Decolonising India’s education

A national newspaper carried an article in July 2014 that bemoaned (rightly so) the disparity in education between the haves and the have-nots, between the 20 per cent who study in English medium private schools and the 80 per cent who study in vernacular government schools. The author proposed an outlandish solution to bridge the disparity: ‘Introduce English in government schools right from nursery to bring the education standards on par for all children.’

I was amazed at this proposal. How can an Indian want more colonisation instead of getting rid of the remnants? Why would Indians want to hold on to that colonial language baggage that was burdened on them in 1835 on suggestion of Thomas Macauley? Don’t they know that the intention was to make the ‘natives’ lose pride in their clearly superior culture and make them mental slaves of the British without them actually realising that they were made into slaves? Why would a free India want to continue with English as the preferred language at the expense of Indian languages and at the expense of Sanskrit which is the basis of those languages and is praised the world over? In which country the upper classes do not to speak in their mother tongue?

Well, amazing as it is, many of the Indian elite actually want an ‘English India’. It feels natural to them. They feel more at home in English than in their mother tongue because of their education in English medium. And so far, they were even allowed to feel superior to the masses, who don’t speak this ‘world language’. Without being spelt out, the fact is that those fluent in English with the right accent form the topmost class in Indian society. This fact does not prevent many of them from castigating “the Brahmins” as those who unfairly ‘oppress’ others.

However, at present a churning takes place that shakes this privileged position. There is certain resurgence of an Indian identity, and tradition and language are major aspects of it. The Prime Minister taking his oath of office in Hindi and several MPs in Sanskrit, would have put the English speaking elite ill at ease. Maybe the attack on Smirti Irani as HRD minister was not so much because of her missing academic credential, but because of her fluency in Hindi. Those who are fluent only in English may fear that she does not share their conviction that English medium is a must for higher education.

The English speaking class naturally have an interest to continue with the status quo, where jobs at the top level require fluency in English whether it is in the judiciary, the defence forces, in academia, science or administration. It is in their interest and in the interest of their children.

As they lack good arguments in favour of English medium education, they use different methods. One is ridiculing those who speak bad English. I saw comments who read “Before posting first learn proper English”. If you tell this to a German, he may just ask back “Why should I?” But if you tell this to a Frenchman, beware! Yet Indians keep quiet and may even take it to heart.

Another method is to obfuscate the language issue.
“India has a huge advantage because her population speaks English, they claim. But two points are not made clear:

First point: only a small percentage of Indians actually speak English – only about 15 per cent know English and only a few lakh (0,05 per cent) speak it fluently as primary language.

Second point: it is not easy to learn a foreign language which one doesn’t hear spoken in one’s daily life, but only for a few hours in school. It is of course easy if you hear it spoken from childhood at home.

I could directly observe this: In 2006, in the span of a few months, six babies were born in my surrounding – three of them to parents who speak English at home and three to parents who don’t know English. All six of them are now in English medium schools. Meanwhile the disparity is huge. The children of the former are at ease in English and ‘good’ in school, the others struggle, in spite of being sent to tuition which is a burden for their parents. The disparity is not in their level of intelligence. All of them are bright and full of zest. In fact, the children of the parents who don’t speak English and have little income seem to have grown up faster. They are highly observant, don’t throw tantrums when they don’t get what they want and are better behaved towards elders.

Nobody says that children should not learn English. But why demand from teenagers fluency to write essays, understand thick textbooks and the question papers in their exams? They need to learn the basics, like students in other countries do. Why burden them so young with tomes in an alien language? This happens in no developed country, only in a few former colonies, including India.

English medium in education has an advantage only for those few who want to study abroad, and is easy only for those who hear English at home. They are at present greatly privileged, but are a miniscule minority.

During the years of UPA rule, the craze for English medium schools accelerated, and it may have been intentional. Government schools kept being in the news for poor results, and forthwith even those who did not know any English started sending their children to the mushrooming small private English medium schools. It became a business opportunity for some entrepreneurs and a prestige issue for parents who hardly could afford the school fee.

Friends, who had established primary schools in over 20 villages in the Himalayan foothills, closed them down some years ago. In tune with the times, parents had pressured them to change them to English medium. My friends took a principled stand and did not comply. The children landed up in dubious English medium schools.

No authority counselled the parents that it was a big blunder, as their children will be neither good in English nor in their mother tongue. They are unlikely to break through the glass ceiling that separates them from the haves. In fact, they would be much better off if they went to a Gurukul like Baba Ramdev did, obtain knowledge that truly matters, develop body, mind and spirit and discover the purpose of their lives.

Baba Ramdev made me realise how odd it is to continue with English in India. He himself had escaped English education and the slave mentality that often comes with it and certainly is not the worse for it. There are few people who are as knowledgeable, energetic and successful in transforming their vision into reality, as he is. He is connected to his roots via Sanskrit, and can see the damage that the British have inflicted on India.
During his talks across the country he kept thundering: “French study in French, Germans in German, Japanese in Japanese. Why do Indians study in English?”

I realised only then how shockingly disadvantaged Indian children are. I wondered what would have happened, if my parents had sent me to a (luckily non-existing) English medium school. It would surely have been a disaster, even though English is not as different from German as it is from Indian languages.

It happens occasionally that children from a non-English background get into prestigious higher education. The super 30 of Bihar who crack the IIT admission test are an example. But they could have honed their outstanding talent for maths even better, if they had not first to overcome this huge language hurdle.

An NRI from US tested the intelligence of Indian and American children via sign based IQ tests. Village children in India outperformed their city counterparts in India and in the US. In one village over 30 per cent scored over 90th percentile! An extraordinary result! Yet once these children aim at higher education, they lose confidence, all because they are not good in English.

A government school teacher told me that some of her students were drop outs from English medium schools. They were now flowering in Hindi medium. “Here, they can be natural, have fun. Whereas in English medium they were always timid” she said. “Worst off”, she added “are poor kids that are admitted to expensive schools under the RTE Act. They clearly wither away as they feel inferior.”

The push for more English medium schools in recent years and the proposal to introduce it even in government schools is difficult to understand. Those planning the education policies would know that English medium for children from non-English background is too tough. The disparity can’t be removed in this way. It can be removed by giving them books and question papers in their mother tongue also for higher studies.

The parents from poorer sections think that they do the best for their children, as they learn now the same as the children of ‘big people’. They don’t realise how it stifles their development. They also don’t realise how much crap is written in those fancy textbooks. (I won’t go into details, as I wrote two articles on it earlier, links below)
Apart from making the children timid, being forced to speak English in school dilutes their Indian identity. Could this have actually been the objective – to make the children lose this identity at a time when many realise that India stands tall among the nations? This assumption is hopefully out of place. Yet watching discussions on English channels, one gets the impression that many panellists would wish for a fast westernisation of India. Those panellists however clearly do not represent the masses.

