Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s decision to deliver the Budget 2018 speech in “Hinglish”, a mix of Hindi and English, drew strong reactions on social media.
This is the perhaps the first time in the history of India that a Union Finance Minster chose to include Hindi in the Budget speech, which many believe was a strategic attempt to reach out to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s core constituency in India’s northern states. Jaitley said the Budget would focus on farmers and agriculture and Hindi could have been a tool to take the Budget directly to this section of the population. But many wondered why he thought all the farmers in India understood Hindi.
Many also pointed out that it was the non-Hindi speaking states which contribute most to India’s Budget.
Jaitley’s difficulty with Hindi did not go unnoticed.
Many covering the Budget speech live on Twitter had problems understanding the Hindi parts of it.
There were also those who referred to the differences in content of the English and Hindi parts of the speech.
As usual, memes were made on the Hinglish speech with people trying to guess what the speech said. This meme invoked a famous Tamil movie scene and wondered if Jaitley was stating that Rs 15 lakh would be deposited in people’s accounts by “February 30”.
Hindi is an official language of India and English an associate official language. In the Census 2011, less than 30% of the population declared Hindi as their mother tongue. In the Parliament, members need to take the permission of the chair if they want to speak in languages other than Hindi, English and Urdu. During the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance regime, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram was given to sprinkling his Budget speeches with couplets from Tirukkural, an ancient Tamil work of Tiruvalluvar. But the main speech was delivered fully in English.
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