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Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “English as an Indian Language” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

English as an Indian Language

 

The introduction of English education in India by the British rulers of that time was a momentous decision in the history of modern India. It brought an end to an era of darkness and isolation in the country and opened the windows of the country to the outside world so that the people of India could see what progress the Western countries had made in the field of science, technology and intellectual activity. It also played a Crucial role in removing the course of social evils, superstitions, backwardness, etc., from the minds of our people, and endowed them with new and progressive ideas of the West.

It was during the Governor-Generalship of Lord William Bentinck that English education was introduced in India by the British Government as a result of the historic minute recorded by Lord Macaulay. This measure was eagerly welcomed by liberals among the Indians like Raja Ram Mohun Roy. There is no doubt that the British originally introduced English education in this country with a view to create a loyal section of English-knowing Indians for employment in the clerical cadres of the East India Company, in the place of British nationals who had to be paid very high salaries and costly perks. The study of English language and spread of English Education received a further impetus in the year 1849 when the Government passed a resolution to the effect that preference would be given to persons possessing knowledge of English Language. Thus English Language was initially made popular by the British in India, solely by selfish motives. But to their astonishment, this step turned out to be a double edged sword. While on the one hand it helped the Company in recruiting an army of low paid English-knowing Indian clerks for the establishments of the Company, on the other hand, it also led to the spread of nationalist sentiments among the educated Indians who began to think first of greater participation of Indians in the affairs of the State and later on, of liberating the country from the British yoke by carrying on constitutional agitations previously unknown to the Indian mind.

This far-reaching step of introduction of English in India went a long way in transforming the ideas and attitudes of the Indian people. It ended the intellectual stagnation and isolation of the Indians and helped them come into close contact with the progressive Western ideas and ideologies of the philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, Kant, Nietzche, Hegel, J.S. Mill, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Rousseau, Carlyle and others. This improved the worldly wisdom and widened the mental horizon of the Indians. They now began to realise the essence and significance of liberty, equality, fraternity, democracy, humanism and the concept of Welfare State. At the same time, they also grasped a fair idea of the administrative system of the Western countries and started dreaming of adopting the same type of administrative set-up in India in the years to come. It was through the study of English Language and liberal English Education that they found out that in reality, the British rule was the main obstacle which stood in the way of their dreams being realised. With the spread of English Education, there also spread anti-imperialistic feelings, which in course of time, gave birth to a spirit of nationalism and patriotism. Lord Ramsay Mac Donald has rightly said that the young Indians drank deep the new wine of Western learning and became steeped in ideas of liberty and nationalism.

Moreover, the spread and expansion of English Language through every nook and corner of the country, gave to the Indians living in different linguistic regions of the country a common language to establish contact with each other and chalk out a common programme of action against the foreign administration. It is difficult to imagine how in the absence of a common English Language, the people of various provinces, speaking different languages and possessing diverse cultures could have come together under a single banner during the years of India’s long struggle for freedom. It was English Language which united the people of various sub-nationalities living in India and made them Indian nationals. Thus, it is seen that English Language was the single most powerful force, which brought about nationalistic and patriotic feelings and a sense of common nationality in India. The present unity among diverse regions and races of India is thus the gift of English Language to the country.

In 1947, India got her independence as a result of heroic sacrifices made by numerous Indian patriots and with the support of the Indian masses. After Independence, India would have fallen apart and split into a number of small independent political entities, and the dreams of thousands of freedom fighters would have been shattered, had it not been for the great unifying force of the English Language.

Even after the Independence of the country, English continued to occupy a place of pre-eminence in the country. It became the principal official language and principal medium of instruction in the country. But some over-enthusiastic patriots looked upon this language as a foreign language and a relic of cur slavish past. They, therefore, started a campaign for the replacement of English by an Indian National Language—Hindi. However, the campaign for banishment of English could not gather momentum because the scientific and technical development of the country is closely dependent on English. Most of the scientific and technical literature is available only in English. For the development and progress of the country, Radhakrishnan Commission on Education in 1948-49 had recommended that there should be no hasty replacement of English as the medium of instruction for higher education. Jawaharlal Nehru, realising the importance of English in this country, had said that English was by far the most widespread and important world language and probably two-thirds of the scientific and technological books in the world are published in English. He also said that if we left English, we would be narrow-minded people and we are apt to live in our own shell.

Hindi was, no doubt, declared the National Language of India. It was also declared to be the Official Language of the Union. But the people of the southern States neither understood it nor could they speak it with some degree of fluency. So this action of the Central Government created a serious problem for them. It was to overcome this problem that English was made the Associate Language.

Thus, technically speaking, English ranks second to Hindi, but for all practical purposes, it has since become the principal language of the country. Today, English is more popular in India than it had ever been-during the entire British period, and for good and valid reasons. We cannot interact with the Western countries without the help of English. It is English Language that has awakened the country from the slumber of centuries under her fast gathering ignorance and inertia.

In the twenty-first century, English has, no doubt, become true Indian language—language of the resurgent Indian nation. This does not, however, imply that we should neglect the study of our native tongue and its literature. According to Mahatma Gandhi, “The mother tongue is as natural for the development of man’s mind as mother’s milk is for the development of the infant’s body.” Giant strides have been made in the literature of various languages since Independence. We must place English alongside our native , tongue and see them not as mutually exclusive but as mutually complementary to each other. We must also actively encourage the use of Hindi for inter-state communication. This way, bilingualism, instead of becoming a millstone round our necks, will open glorious avenues for an overall cultural evolution of India and Indians.

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  1. Nachiket says:

    Very nice language

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