Let’s give English a miss and revive our education system

4
191

By Harshmeet Singh

“Our English schools are flourishing wonderfully; we find it difficult to provide instruction to all. The effect of this education on Hindus is prodigious. No Hindu who has received an English education ever remains sincerely attached to his religion. It is my firm belief that if our plans of education are followed up, there will not be a single idolater among the respected classes 30 years hence. And this will be effected without our efforts to proselytize; I heartily rejoice in the prospect”

  • Lord Macaulay, in a letter to his father dated 12th October 1836

 

I clearly remember my first few days in the sixth grade. As we entered the senior wing of the school, speaking in any other language than English was prohibited. All the students were asked to talk in English irrespective of their proficiency in the language. If you had any doubt in the class, you had two options, either to ask the teacher in English or stay quite if you aren’t confident enough about your English speaking skills. Unfortunately, most children chose the latter option. The school’s theory was that if made compulsory, the students would invariably learn to converse in English. Though I won’t support or contradict this theory, I can certainly vouch for the fact that forcing the student to learn an alien language at the cost of killing his inquisitiveness defeats the entire purpose of education. Sadly enough, the same push for English continues in most schools even today.

Lord Macaulay’s push for English medium schools in India was meant to “form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern, a class of persons Indian in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, words and intellect.” Macaulay’s plans almost backfired when this class of education started giving birth to English educated patriots who conversed in English but were ready to fight for the ideals of freedom, liberty and equality. Legends such as Bhagat Singh belonged to this school.

Yet, compulsory introduction of English did more harm than good to the Indian education system. For starters, it created an abyss between the 10% English speakers in the country and the rest, with the minority group dictating the terms and writing the fortunes of everyone. To make things worse, these 10% people regard themselves as far superior as compared to the remaining 90% just like the British, who took themselves as far superior to Indians.

For a country that takes extreme pride in being the largest democracy in the world, such a small portion of population dictating terms to the entire system and justifying the use of English without accounting for the nation’s humungous underprivileged populace is a grave injustice. With the English speakers asserting the compulsory English clause over the others, it is reminiscent of the British when they called Indians as the ‘White man’s burden’ and educating them as their duty. Our love for the foreign language has made us exactly what Macaulay wanted us to become – “Indian in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, words and intellect.”

We often lament the fact that our younger generations have lost touch with our culture. But it isn’t their fault. Culture is closely related to language. The day we decided to make English as our primary learning language, we should have braced ourselves for the gradual erosion of our culture. Excuses such as learning English to become a world power do not hold ground. World powers like Japan, Russia, China and Korea take extreme pride in their regional language and have never attempted to enforce English on to the school system. A nation that wants to forget its history and imitate alien values and customs can’t bid a claim at becoming a world power. It is time we come out of the Macaulayian system of education and encourage the younger generation to raise their voice, irrespective of its language.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 NewsGram
  • Mohan

    The author of this article may have patriotic intentions, but clearly does not have a rational mind. a) Replace English with Chinese. Whatever Macaulay said about what would happen to Indians would just not make sense. Macaulay was obviously wrong about his hypothesis. Learning another language has no effect on anyone’s religion or irreligion. b) You have made big generalizations. Please quote evidence to support your claims like ‘with the minority group dictating the terms and writing the fortunes of everyone’ or ‘these 10% people regard themselves as far superior as compared to the remaining 90% just like the British’. You do realize you have written this article in English, right? c) Countries like Japan, China or Korea etc. did not learn English because their politicians were dedicated and worked for their country. The first thing that they did was to work hard to translate English science, maths, engg books into their respective languages. Besides this, their politicians brought about rapid industrialization because of which they became rich. BUT do note that they are constantly reading western books/literature/research papers and translating them asap. In India, not only did the Congress govt fail to industrialize the country, they brought about suffocating socialist/anti-capitalist policies and divisive laws. They also prevented Indian States from working on their own State language translations by forcing Hindi over all, and they even miserably failed at translating to Hindi too. So basically, not a single thing was done right! The only successful industry was out-sourcing because of the low-wage English-literate youth. d) In today’s world, we need to industrialize rapidly, and also give more freedom to Indian States, each acting as a sub-nation and working on encouraging their State language. India will be strong if all Indian languages are strong, and not just one language. We can go back to our native languages only if we industrialize rapidly and become rich, and to do that, our 10% bi-linguals will be very useful to transfer knowledge, skills and technology from western world to the Indian society in their native languages.