Can India, 70 years after independence, finally make a gradual transition to teaching all, including higher, education in the respective mother tongue and teach Sanskrit and English as obligatory languages and others optional? Europe with over 20 states and over 20 languages is in a similar position like India. There, each child is taught in his mother tongues including at university level. India could adopt this model. Some plans have already been drawn up, for example in an interesting slide show by Sankrant Sanu under: He also wrote “the English Medium Myth” which is available in English and HIndi

India is more cohesive than the European Union. The underlying unity in her diversity is her common heritage. And this heritage is India’s strength. As much as the English speaking left liberals may deny it, Sanskrit, Ramayana, Mahabharata and Vedic philosophy unite India even today. It would be foolish to further dilute this glue by promoting an “English India”, while the west discovers the value of Sanskrit and Indian philosophy and teaches it in their schools and universities.

By Maria Wirth
My earlier articles on education:



  1. Maria Lozano · · Reply

    That is the most serious issue in all of this, in my view: the alienation from his own roots of what it should be a proud indian, by starting the education in English as a small child. And the subsequent brainwashing through alien text books full of biased information, to truly create not only slaves, but convinced slaves most of times! that will only help spread further and to future generations the narrow and vested western vision of the universe. You just helped me to see it clearly.

    I agree with your proposal “education in the respective mother tongue and teach Sanskrit and English as obligatory languages and others optional” as the best way to counteract slavery in the Indian minds. And if promotion of purely Indian systems of education can be done at the same time, much better!.

    Thank you, Maria, for seeing “beyond the obvious” and sharing it with us.

  2. I Menon · · Reply

    Slowly, but steadily, India is waking up to the damages inflicted on it’s spirit and body by the narrow-minded dogmatic foreign foolish religions and the followers of those religions which/who ruthlessly and violently
    suppressed the most
    peaceful race for centuries
    “in the name of god”.
    The Sanskrit Scholars and those of the Indian languages should now develop a technical language also that can explain the science disciplines so that the new generation is able to naturally develop the technical/
    scientific skills
    naturally in native
    Thanks for discussing one of the most relevant topics in India now, that a native government is in place with adequate majority to rule and bring in the changes required to bring a natural India manifest with it’s full potential, discarding all the superficial western decorations forced on it’s personality.

  3. AMIT TIWARI · · Reply

    Well said mam,i am totally agree with you.we are studying in English throughout our life and it makes difficult for the vernacular medium students to grasp the information properly written in those English books.
    because of this India is far behind in innovations compared to innovations we have done in our vedic period.thanks for enlightening us.

  4. […] Decolonising India's education | MARIA WIRTH […]

  5. Truthful and courageous article. In some important ways the British (should one say ‘the English’?) have shown a devious and conceited behaviour right up from their beginnings as a world power – up to, not only Churchill, but Blair, Reagan, Bush (not to forget Thatcher) and the most current actuality. In Canada – even through the 20th Cent.- Native children were taken from their families to be properly ‘educated’, being forced to abandone their language and every trace of their own culture in the process.

    There were many other abuses – predominantly sexual – commited by the Anglo-Canadian Government and their officials against these defenseless children besides forced indoctrination. Those Canadian natives are still struggling to recover a measure of self-respect and the cultural values, or remnants thereof, they still have – a struggle frequently compounded by alcohol abuse to which they are prone and are largely defenseless against. For the British, they are just a splash of folk-lore, adding colour to their own high cultural, civilizational status.

    In fairness, one has to admire the British capacity for organization – for good and for bad – as well as the flexibility of the English language. Unfortunately we are seemingly steadily moving towards a ‘Novus Ordo’ – globalization ‘plus’ (I leave everyone to fill in what that means in practical terms).

  6. Col Rajeshwer SHARMA (Retd) · · Reply

    When India invented ZERO , were the Britishers around? Ask this to
    Karunakaran or his ilk . At least they should promote Sanskrit -the mother of all languages.
    Ms Wirth’s articles are well researched and articulated. Thanks

  7. ”I could directly observe this: In 2006, in the span of a few months, six babies were born in my surrounding – three of them to acquaintances who speak English at home and three to servants. All six of them are now in English medium schools. Meanwhile the disparity is huge. The children of the former are at ease in English and ‘good’ in school,”

    Obviously India has been good to you Maria. Stirring up right sentiments pays huge dividends it seems . Judging from your “acquaintances”. You would not be making a single anna if we were’nt speaking this cursed language . The likes of you have perched on the crest of these mediums(internet) and spewed your spiel.In a land filled with a billion people . It is quite easy to find simple minded people that sally forth with praises like “for seeing beyond the obvious”.
    No doubt the colonisers very nearly made India a ship of fools . Only because they were assisted
    by some who were only blessed with greed and stupidity. Till this day I still wonder.These were great men with classical hindu education and upbringing.Where did the values go? Why were there so much corruption?Why the lack of cohesion? I have seen some very talented children who have grown up in the UK or US and other parts of SE Asia who are well versed in the scriptures, traditional music and have gone on to some very good universities with their cultures and roots intact.

    So Maria who ever you are and very clearly I understand you need to support ypur expat lifestyle with your dubious my point is that the Indians have no excuse.An education in English should not erode a culture if that culture is strong within the individual’s premises.
    If the families have not made the effort to uphold what is dear to them (culture,music, religion etc)
    Then let’s not blame anyone but ourselves . The Indian movie industry itself is doing a fine job of
    masking themselves with blue eyes and fair hair and heading West.So in reality an English education is not the nemesis.An eroding Indian society is if you do not hold what is dear to you

    1. @Balu
      Find it hard to understand what you want to say. It seems you agree that decolonization should happen, and you are angry with the British, call English a cursed language.
      And it seems you are also angry with me but I don’t know why. Because (in your fantasy) I make an “expat lifestyle” on spewing “spiel” (what is this?) in internet?
      If you know how to earn money by posting on the internet, please let me know. Neither did I make any money by writing articles for Life Positive, nor for Hindu Voice, nor on my blog. (Yes, I do get a free subscription from the magazines).
      Maria Wirth

      1. mr balu is a neo convert to christianity hailing from the peninsular belt which is a hotbed of missionary activity. disregard his comments ..

    2. Maria Lozano · · Reply

      Whatever your opinion is (praising the English education, it seems), you lose all the credit by having to defame the writer of an article taking for granted things about her that you invent only to defame. There is mainly one person commenting in Maria´s articles who is unable to give their view without entering into the personal field of what she may or may not do in her life. Is that you? The same with different names?
      And i will sally forth for with praises whoever is authentic, bold and genuine in their exposition.and is capable of doing it with full respect, something you seem to lack.

    3. Gurupreet · · Reply

      @balu, You fail to understand that the English colonists deliberately distorted the Indian history and spiritual text to create a division and undermine the Indians. The creation of “Aryan” race and invasion myth, disregard to the spiritual texts of Mahabharata, Bhagvad Gita, Ramayana, and puranas, mis-interpreting hymns of Rig Vedas, creation of Dravidian languages theory were all measure to undermine and suppress the national pride of Indians and create doubts in their own mind about their own religion and ancient history. All this so that they could be westernized and filled with the evangelized version of history and the Aryan invasion theory and mis-interpretation of the caste system conveniently fitted that vision. It’s not that people of India were pre-disposed to this but over the years, the psyche of the Indian people changed and they lost pride in their nation. This was all part of a well-conceived “plan” by English and became more devious after the 1857 mutiny. Before the english occupation, the mughal rule (exception of Akbar) also did serious damage to Indian psyche and pride. All this because Indians/Hindus/Aryans are tolerant and accepting people. Starting with Ashoka, the spread of Buddhism promoted Ahimsa but took it to extreme and created a soft and weaker state as perceived by invading arab/persian muslims and then later on english. Ahimsa is virtue but so is protection of your motherland by being always vigilant and prepared. You should know all this.

