“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” —Nelson Mandela
None is there in life who would debase or disown his own mother. Mothers may have their strong points and weak points. They are never discarded except when the child turns out to be utterly callous to the feelings of others. Similarly, it would be foolish to say that the mother tongue should not be used as the medium of instruction in our universities. In spite of the two hundred years of slavery under a foreign rule, and the fact that English has become an international language, it need not be continued as the medium of instruction.
This is because even today there are millions of our people who cannot read or write English correctly. Even among the educated, there are many who are baffled by the intricacies of English usage. Moreover, English is not used by all people except those who aspire for a foreign education or who hope to travel widely. To the majority, knowledge is important and this can best be given in a language they can understand and assimilate. Thus the mother tongue should take pride of place.
Others argue that there has been a giant leap forward in the development of science and technology in the Western world. Not a day passes which does not see a new discovery or a new invention. Even in countries not so advanced, knowledge has been growing fast. Many nations have made known to the world their achievements only through the English language. In our country, there are many linguistic fanatics who clamour for the mother tongue being the medium of instruction.
No doubt, there may be a chance for our young men and women to understand a subject when taught through the mother tongue. But, when they come to put forward their views or wishes to make known to the world any achievement they have made, they will be at disadvantage. Merely the study of mother tongue will not help us to progress, as the western countries are doing.
Hence it would be futile and narrow minded to say that universities in our country should adopt the mother tongue as the medium of instructions. This would also be unwise considering the fact that even within the country there will be communication gap because of the innumerable languages found here.