  • Avinandan D

    This is pure propaganda. English has served as an asset both to India and to Hinduism. In fact it gives us a unique opportunity to take the best of Hinduism and propagate it to the rest of the world and let the worst aspects of Hinduism die in India itself. Just to illustrate my point – possibly the greatest praise for the Indian Epic Poem- The Mahabharata has come from a British intellectual – the late A.R. Orage. This is what he has to say

    Quote “”The Mahabharata is the
    greatest single effort of literary creation of any culture in human
    history. A walk through its table of contents is more than a Sabbath
    day’s journey. The Iliad and the Odyssey are episodes in it; and the
    celebrated Bhagavad Gita is simply the record of a single conversation
    on the eve of one of its many battles…Characters appear by hundred;
    and episodes follow episodes with the infinite resourcefullness of
    Time. Nevertheless, ther is no moment when the plan of the work is
    forgotten. At regular stages…everything is gathered together or is
    reassembled for a fresh phase of the continuous history. In the
    interval, relationships have been established between scores of
    characters, each of whom, moreover, has undergone mutation by
    experience, yet, on re-assembly, the whole innumerable caravan is
    marshalled and set off again without the least confusion in the mind
    of the reader. Never was a writer more currently aware of his readers
    than Vyasa the author.
    (It is) the most colossal work of literary
    art ever created, its example and inspiration are as vital and
    multiform as Time itself. It contains every literary form and device
    known to all the literary schools, every story ever enacted or
    narrated, every human type and circumstance ever created or
    encountered. Unlike the reading of derivative works of art, the reading
    of the Mahabharata is a first hand experience. One ends it
    differently, just as one emerges differently from everytrhing real.
    The
    Mahabharata towers over all subsequent literature as the pyramids look
    over the memphian sands. Realisation of the inexhaustible significance
    of the Mahabharata would be the inititation of a modern
    Renaissance…Where but in the Mahabharata shall our age find a…fresh
    literary source that shall be scripture to our literature–scripture
    being literature in pursuit of an impossible aim. It puts Homer into
    the shade; he is a marvellous boy in comparison with the marvellous
    manhood of Vyasa.
    The three great treasuries of stories–the Greek,
    the Scandinavian and the Teutonic, were all derived from the East by
    diverse ways and the source and container of all is–The Mahabharata.
    More real Mysticism can be gathered from the Mahabharata than from the whole of modern mystical writings.” Unquote.

    We will be denied such Gems if we “GIVE ENGLISH A MISS”

  • Ranjit Kumar

    Very well said.

  • Ramasubramaniam

    Absolutely correct.
    But as we’re brought up in English ways with a slave mindset, we lack the mental clarity to rise above our enslavened thoughts. We will only follow what we have been tutored to by our masters and send our future generations to utter ruin.

    Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka…
    Your Highness King George,

    Bharatha bhagya vidatha….
    We bow to you and look upon you to shower your benevolence on us.

    Meek we remain, with your language in our tongue. We don’t care a damn about your people giving preference to our dead language Sanskrit over your native language in your elementary schools.
    We prefer to remain as slaves to your tongue, forever.

    Long live the Queen.

SHARE
Previous articleHindi emerges as most-spoken Indian language in US
Next articleModi government introduces ‘Uday’ to revive ailing power sector
This represents the news desk of NewsGram.
  • Mohan