  8. hi maria

    well said – project ‘Destroy India’ is very much ‘On’ & Imposing English on common Indians has always been an integral part of it.

    but now is the time to tackle this menace as well along with many other evil problems which have been thrust upon us by the devil Britishers & their Indian slaves – agents & workers through various criminal means & methods.

    however, abolishing it completely will not be the solution – we will have to fight it out with different ways & mechanisms to get rid of this psychological torture and It is of paramount Importance – If aspires to bring our lost glory – pride & honour.


  9. hi maria

    you may read my post : ” hi everybody – did you receive your secular certificate ”

    this is my little take on – how someone responds when he meets a Jew – Christian & Muslim person and what happens when that someone accidentally meets a ‘Hindu’ and asks him ‘Are You Hindu’ :-


  10. Agree with you that mother-tongue language based education is beneficial to all. The diverse linguistic groups of India must be educated in their respective languages, that way the people of Indian union will benefit the most. Medium of instruction being anything other than language surrounding the kid is only detrimental.
    For a Kannada speaking kid for instance, Hindi/Sanskrit as medium of instruction is as difficult (and detrimental) as English as a medium of instruction.

  11. Jura Nanuk · · Reply

    While traveling in Angola, I was surprised that people who fought so hard to become free from Portuguese colonization, kept Portuguese as their official language. I asked my Angolan friends about it, and they told me they did it for practical reasons. As they have many tribal languages and dialects, Portuguese was the only language common to all. Education exists only in Portuguese. Some young people refuse to speak tribal language even if they know it as it is regarded by some as a sign of “backwardness”. Of course there are people in Angola who are trying to promote learning of tribal languages as it is part of national treasure, but such initiatives are unfortunately not given attention and support by the authorities.

    Personally I don’t think that education in English is a problem providing that the original languages are also being studied in school. You are German and I’m Croatian and thanks to our common knowledge of English we can communicate. Whether we like it or not, English is widely spoken around the world and it is very practical language to know.

    In your article you quoted Baba Ramdev saying “French study in French, Germans in German, Japanese in Japanese. Why do Indians study in English?” My question is in which language should Indians study since there is no such thing as Indian language? Japanese or Germans do not have hundreds of languages and dialects so it is natural that they have education in their own languages. Having the whole population speaking one language definitely has some advantages – people can travel across the whole country and still be able to communicate with other, find jobs, attend education in different parts of the country.

    I’m not an expert for Indian education system, but without speaking English as a common language people from one part of India couldn’t search for job in another part of country due to language barrier. For example, person who completed his/her education in Bengali might have problem finding a job in Hindi speaking area. English comes as practical solution for that problem.

    1. You well said it. Certain things we cannot reset to original factory condition. The influence of English is one such factor. It is the only common thread language right now and it will be there unless in future we can implant some chip in every India so that can communicate with a national language something old or new !

      I hate all these Europens who colonised India. But I am thankful no Spanish or Portugehse be lucky enought to rape India they did to Latin American and their other colonies. They killed the culture, language, food whatever is their they killded it. Thanks Brits they don’t that to India. But they loot our wealth. Still I hate you Brits.

      1. You should read about the Goan Inquisition please. And the problem of Angola is very similar to India’s. However, to correct that gentleman: India has many local languages that were historically linked with Sanskrit. That is the reason the colonial forces (Islamic and British/Imperialists) resist the introduction of Sanskrit very rabidly – they will create all kinds of outrageous arguments to prevent this from ever happening as it is the one thing that unifies India, South-East Asia very quickly. Until a majority of Indians realize this and start investing in Sanskrit, it will not happen.

    2. prakriti · · Reply

      So you are comparing Angola’s tribal languages to India’s well developed and intellect languages? Although there is a need for a common communication language for india, which is english as of now, but still there is no need to make English the mother tongue of future indian generation. India has got many many far superior languages than english, frankly it is ego of Indians not to come on a platform and accept a native language from their root, they would rather love to embrace a foreign language.

  12. Dear Maria,

    Namaste! Well written and thought through article. Every Indian must read this article and get further more awareness. I can also see a valid comment from Mr. Jura Nanuk which is applicable to India. However, I would say every Indian must never lose the ability to understand, communicate (and also write) in his/her mother tongue. And more importantly, basics of Sanskrit should be learnt at school level so that kids don’t forget the beautiful language and the pioneer of all the existing languages.


    1. Yo how I will read and enjoy the ariticle since I speak, read and write only Tamil. Tell me.

  13. You are right and wrong when comes to India. Germans speaks only German. French speak only french. Japanese speak only japanese. Russian speak only russian. But if you speak Hindi and I speak only Tamil how we going to communicate. Either you have to learn Tamil or I have to learn Hindi which I am never going to. So shall we try sign language or we communicate with English as both of us know !!!

    If Tamil kid learn in Tamil only is good. The govt. of Tamilnadu can give in writing to provide a job in Tamilnadu which the kid ready to work only in IT ? And Tamilnadu has only 5% if the total of the whole India(assumtion). So finding a job in other part of the country is impossible.

    So dude I appreciate your effort. But India is one country of the union of other vernacular different countries. So we need a common language. Sankrit is a dead language. English the only threading language right now.
    Other wise let us divide the country into many many pieaces just to entertaine person like you.

    Have some common sense before come up with ‘big idea’.

    Please excuse my poor English where English is not my mother toungue. Also I don’t even know well how to right in my mother tongue !!!

  14. Mariyaji, we can take heart in these 2 recent news postings –

    This is somewhat like your earlier post on ‘jeans in Summer’ – people just do not think twice on what they do until someone points out, and this also due to the fact that they won’t know the difference of living in a temperate climate. And here, when I say ‘nandri’ in Tamil to a vendor on the street, he returns the gesture with ‘thank you’, being so oblivious to ‘language slavery’ as usage of English words has become second nature.

  15. Pramod Eknath Ranade · · Reply

    Quite an elaborate and informative article. Thanks for the same.

  16. English has been the favored language of the Marxists in India ( who got a stranglehold on Indian academia thanks to Nehru) and has been the gateway to jobs. India may have de-colonized its geography but has not succeeded in decolonizing its mind. The stupid move several decades back to force Hindi on South India instead of explaining and convincing it, reinforced English but not the great regional languages. The three language formula was good–mother tongue, Hindi or Sanskrit and English. In this scheme the mother tongue was to be the language of teaching upto atleast the start of college education. This was not carried through imaginatively. An added problem has been the numerous regional languages each with its own long cultural and literary history. In promoting English, the West-oriented elite including of course Jawaharlal Nehru, ignored the regional languages. It will take a long time and determination to get Indians out of this self-created mess.
    One should be cautious to compare the Indian situation with uni-language nations.

  17. Excellent article. Objective and down-to-earth.
    There is nothing more beautiful and important than one’s mother tongue.

