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Vernacular for Dalit-Bahujans and English for Upper Class/Caste: A Socio-Political Conspiracy

Vernacular for Dalit-Bahujans and English for Upper Class/Caste: A Socio-Political Conspiracy

Dr. Y. Srinivasa Rao


Dr. Y. Srinivasa Rao

Dr. Y. Srinivasa RaoQuite often the hypocritical Political leaders keep invoking the Vernacular to point out how the newly entered English language has been wrecking havoc on the local languages. But ironically, they and their fellow caste and class people have been reaping the benefits, locally, nationally and globally since the entry of English as a medium of instruction into the nation. They became global citizens and become global citizens. Their intention in invoking the vernacular as suffering mother is to deprive the dalit-bahujans of their due and keep them in the margins and peripheries. The inbuilt power of the English language as a medium of modern education: social sciences, science, medicine, engineering, as language of the law and governance is well-known. It also became a representative of social status and prestige. It is also seen as provider of equality in the social segregated racial and caste societies. In India, it has provided the speakabilty to the unspeakable and provided the opportunity to internationalize the dalit-bahujan discrimination, exploitation and sufferings under the caste system. In fact, the networking of the dalit-bahujans with the other marginalized groups through English as a common medium of communication has resulted in the building of the powerful solidarity networks. To a larger extent it has removed the social taboos and provider of self respect and social and economic decency. In the pre-colonial times knowledge was seen as power as they both are having close relationship. However, knowledge does not represent any power. The upper social groups intentionally ascribed power to knowledge as a protector of their social positions. In fact, the power of ‘knowledge’ has provided some sort of permanency to their social positions and kept them as unchallengeable till 20th century. In India, deprivation of education to sudras and atisudras (out castes) by Hindu religious scriptures is multifunctional. It has blocked them from engaging with natural rationalism inbuilt in them, it deprived them of understanding the social realities and social discriminative structures (the latter was main objective in blocking education), it deprived them of expression of their experiences as humans as they were seen as insignificant and unspeakable, it deprived them of human skills as their minds are made inactive so on and so forth. Against the wish of the upper caste, a beginning was made by the Christian missionaries in 18th century and British government in the 19th century. What was kept away from dalit-bahujans, since time immemorial to 19th century, had begun to reach few, at least, through these two agencies. While it was the English medium education offered by the government in India and in foreign soils has created the elite intellectual politicians, it is the same which created a strong educated middle class largely from above three varnas of the four varnas who took charge of the freedom movement, new economy and governing spheres. However, ironically, these groups conspires to present Lord Macaulay Minutes of 1835 and the new era of change it heralded as an conspiracy of the British against India despite being the first to benefit and monopolizing the English medium education. The dalit-bahujans, due to historical, sociological and economic reasons failed to make the most of it. This does not mean that dalit-bahujans are incapable but its accessibility was controlled then and now as well. New conspiracies and strategies of the upper caste/class continue to keep them away from the English medium. While the Brahmins deprived knowledge/education to sudras/outcastes in the vernacular or god languages (in Sanskrit) in the pre-modern times, the neo-Brahmans (this is both a caste and class category) is keeping them away from English. Objective of the both is same.

The Indian society, instead of the striving for the educationally equal society, even in the new millennium, is investing its intelligence in devising strategies in keeping dalit-bahujans away from English. The millennium as a new beginning, unfortunately, represents the continuity of the discounted/dismissed old in many ways. Traditions which were devised generations back continued to exist and began to take new shape whenever an attempt has been made to put them to the processes of change. It is same with controlling the education as medium of power, prosperity and prestige.

The modernization of the Indian education, which was started in a big way with the entry of English education as a medium of instruction, brought new democratic elements into the Indian education system. After realizing its potential as democratizing force, it access was limited to upper caste by them as the British did not feel obligated to give English education to dalit-bahujans. They trusted in the downward filtration theory that gone terribly wrong, unfortunately, for dalit-bahujans. Further, debate between Anglicists and orientalists raised concerns over the fate local languages. However, this entire debate was to camouflage the intentions of the privileged to reserve English for them by painting it as anti-orient, anti-Sanskrit and anti-Hindu. The colonial government was always careful in disturbing the culture of the colony. Whether it was socio-religious reforms and or the introduction of English education without the support and voluntary acceptance, the British did not introduce them. In fact, those who benefited from the newly introduced English education were upper caste Brahmans. Though they were worried about the Sanskrit or ‘the Indian education system’, except very few, many did not consider English as a threat. During the British rule, the English education worked as a passport for the upper caste Indians to get official jobs in the East India Company. In fact, the company had seen the upper caste educated as potential candidates for the company to execute its projects. Hence, for the upper caste Indians, especially Bengali Badralok (the middle class), English was a tool of employment, education and material prosperity. Not only Bengalis, the upper caste educated of the other presidencies, provinces and princely states also had seen the English in a similar way. For them, English was a tool of emancipation opening doors for them to enter into metropolitan West for education and employment and monopolization of these thee two in the periphery (colony). During the colonial times, ironically, designers, developers and protectors of the so called Indian education system were trying to rejuvenate it by rationalizing astrology, Vedic mathematics and teaching of Hindu religious education through English. They did not mind to jump into English education and never thought about the future of Indian education then as the way they are worrying about the dying vernaculars today.

