There are many national level examinations such as the JEE, NEET, IAS, Indian Economic Service, Indian Statistical Service etc. Let English, the international Language, be the medium in which the question papers are to be set and the one in which answers are to be given. The USSR had as many as four national languages. In the case of Canada, English and French are the two national languages. In the case of India, even though it is a multi-lingual country, Hindi alone has been made the national language and since independence, the Central Government is trying its best to impose it on all non-Hindi speaking people of India.
In any gathering at New Delhi, the locals speak Hindi even though most of them can speak English very well. When they go abroad, they speak English. In the DD Bangla news from 7.05 p.m. to 7.20 p.m., half the viewer’s time is lost because most Central Ministers speak only Hindi. Since independence, Hindi is being unleashed on nonHindi speaking people by radio and television.
This has been the cause of resentment in non-Hindi speaking States and has given birth to regional parties based on language like DMK, ADMK, Telugu Desam, Aamra Bangali, etc. The most spoken language of the South and the most spoken language of the East have not been chosen as National Languages along with Hindi. The Union Government must not forget the fact that language is a vital issue for the unity of a nation.
Due to unprecedented developments in the field of science and technology, we live in a global village and now English is not only the mother tongue of the people of the United Kingdom, it is a world language. So, in order to solve the language problem of India, let us use only English in higher education. Otherwise, Hindi-speaking people will get an undue advantage in competitive examinations. Again English is not really a foreign language. It is the mother tongue of Anglo-Indians who are very much Indian citizens.
For IIT JEE, the Central Government has recognised three languages only viz., Hindi, English and Gujarati. Gujarati has no speciality and ought to be removed from the list immediately.
Prof. Dhananjoy Nashipuri, Prof. of Organic Chemistry, Calcutta University was a National Professor of Chemistry. He was not allowed to teach ‘Conformational Analysis’ to Post- Graduate students of Assam and Odisha as the students could not understand lectures in English.
In the early part of 1999, a Bengali gentleman joined as a Lecturer in Geography of Darjeeling Govt. College. This Lecturer submitted his letter of resignation after 15 days because he could not speak English. The medium of instruction of this college is English.
In the advertisement of Public Service Commission, Odisha, this writer has observed that fluency in Oriya language is an essential qualification for selection of teachers for colleges run by the Government of Odisha. Thus, a person who can speak Bengali can only teach in colleges of West Bengal. He cannot join a college of other States of India even though he is NET qualified. Thus his employability is restricted.
It is true that ‘Mother tongue is equivalent to mother’s milk’, but you cannot depend on mother’s milk forever. Human Physiology will not permit that. Moreover, you shall have to give a chance to your sibling. Similarly, in the field of education you need not depend on the mother tongue forever. You are a citizen of a democratic country. You shall have to sacrifice some personal interest for national interest. Nation first, after that comes the individual’s language and then religion. We shall have to arrange food for 134.9 crores of our countrymen and also jobs to all of them and it is natural that some of them will have to work abroad. In such a situation English is undoubtedly the best option.
The present writer had to use both English and Bengali while teaching B. Lib. & Inf. Sc. students of Jadavpur University in 1985 as Bengali students could not follow lectures in English. In order to get rid of this situation, let us learn our mother tongue alongside English with equal emphasis for 15 years starting from the proposed pre-primary to Higher Secondary level. Only then will our students be able to compete with students from English medium schools.
Let English be the medium of instruction in all colleges and universities of India. In 1956, there were six honours students from Africa at the Presidency College, Kolkata. They were Government of India scholars. They had no language problem as Presidency was all along an English medium College. English lost its previous glory during the Left Front regime of 34 years. English, both General as well as Honours, is taught in Bengali medium in some of the colleges of West Bengal. Too much emphasis on the mother tongue is posing problems in India. With English, our students can conquer not only the whole of India but also the whole world.
Let us export highly skilled and trained manpower and persons of superior merit to the rest of the world. We have been exporting doctors to UK and North Ireland since independence. We used to export teachers to Africa for a long time.
In case we want to see India as an education hub for the rest of the world, English has to be the medium of instruction in colleges and universities. We have exchange programmes with many countries of the world. English is a must in all such cases.
The word ‘University’ itself indicates that its door is open to the whole universe. So, its medium of instruction has to be universal in nature.
Every year students from Japan, Korea and China join Jawaharlal Nehru University for postgraduate studies. Will they continue coming to India in case the medium of instruction is Hindi? Is the Union Government thinking in terms of maintaining two sets of teachers for the two languages? Hindi is being imposed upon all Indians under the guise of the National Education Policy.
Sanskrit is the origin of North Indian languages like Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Oriya and Assamese.
Our students utter mantras in Sanskrit without knowing the meaning. Let us teach Sanskrit from class VII to class X. As Hindi is derived from Sanskrit and Devanagari script is common, it will be very easy for students to learn Hindi by self effort as and when the situation arises. This proposal when implemented will solve the language problem of India for ever.