    From Ajeya Bharat Party manifesto, ca. 1997:
    “Curricula up to the university level will be taught in the mother-tongue. The study of English and other foreign languages will be made optional and their study will no longer be compulsory for entry into civil services. Major countries all over the world provide education in their own mother-tongue.
    Innumerable research studies have proven that effortless and quick assimilation of knowledge is possible only in the mother-tongue.
    Teaching foreign languages to students at an early age produces large amounts of stress in the nervous system and damages the brain tissues. It is very harmful. As a result, the intelligence of such students becomes less and less, and they are not able to complete their higher education.”

  18. नमस्ते!

    I read your article – Decolonising India’s Education and I felt very relieved after reading it. Thank you so so so much!!! 🙂

    I am an Indian (Marathi) and I studied in an English Medium School. My father is an Engineer and he wanted me and my sisters to study in an English School. He had studied in a Marathi School and he faced a lot of difficulties in his higher education. It was very thoughtful of him to enroll us into an English School so that we will not face problems in our higher studies in future and I highly appreciate him for this decision.

    Studying in an English School had some detrimental effects on me. Firstly, there is indeed a big problem when a person is enrolled in an English School while his family speaks to him in Marathi. In my school, the teachers would speak in English always (even when I was in Kindergarten) and it used to put an enormous stress on my little brain to decipher their sentences. In addition, the teachers were mostly from Tamil Nadu & Kerala and they did not speak Marathi since they were new to Maharashtra. As a result, I used to remain timid and nervous most of the time in my school.

    Secondly, I never had a connection with my teachers during the twelve years of my schooling. I feel that to some extent the difference in religious beliefs was also responsible for this. I come from a strict Hindu family whereas my school was Christian and most of my teachers were also Christian. There was never a proper clarity of thoughts, expressions and communication between me and my teachers.

    Finally, since English was a new language for me, I had developed the bad habit to learn (literally mug up) answers for all subjects – Science, History, Geography, Civics, etc. and even sometimes for English language. I hardly used to understand what I am learning. As a result, my creativity and understanding did not develop properly because of the language barrier.

    Your article provides a clear understanding of the problems with Indian Education System and I strongly feel that some solution must be worked out for it. Thank you again!

  19. It is worth noting that influence of English in India has increased significantly all over India since 1947 onwards. Not just the dominance of English language but a well thought out design to psychologically influence general public to accept English language and English speakers as symbol of something superior, aristocratic, civilized, and developed. In contrast indigenous life style, language, culture is symbolized as something backward, underdeveloped, and to be rejected. It may be asked whether creation of such social ambient is a ground preparation for greater control and far greater influence of speakers of English language over Indian market?

  20. @Maria: Namaste and thanks, a pertinent post!
    @USman: Namaste. The solution to the dilemma of the many Indian languages is pretty simple: speak and learn your mothertongue (hindi, tamil or whatever) and learn English as secondary language (as any other country handles it). English as secondary language has proven to work. Germans speak German and LEARN German (reading, writing, grammar etc) at school as their first language. English is their second obligatory foreign language and is introduced a little later in the curriculum. And thereafter it is the student’s choice to add the obligatory third language: french, latin or greek… The pendant in India could be Hindi and Sanskrit.

  21. Laxman · · Reply

    Liked the write up. But I think we have moved too far with English. Now we can not reverse History. For good or for bad we have to except English. If we must then why not wholeheartedly. The thing, in my view , is to promote the Indian languages and Sanskrit without resenting English or the so called English educated elites. And let me say here that I am educated in a vernacular medium school. So i know, what are the disadvantages of a village level vernacular education. Simply because Ramdev Baba says or a Narendra Modi has made it without the so called elite education, we go on finding faults with English education and dream of changing the past. While you mention of Smriti Irani’s Hindi you forget the fact that she was educated in an English medium school and the impeccable English she speaks which saved her from a controversy. Imagine a Rabri Devi or someone like her in Smriti Irani’s place in that situation.
    Almost half of the world (Latin America, Africa, India, some from Asia), except some European countries and China , Japan etc, read and speak in the colonizers language. That’s a huge population, probably half of the world. Because, History has decided their fate, should we consider them as having slavish mentality or culturally lesser citizens? Even Ramdev Baba while citing Germany and Japan forgot about these countries, which even you have simply dismissed as ‘ colonies’. And I forgot about USA and Canada, former colonies but because of the developed gloss on them, most of us forget that English is not their native language and they were once ‘colonies’.
    For a moment let’s imagine that every state in India adopts a policy to teach the kids in their states in the local language till university level. All the English medium schools are forced to change over to Vernaculars.
    Then what will happen to the children of the people who have to keep on moving every few years across the length and breadth of the huge country for livelihood or for other reasons (Their population even if you take as 5% of the Indian population is a huge figure almost equal to or more than a couple of European countries). Their children can not be expected to learn a new language every few years. This problem is not faced by the European countries, as they have a smaller geographical landmass and they have only one language.
    The states in India are divided on the basis of languages. The problem here is, take up any state; invariably it has a sizable population who don’t speak the native dominant language. How will you solve their problem, presuming your argument that every child must be taught in their own mother tongue; the tongue in which he/she speaks to his/ her mother is to be carried out.
    I have studied in an Indian language school up to class 10th, but i was and am still speak to my Mother in another Indian language, which is my mother tongue. I remember, for the first year I could not understand the school language. By second standard i got to understand the language and by class seventh or when i was about 12 years old was comfortable in the school language. Now, due to exposure and use I am more confident in the language i studied in school than my mother tongue. Actually my skills in the language i learnt first have deteriorated. The mother tongue, i am speaking about is among one of the dominant languages in India. If i was made to almost forget my mother tongue, which is a major Indian language and in this internet age has huge resources; which was not the case during my school years; through which i could teach myself the language, then , think of the children, who speak a tribal or a minor language and are taught in the local dominant language.
    Though, i am very comfortable in writing, reading and speaking Hindi (which is not my mother tongue nor my language of education in school), i think, it has failed miserably in being the link language or enriching the Indian languages. May be in place of Hindi, if the government had promoted Sanskrit – because of its huge vocabulary and richness and the prestige associated with it- the local languages would have been enriched and we would have been saved from the practice of using English phrases and words while speaking our mother tongue or any other Indian language. The language formula could have been, the local language as the major medium of instruction and Sanskrit from Std. I onward and English introduced somewhere around 4th standard onward. In place of Hindi ( Which I find helpful only in understanding Hindi films), the government should have considered to promote the minor languages in schools which are spoken in a particular state. This would cause no problem in this Internet age, if teachers and other infrastructure are not available.
    And to the people who say that Sanskrit is a dead language, to them i would say they are plain deaf or blind that they can not see the amount of Sanskrit they use in their mother tongue besides the Sanskrit they use in their rituals, if they are Hindu, Buddhist or Jains.

  22. Giridhar · · Reply

    Hi Maria !

    Though the knowledge of english is also preferable, but as a communication therapist I note that so called ‘educated’ parents are the cause for the delayed acquisition of linguistic skills in some children, as they aid the confusion in children – while the child is basically from Hindi background (or other native background) & is exposed to Hindi, some of the parents cannot be realistic they think they will lose their ‘superior identity’ if the child is not spoken to in english or if the child doesn’t learn english – so the child who is already endeavoring to master his linguistic skills eventually is so much stressed that he has to taken on additional burden of decoding english spoken by just one of the parent or both the parents as opposed to rest of the other family members who speak only in Hindi or other native tongue ! I wish to also point out that Sanskrit improves our articulation skills & makes our voice melodious, which english cannot do so ! Vande Mataram !