For the whole gamut of the lower class, caste and women (till 1950s), English, as a language and as a medium of instruction, was still an unreachable. The English, which is the part of the package of collateral benefits of the colonial rule, first it was a language of upper class and caste men and now it is available to upper caste women and newly emerging urban and rural middle class and some extent dalit-bahujans are also gaining access to it in centre run Kendriya Vidhayalayas (central schools) and Navodhayas Residential Schools and state government run colleges. Still 60 per cent of the Indian population is not able to access English education and they are unable to buy it. Among dalit-bahujans, large chunk of population, lower class women, rural and urban poor, scheduled caste and tribal populations are the most deprived. This deprivation is not natural. Social history of our country tells us that it is the ‘tradition’ for the powerful and the dominant to design plans and strategies for the protection of the economically viable ideas, professions and occupations. They are always at work to workout strategies for exclusion of large sunk of population.

In the recent decades, as the doors of the higher education opened for the rural and underprivileged sections of India, there is lot of influx of these students into urban areas. This is only recent development. This is seen as a threat by the beneficiaries of the English education. During lost three decades of twentieth century, while the state, as a welfare state, has shouldered the process of the democratization of higher education has offered chances for those who are deprived of higher education, another process which was put on track simultaneously i.e. commercialization of education has made again denying the access in a different method. English being universal, commercial and alien language for Indians, it is not available to the lower caste, underprivileged and urban and rural poor for free of cost. When the high potential commercial of the English education was realized, the capitalism has forced the state stop giving English education to its citizens at free cost. For capitalists, welfare state is against the free trade and anti-to the growth of the nation.

One would be wonder why both the democratization and commercialization were taking place at the same time. Was the influx the so called ‘unwanted’ into the higher educational institutions unsettling the positions of power and monopoly over knowledge creation? Was the commericalisation or privatization of the primary, second, college and now the higher education a plan to keep the agitated underprivileged as an educated but less intelligent citizen? Or was it a design to reserve the powerful global citizenship to the upper caste and class and limit the subaltern to the local and regional (education in vernacular not even offers a national citizenship to subaltern) citizenship? A preliminary observation of the contemporary education itself would help use answer these questions. The continuous withdrawal of the state from education and unimaginable penetration of the private English medium schools to each every corner of the nation proves the fact that, it is a conspiracy of the government dictated by the capitalist forces to defeat the state as provider of public goods. Next logic step after succeeding in it, the capitalism presents itself as an efficient agency of delivering the quality education in English medium where state has failed to do so in vernacular. The entry of the private English medium schools into the heart of rural India had immediate effect on the psychology of the parents who wanted to see their kids as collectors, scientists and doctors. In the popular imagination of both rural and urban India, education in English medium has already established itself as the basic qualification for cracking Civil Services, getting white collar jobs, managerial positions and for becoming engineers, doctors and scientists. The government’s efforts in introducing vernacular in civil service examinations did not influence the mind of the parents. Under genuine logic of ‘we decide our child’s future’, the investment on English education entered into the annual budget of the parents. No matter whether the kid is given the nutritious food or not but sending a child to private school with packed lunch box in a uniform with shoes has given the psychological satisfaction to parents. Similarly, no matter how good is the government run school and teachers, sending kids to the private school seems to have guaranteed the bright future as they presumed that they are sending to the right place. It is this misplaced and manipulated (by the capitalist forces in collusion with government) belief that convinces them to withdraw their kids from the government schools and send them to private schools. Then the government, to help its co-conspirators, activates itself to initiate the cost-benefit analysis. The government schools with ten students with one teacher would be subjected to the process of economic rationalization to close the schools. In recent times, the Government of Andhra Pradesh successfully carried out such a rationalization and led to the closer thousands of primary and secondary schools. The parallel development that is quite visible is Narayana and Sri Chaitanya, the factories of producing students with ranks are entering into every nook and corner of the state speaks volumes about the nexus between the government and capitalists. The net result of all of this is the private English medium becomes costly to adivasis, dalits and BCs. Given with no option, they suppose to send their kids to the private schools to buy English medium education which they suppose to get it to their kids for free in the government run schools. However, not every family of these castes and communities mentioned above are capable of sending their kids to private schools. Therefore, their due right to English medium education is denied and here neither the government nor the capitalists hold the responsibility for transforming the public good into private good.

