Date: 4/1/2005


..............The Nationality of Languages


Nothing in India has done more damage to India's Hindu identity than the English Language. Not the communists, not the Muslims, not the Euro-Indians, and not even Sonia Gandhi. Languages are conduits thru which cultures are disseminated. Over last two hundred and fifty years of India's affixation with English, there is not even one Indian classic in English that portrays Indian culture accurately and with pride. Each time I speak a sentence in English, I am replacing a small portion of my Indianness, albeit unintentionally, with non-Indianness. That is the power of a language.

I heard Naipaul once elaborate the connection between language and culture. He said something like: If you have to understand English, you have to master the Bible. No wonder, India's best English authors have all gone thru "convent" schools. I will take Naipaul's argument even further. If you have to understand the Vedas/Upanishads/Puranas...., you have no choice but to read them thru Indian languages. That fact reflects a fundamental truth: The magnitude of Hindu pride is inversely proportional to the extent of our Anglicization thru the English language.

In this context, I would repeat the Macaulayian cliché, that the English educated folks are "a class of interpreters between us (British) and the millions whom we govern --a class of persons Indian in blood and colour but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect". Frantz Fanon uses the phrase "black skin /white masks" for the same breed. Naipaul calls these guys as "mimic men". Each of these phrases betrays a fundamental trait of colonized and Anglicized folks - dupilcitous character. A mimic man is one who mimics someone other than himself. A person with black skin and white mask is trying to project a face which never really exists.

This disease of duplicity is all pervasive. It is not a Congress phenomenon alone. Recent self-doubts within BJP on the issue of Hindutva are at a very fundamental level symptomatic of the grip of the English (and the associated inculturation) over BJP's leadership's Hindu minds. It would be wrong to assume that BJP's self-doubt problem is a mere "Vajpayee problem".

Developing a national language does not necessarily mean imposing it, and more importantly disadvantaging large sections of people. The agitation of 1965 was fuelled using the argument "look-Hindi-will-make-you-lose-jobs". But essentially it was aimed to stunt the growth of Hindu nation. After all, Naicker, etc. were not exactly Hindu nationalists (or even Tamil nationalists). Instead they were using the language argument to further and fuel secessionism, perhaps and quite likely at the goading of exterior elements. If it would not have been Hindi, it would have been the Brahmin bogey (the Brahmin bogey was also used, right). Or for that sake the Aryan bogey or the Hindu bogey. If Sanskrit would have been proposed as the language, then the same guys would have used the anti-Sanskrit bogey. Several Tamil folks have shed their "Sanskritised names" in lieu of names like "Stalin". Others adopted "Dravidian" names. What kind of a cultural pride is that!!!

If I get disadvantaged due to Hindi" is a valid argument. Hence, disqualification for a job on basis of lack of fluency of Hindi should not be the approach. Coming up with a language policy (which does not promote English) that do not disqualify large sections of people from jobs, is not a nuclear-science question. What is however required is to develop a resolve to shed the bondage of English. Believe me, that act alone will fuel the growth of Hindu identity by leaps and bounds. Over last 50 years, by promoting English, we have actually started to kill virtually all Indian languages. How much respect and veneration does a great Tamil writer get in Tamil land, or a Hindi writer get in Hindi land, vis-à-vis say an "intellectual" like Arundhati Roy? Over last 250 years, English language experts have given us a constitution that is rotten, history that is false, leadership that is corrupt, arts that are debased and fuel self hatred ... So why English?


In a land where every state seems to speak a different tongue, there is a dire need for a common medium of communication. How would a Punjabi communicate his thoughts to a Malayali?

In Adi Sankara's time, he had Samskritam which enabled him to go everywhere from Kashi to Kanchi to argue his case out in that link language. Today English has taken that place and that is disconcerting for us nationalists as we realise the damage done to the Indian Hindu mind by this alien tongue.

We desperately need to replace it with some native Bharatiya equivalent. And here Hindi has more speakers (people who can understand it and/or speak in some tongue similar to it) than say Telugu or Tamizh. That propels Hindi to be a national language.

Urdu has a negative connotation for the nationalists due to its origin in the Mughal harems. Clearly the Hindus want to erase that memory of their subjugation and humiliation. Hence we oppose Urdu. It is not a question of being a language purist. It is a question of not using words from alien tongues.

It is not a question of pure or mongrel or pedigree. Love all dogs, by all means. But why love and feed a snake, I ask? Similarly by all means love Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi and Tamizh. But do not support English, Italian and Urdu.

Amongst the Bharat - origin languages, the most widespread is undoubtedly Hindi and that is why it is promoted as a national link language.

And further speak Hindi (which is non-different from Samskritam) well, you can easily understand a significant proportion of any conversation carried out in Marathi, Gujarati or Bengali. (Mind you, this is case only if you speak 'pure' Hindi, not the versions you find in movies and TV shows.) This really links you to more than 60% of India's population.

Macaulay’s education has made educated Hindus ignorant of their Vedic heritage and indifferent to attacks on Hinduism, Sanskrit, Hindi and other Bharatiya languages.

Hindi has more than 750,000 in its vocabulary and has a lot of potential of formation new words according to its format and basic character, while English has got about 250,000 words in its vocabulary. English does not any real potential of forming new words, but it adopts words from other languages. Hindi does not need words of other languages. It is just idiots and foolish people, who put lots of English and Urdu words in Hindi, while Hindi does not need such filth.

HERE IS A POLICY ISSUE THAT THE BJP OR OTHER GOVT CAN IMPLEMENT: The 3 language formula is very useful - but it has not been possible to follow it due to all kinds of resource constraints.

Now with the internet and computers being available more easily implementing the 3 language formula will be possible.

- Development of computer based tests in Indic languages - Making 2 Indic languages mandatory all through the education up to 12th grade, and one Indic language at higher levels.

Giving credits for knowledge of an extra language. - Liberalizing test taking and making computer based tests available through companies like NIIT. Just like GRE /GMAT/CAT exams - Indic language tests should also be made available.

By sheer numbers and economic necessity - More Indians will study either Hindi or their own state language. In Southern and Eastern India - more people will start opting for Hindi and their own state language.

In the North, More students will start learning Sanskrit.

In any case, in this manner, choice will be available, there will not be any imposition and by a combination of Govt. policy and economic necessity, more people will know Hindi and Samskritam.