English Language in India
Background of English Language in India
Education in English Language was introduced by the British in India. English education was imparted in schools, colleges or universities. Thus English became the medium of instruction in all stages.
Education was thus limited to a small circle of upper and middle-class people who rose to power and position by reaping the benefits of the English education. This promoted the growth of an alien culture which was vastly different from the traditional culture of the country. The anglicized Indian was a hybrid product of this new system. In this outlook, moral, and spiritual and even in the common matters of life like eating, clothing, etc. he aped European customs and manners and everything national became an object of scorn to him. Knowledge of English Language thus regarded as badge of superiority. It was a sure passport to power and affluence and prestige.
The introduction of English Language in India proved as blessing in disguise. It ultimately led to the stirring of national spirit in the educated people. That is why a new movement arose in the various sections in national life – political, religious and social. Consequently the country made a stride in the path of progress, quite in keeping with things that were going on in the other civilized and free countries of the world.
Today in the context of independence the validity of English language in India has been subjected to a good deal of rethinking. A popular sentiment against English has already gained a good deal of strength. Some people now think that the English have quitted the country; English should also be packed off without further loss of time. But in this context, Gandhiji was too clear-sighted to ignore the other side of this picture. He said, “I do not want my house to be walled in all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the culture of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible”.
Presently English is an international language and is not only the language of the Britain. It has been said that more people outside the island speak English than within it. Thus English is the gateway of the knowledge in all spheres of thought.
International relations have assumed a large importance in the modern world. Exchange of thought, ideas, and materials things of life is necessary if India is to develop as a great country and take its place in the comity of nations. We cannot be separated from the outside world if we are to exist at all as a civilized free country. English is the one and only medium of this international communication. It has rooted too deep into our national life to be displaced from it all at once. It is only a parochial patriotism that leads the crusade against English saying that love of English is a sign of slave mentality.
Medium of Education:
It is a fact that our national languages are not so much developed as to become a suitable substitute for English in our higher education, especially science education. Standard books on various branches of knowledge are mostly written in English. Even all the works of great non-English authors found through translations into English. Hence the case for retaining English Language in different academic sections is a must.
Medium of Communication:
The importance of English Language as a medium of communication cannot be denied. Because our administrators, scientist, doctors, lawyers and engineers cannot even utter a single sentence without using an English word. That’s why; English will remain at least for a few decades in this country.
However, English Language should not be forced upon all students in all stages of education. It has been wisely given up as the medium of teaching at the secondary stage. But at the higher levels i.e. in the university level, English cannot be replaced by any Indian language.
Anyway there is no reason why English Language should be completely abolished from the study. English is now not the monopoly of English people and it can be studied for our own advantage. So it is wise to keep it as a second important language for the students of India and regional languages should be developed. But English ought to be taught from the primary level so that the pupils may be equipped with the power of communication at the international level.