Macauley’s Legacy- II

[Note:- I write about India, or Bharat if you may. Bharat’s politics, culture, society, revolutionaries, I have written everything, about India, for Indians. But It’s ironical that i have to use a foreign language- English, to share my thoughts with my fellow countrymen! I thought about it, but could not find single good reason. More i think, deeper i get into the complexities and after effects of Slavery which we faced and still face. You can read the first part here]

My friends asked me after the last post if i hated English that much. It is important to understand that this is not a diatribe against English which has a beauty of it’s own. To be honest, I do not have any grudges against English language, but the fact that my countrymen fail and do not even try to understand the adverse effect of the mentality which comes with English language. A language can never be accused for cultural domination, but their usage is.

Today, we are increasingly going away from our roots. We are in a no man’s land where we do not have complete grip over any of the languages, Hindi or English! Our fancy for the west has lead our students to ‘Spoken English courses’ and ‘English medium Schools!’ Almost every child’s parents aspire him to read in a English medium school which can be found easily in every nook and corner of our country. Still we see “Powar Break”, “Child bear” and grammatical errors everyday. And if you think that these mistakes are committed by students of not-so-expensive-public schools, students from the best schools imitate their western counterparts by writing something like “Dis 4 ol ppl whu tokz shit bou meh…. i jus gve a f**k bou uh cz um smtng tat uh cn neva b…!!‌”

There was a time when Hindi newspapers were a good source of knowledge. These days even they prefer writing ‘Hinglish’. Bollywood superstars, who earn their bread and butter due to Hindi, are embarrassed in sharing their thoughts in the same language! Students from Hindi medium or any local medium school can not face CAT like interviews if they do not have sound English speaking capabilities! And before you give me the dose of English-is-a-global-language, try to count the number of countries where English is the de-facto language. I bet your fingers would be enough to count. In trying to make ourselves global we are rapidly losing touch from ground realities. Our kids watch Cartoons and dubbed serials which have sentences like, “Hume outside jaane se koi stop nahin kar sakta!!!” Pawan Varma, in his book Becoming Indian, states: According to a survey, almost 70% words in Zee Tv’s Hindi News are in English! You can hear anchors speaking sentences like, “India ko apni strategic priorities aur ambitions ke context me apni neighboring countries se negotiations karni hogi.” Not a single word of consequence here is of Hindi. Exactly whom is this news meant for? Those who know those words do not need the few HIndi link words and those who don’t will not know what the learned person said. It serves no purpose at all other than mindless mongrelization.

The truth is that English has become a language of social exclusion on which the upper crust of Indian Middle class and high classes preside. Rest of Indians are either victims of this apartheid or aspirants. The ability to speak with the right accent and fluency dictates all social norms of conversation. But let me confess something with you today. I speak good English but yet many a times while speaking a word like ‘ale’ or ‘succinct’ i think if i have pronounced it right. Talking in one’s mother tongue is exhilarating! Conversation is without any unnecessary frills. If my young audience feels against the statement, when you go out to your friends tonight, try and abuse them in your mother tongue and then in English! You will get my point!

Article 351 says, “It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of Hindi Language, to develop it so that it may serve as the medium of expression from all elements of the composite culture of India and secure its environment by assimilating, without interfering with its genius, the forms, styles and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages.”

I wonder how many politicians, who so vociferously swear on the constitution, remember this article? After Independence it was decided that since all the records were kept in English, it should stay as the official language for 15 years till then the records be translated back and then Hindi should replace it. but by then our Sarkaari Babus had known the importance of English. It gave them a new found respect in the eyes of dehaatis and we lost our linguistically superior language and pride for mimicing the west and seek it’s approval forever.

On 15th August, 1947, Bharat gained freedom. Nehru’s first words to the crores across the nation waiting to hear from their first Prime Minister were, “Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny….”. I again wonder, how many people really understood him and for whom was the speech meant…