Essay on the place of English in modern India

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As the responsibility of ruling the country developed during the English rules, they found it necessary to have a body of English knowing Indians to act as their office-assistants. With this end, in view they established a few schools and colleges to each English to the sons of the soil. The Indian readily took advantages of learning the English language because it brought them into closer contact with the rulers and ensured good jobs.

English thus became the language of administration as well as the medium of instruction in India and, to some extent, the means of subsistence for the rising middle class. In the first place, it served a useful purpose in bringing the different linguistic groups in this muti-lingual country together, and ultimately helping to unite the people, speaking different languages, on a wide political level.

When the English left India in 1947, our people could not easily decide whether English should continue as the medium of instruction as also as a language of cultural communication. The urge for sending our boys and girls to the so-called English medium schools continued for some time and even now persists largely as a fashion.

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Nothing can be more suicidal than to have a language other than the mother tongue as the medium of instruction. We must think always in our mother tongue. Our power of thinking will cease to be creative and it will cramp if any attempt is made to guide it through the channel of a foreign language, even if it has struck some roots. As a matter of fact, English as the medium of instruction in our schools and colleges has been practically discontinued.

The next question arises- should English be allowed to continue as the languages of administration. English appears admirably adapted to fulfill the function of administration. We are familiar with its vocabulary, the idioms and fully conversant with its usages. Secondly, our political system is based on the English judicial system, on Western concept of democracy and its variants. But in course of this half-century after the attainment of independence, Hindi as the official state languages, has fairly successfully taken up the place of English and is or its way to further development. There exists elaborate machinery for teaching English, however in India. Superseding English in favour of Hindi- has been undoubtedly a difficult proposition for carrying on the administration. Only a strong feeling of nationalism can check the tendency of the Anglo-philous.

Our function English continues to discharge for a long time. It has provided us with a suitable medium for communicating with the world, coming in contact with the current scientific and political thought and for absorbing the best elements in the culture of the progressive peoples of the world, as also of other states of our vast country. From this standpoint, it is fortunate that we possess a well-established machinery for teaching the English language in our Schools and Colleges and it is desirable that institutions for teaching English should be allowed to continue to keep abreast of the thoughts of progressive countries of the world.

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