Except in the public sector higher education institutions and universities, education in English medium is already in the hands of the private. This privatization is, in fact, a strategy to keep dalit-bahuajns away from English. In this situation, only option for the dalit-bahujans is the government. They have to fight for the reviving of the welfare state, if not, demand the existing state to come up with a concrete policy on the medium of instructions. For my understanding, there are only two possible democratic policy frameworks available for the government: 1) if the Nehruvian argument that the minds of the children blossom in their mother is to be taken for granted, let every child in the country get the education in vernacular from first standard to fifth standard. English would be taught as second language. Then from the sixth standards to PhD, everyone should be educated in English medium, 2) if the earlier is not working, let every child sbe provided with English education from first standard to PhD. There should no compromise in this policy. Other than these two, the rest of the policy options are absolutely hypocritical and anti-dalit-bahujans. The state must respond before these deprived castes and communities start asking questions like why the state continues to be comfortable with the multi-lingual of medium of instruction when it is already proved to the nation that the English has already became pan-Indian language as a medium of instructions. When their merit and intelligence, in this country, is measured through the way they speak and write English, how it is fair to make English available for only those who are able to buy education? How do they prove their merit and intelligence when they don’t get a chance to prove it to the world that ‘they can do’ if equal opportunity in getting education in English medium is restricted? When upper caste and class are benefiting from the globalization of education and employment market why should they be deprived of English education? Who is behind this sinister plan of exclusion and why the state is silent? These questions are not difficult to answer. The world’s biggest ‘democratic’ country like India, cannot deny the fact that it has failed to included the excluded into the process of development by denying access to English medium to scores of lower caste, class and communities. Indian state might cite some historical reasons. Such a justification is mere escapism, nothing else. Monopolization of opportunities through power would never bring equality in this country.

Regional Linguistic Nationalism: an Enemy

Though the multi-linguality is a special character of India and might work positively in many ways, it is undeniable fact that emergence of linguistic nationalism is a biggest enemy for the promotion of the English medium education as the tool of emancipation of lower caste, class and rural communities of India. It bases its foundations on vernacular identity but the ultimate goal has always been political power. For that, time and again, equates the region with language and projects itself as the rescuer of supposedly dying vernaculars or a tool of opposition to the imposition of the culture of the dominant over the regional other. Though it served certain purposes, its nexus with politics paved the way for the over exploitation of linguistic sentiments and emotions of the masses. Today, linguistic nationalism is a tool in the hands of politicians for promotion of their respective parties and their individual political careers. In the process of realizing the political goals, they cultivate sentiments among masses to make them believe that it is they who supposed to shoulder the responsibility of the revival and continuation. They equate the dalit-bahujan with regional language. This would perfectly serve their political purposes. But it would be never be a tool of economic emancipation of the deprived. Politicians do know that linguistic nationalism would work against the people of the state. But it is not meant to work against their kith and kin. It is a universal truth in this country, politicians who project themselves as the champions of regional languages through their political rhetoric make others to choose regional languages as medium of instruction but they send their own kids to English medium schools and foreign educational institutions for higher studies. There is no integrity between what they speak for political purposes and what they do for personal and family gains. This sinister design must be understood by the dalit-bahujans and should fall into the trap on linguistic sentiments.

