English language – Views from India

“The English language has caused a great loss to the country. We are losing our language, our culture as there are hardly any people who speak Sanskrit now. There are only 14,000 people left in this country speaking in [the ancient language of] Sanskrit. Knowledge acquired out of English is not harmful but the anglicization penetrated into youths in this country is dangerous.”BJP president Rajnath Singh on 19th July 2013.

“Paradox-BJP outsources vision document to anglicised policy wonks while ranting English caused great loss to India. This attempt to create a dispute over language or saying that one language is better or worse that another, doesn’t strengthen the country and is not expected from a responsible political party,” Information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari.

“They are trying to reach out to the Hindi belt, where the Hindi elite has an ambiguous relation with English, with which it isn’t comfortable. They are trying to create a Hindi psyche to replenish their Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan constituency.”Badri Narayan, an Allahabad-based academic

“For most Indians, English is an additional language, and it does not insulate or separate people from their identities. Knowing English will only help Indians to advance and develop further.”CPM leader Sitaram Yechury

“All things Indian by tradition, be it caste, be it social structure, political structure, have stopped India from growing into a modern society. If English is eliminating tradition, it is also eliminating a culture that is caste-driven. I am not surprised that BJP is upset. The party cannot succeed in a caste-neutral India. It is opposing English because of its opposition to modernity itself.” Dalit ideologue Chandrabhan Prasad

“A nybody who thinks that the growth of English has been a bane for India is seriously out of touch with reality. In the era of globalization, it is one of the critical advantages India has vis-a-vis countries like China. Indeed, China has itself recognized this and is seeking to catch up in a hurry. In any case, to blame one language or culture for the sorry state of another language is to miss the point. There is no contradiction between the growth of English and the thriving of native cultures. English represents, for most Indians, the language of opportunity, while their mother tongues are often the language of expression. The BJP chief should see English as cause for celebration rather than mourning.” – Times View

English will be a weapon in the hands of the poor and the oppressed to question the ways of the exploiters; it will be an armour for women subjected to male domination in this nation and for men who want to come out of a decadent culture, English shows the way. We need to break the caste system and we need to see that the benefits of progress to percolate to the lowest rungs of the poocr and for this the affected people should have access to English. – MPK Kutty

“Every country has the right to protect its culture and customs” BJP spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

“Sanskrit had helped the priestly class to deny knowledge to the lower castes and  keep them oppressed. For thousands of years the higher castes kept exploiting the weaker sections and English enabled those classes to open their eyes to the Truth. Without English millions of Indians would not have had an opportunity to prosper in countries like the US, UK, Australia and the Gulf region. The benefits of human civilisation have percolated to this nation through the study of English. It is this language which brought light to an otherwise backward and dark regions of the world. There is a verse in the Bible which says: “Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19) Why are people afraid of English?” From an article in Speaking Tree       

“This is an illusion that English is the only means of progress…this is not true. True education is to develop feeling and dedication for the country. “Earning money is not everything. Children should have sanskar (culture) and they should know relationship and love.” – Mohan Bhagwat, Chief of Rashtreeya Swayamsevak Sangh

“Rajnath Singh’s deliberate yet bizarre, regressive statement on English confirms that the BJP lives in the Jurassic Age”  Sanjay Jha, a political analyst (published by Foxnews, article title “Indian politician sparks outrange with anti English remarks”)

In my view people should learn Hindi, English, Sanskrit and their mother tongue. You cannot be parochial in these things. Knowing any language is not a bad thing. The problem is that the entire thought process of the BJP leadership is very narrow-minded” – Rajeev Shukla-Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs

“English has been an asset for India. It is perhaps the only worthwhile thing we gained from the colonial experience. And in a country that is as vast and diverse as ours, it is very good to have a language like English to link us together, to link all parts of the country together where no part feels disadvantaged,”  – Shashi Tharoor, HRD Minister 



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