By Dr. Kallol Guha
An article was published in the New Indian Express on February 18, 2016, titled ‘Dalits Should Fight for their Kids to Learn English‘, by Blessy Mathew Prasad.
The author’s prescription of a remedy for the plight of Dalits is “Fight for their kids to Learn English”. Why? So that they can speak to judges in court and courts in India operate in English. The New Indian Express apparently finds such articles fit for publication in their media. It is amusing to conjecture whether same media would publish an article arguing in favor of using the mother tongue as medium of instruction (English as a second language) at all levels of education in India, which is a common practice in countries having a keen sense of self-respect and national dignity.
National development is induced not by foreign investment and showy infrastructure, but by participation of the general population in inclusive growth, which is only possible through use of people’s language. Hence Dalits would not remain Dalits if during the last 68 years they had access to all levels of education in their mother tongue or in a closely related language. Since 1947- it is not just the Dalits but common masses remained isolated from the source of all technical knowledge since it can’t be accessed in mother tongue. Hence India remains underdeveloped despite limited economic progress. Whatever economic progress has come about, not because of but in spite of a brand of Governance; both at the center and state level. Progress made can only be ascribed to the incredible talent, tenacity, perseverance, and entrepreneurship of common Indians that has little to do with English. India’s contribution to world GDP – before she came in contact with ENGLISH- was between 23-35% and was reduced to 2% by the grace of ENGLISH. India’s high GDP coincided with the influx of foreign students in pursuit of higher education in one of the fifteen thousand higher institutes of education spread all over present day India, where mother tongue or a closely related language was used as a medium of instruction.
Back in sixties Vinoba Vhabe the Gandhian and the bearer of the Sarvodaya Movement, once asked Prime Minister Nehru- “Will Anglophonic Education improve agriculture? If yes, then why not teach English to the bulls?” Alas, he is not around to see that net result of 68 years of English Education is a degraded schooling that breeds uncultured Anglophonic Indian ruling class having no sense of self-respect, no sense of pride in self-identity, and no sense of identity crisis. They are in fact looked down upon by the very elements whom they are schooled to imitate and serve and who in turn considers India as “Appendage of the West”.
Just recently someone observed that over 68 years India has not made any new contribution in any field whatsoever. That such Anglophonic higher technical education in so called “prestigious” institutes like IIT and AIIMS are nothing but scavengers of Anglo-American leftovers is not an accident. That “Make in India” has failed to induce transfer and indigenization of technology through foreign collaboration is a natural outcome of exclusively Anglophonic “Education”.
Of course the author – as a product of the Anglophonic school – is not likely to be aware of what India was and what Anglophonic education has done to the nation. Hence he recommends Anglophonic education to Dalits so that they understand the language of judges, which is other than people’s language. Schooling of Anglophonic Indians has conditioned them to think that courts should not use peoples language. It is the people who should learn the court’s language. A condition enforced by the victor over the vanquished.
It is not by chance that middle class Indians have been culturally conditioned to send their kids to English medium schools for “Good Education” where students learn to look down upon anything indigenous and adore everything that belongs to those whose mother tongue is English, including their feature and skin color.
But that such ideas are given a platform by the Anglophonic media is by no means an accident. Because media needs their “freedom of press” to breed naïve of this kind. Why? Because they are here to protect the interest of their Anglo-American patrons whose focus is not on the welfare of Dalits but what is under the ground, in the forest and hills, and in the rivers of India. So the media is all out to use all kinds of technology to manipulate and control public opinion and make them act against their own interest. Because media knows- people fight for something they love, they love something they respect, and they respect something that they at least know. So English schooling will make sure that Dalits like all other masses of India do not know who they actually are and English can be effectively used to make sure that Dalits and masses of Indians who are in fact tigers of the nature can be converted to the tigers of the circus.
Kallol Guha, Ph D is the President and CEO of St James School of Medicine, headquartered in Chicago area, IL, USA.