'Dalit Goddess English' temple in UP village



Lucknow: A temple dedicated to 'Goddess English' is coming up and mind you its not in an English county but in a nondescript village in UP's Lakhimpur Kheri district with an aim of encouraging the local Dalits to learn the language.

The temple, a single storey structure covered with black granite, would have an over-three-feet-tall idol of 'Dalit Goddess English" installed on a pedestal in the shape of a computer holding a pen, a copy of the Indian Constitution and donning a gown and a hat.

The temple in Banka village, whose construction began in April this year with the help of funds collected from well-wishers, was set to be inaugurated on October 25 to coincide with the birth anniversary of Lord Macaulay, whose attempts at Dalit empowerment are appreciated by the community.

But because of some problems, it will now be inaugurated in November, Chandra Bhan Prasad, the brain behind the temple, told a news agency.

The idol has been inspired by the Statue of Liberty and the computer screen would have a dharma chakra (a Buddhist symbol).

"When it was being debated as to what should be the national language of India after independence, Dr Ambedkar was the only national leader who vociferously batted for English while all the others were against it. And today we see the imbalances caused in the society because of English as those who do not know it are left behind," he said.

Prasad said that the temple is being built to popularise English among Dalits, who form a sizeable number in not just the village but also in the area, so that they can move ahead in their lives.

"This temple would help encourage them to learn the language which has become essential for one's growth as in 20 years' time, no decent job would be available without its knowledge," Prasad said.

"In future, the temple would become the focus of Dalits with most of their rituals like the ones relating to births and weddings revolving around it," he said.

The site for the temple is the Dalit-run Nalanda Public Shiksha Niketan. The temple would be run by a trust, Prasad said.

"To give a touch of modernity, the engravings of symbols and formulae of physics, chemistry, mathematics and English sayings would adorn the walls. Efforts are also being made to build the staircase of the temple in the form of a computer keyboard," he said.

The locals have also composed a song which would be played everyday during prayers, Prasad said.

PTI