Free essay on The Place of English in Modern India

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Macaulay’s prediction, that the “English may leave India one day but English would be there” has not been falsified as yet. There was a strong sentiment against English in some Northern States and Gujarat in the post independence days. The study of English was ignored in schools and colleges. Efforts were made to replace English with Hindi if not as a national language at least as a link language.

The constitution came in the way. Certain states won’t accept Hindi as a national language. It was a queer case of majority being blown off by the minority. The national apple cart lost its balance. English remained intact in the southern states, the four metropolitan cities of Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai and Chennai, in all the centrally administered states, in the North Eastern region of the Seven Sisters and in Punjab.

In the Hindi belt, in Gujarat, in rural Bengal and rural Maharashtra English lost its status. It became an optional subject in colleges. In many competitive examinations it gradually became an optional subject. Most of the states including the Southern ones replaced English with the local language in official work at the lower level.

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Gradually even court proceedings were conducted and judgments given in State language. English left the precincts of Assemblies too. It is a partial medium in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha and in Nagaland and Mizoram where English has become more or less the mother tongue of the people. In a way English is losing ground in the official parlors everywhere in the country.

The multimillion question is who decides the fate of a social trend or a language or a fashion in a country—the government or the people. The decisions of a government have a political overtone-those of the people are need oriented or backed by sentiments and emotions. It is rather natural chat education should be imparted through the mother tongue of the young one.

Nowhere in the world is it imparted through a foreign language. In a multilinguistic federal structure one of the languages of the land becomes the link language for inter-state relations. That has not been achieved as yet in India. We may have to wait for some time more for its realization. By that time English would work as a link language in official parlors.

During seventies and eighties a new phenomenon was added to the linguistic stage. More and more people among the middle and upper middle class families took a fancy to English medium schools. The increase in the cumber of such schools is four fold.

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Every district has at least one Central School with English medium. The number of Convent and Public Schools has also increased considerably. The rush for admission in these institutions is so much that parents spend thousands of rupees for the admission of their wards. Such schools are gradually entering the rural areas too. How can one imagine of the day when English disappears.

The era of liberalization has marked the entry of foreign entrepreneurs on a very large scale. On the other hand the Public Service Undertakings (PSUs) i.e. nationalized sector is passing through its last phase. The employment market for the educated too would be dominated by big entrepreneurs—Indian as well as multinationals.

English has already become a language of the elites and commands the precincts of business and industry. It has come to stay, as politics now is guided not only by sentimental or emotional factors but by economic ones too. It is not being forced upon the people as was done by the past masters in the pre-independence days. It is being accepted voluntarily and would flourish in the bed of linguistic flowers together with other languages. One has not to dream of the day of its disappearance.

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