When a senior police officer in Madhya Pradesh used the Urdu word ‘Dastayab‘ – referring to the recovery of a missing item – during a meeting attended by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, he did not know the chain of events he would set off.
Not only was the Superintendent of Police advised to use simpler words and avoid those from the Mughal era, but the state’s Home Minister also ordered that Persian and Urdu words and phrases will be deleted from the official lexicon of the Madhya Pradesh Police.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said the police should incorporate “simple Hindi words” when filing complaints, investigation and research reports, and other formalities.
In effect, around 350 words like ‘adam pata‘ (untraceable), ‘tarmeem‘ (amendment), ‘ishtgassa‘ (petition), ‘muddayi‘ (complainant), ‘istgasa‘ (complaint letter), and the fateful ‘dastyab‘ will now disappear from use.
The Urdu and Persian terms had been in use by the police since the days of the British Raj when all matters of government were conducted in Urdu.
While many such words have been changed in Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, such instructions have been sent out in Madhya Pradesh for the first time.
Home Minister Dr Narottam Mishra said, “The process of changing such words which are not in practice will be started here like in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.”
But the Congress has said the move is not so much to simplify the vocabulary but to send across a political message. They also said that dropping these words will be against the ideals of inclusiveness.
Congress spokesperson Narendra Saluja said, “It took them 18 years to understand the meaning of these words? They should understand the meaning of murder, rape, then only the situation would improve because as per NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau), the situation is getting worse. This is just politics.”