Foreign language like a foreign plant grows with difficulty on the native soil. That is why the learning of the mother tongue is the labor of love whereas the learning of a foreign language is the love of labor ; one gives hot house existence, another breathes spring time atmosphere. A foreign language is like the step-mother whose frowns and rebukes one has to bear in spite of one’s feelings. On the other hand mother tongue is like our own mother who nurses us into intellectually developed persons.
The founding fathers of the Constitution wanted that India should not use English as an official language after a particular period. But the Government had to postpone the abolition of English from time to time and now it has been postponed indefinitely. There are some difficulties in switching over to Hindi. They say that Hindi is spoken by 40 per cent and the rest of the population of India does not want Hindi to be the official language. Moreover, they say that English is the only language that can unify, the country ; otherwise linguistic problems will crop up and every state would like to have its own language. Moreover, the progress of the country would receive a serious setback. People will break with the latest current of thoughts. English is also an international language and no nation can afford to ignore it.
When English was first introduced in India it had an unsetting effect on the minds of the people. They started imitating the Western manners and the Western ways of life. But with the passage of time we assimilated the best that English education could offer. Genuine appreciation of the true virtue of the West replaced the pointless imitation of superficial features of the foreign life. The effect of western culture produced a new type of man, i.e., am educated middle class that is discriminating mentally alert and daring. Naturally the writers could appeal to the whole of the nation without limiting themselves to any particular region of area.
Still the supporters of Hindi say that it is easier to learn the mother tongue. They also say that without developing our mother tongue we cannot preserve our culture and we cannot have individuality as a nation. They say that the wastage of labour involved in the learning of the foreign language can be utilized for better purposes. But Hindi is not a developed language and translation of the English books on so large a scale is not possible. Moreover, English is a rich language. It is through this language that Shelley sang, “If winter comes can spring be far behind”, Keats wrote, “Beauty is- truth, truth is beauty”, and Milton justified, “The ways of God to men” and William Wordsworth called the Nature “nurse guide, guardian and philosopher”. Shakespear gave us innumerable grains of knowledge. Even if English is a foreign language the devil must be given its due. It should be retained as a subordinate language.