In the recent times, unfortunately in states Tamil Nadu, political leaders from lower caste sections too are also singing songs of linguistic nationalism. Since the language became one of the main factors for building mass base for political reasons, lower caste politicians are also using it. It may be justifiable from the political point of view. However, since the objective of the dalit-bahujan political formations is to bring their people from margins into the mainstream, careless invocation of the vernacular as a tool of connecting to their constituency might be a counterproductive. Dalit-bahujan politicians should evolve a strategy of developing an internal policy that would address both the political concerns and educational concerns. They could use the vernacular to reach the illiterate and uneducated and they should see English as the only emancipatory language. Both these could co-exist as a strategy. However, I am not suggesting that the English is only the tool of theorization of the dalit-bahujan experience or the medium of the representation of their concerns to the state. In fact, most of the peripheral dalit-bahujan educated/intelligentsia are experts in vernacular. They have been doing a great job in producing different literary forms of theorization of the experience of their people. There are considerable number of multi-lingual intellectuals (mother tongue-English) who have been doing their bit to bridging gap between the world that uses English as dominant language of power and prosperity and the one that cannot. These multi-functional multi-lingual intellectuals, perhaps, needed to dalit-bahujans more than any other castes and communities. This helps in two ways: one, at individual, their ability and comfort to play on the two grounds would result in the production of powerful theories and history and second, they also work as vehicles to bring the voices of the peripheral dalit-bahujnas into mainstream. Therefore, like upper caste, dalit-Bahujans too should focus on promoting intellectuals in vernacular, the multi-lingual and the intellectual in English as well. Contribution of these three is very important for the overall generation of the knowledge on dalit-Bahujans.

The dalit-bahujan politicians should be informed of consequence of ignoring the difference between the vernacular as political vehicle and English as vehicle of education. Emphasizing the earlier over the latter would works against the larger interests of their own people. They realize the fact that education is the only wealth for their people. They do not own lands and business establishments. They are not money lenders or strong in politics. Economic, social, environmental, political and cultural emancipation for the caste people of this country will come through the English medium education in the fast changing employment market. Both politicians and student community of the lower caste sections should keep in mind that the employment opportunities are much more difficult as role of the welfare state is gradually diminishing or slowly withdrawing from its responsibility as the deliverer of goods to the underprivileged and corporate houses are determining the policy framework of higher education and also determining the economic policy which is closely related to the question of employment. Despite continuous fighting with the government by the underprivileged social groups for the inclusion of reservation in private sector, till now government could not do anything at policy level. This is real danger. One of the main reasons for the corporate India for not accepting the lower caste persons and rural people is that these people are not intelligent enough and terribly lack communication skills (i.e. communication in English). It is a misconception that every one knew. But the corporate India carries on with an impression that the educated youth who can not speak, write and read English are not suitable to work in corporate work culture. This disqualified almost 80% of SC and ST, 70% OBCs and 60% of women. Among these SC, STs, women and rural educated are the most effected. This clearly indicates that, in India, education is serving the needs of those social groups who have been dominating Indian employment for long time and of those who are able to buy. Neither the government nor the new players in the education holds responsible for this state of affairs. Though, they are responsible, they are not willing to take that responsibility. In such situation, what becomes necessary, for the dalit-bahujan politicians, intellectuals, educated youth and activists, is the invocation of the philosophy of the self help as an immediate strategy. Of course, they should fight the for the education in English medium. But it will take some time. Till the state changes its mind and or the corporate India feel synthetic the plight of dalit-bahujan, they should not wait. There is no guarantee of the recoming of the welfare state and also corporate India may not sympathetic. In such a situation, the only way out is change in attitude towards understanding the significance of English medium education. They should not fall into the trap of linguistic nationalism and must understand the long term negative impact on their lives.

The regional political agencies which base their foundations on the linguistic identity, are very cleverly chose to keep the dalit-bahujans as long time victims. They use the vernacular in various ways and means to serve its purposes. It justifies the vernacular in the state runs schools, as they believe that it would help of minds of child to blossom. English at primary level might work against this. Though such a claim needs further studies, this argument is quite hypocritical and anti-dalit-bahujans. A cursory look at the Indian school education in the last forty years proves the fact that children in India are being taught both in English and vernacular mediums. When we compare the children of these children, the children in the earlier medium are seems to be doing well compare to the latter. This is the fact. Therefore, vernacular helps the blossoming of the mind is hypocritical.

