Relevance of English in India is a topic that has been discussed a lot of times. Also, we find the English language pervasive in the sub-culture more than anytime in the history. And so it becomes important that we ask the right question, what is the true relevance of English in India.
In any species, a newborn comes into this world with an intense desire to express and to communicate. Just look at any newborn child. See its eyes gleaming when it’s happy. Observe them turning morose when it is sad. See its tiny facial muscles twitching when it is surprised looking at your face. Then see the calmness emanating from his face when it is deep asleep.
Every second of our life, since the time we are born we are communicating, in one form the other.
And this communication, find its pinnacle when we are able to speak meaningful words out of our mouths, making a sense of the world around us, giving a meaning to the emotions building up inside us.
And a language is the scaffold around which we develop the basis of communication.
That is where, in our country, India, the children find themselves stranded on a crossroad of languages, so early in their lives. We have twenty-two national languages in our country. And good chances are that one of these is what we grow up hearing from our parents. Our mode of teaching is based on English (well, at least in cities), so it is the second language we hear everyday. Then we also have Hindi, which is spoken by over 300 million people in India, making it the most spoken language in our country.
But whichever language it is, they all serve the same purpose. To express. To give a meaning to our feelings and emotions. So does it really matter which language we use for expressing?
In an ideal world, it should not.
But no world is ideal. And that is evident from the growing preference of English in our culture. And whatever were the reasons of adoption of English in our country, the reality is, that nobody can deny the importance of English in today’s times. Especially when we grow up watching Hollywood movies and American TV series. Add to that the fact that, the English language is already a prerequisite in schools and jobs.
Relevance of English in India.
Given such background, the time when English used to add sparkle to the personality is long gone. It is a necessity now. It is a basic requirement. Just look at the advertisement for any job in the newspaper. English speaking is a must. So, it is becoming imperative that we must master the working knowledge of this language, so as to be able to understand and communicate the requirements on daily basis.
So, it no more adds sparkle given today’ scenario. But it will definitely give a bad impression if we are found wanting in performing the basic conversation in this language.
Except for schools in villages, where the mode of teaching is Hindi, we find English language pervasive in the schools elsewhere. Even those who are educated in vernacular medium, find it necessary to learn basic English so as not to find themselves wanting in social and professional situations. So the relevance of English in India can’t be denied.
Also, many fragments of English have already diffused in the spoken language of the youth. Today, in the days of Whatsapp and Facebook, you can easily find young children easily and competently using an English phrase or two.
But, we need to remember this fact. That a language is only a language. If a person is speaking with a clear accent of English, he might be able to impress the listener at the first instance. But in the end, it is the content that matters. What he speaks, no matter in language, can’t hide the quality of the content. The usefulness of what he speaks. It is utterly wrong if we are discounting a person just because he is speaking in Hindi or any other regional language.
That is why, even today, when the leaders of our country speak in Hindi, we listen with rapt attention. Our Prime Minister being the first and foremost exhibit of the same. Because it is the content that matters, and the effective language is the one which reaches the heart of the listener.