Monday December 17, 2018
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‘India can’t progress without promoting Indian languages’

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By Sapan Kapoor and Riya Yadav

Sankrant Sanu – an entrepreneur, writer and researcher based in Seattle and Gurgaon – seems to be a man on a mission to secure justice for the Indian languages, hopping from one place to another, delivering lectures in schools and universities, educating the youth about the pressing need to create equal opportunities for those who wish to study in their mother tongue.

He has a reason to do so.

“Throughout the world no country has been able to progress without developing its own languages,” Sanu, an IIT alumnus, tells NewsGram in an interview, adding that English was the main reason behind India’s backwardness.

“English is the reason behind our backwardness.”

sanuSanu learnt this from his experiences of travelling to as many as 25 countries and observing their education systems at close quarters.

He says people wrongly assume that English is the way for India to progress, for his experience suggests otherwise. Sanu recalls his sojourn in the Israeli port city of Haifa while working for Microsoft and handling a team of software developers.

“At first I was flabbergasted to learn that within Microsoft development centre they used Hebrew for all operations. Besides, their number one engineering college used Hebrew, which was much higher ranked than our IITs. Later, in Russia while on the search for talents, their programmers spoke no English during interviews.

“We had interpreters for this purpose and I hired them not because of their English but because they were excellent programmers… I thereafter travelled to 25 countries to see how people were promoting their own languages unlike India which seemed to be obsessed with English and, as a result, it is one of the major reasons of our underdevelopment,” Sanu, attired in his staple kurta, says.

Moreover, while travelling through Indian villages, he took some IQ test papers with him. His intent and assumptions were that he would find bright children in Indian villages and the results thereof surprised him. In his sample of over 100 students, both in rural and urban schools, he found that rural children surpassed the urban ones by a good margin. However, the fact of the matter was that a large number of these students would usually drop out after class 8, as most of the competitive exams were in English.

“Learning English is no duck soup, as it’s a very tough language and takes years of painful labour and patience to become proficient. Therefore, a student could be a math genius but just because of his poor English, he would be deprived of all the opportunities he deserves. Nothing could be more atrocious than this,” Sanu opines.

Colonial hangover

So, why are we so obsessed with English? The answer is ‘colonial hangover’.  Even after our so-called independence, we have somehow kept our slave mentality intact. We have this great Indian inferiority complex. Those who speak Indian languages are seen as inferior beings and are discriminated against. According to a study, Sanu shares that only 10 per cent Indians know English; rest of 90 per cent literate Indians study in Indian languages.

“English is there because the state favors it and discriminates against Indian languages.”

“English is the medium of instruction in IITs and IIMs. Isn’t it? It is a pity that while a child in South Korea can become a doctor after studying in Korean, a boy in a Tamil Nadu hamlet cannot become one after studying in Tamil. Studies show that children learn the best in their mother tongue. Original creative thinking cannot happen in a foreign language. The education system has become so divorced from reality… BPO is not innovation, it’s coolie work,” Sanu laments.

The way forward

“We need a revolution and have to create a mass movement like India Against Corruption. Nayi kranti laani hogi, bhasha ki kranti jiske bina desh unnat nahi ban sakta (A new revolution is the need of the hour, the revolution of language sans which the country cannot develop). It is a matter of great regret that when the world is promoting their own languages, India is rooting for English.”

Therefore, Sanu has come up with a Bhasha Niti or Language Policy for a new India.

One of the proposals of the Bhasha Niti is to follow the European Union model. The EU has 24 equally supported languages. If someone writes a letter in any of the 24 languages, they would get a reply in that language. This is how a central government should function, he suggests.

Sanu shares an example in this regard. He spoke about a person who wrote to the PMO in Hindi a few days ago and got the reply in English. As a result, he wrote back to them questioning their response. Shouldn’t the PMO support all the languages?

“We need to put pressure on the government to change India’s language policy and create equal opportunities for those who wish to study in Indian languages. It’s a myth that the world is running after English. Even the MNCs work and adapt to local languages. For instance, for a small language like Turkish, Microsoft localises but not for Indian languages.

“It is because of our slave mentality. Why should the job interviews be conducted in English? One of my policy suggestions is that the candidate should be able to choose the language he wishes to give his interview in. IITs can have their curricula in local languages, same goes with IIMs and other government institutes as well.”

Sanu says, for this to happen, the court system should support Indian languages as well. It is a travesty of justice that in the Supreme Court people can only practice in English.

How can people have justice in a country where they cannot represent to a court in their own languages? You have people coming from the rural background and they do not understand what the lawyer is saying to the court.

“For heaven’s sake, they cannot even correct the lawyer if he says something wrong. In this manner, we are denying justice to people and holding the country back. We are creating nothing but a generation of cripples who neither know their own languages nor are they proficient in English.”

Sanu also has a subtle message for PM Modi.

“Unless Skill India means imparting skills to Indians in their own languages, it would not yield any positive results.”

He believes technology can help solve the language issue to a great extent. For instance, his guide, Professor Sangal, has come up with a software that can translate languages while keeping Sanskrit as its base.

Sankrant has been actively involved in writing, consulting and social projects. His writings have appeared in various publications in India, USA and UK. Sanu’s book the English Language Myth or Angreji Bhasha Ka Bhram Jaal has received many accolades.

