Every Indian needs to know both English and Hindi

Removing English from India is dangerous to development and integration. The three-language formula (TLF) under the draft National Education Policy (NEP), now modified, stipulated mother tongue and English compulsory everywhere till class X, and Hindi in non-Hindi States and non-Hindi languages in Hindi States to be taught. The irony of the TLF is that to be an Indian one must have fluency in two Indian languages, in addition to English

The project to remove English has become redundant. From being a language of colonialism, English transformed itself into a global language of culture, science and technology, and world politics. Its universality claims are also backed by its capacity to absorb words from other languages.

All Indian languages are languages of identity and cultural expression whereas English is a language of mobility and empowerment. You cannot prescribe any language other than English as a medium of instruction in subjects of higher education for which only English books are available and which can only be properly taught in English. India ought to introduce English throughout school and college education so that all Indians will be conversant in English.

While English stands dismantled as a second/link language in administration, Hindi remains unacceptable to non-Hindi States. So, an educated person from a non-Hindi State will be clueless in a Hindi State and vice-versa. It does not matter whether he is transacting some business or attending an official meeting. Therefore, instead of promoting national integration, the official language policy has accomplished the opposite.

As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, is it merely their cultural pride that cannot reconcile to Hindi? Sub-national aspiration can go only thus far. Instead of merely opposing Hindi imposition, they can build a better case for English as the second language throughout the country.

What is wrong in learning Hindi? Most Northerners can speak Hindi because their mother tongue is similar to Hindi. It is a pity that time and again emotion overwhelms logic. You need a local language as a communication link. The politicians in Tamil Nadu are simply using this issue for political reasons. Many non-Tamil southerners can communicate in Hindi. It is only in Tamil Nadu where politicians have not allowed a third language. Tamils will lose out.

Three languages formula is good for a country with such diversity and can be utilised for integration of our country. Under the formula languages should be -1.State language where school is situated. 2. If state is in Northern India it should be any Southern Indian language, in case of Southern/Central/Northeast states it should be Hindi. 3. Politicians have created all disputes by making disputes over removal of English. In globalised world, English acts as a medium of communication in many countries.

Hindi is our mother and English is our father. We need both as HIndi gives national growth and empowerment. English gives international growth and empowerment. When we have both international and national growth it will lead to overall growth. English is a global language which can’t be substituted by any language. English isn’t a colonising factor but a binding factor. We Indians have turned it from our weakness into our strength. So there is one request to our politicians to not turn our strength into our weakness again.

Let’s not limit ourselves to one language, one village, one state, one country or one continent as India is known for its variety.

The Hindi issue has been grossly bungled by government after government. A simple, easy to learn version of Hindi is what was needed, not the highly sanskritized, doordarshan standard. A simple, not too academic, practical familiarity with Hindi would have gone a long way and wouldn’t be seen as a burden to the non-Hindi states. Besides, Hindi as a language should also enrich itself by borrowing liberally from Tamil and other Indian languages. Isn’t that what national integration all about?

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Newsband, started in 2005 as In New Bombay, is today Navi Mumbai’s only daily local English newspaper. The paper believes in delivering outstanding journalistic content to its readers about the city of Navi Mumbai and enjoys a readership of about 11,000.