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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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M A I L B A G

No substitute for English in govt schools

The editorial Advantage India (Jan 18) was timely. The British rule has proved to be a blessing in disguise for India. Apart from giving us an excellent railway network, tourist spots, buildings, bridges and roads, they gifted us the English language. Each country they ruled had different culture, languages and climate, areas much larger in size than Britain. But English is flexible and a synthesis of Latin, Greek, Arabic and Indian words.

It is not only the international language but the most important mode of communication in the modern world. With the computer and Internet boom, it is in huge demand. In this, India has an edge over China, Russia and other non-English speaking countries because most Indians understand English.

I agree that the politicians send their children to public schools, want them to speak in English, wear and use imported clothes, but they advocate its ban in government schools. This will harm the poor children who cannot afford education in public schools.

We should think for the nation as a whole. China is striving hard to bridge this gap with India and will surely pose a challenge to us in future by supplying cheap English-speaking labour to the West as it has done in the case of industrial goods. It has started affecting our people in Merchant Navy who accept jobs for cheaper pay packages.

ARVIND DHUMAL, Advocate, Jalandhar


 

II

English is the link language in India and we cannot ignore it at the cost of our national and regional languages. Even in all-India competitive examinations like the Civil Services, brilliant candidates prefer English and succeed in their very first attempt.

Therefore, all the states should start using English from Class I. The candidates who are weak in English will remain backward in all the examinations in schools, colleges and universities, not to speak of doing well in the competitive examinations.

DALIP SINGH WASAN, Advocate, Patiala

III

The editorial is very reflective and throws light on the most burning topic of the day. In India, 15 languages have been officially recognised and there are 1,650 dialects. India can boast of cultural integrity but, ironically, it is not united linguistically. Politicians follow double standards as regards the use of English. English is opposed mainly because of its being a symbol of British imperialism.

However, its importance is undeniable. English has emerged as an official language in 44 countries. Most scientific research is published in English. English is the language which has given Indians access to global community. To become a developed country, India should keep itself abreast of scientific, technological and economic developments through the use of English. The furore over multi-lingualism is baseless. Indian languages are rich enough, culturally and socially, to survive along with English. We must rise above cultural chauvinism and follow the global trends.

GURNOOR BRAR, Govt College for Women, Ludhiana

 

Sarkari panel won’t do

The setting up of a Chandigarh Urban Arts Commission will be a step in the right direction, provided it is not stuffed with the nominees of either the Chandigarh Administration or the Central Government.

The officials know little about art. They are also turning a blind eye to rapid environmental degradation of the periphery, mushrooming of high rise buildings in the city and the huge influx of migrants into the city from other states, encouraged by the politicians for their vote banks. Consequently, these people will just act as sarkari nominees, endorsing every proposal.

During a meeting with Mrs Sonia Gandhi last year in Delhi, we had raised these issues. Unless Chandigarh’s men and women of vision and who have seen the world and its great cities are appointed to this Commission, little will be achieved.

We have so many organisations duplicating their work as between the Estate Office, the Municipal Committee and the Chandigarh Advisory Council. We need a supreme advisory body with ample teeth and fixed tenure. Otherwise, there is no point in having a sarkari commission.

Maj-Gen HIMMAT SINGH GILL (retd), Chandigarh 

Appeasing Muslims

Since Independence, our leaders have been claiming to be staunch secularists. But facts belie their claim. First, there is no uniform civil code in the country. The Muslims can have four wives at a time. Second, the Muslims are given financial help for their pilgrimage to Haj. Why is the same not extended to Hindus desirous of visiting their temples of interest?

Our ministers at the Centre and in the states and people’s representatives appease Muslims with an eye on their vote bank. Unfortunately, pseudo-secularists forget that the Hindus are the world’s most secular people. They believe that there is only one God with various names in the universe.

RAJ K. PHUL, Ferozepur City

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