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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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M A I L B A G

Why we must support English

I read A. J. Philip article, “Bad English is not English” (Nov 3). As an English teacher for over two decades, I feel that English is an acquired language to all of us. We can never have idiomatic and natural felicity of expression like native speakers of England.

English is still alien to our culture and social background. Even our top political leaders and senior bureaucrats are seen using mostly Hinglish sentences (Hindi sentences heavily interspersed with English words) while addressing official meetings and public rallies.

Even the so-called urbane and highly educated Indians mispronounce words and commit spelling mistakes. We find only “Babu English” in usage in our country. The university and college lecturers are no exception. The Britishers never spoke in Latin though it was the language of only a handful of Britons who claimed to be the writers in ancient England.



For a long time, the royal families and the couturiers used French for looking after the affairs of the state and the kingdom. Only the Elizabethan poets like William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe were able to popularise it on a large scale.

I, however, don’t underestimate the importance of English as an international language. It is a window to the whole world. It is a reality that even illiterate parents want their wards to study in public schools and learn English. It is a democratic urge and we must support it.

RAJ BAHADUR YADAV, Fatehabad

II

Every British cannot be expected to speak and write grammatically very correct English. So is the case of Hindi-speaking Indians or speakers of any other language. These who write grammatically good English may not be very fluent in speaking it. In pronunciation, Britishers whose mother tongue is English are, certainly, fluent and correct, but the non-Britishers are, usually, not so fluent and correct in English pronunciation.

The “Babu English” has survived in India only for limited office work. It has never been in extensive use in other areas. There has been no waning effect on English use in offices despite various state governments’ orders for use of Hindi and other regional languages in office work. Indeed, there are more users of English in India today than before our Independence.

IQBAL SINGH, Bijhari (Hamirpur)

III

The article is interesting, though sketchy. It is a naivety and a mistaken belief that the quality of the language (i.e. diction, style, syntax, idioms) of the Indian writers in English does not match well with that of the native.

The English language because of its irritating spelling system, harrowing phonetic pattern, irregular grammar etc. is itself bad. Still it goes to the credit of the Indians that they use the tongue which is absolutely alien to them as correctly as the English writers do. Some of them excel their counterparts in Britain.

CHAMAN LAL KORPAL, Amritsar

HP deserves royalty on water

Recently some Punjab leaders have demanded royalty on the sale of foodgrains which Punjab contributes to the national kitty through the Food Corporation of India and other agencies.

India, with varied climates — from the equatorial in the south to the arctic in the higher hills — produces varieties of forest and agricultural products. If the Punjab demand is logical, every state can demand royalty on its products.

Noted environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna is in favour of water royalty for Himachal Pradesh and other such hill states. The Sutlej, the Beas, the Pabbar, the Giri and the Yamuna originate in these hills but the water from the majority of the rivers is being used by Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi without any returns or benefit to the hill state. Even the soil fertility in the plains is a contribution of the hills. Himachal Pradesh should get water royalty or water cess in lieu of its use of water by other states.

Dr L. K. MANUJA, Nahan (HP)

 


Improve healthcare

Medical professionals and healthcare in Punjab are regulated by various provision of the Punjab Medical Registration Act (1916). At that time, there were about 250 qualified registered doctors in the whole of old Punjab (Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Chandigarh) including Delhi.

Keeping in view the sea change in the medical field in the last decade, repeal of the said Act is overdue. The Punjab Medical Council and the Punjab government should take steps to repeal the Act and enact a new legislation in the light of the changed scenario.

I appeal to the Punjab government to evince keen interest in developing an affordable healthcare delivery system in public interest.

Dr RAMAN K. AGGARWAL, Phagwara
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