All major countries of the world have become developed by using the languages of the common people for higher and technical education. It is a sad state of affairs that even after 70 years, English, which was meant to be a stop-gap language hold sway over India. An Indian cannot argue in the Supreme Court of the land and in most High Courts in his or her mother tongue, they cannot get technical and professional degrees in their own languages, and English is made into a barrier in nearly all fields of endeavour.
This situation cannot be remedied by pushing English medium into primary education. UNESCO guidelines have stated for decades that a child learns best in their mother tongue and this is borne out by volumes of scientific research. Pushing English at all levels is simply crippling the minds of Indian children and hampering their development for the challenges and opportunities of a digital and scientific world. It will turn our demographic dividend into a curse. Thanks to English medium education, from a great innovative civilisation for eons we have become a copycat civilisation blindly aping the West in everything. In order to retrieve the fast losing ground and to restore pride and develop India in to a truly knowledge based original innovative society it is imperative to teach our children in our own languages.
It is heartening to note that the BJP in its 2014 Election Manifesto has, in the following words, committed to promote Indian languages:
“Languages: Indian Languages are repositories of our rich literature, history, culture, art and scientific achievements. Many of our dialects are important source for knowing our heritage. BJP would promote Indian languages, and put measures for the development of all Indian languages, so that they become a powerful vehicle for creating a knowledge society.”
To translate the above into reality it is necessary to legally mandate equal access to the children and youth to study in Indian languages to the highest level and to offer professional and vocational courses in all Indian languages. Preference in public employment, scholarships, interest rebates for educational loans etc should be offered to encourage education in Indian languages. All administration, courts, all competitive examinations and all education must operate by the principle of equal access for all Indian languages; for the Center in all languages, and for the States in their respective language. This is much easier today, than it was 70 years ago with machine translation making rapid advances.
Accordingly, we request the Central Government to:
- Formulate public policy to vigorously fund, promote and incentivise medium of instruction in all Indian languages up to highest level of education including professional education such as engineering, medicine, law, business, chartered accountancy and the like;
- Formulate public policy in such a way as to promote all Indian languages as aspirational languages by increasing their livelihood and economic value in practical ways. For instance, China now requires that all tenders and contracts, even by foreign companies to be in Chinese thereby triggering huge Chinese learning efforts all over the globe;
- Suitably advise all States and UTs to formulate similar policies; and
Persuade Supreme Court and all High Courts to fully operate in all Indian languages as instantaneous translation facilities are available.