  23. Good observations from Frau Wirth!

    I will limit my comment to the matter of Sanskrit.

    A lot of words in Indian langauges (Tamil included) have Sanskrit origins or connections (if not etymology at least a “verbindung”).

    A person who speaks only one language may not know that, naturally. Learning Sanskrit will definitely help the pan-Indian appreciation of the “other” (other State, other region, other language, other culture..) so that part is good. It will also help Indians realize connections with the world at large, for e.g. the word for “brow” is “Bhru” which very much sounds like “Bruhe” of German. “Anya” in Persian is just the same as “anya” in Sanskrit or Hindi. And “Wanita” in Indonesian or Malaysian Bahasa (=”Bhasha” of Skt) means “woman”, just as in Hindi or Telegu. How else but for Sanskrit?

    But Sanskrit alone is not going to mean a wider access to Indian heritage or philosophy. Just as less than 1% of Germans would have studied Immanuel Kant or Goethe, it will be the same. The impact will be just miniscule.

    Panini is better understood by scholars (in the West or in India, alike) than by a common man (in India, or West, alike). And it will remain so, even if Sanskrit is made more accessible.

    And English gives them the daily bread they seek, and it wouldn’t be right to deny the opportunity!

  24. Mistar E · · Reply

    There is already 3 decades of research into this. Do not re-invent the wheel pls. Build on what is already there and the questions and possible solutions will multiply

    1. @Mistar
      went through the book review provided in your link, but I fail to see why you consider my writing “a reinvention of the wheel”.
      Is it because the author of the book attempts a “decolonisation of the social sciences”? This no doubt praiseworthy, but what does it have to do with my article? I hope you don’t consider the term “decolonisation” as unique and under copy right, apart from the fact that I had not seen this review or the book.

      Further, the book seems to be an academic treatise written in English.
      To be able to be fluent in a language, one has to be immersed in it fully. I know from experience. After six years of English lessons in High School, I was far from fluent. So why should Indians put so much effort into learning a language fluently to be able to counter the west on their own terms. They could learn many other more important things instead. After all, there can be a flourishing new job profile of translators.
      Maria Wirth

  25. Maria,
    You make a number of good points. Educating children in their native languages produces the best outcomes in terms of character development. Unfortunately in India, the goal of human development is in tension with the goal of national cohesion. Baba Ramdev asks: if French kids are educated in French and Japanese kids in Japanese, why are Indian kids educated in English. One answer is that “Indian” is not a language. There are so many, and so widely varying, languages in India, that it’ll require serious effort to learn another language. Tamil and Hindi are far more different than even, say, English and Russian are. If people must be exclusively educated in their mother-tongues, then won’t they lose the ability to communicate with each other? And then, what happens to the country? Should we split into multiple countries, each based on an overwhelmingly dominant language? In bilingual countries like Belgium, Canada, and Switzerland, people learn 2-3 languages. It is impossible for average people to learn 30-odd languages to function anywhere in India.
    Oh, and by the way, another reason to learn English in India is to gain access to a wide range of scientific (and to some extent, literary) knowledge that no one has bothered to translate into the native tongues of India. Now, anyone who sets up a foundation to do such large-scale translation will be doing God’s work. But the point remains that such knowledge is not accessible in most languages (one can only go so far in life with knowledge derived from the Upanishads) and a child would be seriously hamstrung by a wholly non-English education. BTW…I don’t know any school in India that teaches only in English. Kids always learn their local languages up to high school level. Beyond that, it’s their decision.
    Now these are all unsatisfactory and imperfect reasons to have English education in India. But just consider the alternatives. It was a hard choice for our founding fathers to make, but it’s uncharitable to say that they made it purely because they were steeped in the colonial slave mentality and considered English culture to be superior to Indian one (or ones.)

    1. Kris, i did not suggest an education without English. i am German, did all my education including university in German and could “communicate” in English after high school, but was not perfect. Talk to any foreigner who is not English or American and you will know what i mean.
      To become fluent one needs to be fully immersed in it, read it, speak it – that’s what i did in India…. and since 15 years (i am 64) i dare to write in English. Yet when i had once during my studies a scholarship in Indonesia, i learnt Bahasa Indonesia in 3 months as well as Hindi in 5 years, because i needed it to be able to understand. so those people who will need the language will learn. Most Indians don’t need it, if higher education were not in English.
      why should Indians be perfect and not employ a translator? Which English educated person will find it easy to read a book in the langauge of his state, be it Hindi, Tamil, or..
      i consider this a great loss, as langauge is intimately connected with culture and identity. If Germans would speak English, and quote Shakespear instead of Schiller or Goethe, it simply wouldn’t be Germany.
      please see the link given regarding the European model. It makes it clear that perfection in English is not needed for science, on the contrary, students in India have to put so much energy into learning an alien langauge (except those few who speak Englsih at home) that science and maths suffer. You must have seen comments on this panel confirming this.

      1. But to revert back to our local languages has many problems let me point out some:

        1. India doesn’t have a common language that means a person from south India without a common language cannot communicate with a Gujarati lets say. We must focus on a common language, yes you are right, when u say much talent is lost due to the fear of English but then on the other side we are localizing people aren’t we?

        2. Our parliament and Supreme Court have their notings and judgements in English, if we are talking about converting back to our roots that would mean a huge exercise translating all the text accumulated till now. Moreover, intellectuals taught in this generation cannot be asked to go an learn lets say sanskrit or Hindi immediately. This would means a gradual change through panning through decades I think. The plan of conversion must be planned out very meticulously.

        3. Furthering point no 1, given the current hostile environment developed due to the so called Dravidian movement coupled with stupid political parties how are we to establish a common language which is very important as the North-South divide would widen alienating future generations??

        These are some points which I think must be answered before reverting back to our local language is concerned. I believe first the divide that has been created between different parts of the country needs to be breached by unearthing and exposing divide and rule policy that has been going on since long. To do this we would need historians to research a lot, are our researchers capable of that I doubt given their teachings are based on English framework.

        I would eager to hear your view on these points.

    2. Gurupreet · · Reply

      Kris, I didn’t see anywhere in the post where Maria is suggesting to not teach English at all, instead I see reasoning for including English in the curriculum but not have it as the only primary language and removing the divide of English-medium and non-English medium schools. Sanskrit is the language of our heritage from the ancient times and having Sanskrit as one of the primary languages along with Hindi or whatever local language is the best strategy to increase national unity, awareness and pride. Imagine what an education of knowledge and wisdom imbibed in the vedic scriptures would do to increase the awareness, knowledge and national pride in the new society. That would be the first step in building an Arya (meaning noble and virtuous and not the imaginary Aryan race imagined by some historians and promoted by Nazis) society. Vedic scriptures were beyond any religion as there was no Hinduism, Islam, Christianity at that time, just the Dharma based on Arya principles. India/Bharat can be a leader in spreading that Dharmic society transcending the selfish and fictitious boundaries created based on man-made religions.

