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English Language and Society

The Indian society has become the slave of English language and it must be broken free of it. Give arguments For and Against this view. It is a historical fact that India remained under the British rule for about two hundred years before its independence. This was the time when most of the developed countries were consolidating their economic gains and the technology and modernisation was getting evolved. It was the British who laid the foundation of modern industries, railways, press and media and the modern education system in the country. In the meanwhile, during their rule, the British administration carried out all its administrative work in English language and everyone who wanted to be in government service or to be associated with the British in any manner, had to learn this language. As a result of all this, the legacy of English language remained in India even after the British left this country. Arguments For the View (a) Today the worth of an individual is generally judged in India by his knowledge and proficiency in the English language. This smacks of the colonial attitude and must be stopped. (b) Countries like China, Japan, France and various other non-English speaking countries take pride in their mother tongue and ensure its development in their respective countries. In Japan, till recently, even the advanced scientific research and development had been taking place in Japanese language. It would be appropriate if India also goes ahead with a similar policy. (c) Majority of the population in the country does not have access to instruction in English medium in schools. The students of these schools are treated as illiterates for various jobs even after the completion of their studies. (d) Even after achieving the aims of Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, if the emphases on English is not reduced, the neo-literate would virtually remain illiterates. Arguments Against the View (a) While it is important to promote Hindi and other regional languages in the country, the importance of English language cannot be undermined, as most of the advanced scientific research in the world is taking place in English only. Doing away with English may put the country back by a few decades. (b) In a country having multiple languages and where a few States fear imposition of Hindi language on them by the government of India, English is the only acceptable link language with the non-Hindi States and cannot be abandoned in an undue haste. (c) English is one of the most widely spoken and understood international languages and its good knowledge provides Indians with an edge over the citizens of the non-English speaking countries.