There is also another argument that the children of the rural India, especially children of dalit-bahujans have an inbuilt inhibition against English. This is also wrong. In a recent experiment by Annapurna Mohan, English teacher at government school, Kandadu Village, Villupuram, District, Tamil Nadu, has proved that if infrastructure is provided and if teachers are serious towards their responsibility, it is not a big deal for the rural students of Tamil Nadu to excel in English as a subject as a medium of instructions as well. It is not intended to prove a point. She did it out her passion and concern on students, perhaps. Her experiment is great success. But it is not being celebrated and it has not become big news. So far, not much is said about her being English teacher and her efforts in making English learning easy. Neither the government nor the media has given a needed recognition. Such an acceptance by media and government, by logic, would go against the linguistic Nationalism that is so powerful in Tamil Nadu. Media is praising her as teachers who spend her money on infrastructure in a government school but the real contribution to the students of the primary school through her selfless investment and her efforts is to prove that the students no matter what their background is are capable of learning English easily. Speaking to the News 7, a Tamil news channel, she said that what she did would make the students comfortable with English when they go beyond Tamil-Nadu. Politicians and linguistic nationalists, perhaps, would be very angry with her experiment. This might be the reason why not much is being said about her contribution as an English teacher. Instead, the media is highlighting her selflessness in spending money by selling her jewelry to build infrastructure at the school and her experiment as proof of providing quality education in government schools. True. Her experiment also proves that too. But the real contribution has been to make the students of third class is that she had changed the lesson pattern into conversation model. This helped students not only to read English in proper British accent but also understand the meaning of it. Ignoring this aspect exposes the hypocrisy of media in Tamil Nadu. This is the serious problem with linguistic Nationalism. It conspires to keep the lower caste, class, urban and rural poor to the vernacular medium education and low quality education so that the upper caste and class children could have enough space and resources to benefit from quality English medium education. I am not saying that the education in the vernacular medium lacks quality but they bound to face insult and rejection in the sphere of employment. I would not be surprised if there are conspiracies underway to dismiss her experiment, so that rest of the teachers would not take inspiration from her.

The suicide of S. Anitha, is another case that could be cited here to argue that she has become a victim of the war between the linguistic nationalism and Brahamanic meritocracy. She was seventeen year old dalit girl, daughter of load man at Gandhi Market at Trichy but hails from Kuhumur Village in Sendurai, Ariyalur District, aspired to become doctor but failed to pass the newly introduced National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). It is national examination for seeking admission into MBBS and other medical courses. Initially proposed in 2012 and implemented in 2013. At the beginning planned to be conducted in English and Hindi but after resistance it now being allowed to be written in Tamil, Telugh, Marthi, Gujarathi, Bengali, Assame, Kannada and Oidya.

After effects of her suicide was the high decibel rhetoric in all forms of media between the camps divided into the defenders of merit, defenders/promoters of linguistic nationalism and promoter of quality corporate commercial medical education. Every one of them have had enough weapons in their armory but they did not see that the existing inequality in the medium of instructions is as one of the main reasons (if not the sole) for end of the bright girl who said that she would like to serve the people. Central government’s irresponsible imposition of the national standard test as a scrutiny mechanism is quite evident. It is not irresponsibility. It is a conspiracy. Under the influence of capitalism, the government of India wants a draconian test that would keep most of the state educated underprivileged to fail and most of ill educated to buy medical education. While many from the earlier would fail because both the quality teaching in subjects and language is the determining factor, most of the later also would fail because they wontedly never study properly. However, while the earlier, once failed would not have any options, but the latter are capable of the buying the medical education offered by the corporate medical colleges/universities or do something else as they have enough financial resources. It is only kids like Anitha who has to end their lives for failing to achieve what she wanted. Who are responsible for her death? For me, both brahamanic meritocracy and the linguistic nationalism are to the held responsible. Instead of accepting their guilty, both camps would be happy debating. While the anti-NEETers (linguistic nationalists) would believe that Anita’s suicide vindicated their anti-NEET position, the pro-NEETers (Brahamnic meritocrats) would argue that though they feel sad about this death but they would still argue that this death cannot be cited as a reason to oppose the NEET.

The linguistic nationalists would want the state government sponsored vernacular medium education to be continued as long as it is possible as it is closely linked with the cultural, social and political identity of the linguistic state. If this variety of nationalism is keeping the vernacular medium education alive, the beneficiaries of it are the caste Hindus starting from the lower middle class up to the rich and other communities who are above middle class. If dalit-bahujans are continued to be educated in vernacular medium, they would never be a competition for privileged caste Hindus. Dalits are never the beneficiaries of the vernacular medium education. However, many dalits, not only in Tamil Nadu but across the country, unfortunately, believe that vernacular medium education is the easy option for them if not the only or the better option. Not all dalits takes this position, of course. But most of the dalits are quite vulnerable to the dangerous political rhetoric of linguistic nationalism and they have been the prime victims of it. Unfortunately, not many of them realize it. For dalits-bahujans, the capitalist commercial education and state government sponsored vernacular medium education one and the same. While the earlier is not accessible, the latter make them the victims of merit.