  26. Hi Maria.


  27. We all have to open our minds and hearts. The language issue is just the tip of the iceberg. What is intelligence? It is so much more than what gets defined by academics. Please watch this fantastic, profound, relevant, humorous and highly inspiring talk (20 mins) by Ken Robinson – about how school kills creativity, allover the world:

    1. Maria, thanks for this platform. By the way, this is a TED talk and was viewed 29,199,307 times… Follow up talks by him on

  28. Abhijeet Joshi · · Reply

    Hello Maria

    I totally agree with you and you reflected everything which is in my mind through this article. I am one of the fortunate Indian who knows and loves sanskrit(which became my 1st language from my 8th grade). So I understand the importance of it. It has made me able to learn many other Indian languages also. Some are in the dilution that English is the bonding force of Indians, its not. Before British came to India, many people went to piligrimage, people from North came to south, people from south went to north. What was the bonding force of that time? There were many kingdoms who ruled, but for piligrimage, societies there was no restriction in travelling. SO, people who are still in the British mindset that India was never a one country, british united us, without english it will go the USSR way and all, please stop and think again. India has more than 5000 years of history, a mere 200-600 years of History doesnot count much.

  29. Hi Maria,

    I just dropped into your website, probably you wished that I look into this article, thank you for your greatest concern on the Indian land, people and religion. I went through the article and appreciate the resilience found throughout the article and the reviews.

    During the Mogul invasion half of the people lost interest or faith in the culture, religion and their gods, because of their blind faith that the gods were suppose to save them. This lack of interest further decreased the ritualistic beliefs and left people to live for the day, and forget the battle. Sanskrit slowly erased from the people mind and local languages were enough to make their life.

    Before invasion, Indians had small territories one next to the other but a war was always between soldiers and never interrupted with the society. Peace loving Indians were horrified by the invaders forcing through their social life, wherever you see there were forced conversions, robbery, rapes and murders, and temples became a place of terror.

    At this time Britishers entered India, as god sent men, yes, I repeat as god sent men. Else by now, whatever is available to see would have been moguls world. I accept that for the external world it appears like we were slaves to Britishers and for some extent yes we were. But look at this nation what they left behind for us, do you think those barbarians who are still thundering with hatred, cruelty, and foolishness would have left us without at least massacring half of the nation? They would have forcefully cut of the genitals of men, raped our women, and what not? With all these high drama in the air, when Britishers left us, we were left out with n-number of languages and territories, some how we managed to develop a republic and till today there are some small time language oriented clashes. Sanskrit was limited to temples, Poojas and ceremonies i.e. to recite Shlokas. At this time little bit of English education came in handy to organize and to keep in touch with the external world.

    Today the situation is, we are not too very well versed either in our mother tongue or in English. But one mistake we did is, we should have utilized English as communication language and should have reimposed Sanskrit in the curriculum. Doing so, by now, Sanskrit would have been National language and English a communication language to reach out people abroad.

    Keep posting, very useful platform.


  30. Gwiz, saw this piece elsewhere and thought you might like it :

    Unlike most blindly patriotic Indians who celebrate independence, I dont like to make a big deal out of it. Why? Because I owe my entire livelihood and lifestyle to the British.
    If the British had not come to India, I would have never learned English. I would be still wearing lungi, tilling agricultural land somewhere in Kerala. I would have been part of small kingdom in north Kerala which has no standing or impact in the global community. The British united all the small kingdoms into one mighty nation and I am very grateful to the British for that.
    Also I would never have met my wife from another state and also the wonderful friends I have all across India. The British built all the basic infrastructure of railways and roads in my country. All the rail lines I have used to reach my college in Cochin and later my job in Chennai were built by the British. Cricket as a sport would have never existed and also the joy of winning of two World Cups would not be there if the British had not come. Independence Day is not very special mainly because India has not achieved much as a nation since independence. More money was looted by Indian politicians and transferred to European banks in 64 years than the British looted in 200 years. The British built 50,000km of railways before independence and after independence India built only 10,000km. All the prosperity in south India, especially Bangalore, is because of the British teaching us English. As I write this article drinking hot tea, I would like to thank the British for that also.
    I once met an Algerian taxi driver in Manhattan and he made a comment like, “You guys threw out the British from India too early in 1947. We Algerians are smart – we let our French colonial masters build all the world-class infrastructure and threw them out of our country in 1962 only.” Which makes me think that if the British had stayed for 20 more years in our country we would have had better infrastructure and of course a better quality of life. I guess the people in Hong Kong would be still grateful to the British for leaving only in 1997.
    From Indians in America! Reproduced by kind permission of the author, Vikram Harindran.

    1. Your comment presents a very shallow and very irresponsible perspective. And some statements like this” I would be still wearing lungi, tilling agricultural land somewhere in Kerala. I would have been part of small kingdom in north Kerala which has no standing or impact in the global community.” make dangerous assumptions that all of the people were wearing lungis and engaged in agriculture at that time, which is not true. This is the common perception due to incomplete history and image created in the media, which creates streotypes. In fact from a logical perspective and analyzing the evidence we have today, in the region of Kerela alone influenced by the Vijaynagar and previous empires, there would have been many craftsmen and traders of all sorts all contributing to a flourishing economy. The famous/infamous damascus steel used in swords that caused much havoc during the crusades actually originated from India. The cotton that kick-started the industrial revolution in Europe was also invented in India and is traced back to have been cultivated and spun for the first time in the Indus Valley civilization.

      British gained much more from India than they contributed. It was India/China that funded the industrial revolution and the wars that british fought. All this is well known and documented but still some ignorant people choose to ignore it. In terms of the impact on economy before the industrial revolution in europe, India and China controlled 80% of global GDP so how’s that for an economic impact!!! Ever care to think, where did all that wealth disappear after the looting by incessant invasions? I bet the person who you quote with a Hindu sounding name does not know any of this because some Indians are either not aware of their own history and many significant contributions to the world and humanity. Please don’t quote another persons viewpoint and project as that is the prevalent view. if you have some of your own historically, factually accurate and un-biased, then share with us.

      I would like to add that of course in the present context of things, India has benefited from the language of English as it provides better integration with the global economy but that’s not the point of view being discussed in this article. What is being discussed is how much better it would’ve been if the government after independence had promoted the correct Indian history and focus on native language of Sanskrit. The author presents very relevant arguments to promoting use of Sanskrit in mainstream education in India. This will have far reaching implications in not only learning the language that identifies with the nation but also to encourage the reading of original ancient Indian spiritual and scientific texts instead of their English translated version, which will go a long way in increasing pride amongst Indians for their culture, heritage and make them realize the glorious civilization that India is.

  31. pinkuenchanted · · Reply

    Maria while its lovely to think that Indians should learn their own language more than an alien one. I hope you do see the problem that arises when you go to non-hindi speaking states and try to impose Hindi. To most states and people English is a preferred second language after their mother tongue. Also by learning english they can connect both with their countrymen from other parts of the country as well as globally. Hindi does not resolve that issue.

    1. Coming from Germany i simply cannot imagine how i would have managed if all my school books would have been in English. Naturally my German would have suffered greatly, as whatever i learnt new was in English and how good can i learn a completely new language during school hours when at home only German is spoken?
      Many Indian kids are in this situation. They learn by rote the sentences without understanding them. Naturally they feel timid and have no confidence.
      Indians could have Sanskrit and English as subjecs, like Europe has Latin and English.
      Did you see the link at the end of the article? Sankrant Sanu makes a good presentation in it.

