Much dust is raised by the hue and cry of Hindi- loving nation lovers against the use of English. I don’t want to stir Hornet’s nest by saying that I have strong aversion to advocacy of Hindi disparaging English. Equally am I averse to advocacy of English at the cost of Hindi. Let me not be misconstrued as anti- nation and that I am trying to denigrate Hindi for the sake of English. Certainly, both the languages are equally lovable to me. Why only these two ? In fact, I will love to know and speak as many languages as possible to my need and convenience. What I want to convey is that all the languages must be viewed from equidistance and with equal respect. And it is needless to say that next to Hindi comes English being it an international language.
Of course, Hindi must be kept comparatively at the higher pedestal when it comes to learning and teaching of languages as it, more than any other language, reflects the culture and character of our nation. In that way it is a veritable uniting force. But this doesn’t give license to disparage other language that flourishes simultaneously by force of its own nature and magnanimity. In fact, if Hindi has to make a global impression, it is possible through English only. Therefore English is to be encouraged rather than disparaged.
The straitjacketed views regarding the learning and use of particular language is nothing but the narrow and lopsided stance taken by linguistic fundamentalist. I appreciate the idea that Hindi must be given priority but I cannot digest the view that the massive use of English is an impediment in the way. Efforts must be made so that the students in our country learn, write and speak good Hindi. Having done so, the people of this democratic country has the freedom to use the language of their liking.
Let us not forget that it is the English literature that has brought international name and fame to the nation. Raja Rao, Anita Desai, RK Narayanan, Khushwant singh, anita Desai are no small figure in English Literature. Tagore might not have got worldly acclaim had he not translated his Geetanjali into English. Arundhati’s God of Small Things, Arvind Adiga’s The white Tiger, Desai’s Inheritance of Loss have proved that literary acumen of Indians is best manifested in English literature.
Even apart from creative literature, Indians have made English their medium to prove their supremacy in other fields like Economics, Biography, History and Science and technology. Aurbindo Ghosh, JL Nehru, MK Gandhi, Amartya Sen, APJ Abul Kalam, Jaswant Singh have made the best of English language.
Language carries with it the social and cultural ethos. To know more languages means to have broader outlook and rich culture. Acceptance and assimilation of language shows the magnanimity of one’s own language. And perhaps herein lies the greatness of English. This is the reason that English has attained the international status as a language.
I don’t doudt the utterances of Bhartendu : Nij bhasha ko unnti hai sab unnti ko mool (The progress of one’s own language is the very base of all progress). But he had never said and meant : Par bhasha ko nindaa hai sab unnti ko mool. (Dispaaging other’s language is at the very base of all progress).