Daily Dose by Bikram Vohra
The current brouhaha that is being witnessed in India over downgrading English is one fraught with danger. English is not a language in India. It is a caste. It is also a free pass to the best of jobs. And anyone tells you differently they are hypocrites. This hypocrisy raises its head every now and then out of dense and populist politcking and has nothing to do with reality.
Indians have espoused English and this has given them a a tangible advantage. Besides, it is the most powerful weapon in the Indian arsenal to take on the world. While Hindutva might stir the ones of the looney fringe and generate some sort of spinoff in nationalistic fervour, the nation owuld be sans moorings if it gave up English.That is why our diaspora is so strong and vibrant. We’d be isolated from that stage if we gave up our collective command of this language as well as the offshoots it has spawned, that vibrant Hinglish equivalent which is truly ours…as much as the Wren and Martin grammar book gives us the written edge against all comers. There is not one Brit, American, Aussie or Kiwi who know how to parse a sentence or underscore a past participle or engage in clause analysis.
Indians who are privileged to learn the language and mould it to their own needs are perhaps the most eloquent in the world, accent be damned. if you cannot pronounce “Grosvenor’ or “Islington’ correctly it makes no difference. That you can stand on the global stage and be heard without being lost in translation is vital. To lose it would be taking us back to colonial days rather than snipping the remnants as we so fondly imagine.
Ergo, there is nothing colonial about English in India. Nor is it elitist and saying escargot and indubitably and ratiocinate is not English. English, even at its basic level, is the verbal glue that keeps India together. it brings the four corners onto a common platform.
You kill English you fracture the nation and you sideline the country globally. For all the pious bull I am reading these days by the anti-English brigade no one is seeing the risk in making the majesty and grandeur of English an equation with misplaced chauvinism.Go find some other cause. Believe me, all those politicians who are knocking it send their kids to English medium schools.Then they send them to the US, the UK or Australia. Check it out. Speak your mother tongue, be an expert in it but not by throwing out English. Abnd if these advocates of the anti-English spearhead were truly honest it would be worth asking them where their chidldren study. Do a count of all the offspring of our members of Parliament and ascertain if 90% are not in English medium schools. Take yourself. Would you give a job in the private sector to someone sans a command of English. Medicine. Banking. Much of media. Industry. Retail. Education. Tarde. Commerce. The corporate world.
Just because some affected folks say ‘dahlingggg’ or twang away in that nauseating fashion at airports or look down on those who don’t speak English doesn’t make it the fault of the language. That’s their foolishness, their social snobbery and blatant stupidity. Be careful, lest you throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Try applying for a job with the boxwallahs and the hospitality industry and tourism and all the top Info companies but tell them you ‘no speak inglis’…see how far you get.
Not even past the doorman.