A Challenge to the Underprivileged

Despite social reforms started by the British and social movements started by intellectuals of the lower caste sections of India, social customs and traditions designed to subjugate the underprivileged are still quite effective. Though the centuries of struggles for the social and economic equality brought in some kind of change, it is quite surprising to see some of the social cruelties of the Indian social order continue to exist and still play a dominant role in the socio-religious and cultural life of the underprivileged. Though it is not to argue that the English education is the answer for all the problems of the lower sections of the society, it certainly would play an important role in bringing new changes in their live if adopted as the tool of emancipation. Ambedkar very clearly elucidated that the plan of excluding the lower castes from the wealth of the Indian society is high calculated move of the wicked. Everyone with equal access to the rational education and with a given grasping power of human mind would certainly be successful and excel in education. English is not the language of heavenly bodies. English as a language can be learned by anybody. One of the reasons why the underprivileged and rural poor of India are not able to compete with the privileged is the lack of education in English medium. I also see lack of interest and enthusiasm towards English medium education among the dalit-bahujans is one of the contributory factors for their failure. If not all, many dalit-bahjuan students, teachers and educated are seeking comfort in the vernacular and somehow see English as alien language. This is a wrong attitude among these whose earlier generations have not had the taste of development. It might be an alien language when it was introduced. But, now it is no more. In fact, dalit intellectuals like Chandra Bahnu Prasad and Kancha Illayya have already emphasized the worth of English for dalit-Bahujans. English is needed to be made as one of the daily used (spoken and written) languages for dalit-bahujans at all levels, especially among the educated. Given its position as the commercial and academic language, there is no point in rejecting and distancing from it. Taking comfort in the vernacular is self-defeating for dalits-bahujans. The educated intelligentsia of the lower castes and like minded progressive intellectuals should work towards bring positive attitudinal changes. Politicians, especially those who belong to the lower caste should realize the fact that they have a greater responsibility in making English medium education available for their own people. To achieve short political goals, they should fall into the trap of linguistic nationalism. Along with the ongoing struggle for the justice and rights, there has to be parallel movement for promoting English as common dalit-bahujan language. The rhetoric of the linguistic nationalism and a ‘natural’ dislikeness towards a supposedly tough alien langue, unfortunately, is inhibiting many dali-bahujan students and teachers to achieve proficiency in English. This inhibition is further complemented by teachers of all castes and communities in the rural and semi-urban schools, colleges, universities who did not acquired needed proficiency and comfort even if it is required language in the college and university to teach and do research.

In such a satiation, dalit-bahujans should wait for teacher and or the institution to help them. They should start helping themselves. The dalit-bahujan intelligentsia, teachers, successful individuals in various national level competitions and student community who have acquired the considerable level of comfort and proficiency in English should present themselves as examples to the rest and create required enthusiasm in them. The young student community of underprivileged should aim high and be serious towards subject knowledge and English as well. If they were not fortunate enough to start their education in English, it could be started at graduation and post-graduation level. In this country, there are many dalit-bahujan successful academicians, administrators, engineers and scientists who entered into English medium education at college and university. It is high time to claim the share in the fruits of development by projecting dalit-bahujan as potential candidates for the opportunities offered both national and global spheres. There are many who would say English is not a yardstick for knowledge and intelligence. There are many dalit-bahujans who would believe in this statement too. It may be and may not be true. But the problem with this statement is that when it said by those who immensely benefited from English medium education, then it has to be seen as part of the larger conspiracy against the dalit-bahujans. If it is said by the dalit-bahujans, then it has to be understood that they are misguided or they are, unfortunately, seeking comfort in the vernacular. Whether dalit-bahujans realize or not, the reality is English is the yardstick of intelligence. A dalit-bahunjan individual with inadequate levels of proficiency is being rejected and disrespected is the reality. But this inadequacy is not the mistake of the dalit-bahujans. However, their disinterest in English does play a significant role in it. Therefore, to avoid the disrespect, to claim the due share in the real employment, to become global citizens, to generate knowledge on their history and culture and to make their opinions and viewpoints heard dalit-bahujans should fight for education in English medium and also make individual and group efforts to start acquiring efficiency in English before the state comes with common policy of the medium of instructions.



Dr. Y. Srinivasa Rao teaches history at Bharathidasan University, Thiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu.

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