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  • aspirenetwork

    I somewhat disagree to the point of view here. India is a multilingual country and not like Russia or Korea. It becomes very hard if the medical science also becomes in regional languages as the states can’t afford to make such study materials limited to their own languages.

    The ministries are struggling to integrate basic amenities and doing this will add to their chaos. Learning English hasn’t been effective due to inability to practice it. Using technology in learning a language will be much more effective than just a classroom training.

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  • aspirenetwork

    I somewhat disagree to the point of view here. India is a multilingual country and not like Russia or Korea. It becomes very hard if the medical science also becomes in regional languages as the states can’t afford to make such study materials limited to their own languages.

    The ministries are struggling to integrate basic amenities and doing this will add to their chaos. Learning English hasn’t been effective due to inability to practice it. Using technology in learning a language will be much more effective than just a classroom training.

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Here’s A List of Top 5 Gadgets of India in 2018

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 for Rs 57,900 is packed with rich features -- both for the workaholic and the lazy soul

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Top 5 gadgets that grabbed eyeballs in India in 2018. (IANS)

From high-end tablets to powerful cameras, the year 2018 saw some cool gadgets arriving in India. Here are the top 5 picks from the lot.

1. Apple Watch Series 4

Call it guardian of your health. If you are constantly worried about an elderly person in your family suffering a fall in the bathroom or in the garden, the Apple Watch Series 4 is what you need.

The device houses a feature called “Fall Detection” that will alert emergency contacts saved in your iPhone in case you meet with a hard fall.

The new Watch has an electrical heart sensor with two new features — low heart rate notifications and faster heart rate reading. The moment you get furious, Watch Series 4 sends you an immediate notification about your heart rate going through the roof, requiring you to cool down.

In the US, Apple Watch Series 4 will now help users take an electrocardiogram (ECG) right from their wrist and check irregular heart rhythms (hope these features come to India soon).

Apple Watch Series 4 is now available in India — the GPS+Cellular variant starts from Rs 49,900 and GPS-only model from Rs 40,900.

Apple Watch
Apple watch series 4.

2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 for Rs 57,900 is packed with rich features — both for the workaholic and the lazy soul.

The 2-in-1 comes equipped with Samsung “DeX” (docking station) and S Pen, making it a perfect device for those who are always on the go and seek entertainment on the side.

The redesigned S Pen offers services like navigate, translate and organise notes — and even to send personalised texts via Samsung “Live Message”.

The device has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, runs Android 8.1 Oreo, has 4GB RAM in two 64GB and 256GB internal memory with microSD variants. There is a 13MP rear and 8MP front camera.

If you are a Samsung smartphone user, especially Note 9, and want the same experience on a bigger display, Galaxy Tab S4 is your default choice. Invest in a Book Cover Keyboard to give the tab a laptop-like form factor.

3. OnePlus 6T

Undoubtedly the flagship killer of the year in the Rs 30,000 – Rs 40,000 segment.

The company’s latest addition packs in all the goodness of OnePlus 6 along with meaningful upgrades such as the much-anticipated under-display fingerprint sensor, a smaller waterdrop-style notch and a bigger battery.

The 6T is OnePlus’ costliest smartphone so far with a price tag of Rs 37,999 (for the 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage base variant). It is also available in a configuration of 8GB RAM+128GB storage and 8GB RAM+256GB storage for Rs 41,999 and Rs 45,999, respectively.

OnePlus has brought a slew of meaningful upgrades to the 6T and the phone definitely looks and feels better this time. Topped with a bigger battery and some hardware improvements, OnePlus 6T makes for a highly desirable smartphone in the premium category.

4. Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen)

The Rs 14,999 All-New Echo Plus (2nd Gen) with a smarter Alexa comes with a built-in smart hub that helps you set up compatible Zigbee-enabled smart home devices directly, just using your voice.

Just ask Alexa to discover your devices and begin controlling compatible lights, plugs, locks, thermostats, sensors and in-wall switches.

With seven microphones, beam-forming technology and noise cancellation, Echo Plus will hear you from all directions.

One feature that is worth mentioning is the equaliser (EQ) feature that allows users to personalise sounds by adjusting the bass, mid-range and treble.

Just ask Alexa to increase or decrease a specific band like “turn up the bass” or “decrease the treble” and she does it for you.

The second-generation Echo Plus with a far more intelligent Alexa is a real upgrade if you have experienced the first generation Echo.

Google , US, Alexa
With seven microphones, beam-forming technology and noise cancellation, Echo Plus will hear you from all directions. Pixabay

5. Canon EOS R

The first full-frame mirrorless camera from Japanese camera maker Canon, the 30.3MP EOS R is the show stopper.

With the new EOS R, four types of RF mount adapters have been introduced to complete the EOS R ecosystem.

The EOS R features an electronic viewfinder. The camera is equipped with features like advanced Dual pixel CMOS AF, Digic 8 imaging processor, High density AF points positions, Multi-function slider bar, Flexible AE Mode and High speed data communication RF mount.

Also Read- Account Removal, Information Requests up From India: Twitter

The RF lens mount is a balance of optical, mechanical and electronic engineering excellence, enabling innovative full-frame lens designs, faster auto focus and high-speed communication between the camera and lens.

The 54mm diameter RF mount is what makes EOS R unique with its short back-focus of 20mm and 12-pin contact points for enhanced communication between the lens and body.

The camera costs Rs 189,950 and with the EOS R kit (RF24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens), the price is Rs 278,945. (IANS)