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importance of English language essay
No doubt, English is an international language. Having started from a small island known as Britain it has spread in all parts of the world. At present, it is the mother tongue of certain countries like Britain, America, Australia etc. It is written and used in many other countries. It is one of the language of the United Nations, along with French, Spanish, Arabic etc., but most of the work of the august organization is done only in English.
The English ruled over India for about two hundred years.When they introduced English into the school and college curricula, many people opposed it, but some enlightened men like Raja Ram Mohan Roy welcomed this step. English brought the new western culture and knowledge would suppress the Indian languages and the Indian way of living and thinking. The suspicion was partly correct and partly incorrect.
The study of the English language also introduced the knowledge of English literature to the Indians. Many of our freedom fighters like Jawahar Lal Nehru, Gopal Krishna Gokhale and others were greatly impressed and inspired by the new knowledge.
English is the largest store-house of scientific, technological, psychological and managerial knowledge in the world. Not to study English simply means to remain devoid of this storehouse when our own scriptures advise us to gather knowledge from all sources. For example, a mantra in one of the Vedas says, “Let noble thoughts come to me from every side.”
Even Jawaharlal Nehru has said in one of his writings that India progressed only when she did not shut her doors against the influence of the outside world. But all progress came to a stand-still when she shut herself in a shell..
At present, India is a voice to reckon with in international affairs. Particularly, after the Pokhran-II and victory in the Kargil conflict, India’s voice at the international fora has become very powerful. Moreover, in some Non-Resident Indians are doing very well in countries like the USA, Canada etc. An Indian, Ujjal Dosanjh, has become the first Indian to be the Prime Minister of Colombia, a significant state of Canada. Some Indian companies like Ranbaxy, Dr. Reddy’s Lab, Reliance Ltd.etc. have become international players. In such circumstances, it is obvious that a very large number of people in the world have to interact for various purposes and transactions. That is possible only in English. It is the only language which people all over the world know in fairly large numbers. Moreover, now with the advent of the computer, in which field India is at the top in the world, the importance of English has still more increased. No doubt, Hindi and some other Indian languages are now also being used for the purposes of computer but that is only on a limited scale. In any case, communication at international level, more so with the advent of WWW is most conveniently and frequently possible only in English…
India does not need English only for international purposes. Many people regard English the Lingua Franca of India. Although very few people in India speak English, vet it is understood in almost all parts of the country. In India there are 15 official languages. Besides, there are more than one thousand and five hundred other languages. The number of dialects is still more. The people of one region do not understand the language of the other region. Thus a Punjabi cannot understand Tamil or Kannada or Kanarese or Bengali. Similarly a Tamil, or a Bengali cannot understand Punjabi. But English can be understood by many people in all states of India This understanding of English makes the communication between people of different regions much easier. In this way, English helps in the matter of maintaining natural unity and integration. Of course, there has long been a hate-English campaign in India. It is argued that the study of English suppresses the study of Hindi and regional languages. This is true to some extent. It is also argued that only the rich can afford to study English which is taught in costly public schools and the poor have to study Hindi and regional languages. There arises the disparity between the rich and the poor instead of narrowing the gap. This is true to a great extent..
The remedy does not lie in abolishing or discontinuing the study of English. A national education policy should be adopted and every child should have an almost equal opportunity to gain be study of English. The constitution envisaged the study of English only for ten years. But then the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had to promise the southern states that the study off English in India would continue as long as they wanted. The same policy is continuing. Now everybody has a craze for English and English-teaching schools. But Indian languages should also not be ignored.
We must remember Robert D.King’s views that “English could never have been chosen by legislative vote as the national language of India”, as English was the language of the colonisers.
In all All- India Conference resolution (before1947) Hindustani was preferred: As King points out, “Hindustani for all the problems associated with it (India) symbolised freedom and independence, swara): English symbolised precisely the opposite servile weakness, bowed heads before the sahib and the memsahib. the topi. The English language was an icon for all that was wrong in colonial relations However, as said by Anupam Gupta in an article : “English, the new father tongue”,
“The icon was placed on high constitutional pedestal last wee (a few years back) when a full bench of the Madras High Court, after all a bitterly contested hearing unanimously struck down a Tamil government order imposing Tamil in place of English as the medium of instruction in primary schools from classes I to V.”
Earlier, we had seen that Jawaharlal Nehru had to give an assurance to the southern states regarding the continuance of English till the southern states desired. Now with the judgment of the Madras High Court, we must take it that English is to stay for all times to come.
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