By Mohan Gupta
Beginning this week Organiser will carry this OPEN FORUM, where our readers are free to express themselves. It is not necessary that the views expressed here should be in agreement with our editorial policy. Readers are welcome to join this debate-Ed.
Once England was a colony of the Romans. English was considered a language of uneducated people and it was also an under-developed language. By the efforts of the British people, English has become a world language. If an underdeveloped English language can become world language, then Hindi definitely can become a prominent language in the world, if the Bharatiya media makes efforts and contributes in developing and spreading Hindi. Hindi must be spread not only in spoken form, but in written form in the Devanagri script as well.
Bharat attained political Independence from Britain 57 years ago, but it is still to get independence from English language and Western culture. English still has a dominant status above all other Bharatiya languages in Bharat. Shall English stay the dominant language of Bharat forever or will a time come when Bharatiya languages will get their due place? If at all such a time comes when will it be?
The continuance of English ensures our helplessness in the political and cultural spheres; an enormous amount of brain drain is taking place as a result of this. It has besides, dried up the springs of our national self-respect, integrity and pride and made us a mongrel breed, aping an assortment of alien modes and ideas, which don´t kill but sterilise permanently. With the incubous of English in all its evident and insidious ways, we give a guarantee to the world that we shall never reach a level above efficient secretaries to carry out orders and never to formulate the inspiration behind them.
IS ENGLISH FOREVER IN BHARAT
We have belittled the sacrifices of Bhagat Singh Azad, Veer Savarkar, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and million others. If Bharat has won Independence through non-violent methods of Mahatma Gandhi, then why has the success of this method not been repeated anywhere else?
Already English has started destroying the Bharatiya languages. Many difficult English and Urdu words have intruded in Hindi and other Bharatiya languages. English and Urdu have polluted Hindi to a great extent and destroyed its form.
Bharatiya masses of slavish mentality consider English as a superior language and have great attachment for the language. The Congress workers and its followers have painted Jawahar Lal Nehru as ´jewel of India´, but all the studies and analyses have proved that Nehru was a curse for Bharat. He did not solve any problem for Bharat in his life-time but left many problems unsolved or in a complicated position, like the Kashmir problem, language problem, etc. to be solved by the coming generation. By his inability and wrong decisions he has made Bharat a slave of English language for eternity.
Most Bharatiyas believe that we were given our freedom on a platter by the British, instead of thinking that we wrested it from them by our long drawn-out freedom struggle and by sacrificing many lives and suffering untold misery. We have belittled the sacrifices of Bhagat Singh Azad, Veer Savarkar, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and million others. If Bharat has won independence through non-violent methods of Mahatma Gandhi, then why has the success of this method not been repeated anywhere else in the world? No other country has won freedom by non-violent methods in the world. Mahatma Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, and the Congress party have stolen the credit for the sacrifices of other people who laid down their lives for the independence of Bharat.
The worst effect of colonial domination is the residual mental mode of dependency inherited by majority of the pre- and post-Independence generations. Bharat cannot be saved by part-time Bharatiyas who have their minds and hearts elsewhere or casual interest in power to be reckoned with. Most of us have become ´external Bharatiyas´ hoping and praying that some international body or investor would come to help us politically and economically.
In countries of the world, except for a very few who not for very apparent reason, commit themselves, emotionally and intellectually to one´s own country. Such persons are held in high esteem in all countries, except Bharat, where they are often belittled. In other countries this commitment is the norm and the exception is ridiculed and even punished. Since Independence, for almost half a century, Bharat under the Congress Party rule voluntarily accepted, apparently even enjoyed, an inferior and non-consequential role in the world. For all practical purposes, this has been a period of ?extended colonialism.? This phase can better be described as ?colonialism under new management?. Nobody now takes Bharat or for that matter any Bharatiya seriously in international affairs in spite of the fact that Bharatiyas do extremely well in academic fields as well as in commercial activity, in all the countries they live and work in. We have demonstrated that, as a nation, we can achieve nothing significant by ourselves for ourselves.
Our English schools are flourishing wonderfully. The effect of education on the Hindus is prodigious. Not many Hindus who have received English education ever remain sincerely attached to their religion. Some continue to profess it as a matter of policy and some others embrace Christianity. ?It is my belief that, if our plans of education are followed up, there will not be a single idolater among the respectable classes in Bengal, thirty years hence, and this will be affected without any efforts to proselytise; without the smallest interference in religious liberty, by natural operation of knowledge and reflection. I heartily rejoice in this project,? so said T.B. Macaulay, in a letter to his father in 1836.
The credit goes to Macaulay that the intellectuals of Hindu society have started looking at themselves with Western eyes. They were thus convinced about the ?hopelessness? of Hinduism and everything associated with Hindus became foolish, inferior and reactionary. Even Bharatiya languages have became inferior to English and Urdu, the languages of their past rulers. The self-alienated Hindus are ?brown in skin? but English by taste and temperament. The main aim of starting English language in Bharat was to subvert the Hindu religion and culture. Even Macaulay might not have thought in his wildest dreams that English language would stay in a dominant position and as an associate official language, forever, even in independent and free Bharat.
After England and North America, South Asia is the world´s third most populated English-speaking region. Bharat has a population of a billion people and 24 native languages. Hindi is the official language in name only and English is the ?associate official? language but in practice is the official language of Bharat as it is spoken fluently by about 90 million Bharatiyas-those of the educated, dominating classes. All Bharatiyas who graduate from school are able to read and write English to some degree.
An Associated Press report in February 1996 said that in Bharat, ?English is considered the most important language for national, political and commercial communication. English is seen as the gateway to a good career and social status…Competition for college positions and jobs is intense and the private schools, all teach in English.?
The Associated Press report further said that nationalists rally against English during election campaigns ?and condemn public officials who often use it during public appearances. Some politicians respond by condemning English in public then, quietly sending their children to schools that teach English.?
Bharat is making a very big contribution in making English as the international language. If Bharatiyas stop using English language, probably English would lose its status as the international language. Bhara-tiya children are not beasts of burden. In Bharat, learning of English and other languages takes away between 35 per cent to 45 per cent of a student´s time at the high school stage. This can only mean that less attention is paid to more important subjects. While more time is devoted to learn English and other languages in Bharat-which is only a vehicle of knowledge-we devote corres-pondingly less time to learning knowledge proper, e.g. mathematics and science, etc.
It is possible and necessary to reduce the student´s language load and at the same time promote education and national integration. First and foremost, remove the English language from the status of associate official language of Bharat. Students should be asked to learn any two-and only two languages in the Eighth Schedule: one of these will inevitably be the student´s mother tongue, which he/she should use as his medium of instruction and even up to post-graduate stage. This will do away with the compulsion of Hindi or of any other language. At the same time such non-Hindi students who are interested in Central services or inter-state trading, etc. will naturally opt for Hindi. And Hindi students will have to learn one other Bharatiya language. And that should mean equality of opportunity to all students. English should be stopped from being taught in schools; instead it should be taught only in colleges. Government should stop giving grants to institutions that teach English at the school level.
United Nations has six official languages, namely Mandarin, Spanish, English, Arabic, Russian and French.
According to the University of Washington, Seattle mid-1996 report, Hindi is the mother tongue of 348 million people, but is used by 457 million people; even then, Hindi is not the official language of United Nations.
(To be continued)