The Maharashtra government on Saturday made it compulsory for all employees in state institutions and government-funded institutions to say “Vande Mataram” instead of “hello” while receiving phone calls, The Indian Express reported.
The government said that “hello” is an imitation of Western culture and does not evoke any affection.
An order issued by the government’s General Administration Department said that officials should also create awareness among those visiting their offices to use “Vande Mataram” as a greeting.
“Replacing a meaningless greeting like ‘Hello’ with ‘Vande Mataram’ will also generate national pride,” the order said, according to The Times of India. “If conversations on the phone and in-person were to begin with ‘Vande Mataram’, then it would help create a conducive atmosphere and give positive energy.”
The order will be applicable across government, semi-government, local civic bodies, aided schools, colleges and other establishments from October 2 onwards, according to the newspaper.
The directive was first proposed by Maharashtra’s Cultural Affairs Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar in August.
“Hello is an English word and it is important to give it up,” Mungantiwar had said. “Vande Mataram is not just a word, it is a feeling experienced by every Indian.”