INDIAN LANGUAGE POLICY
The Three-language Formula
The three-language formula evolved as a consensus in 1961 at a meeting of the chief ministers of different States.
The three-language formula was modified by the Kothari Commission (1964–66) seeking to accommodate the interests of group identity (mother tongues and regional languages), national pride and unity (Hindi), and administrative efficiency and technological progress (English).
The 1968 policy states:
- The First language to be studied must be the mother tongue or the regional language.
- The Second language – In Hindi speaking States, the second language will be some other modern Indian language or English, and – In non-Hindi speaking States, the second language will be Hindi or English.
- The Third language – In Hindi speaking States, the third language will be English or a modern Indian language not studied as the second language, and – In non-Hindi speaking States, the third language will be English or a modern Indian language not studied as the second language.
It was suggested that the medium of instruction at the primary stage should be the mother tongue and that the State Governments should adopt, and vigorously implement, the three language formula which includes the study of a modern Indian language, preferably one of the southern languages, apart from Hindi and English in the Hindi-speaking States and of Hindi in the non-Hindi speaking states.
The spirit of the three-language formula thus provides Hindi, English, and Indian languages, preferably a south Indian language for the Hindi-speaking States, and a regional language, Hindi, and English for the non-Hindi-speaking States.
But this formula has been observed more in the breach than in the observance.
The Hindi-speaking States operate largely with Hindi, English, and Sanskrit, whereas the non-Hindi-speaking States, particularly Tamil Nadu, operate through a two-language formula, that is, Tamil and English.