I wrote a blog in June when the draft of the new education policy kicked up a storm regarding Hindi imposition. (http://insanereverie.in/ignite-your-love-for-languages/) In the wake of newer controversies every day on the same topic, it makes sense to rephrase some things I have already said.
In very simple terms, a call to make Hindi a mandatory tool to ‘unite India’ is plain stupid because our unity or lack of unity for that matter in many things is not owing to a common language or a need for it. As I have written in the blog, learning Hindi is really helpful as it is a language understood and spoken, at least to a small extent, in a huge part of India. But that should not be a reason to impose it on anyone who does not need it or want it. Nor should it be a reason to look at it as a tool of domination by anyone. People down South should equally be open to giving an opportunity to those who want to learn it by not calling it a “War cry” and prohibiting it altogether from the curriculum. The real solution is to bring in a list of optional Indian languages so that kids can select what they want. That way every language gets an equal footing – something that is the base of unity in diversity.
As far as chucking out the ‘Colonial language’ of English is concerned, I wish it was as simple as that. True that many Asian and European countries stick to their language. But just think about the number of overseas clients from across the globe that we cater to in the Corporate world and what language we use as a common platform irrespective of their native language or ours. And the number of places in the world where despite them not using English much, a little bit of broken English was what came to your help. It may or may not be right – that is not for me to say. But the importance that English holds across the world is not something that is going to change all that much anytime soon. So just because we love Indian languages (which we really should), there is no reason why we should hate English and lose an opportunity to help our kids be good at it from schooltime. It helped a lot of us; it could help a lot of them too.
In short, stop hating some languages in your attempt to love some others. Ignite your love for languages!