    The author of this article may have patriotic intentions, but clearly does not have a rational mind. a) Replace English with Chinese. Whatever Macaulay said about what would happen to Indians would just not make sense. Macaulay was obviously wrong about his hypothesis. Learning another language has no effect on anyone’s religion or irreligion. b) You have made big generalizations. Please quote evidence to support your claims like ‘with the minority group dictating the terms and writing the fortunes of everyone’ or ‘these 10% people regard themselves as far superior as compared to the remaining 90% just like the British’. You do realize you have written this article in English, right? c) Countries like Japan, China or Korea etc. did not learn English because their politicians were dedicated and worked for their country. The first thing that they did was to work hard to translate English science, maths, engg books into their respective languages. Besides this, their politicians brought about rapid industrialization because of which they became rich. BUT do note that they are constantly reading western books/literature/research papers and translating them asap. In India, not only did the Congress govt fail to industrialize the country, they brought about suffocating socialist/anti-capitalist policies and divisive laws. They also prevented Indian States from working on their own State language translations by forcing Hindi over all, and they even miserably failed at translating to Hindi too. So basically, not a single thing was done right! The only successful industry was out-sourcing because of the low-wage English-literate youth. d) In today’s world, we need to industrialize rapidly, and also give more freedom to Indian States, each acting as a sub-nation and working on encouraging their State language. India will be strong if all Indian languages are strong, and not just one language. We can go back to our native languages only if we industrialize rapidly and become rich, and to do that, our 10% bi-linguals will be very useful to transfer knowledge, skills and technology from western world to the Indian society in their native languages.

  • Avinandan D

    This is pure propaganda. English has served as an asset both to India and to Hinduism. In fact it gives us a unique opportunity to take the best of Hinduism and propagate it to the rest of the world and let the worst aspects of Hinduism die in India itself. Just to illustrate my point – possibly the greatest praise for the Indian Epic Poem- The Mahabharata has come from a British intellectual – the late A.R. Orage. This is what he has to say

    Quote “”The Mahabharata is the
    greatest single effort of literary creation of any culture in human
    history. A walk through its table of contents is more than a Sabbath
    day’s journey. The Iliad and the Odyssey are episodes in it; and the
    celebrated Bhagavad Gita is simply the record of a single conversation
    on the eve of one of its many battles…Characters appear by hundred;
    and episodes follow episodes with the infinite resourcefullness of
    Time. Nevertheless, ther is no moment when the plan of the work is
    forgotten. At regular stages…everything is gathered together or is
    reassembled for a fresh phase of the continuous history. In the
    interval, relationships have been established between scores of
    characters, each of whom, moreover, has undergone mutation by
    experience, yet, on re-assembly, the whole innumerable caravan is
    marshalled and set off again without the least confusion in the mind
    of the reader. Never was a writer more currently aware of his readers
    than Vyasa the author.
    (It is) the most colossal work of literary
    art ever created, its example and inspiration are as vital and
    multiform as Time itself. It contains every literary form and device
    known to all the literary schools, every story ever enacted or
    narrated, every human type and circumstance ever created or
    encountered. Unlike the reading of derivative works of art, the reading
    of the Mahabharata is a first hand experience. One ends it
    differently, just as one emerges differently from everytrhing real.
    The
    Mahabharata towers over all subsequent literature as the pyramids look
    over the memphian sands. Realisation of the inexhaustible significance
    of the Mahabharata would be the inititation of a modern
    Renaissance…Where but in the Mahabharata shall our age find a…fresh
    literary source that shall be scripture to our literature–scripture
    being literature in pursuit of an impossible aim. It puts Homer into
    the shade; he is a marvellous boy in comparison with the marvellous
    manhood of Vyasa.
    The three great treasuries of stories–the Greek,
    the Scandinavian and the Teutonic, were all derived from the East by
    diverse ways and the source and container of all is–The Mahabharata.
    More real Mysticism can be gathered from the Mahabharata than from the whole of modern mystical writings.” Unquote.

    We will be denied such Gems if we “GIVE ENGLISH A MISS”

  • Ranjit Kumar

    Very well said.

  • Ramasubramaniam

    Absolutely correct.
    But as we’re brought up in English ways with a slave mindset, we lack the mental clarity to rise above our enslavened thoughts. We will only follow what we have been tutored to by our masters and send our future generations to utter ruin.

    Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka…
    Your Highness King George,

    Bharatha bhagya vidatha….
    We bow to you and look upon you to shower your benevolence on us.

    Meek we remain, with your language in our tongue. We don’t care a damn about your people giving preference to our dead language Sanskrit over your native language in your elementary schools.
    We prefer to remain as slaves to your tongue, forever.

    Long live the Queen.