  32. neuroplane · · Reply

    Fine piece. Except on the Sanskrit and the ‘Indian’ identity front. The latter first. You have to know there is no one ‘Indian’ identity like there’s German. India is a prison-house of nations – nations which are all waiting to secede at the first opportunity the world-historical situation presents. Tamil Nadu, Kashmir, Manipur, Nagaland, Telengana, Punjab, Bengal, and may be a few others. So there’s that. Now to Sanskrit.

    About 7000 languages of present day India have nothing to do with Sanskrit, Sanskrit which is the language of the Brahmins. So what you’re basically calling for is a total Brahmin domination. Brahmins, who, by the way, form 98% of the 0.05% English-speaking, dominating class you mentioned.

    1. Sorry neuroplane, you’re playing to the colonial, missionary agenda by your comment regarding regions “waiting” to secede. BTW, did you get the information about their “waiting” to secede from some christian NGO funded reports and studies? I’d be really interested to know your sources and on what basis you profound this profound statement?. E.g. I’m a punjabi Sikh and none in my family or in any of the thousands of my family and extended family is “waiting” to secede from India so cut your missionary BS and crap about brahmin this and brahmin that. We know the nexus in India between the communist left and the christian missionary evangelicals. Also, would you care to elaborate the 7000 languages in India?? I’d like a list of these languages please because that is news to me. The last I heard 780 languages/dialects spoken in India and 250 died in the last 50 years. As far as sanskrit goes, the language shares 70% grammar and vocabulary with most south Indian languages.

      Please educate yourself on the facts and get out of the colonial mindset that propagated fallacies about languages and identity to divide India. A good place to start will be a well researched essay by a Yale post-doc fellow – Colonial Constructs about Indian Languages, Shishir Thadani

  33. No one directing the edcation in right direction. The basic reason is avoided. Read my two brains story to get basic reason. or on

    There is basic reason why we are as we are, why we remain and will be as we are, until we change out thinking and thus until we teach our students to think and grow rather than take it and vomit it.

    Make education interesting by inovlving students in teaching process, by increasing their curiosity, by relating the facts from real life examples. Situation will automatically improve.

  34. […] The article first appeared as- […]

  35. Even this write up is in English and I am sure your kids go to private English school! Not being biased , let us accept that English is International and easy. The mother tongue is difficult to implement in India as we are very diverse. So it comes to the National Language Hindi… Which must be taught all states, including English as all social media everything is in English primarily.

    1. my mother tongue is German and it took me 20 years in India till i ventured to write in English. i wished i would be fluent by now in Hindi or Tamil, where i stayed a lot, instead of fluency in English. i was ok with my German English.
      in contrast, i spent during my studies 3 months in Indonesia and was as fluent in Bahasa Indonesia after 3 months, as after 5 years in India. i had to learn, if i wanted to communicate.

      recently a German friend from my studies, a doctor, came visiting. he asked me to translate my articles into German as he and most of his friends find it by now difficult to even read in English, as they never use English except in holidays abroad… higher edu is in German, technical terms are in German. except for very few, the great majority does not need English. and those who need it, will learn it or use translators.

      unfortunately those Indians who went right from the start to English medium don’t know what it means to have a mother tongue, how one can play with words, give the language a regional colour, etc, especially while talking.

      i watch kids from the village how they lose their freedom of speech and freedom of expression once they start school, as their parents want them to give the best education and they don’t realise that most of them will be neither here nor there in the end. it truly pains me, as they are so bright and chirpy at the start. please see the link of Sankrant at the end of the article. it gives valuable info.

    2. The article doesnt have much practical sense. As a Bengali how does the author expect me to talk to my fellow Indians from Bihar or Kerala. I know Bengali fluently as most of my friends does. But it is not possible to learn the other Indian languages. English is NOT the official language . Hindi is. But English is the lingua franca, a language of communication.

      The author hasn’t suggested any alternative to English. And yet she proceeds criticising it from her half baked perspective.
      Most Indians like me are very fluent in their mother tongue and uses English to communicate with other states. India unlike any other country is a storehouse of languages. You cannot equate us to other homogenous countries. Also for your info a country like Japan is also urging people to learn English coz it is a global language and communication is the key. Thank you but I will keep my Indian identity and speak English as well.

      1. Its funny I was just in a forum where a bunch of tourists were criticising some Germans for not speaking English to help them although it is evident they can. I had a very similar experience in Germany. I believe many Germans and French speak English but their refusal to tourists who need help is very rude and something which has been talked about before.
        In contrast Indians even if they know very little English will help tourists as much as they can. “Atithi Devta”. English is a functional language and it is helpful to teach it in thr curriculum in my view.

      2. Many Germans, especially (sorry. was interrupted and it went off by accident incomplete)/ wanted to say that many Germans, especially the older lot knows very little English and even those who once knew it in their youth, forgot it, as they need a little only during holidays… they don’t need it in Germany.
        those who keep insiisting that English is helpful for India, why then is Japan, China, Germany doing well? their education institutes higher ranked than India, in spite of Indians being in all likelihood more intelligent?
        please see also this link

      3. in the long run, Sanskrit will be the best bet. it’s a perfect language, connects with deep wisdom, has dignity and strength, and is for ALL Indians far easier to learn than English, as the sentence construction is similar and all local languages, including Tamil, have Sanskrit words.
        and all this talk of link language… only about 10% of Indians speak English reasonable well. just try it out how far you get with English away from your circle of friends.

  36. Why should SANSKRIT be obligatory? It should be made compulsory, and other native languages as obligatory. Sanskrit must be made national language of India.

  37. After 69 years to over haul the system and re write all Scientific books and knowledge into various Indian languages now is a herculean task both from Human power and economically. And it is like reinventing the wheel. As far as preserving the culture is concerned I recommend first create a good infrastructure of school buildings in all the towns/villages and cities with good sports and Gym facilities and libraries. 30% of the taxes collected in that area should directly go to the school development. Everybody rich or poor should study in these Govt schools and the language of instruction should be native state language till 10th standard. For the intermediate the language of instruction should be in English and both private and Govt. colleges can be there. Universities can be private or public with lots of research facilities. After independence if we had done this then it is a different question to have everything in native language. I studied in my mother tongue till 10th standard. The Govt. schools then had good standard and best teachers. Stress upon learning English and Sanskrit in those 10 years. We cannot say English is a foreign language now. It has been thoroughly Indianized. If you have studied in your vernacular till school final then you will get interest to study culture and literary books in your language to understand ones roots and your language also will not die. You speak in your mother tongue at home and with friends. Even at office you can communicate in your own language if the other guy speaks it or in Hindi and in English in a heterogeneous group. Problem in India is mushrooming private schools without good facilities and quality teachers. Now English is as much an indian language as it is British or American. Even in American there are so many slangs of English in different states. Patriotism and English are not at logger heads as it is perceived.

