India, let’s play ‘English Vinglish’
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Last Updated: Saturday, July 20, 2013, 16:50
  
BJP president Rajnath Singh’s remarks about English have caused great commotion. And as always, members of the ruling party are busy condemning the opposition’s views.

Every word uttered by BJP leaders gets thoroughly scanned by the Congress and an avalanche of counter-remarks is witnessed by the nation. Not too long ago, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s “puppy” allegory was blown out of proportion and people made most of their imaginative powers to interpret his remark in the most bizarre ways possible.

With the General Elections preparations in full-swing, one can only expect allegations and counter-accusations to hit the political scene in the coming few months. If politics could seep in through various layers of everyday life, then ‘politics’ in politics is quite legitimate, isn’t it?

Coming back to the latest topic. Rajnath Singh reportedly said, “English language has caused a great lot of loss to India. We have started forgetting our religion
and culture these days. There are only 14,000 people left in this country speaking in Sanskrit.”

“Knowledge acquired out of English is not harmful but the Anglicization penetrated into youths in this country is dangerous,” Singh went on to add.

Take a “holistic” view of the whole hullabaloo, as Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari often does. You will realise that the hue and cry over the issue is mindless. Rajnath makes it very clear in his statement that gaining knowledge out of the English language is in no way harmful. He is, however, concerned about the youth of this nation that may unconsciously ape an Anglicized culture, which may in turn eclipse indigenous culture and tradition.

As a responsible citizen of a democratic nation, which has a unique identity of its own, Rajnath Singh was in no way wrong in expressing his concerns. Each of us has the rights to voice our opinions and so does he.

A trip to the European countries, China or Japan will certainly prove a tiresome one if one was asked to communicate. These nations have indigenous languages spoken officially and they take great pride in their roots. Knowing English may certainly help one in communicating with the global community but may not necessarily help him proceed towards development. The Japanese, the Germans, the Chinese are way too ahead in technology but they hardly speak English!

So, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla may broaden his vision and understand that someone doesn’t become “narrow-minded” if he/she doesn’t endorse English.

There are far more important matters to be dealt with rather than indulging in useless verbal fights. The nation would certainly benefit if the ruling party members could make constructive use of time and stop digressing from issues of national, social, and economic concerns.

And for their knowledge, English has picked up Indian words - “Guru”, “Yoga”, “Mantra”, “Avatar”, “Tantra” and gleefully accepted them. So if there could be a healthy cross-cultural exchange, none would raise objections.

To imbibe the goodness of anything that’s foreign must be welcome, but not at the cost of disempowering one’s own culture.

It is time for India to play ‘English Vinglish’.

First Published: Saturday, July 20, 2013, 16:50


(The views expressed by the author are personal)
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