise.
Furthermore, those interested in literature of languages will then have greater access to the languages, which were previously unreadable, because it is written in common script. This will help towards enrichment of all the languages of India as ideas will flow throughout India transcending the barriers of script and anonymity. Diversity will enrich and unity won't be sabotaged in the process. Not at the cost of Unity.
Unlike Europe, India's core Sanskriti is very strong and efficient towards politically and culturally consolidating India time and again. Uniformity brought about in the script will keep the Indic core tightly unified in these hard times when peripheral and centrifugal forces in India are gathering momentum.
We need a common script and all Indian languages must be written in common script. This is the need of hour.
**Acknowledgements - I sincerely thank Mr. Sathyanarayan Rangarajan and Mr. Kartik Srinivasan for helping me in writing and editing this song in Devanagari script.