As reported, ‘Modi talks to foreign leaders in Hindi even though he is reasonably comfortable in English. Apparently, he uses translators for Hindi-English or Hindi-Russian language conversions, but if he gets replies in English he needs no reverse translation.’ In stead of taking a national pride in it, some vested interest of media are trying to give a negative twist. I somehow smelt the same after watching a debate on NDTV 24×7 in ‘The Big Fight’ anchored by Vikram Chandra. Why should such issue get a priority that may be divisive? Please watch and let me have your views
Very soon, I shall be starting my ‘sanyas ashram’, but before that I can certainly talk and write on some subject with my emotional ferment. In late 40s and early 50s, I started my high school education in Birlapur living with my grandfather. My grandfather in those days used to write his dairy- one page every day- in English, as he had all his education in English. Because of our nationalist views imprinted in us by our teacher in village, Ganga Dyal Pandey, whom we respected blindly, We insisted with my dadaji to change his dairy language to Hindi. I got education up to School Final of West Bengal Board with Hindi as medium of writing while my teachers in class taught only in Bangla. I learnt a little bit of Bangla, particularly the conversational. Starting from Presidency College from where I did my Intermediate in Science examination of Calcutta University to IIT, Kharagpur, English was the medium of teaching. It was inconvenient all the way, but today I do not consider the language as cause of much concern ever. During my professional career of almost forty years in West Bengal, I got benefited with my working knowledge of Bangla.
When my Yamuna joined me, she also picked up Bangla. My kids didn’t get much exposure of Bhojpuri, but they learnt to understand that because of the frequent visitors from the region. Anand is best with Bhojpuri because he had spent a lot of time with my father when he came to live with us while Anand was in school. Between Yamuna and myself, we had decided to use Hindi pretty early. We hardly spoke with our kids in English at home, though they studied in English medium. They picked up Bangla too. All the Hindi, Bhojpuri and Bangla around the at home never caused any problem for them in picking up English well. All of them are today in US. Unfortunately, over the years they have lost the touch and will hardly be comfortable with the reading and writing in Hindi. My grand children will hardly ever be in position where they will be using Hindi conveniently in any manner. It is troublesome for Yamuna, but she manages and we have accepted the situation. Interestingly, here in US schools, the grand children have picked up Spanish. Sometimes, I heard Mandarin also from Zach, the youngest of Anand.
US companies are integrating the people coming from different countries in the world with all sort of accent of English, but working together with no trouble. US schools encourage the additional learning of other languages of the world. The trend is becoming popular even in India. The private schools of metros and cities are providing the facilities for learning a number of foreign languages. Even at very early age, the kids on their own or sometimes facilitated by the enlightened parents go for other languages.
It is only the community in politics that are questioning the use of English as medium or sometimes opposes the teaching of Hindi as it was apparent in the debate on the TV channel that I referred above. But another news report from Chennai coming from Tamil Nadu from the same channel was astonishing and surprisingly pleasant too: “In the 1960s, Tamil Nadu saw violent protests against the compulsory learning of Hindi. Now, in a turnaround, many parents and schools in the state have launched a battle against the monopoly of Tamil and say they want Hindi.”
Months ago, I had read another news report also from Chennai that talked of the election campaign in Hindi in the residential pockets of Hindi immigrants. Hindi cinemas also have enhanced the popularity of Hindi among younger generation besides the possibility of transfer to Northern region for better job opportunity or the same for zeroing on the life partner from North India during college days.
The schooling up to class VI, say till a child is around 12 years of age must focus on just two subjects-language and math. The teaching of the language must include the vernacular nearest to the mother language along with English. The knowledge of all other subjects must be imparted through the curricula of the languages. At the end of class VI, the child must be proficient in reading and understanding the subject referred as well as in conversing fluently. He must be able to write too. The thrust should be on building good vocabulary and on encouraging reading. Unfortunately, the present schooling does not meet these requirements that are necessary as social necessity today to succeed in life through different phases.