English is no more foreign for Indians
In today’s modern world we are enthusiastically talking about the idea and ideal of empowerment. Our thrust is that the weaker and the down-trodden sections of our otherwise highly polarized society must be attached with the mainstream. The astute political section has also taken recourse to such high-floating speeches that advocate the idea of holistic human development. Their words are often taken with a pinch of salt by the people blessed with saner heads as most of their speeches are only the specimens of demagoguery which in their unmasked essence are merely hollow rhetoric. But on the flip side of these speeches of “sound and fury”, many sincere efforts are being made to empower the disempowered and to raise the fallen.
Technical education that has the capacities to teach a set of skills to the people has also gained a solid ground. In this prevailing scenario when the efforts are on towards human empowerment, some anti-social retrograde elements have begun to raise their nasty heads with their covetous nefarious design of subverting the scheme of systemic development of the underdeveloped. They have put a big cauldron of language controversy on the fire with a parochial view that English is the language of the foreigners and, according to their constricted view, it poses a great threat to our regional languages. I have no hesitation in asserting that their ideas are completely misplaced and thus be sternly repudiated.
Any language as a matter of fact is a tool for the holistic growth of a healthy society. Undoubtedly, we can not dream of the existence of a society without language. It is a connecting mode that knits us in a unified whole. As devout nationals with strong patriotic streaks we berate the colonial era of the Britisher in which many ordinary Indians were subjected to appalling atrocities but at the same time we benignly express our sense of deep gratefulness to the our British brethren for showering the legacy of English language on us. Today India is considered a fast emerging mighty nation on the world forum. It stands shoulder to shoulder with other world powers on the international platform.
Indians have very accurately and meticulously absorbed English language with an enviable finesse which has given the world of English literature the prominent Indian authors like Raja Rao, R.K. Narayan, Kamala Das, Anita Desai, Mulkraj Anand, and many more names to reckon with. Today in this digital age of technological advancement, a great rush of information is available in English and this information is rightly accessed and used by the Indians for their national development. Although right after its independence India upheld the policy of non-alignment, yet in today’s cosmopolitan world no nation can afford to exist like an isolated island. This isolation on the various world forums has been eliminated by virtue of our knowledge of English language.
One of the other most empowering tools of development and Renaissance is our mass media and today India has established its robust media roots in English language. At the same time Indians attach their divergent mother tongue a pride of place. But we must not make any attempt to perpetuate a monolithic state even in terms of language. In order to make headway towards our comprehensive and cohesive development, we must embrace the prominent foreign languages to the fullest. It is not only English rather the knowledge of other foreign languages like, French, German, Russian, Chinese and so on can fasten the pace of our nationalistic development.
If we take a sagacious view of the present sight, we must tap our back as modern English speaking women have liberated themselves from the clutches of patriarchy and male dominance. Stepping confidently out of the confines of domestic drudgery, today Indian women have carved their remarkable niche in all the segments of society. Whether it is the realm of politics, bureaucracy, academia, journalism or Information and Technology, the empowered India women are ruling the roost and have brought many laurels to us. Aristotle an erudite Greek scholar has aptly said that those who rule the word, rule the world. Thus we are the democratic rulers who have realised the magical and miraculous powers of language.
Therefore, no regressive din can out-voice our democratic spirit of debate and dissent. This is how rising above the mindless controversy of language supremacy, we should turn fully vocal in any tongue and let the world know that India is heading towards a language-based new dawn, a new Renaissance that is truly liberating in its essence and ethos. So drums are beating and rumblings can be rightly heard. These reverberations of revolution are quite progressive in nature and don’t intend to cause any bloodbath in the name of language supremacy. Indeed every civilized citizen aspires for a healthy society and thus language is a panacea that brings order into an otherwise shambolic world. In India, we have a huge number of languages and this vastness of the number cannot retard the pace of our growth.
On the top of the inclusion of English language, our regional languages have amplified the scope of our development. However, here the moot point does not only pertain to the frequent usage of English language in our country, it is in fact an attempt to douse the conflagration of language related controversy that advocates the supremacy of a particular language over the others in any nation. If we dwell on our regional dialects which we imbibe from the milk of our mothers, we can justly be proud of our regional dialects because they are the part of our very sub-culture which in return is also an integral constituent of a vast cosmopolitan culture which is the positive off-shoot of the modern phenomena called globalisation.
Our regional languages and our indigenous cultures go hand in hand. They are so strongly dovetailed with each other that any sequestration will be just silly, neither any segregation of this sort is likely to occur with the inclusion of English to our language buffet. It is also a fact that India has always been highly vulnerable to the communal riots and violent vandalism. Every passing day our evil- minded political leaders fish for inflammable issues in an attempt to disrupt the unity of India. At times it is religion or at other moment it is language in the name which these wicked and vile politico clan grind their own axe.
Fishing on the troubled waters is the opportunity that they voraciously encroach upon and if the waters are placid and there is no possibility of any good cache, our diabolical leaders cause the ripples of mayhem to initiate some sordid and smutty dispute just with a demonic view of filing their own political net with the fish of votes. Though awareness among the masses is soaring up and high but its surge is not very speedy still ours is nation of gullibles who can be easily made scapegoats to strengthen the vote banks by our unreasonably ambitious leaders. The time has come to retaliate and requite the wicked netas in a manner that befits them.
We must be a nation of tolerance and mutual harmony and the fact must be given credence that social bonhomie is our first and foremost objective. In his poem “London” when Wordsworth says that the Landon bridge is falling the poet painfully indicates toward the impending chaos in his society. Certainly, in modern India the bridge of brotherhood is on the brink of its collapse and it needs a complete and urgent renovation if we dream of a well-structured social fabric. A social fragile fabric can be easily reduced to smithereens which indeed is a threat to its ethos. Thus in order to weave a strong cultural ethos the dire need of the time is to make a stitch on time before it is nine.
The author is chair, Deptt English language and linguistics, Dev Samaj Post graduate College For Women.