  38. This article will assist the internet visitors for building up new blog or even a weblog from start to end.

  39. C Siddarth · · Reply

    Maria, will you b ready to provide my generation jobs once we shun the English language. This is an Absolutely ridiculous idea propagated without even thinking of the practicability. Why would an MNC hire me if I’m unable to communicate with the rest of the world. Stop giving Indians this ego boost about their languages being superior. I’m not saying their languages are inferior at all. All I’m saying is we should hav gone ahead and colonized a few nations like Britain did while we had the chance so that we had some cultural heft today.
    “French study in French, Germans in German, Japanese in Japanese. Why do Indians study in English?”… Where do i even begin. Even today, the notification on making Hindi the official government language is sparking protests in Tamil Naad saying it is an enforced imposition of a foreign culture. You actually go on to compare India, a sovereign state with the EU, a bloc of sovereign states by saying their model is applicable here. Great! Already in a nation with so many secessionist movements, we will kill any need for national integration.

    “Baba Ramdev made me realise how odd it is to continue with English in India. He himself had escaped English education and the slave mentality that often comes with it and certainly is not the worse for it. There are few people who are as knowledgeable, energetic and successful in transforming their vision into reality, as he is. He is connected to his roots via Sanskrit, and can see the damage that the British have inflicted on India.” the lesser that we speak on Baba Ramdev’s intellect, the better it is 😂. Hav you heard his views on homosexuality or on capitalism? To say they are regressive is an understatement. Also his business venture has other ‘brainy’ employees who work behind the scenes to grow the company ;don’t giv him too much credit for it.

  40. प्रमोद वसंत बापट · · Reply

    Thanks Maria Madam for this thought provoking article.

  41. Very superb informative article specially to the teacher’s (also for the parents)of our country to understand about the importance of hindi language.
    Thank you Maria ji for providing this wonderful article to Us.
    My student will be very happy when i show this to them.

  42. Don’t you find it strange? When Aryans came here with their Sanskrit, Indians were using that to develop their meta stasis type of society. When turks/mongols invaded, they were happy using urdu. When british came here english.

    I feel that Indians have subservient attitude towards their masters.

    //Well, amazing as it is, many of the Indian elite actually want an ‘English India’. It feels natural to them//

    You have hit the nail. They want English India? But why? Because, the brown indians always wanted to imitate their WHITE/LIGHT SKINNED masters. Not just before the anglo-saxon people, but when Andronovo-Sintastha aryan people migrated here, the Indus Valley People too wanted to imitate them. They kept the names of aryan masters, called them LORD/SIRE etc,

    Even today, the NRIs, american educated people always say that we have to become modern. Majority of these people are well to do family kids, who happen to write GRE/GMAT and get into American Universities, and they work in their white masters organisations. Then they return to become some sort of Entrepreneurs, opening some retail app etc, and try to pose as thinkers with their psuedo americanised tongues. These people propose this as growth model of India, where as it is damaging the entire society.

    1. there is no archeological proof whatsoever for the Aryan invasion theory. it was however a perfect tool to divide Indians.

  43. @ rene006
    „Thank you but I will keep my Indian identity and speak English as well.“ / „I believe many Germans and French speak English but their refusal to tourists who need help is very rude and something which has been talked about before.“
    . . .

    As a German, who lived in six countries between UK and India, who speaks German (mothertongue), English and Italian, learned Latin, wrestles with Hindi and is surrounded by Sanskrit scholars, I would like to share my perspective.

    Every spoken language has a particular rythm and sound. Those sounds create vibrations (or energy if you like). You may check ‚Cymatics‘ and ‚Science of Mantras‘, which deal with how sounds are vibrations that influence matter, even create it. So when you speak a language, your body system gets into a specific frequency and automatically taps into the language-specific characteristics, history, subtle meanings and collective data field (akasha). Simple example: when I speak Italian, I feel a certain gentleness, playfulness and elegance which I do not get at all when speaking English. The Italian language is dynamic, delicious and very well designed (flow, grammar, timbre etc). In contrast, British English phonetics seem to come with an inevitable supercilious attitude, and I strongly believe that this is connected to the country‘s past, its superiority complex and a series of prejudices that come with the language‘s pronunciations (posh accent, or not).

    Essentially for the ancient sages and seers, sound, vibration and matter were one and the same. And language for them was a way to tap into the cosmic unity of all creation, unlike our contemporary use of languages, which too often fractures us into social, nationalistic and religious identifications. Acc. to Dr. David Frawley, sound is a tool, one that can be used intentionally, whether for uniting us all or keeping ourselves in ignorance.

    In my experience, the language you speak can certainly change your attitude and behaviour. Can unfold or supress certain characteristics in you.

    I remember very well how the Russian writer Vladimir Nabokow once expressed his gratitude for the richness of his mothertongue Russian. In the course of his life, he learned German and English, and was able to read the translations of his original books. Guess what. He was in shock about the change of content, loss of meaning and character of the English translations. He stated that at least the German translations came close to the original Russian versions, in terms of meaning, colourfulness, subtleties and depth.

    Those extradimensional qualities I detect also in Sanskrit, which carries an extra benefit: the connection to the rishis, the data of Sanatana Dharma and the cosmos.

    Now, I have been living in India for several years and met people from all strata of society. I came across some Indians who speak very well English. I came across many Indians who do not speak English at all. And I came across many Indians who speak in a patchwork of English and Hindi. Imagine a group of well-off Indian youngsters having dinner in a restaurant or a family than spans two generations having breakfast in a hotel. Typical conversation style amongst them: Boldly beginning a sentence in English – confident to be able to finish it also in English – but then suddenly pausing, and ending the sentence in Hindi. Or, speaking a sentence in Hindi and adding a short English expression afterwards. As if the English phrase would add value to the previous Hindi communication. As an observer from abroad, it sounds odd and feels rather painful (uprooted), as none of the two languages is spoken fluently and coherently. Above all, it tends to come with the air of (pseydo-) elitism.

    In his business meetings, when the dialogue starts in English, my husband often asks his fellow Indians whether they speak Hindi. The usual answer is Yes. He then often invites them: ‘So why don‘t we continue in Hindi?’ And more often than not, the entire atmosphere shifts, for the better.

    You speak about Germans. In general, German people tend to be perfectionist (engineers, just think mercedes, bmw, porsche, braun, bosch, linde, mont blanc!) and intellectuals (Germany, the land of poets and thinkers!). Although English is taught at school as obligatory first foreign language, and full or hybrid Anglicisms entered the media, overall the Germans love their mother tongue, which is also flexible enough to allow the creations of new words (there is an annual ‚word of the year‘ published in the linguistic review by the Association for the German Language GfdS), and given the complex German grammar, it allows also infinitely long sentence structures, which can easily spread across several lines – just like this sentence! 🙂

    Germans are inclined to speak a foreign language only until they feel they have reached minimum level of competency. It is not so much a matter of pride or anxiety to make mistakes. It is much more a question of respect for the other language, the heartfelt need to be understood and an awareness about how quickly misunderstandings can happen. Just remember, how long it took F1 champion Michael Schuhmacher to speak Italian publicly when he drove all those years for Ferrari!

    At the same time, I have witnessed how even a kiosk owner or taxi driver in Germany speaks broken English and goes out of their way without hesitation to help tourists. In France, however, I have indeed experienced what seems a national resistance against the use of English, but the French-British relation is a different story altogether.

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