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Intellectual Slavery of English
November 26, 2010, 10:43 pm
MOHAN GUPTA

 Intellectual Slavery of English
           English which is known by about 5% Bhaaratiya people has made 95% Bhaaratiya people illiterate. These five percent English knowing people control the state machinery. Only an English knowing boy can get into the Bhaaratiya army, navy, air force or Para military forces. Hindi, the official language of Indian Union still remains virtually outcast.
            Bhaaratiya historians,  Anglicized as they are and dominating the Bhaaratiya Historical Congress and the Indian Council of Historical Research, have assiduously concealed the fact that India’s intellectual growth  stopped more than a thousand years ago when Arabic and Persian replaced Sanskrit and Prakrit.  Before that, India that is Bhaarat, was not only the cultural treasure house of the world but also the intellectual giant contributing to every field of human knowledge e.g., science, astronomy, physiology, medicine, mathematics, philosophy and what not.
            That was possible because Sanskrit, the main link language of the country made it possible for every Bhaaratiya to participate in all spheres of learning and contribute his mite in the development of art, culture, science, literature, and philosophy. Then Sanskrit and Prakrit maintained the unity of Bhaarat amongst various diversities. Now we have been for hundred years, trying to find unity in diversities through medium of English. It is a wild – goose chase. Bhaarat may not be heading towards disintegration but feelings of discord keep raising heads from time to time.
            It is time that Bhaaratiya intellectuals ponder as to why Bhaarat did not move an inch beyond Charak and      Shushrut (on medicine and surgery); Aryabhatt and Varahmihir (in astronomy) and the like. Persian of the mediaeval period was replaced by English which is still ruling the country. Consequently, Bhaarat, a country of more than 100 crores of people continues to be the largest intellectual dwarf in the world.
            Mahatma Gandhi said in 1916 on the occasion of opening of Banaras Hindu University that was attended by the then Viceroy, Lord Hardinge:
            “…every Indian youth, because he acquird his knowledge through the English language, lost at least six years      
of life.  Multiply that by the number of students turned out by our schools and colleges, and find out yourself how many thousand years have been lost to the nation … , I have heard it is being  said that after all it is English educated India which is leading and which is doing all the things for the nation. It would be monstrous if it were otherwise …   But suppose that we had been receiving during the past 65 year’s education through our vernaculars, what should we have today? We should have today a free Bhaarat, we should have our educated men, not as if they were foreigners in their own land but speaking to the heart of the nation; they would be working amongst the poor, and whatever they would have gained during these 65 years would be a heritage for the nation. (Extract from Mahatma; Vol. 1by D.G. Tendulkar)
Mahatma Gandhi on tyranny of English:
            Let me give a chapter from my own experience. Up to the age of 12 all the knowledge I gained was through Guajarati, my mother tongue. I knew then something of Arithmetic, history and Geography. Then I entered a high school.  For the first three years the mother tongue was still the medium of education. But the school master’s business was to drive English into the pupil’s heads. Therefore more than half of our time was given to learning English, and mastering its arbitrary spelling and pronunciations. It was a painful discovery to learn a language that is not pronounced as it was written.
            The pillory began with the fourth year. Every thing has to be learnt through English - Geometry, Algebra, Chemistry, Astronomy, History, geography. The tyranny of English was so great that even Sanskrit or Persian had to be learnt through English, not through the mother tongue. If any boy spoke in the class in Guajarati which he understood, he was punished. It did not matter to the teacher if a boy spoke bad English which he could neither pronounce correctly norteacher understand fully. Why should the teacher worry?  His own English was by no means without blemish.
            And let me confess to the reader that in spite of all my love for the mother tongue, I do not to this day know the Guajarati equivalents of the technical terms of Geometry, Algebra, and like.  I know now that what I took four years to learn of Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra, Chemistry, and Astronomy, I should have learnt easily in one year, if I had not to learn them through English but Guajarati. My grasp of the subject would have been easier and cleaner. I would have made use of such knowledge in my home … 
            I must not be understood to decry English or its noble literature. The columns of Harijan are sufficient evidence of my love for English.  But the nobility of English literature cannot avail the Indian nation any more than the temperature climate or the scenery of England, can avail her.  India has to flourish in her own climate, and scenery and her own literature, even though all the three may be inferior to the English climate, scenery and literature. We and our children must build on our own heritage. If we borrow another we impoverish our own.  Why need I learn English to get at the best what Shakespeare and Milton thought and wrote?
            The medium of instruction should be altered at once and at any cost, the provincial languages being given their rightful place. I would prefer temporary chaos in higher education to the criminal waste that is daily accumulating.
            I have the greatest faith in the Dravidians some day taking up Hindi study seriously. If an eighth of the efforts that they put in mainstream English were to be devoted to learning Hindi, instead of the rest of India remaining a sealed book to them, they will be one with us as never before. I know that some would say the argument cuts both ways. The Dravidians being in minority, national economy suggests that they should learn the common language of the rest of India than that the rest should learn Tamil. Telgu, Kanarese and Malayalam in order to be able to converse with Dravidian India.
            Let no Dravidian think that learning Hindi is at all difficult. A little time taken from the recreation hour daily and in a systematic manner will enable an average man to learn Hindi in one year I can say from experience that Dravidian children take to Hindi in a remarkable easy manner. Little does any one know that almost all the Tamils and the Telgus living in South Africa can carry on an intelligent conversation in Hindi?
            Bengal and Madras are the two provinces that are cut off from the rest of India for want of knowledge of Hindustani on their part. Bengal, because of its prejudice against learning any other language of India, and Madras, because of the difficulty of the Dravidians about picking up Hindustani.  An average Bengali can really learn Hindustani in two months if he gave it three hours per day and a Dravidian in six months at the same rate. Neither a Bengali nor a Dravidian can hope to achieve the same result with English in the same time.  Knowledge of English opens up intercourse only with the comparatively few English knowing Indians, whereas a possible knowledge of Hindustani enables us to hold intercourse with the largest number of our country men. I appreciate the difficulty with the Dravidians, but nothing is difficult before their industrious love for the motherland.
            The choice really depends upon one’s conception of Swaraj. If it is to be of and for only the English knowing Indians, English is undoubtedly the common medium. If it is to be far and of the starving millions, of the illiterate millions, of the illiterate women, of the suppressed untouchables, Hindi is the only possible common language.