In a significant judgment on the language policy in the primary education system of Karnataka, a Division Bench of the High Court on Wednesday scrapped portions of a 1994 Government order making Kannada or a mother tongue the mandatory medium of education in all primary schools recognised by the Government.
English media is mostly calling this as a step towards victory in a globalized world. But in reality, both English media and these "educators" have made it clear that the welfare of the state is simply absent from their list of priorities. Why? Because it is an established scientific fact that education is most effective in Kannada for Kannadigas. The goal of these "educators" and English media is not the good education of Kannadigas. They're just bent upon making a quick buck from creating an aura of sanctity around English and fooling the gullible Kannadiga parent. While the "educators" get an immediate market, the English media is assured of a market when the children start learning English, albeit slowly. The further Kannadigas go away from Kannada, the greater their profit! Also, it is only a weak mind leaning on converting the whole of Karnataka into a call-centre that can conjure up the theory that English can single-handedly take us to appalling heights in this globalized world. Stronger minds bank on real knowledge which can be provided only through one's own language. What can sustain us in the global scenario is not a cesspool of fakers trying to imitate accents, but a well-organized system of education which is possible only in our own language.
Kannada media and Kannadiga thinkers, on the other hand, are calling this whole thing as a death-blow to Kannada and doing nothing other than shedding emotional tears. This betrays their helpless feeling that Kannada can continue to exist only by the application of force. That whole thinking process is flawed. Instead, the so-called Kannadiga thinkers must seriously consider establishing the necessary high-quality institutions and training programmes to provide every kind and level of education in Kannada itself. If the Israels, the Germanys, the Japans, the Chinas of the world can do it, why can't Karnataka? One is reminded of the way the Technion in Israel started off in Hebrew-medium at a time when Modern Hebrew was being spoken by a precious few in Israel, and even lacked words needed for common day-to-day usage! The Technion is a premier institute of technology in the world, and even to this day provides top-class engineering education in Hebrew. Kannada is not in such a sorry state today as Hebrew was in 1912, not by any measure! Yet, because our thinkers and planners lack strong will-power, we Kannadigas have taken for granted that Kannada education is only for children in rural areas. Not for adults, not for urban areas. This very assumption is leading us from darkness to darkness.
One can choose to pardon the shortsightedness of the handful of petty hawkers who are creating all this hue and cry about medium of instruction to ensure the day's meal. But the Government of Karnataka cannot be pardoned for the disregard with which it is viewing education in Kannada. The Government is failing to realize that with the slow disrespect for Kannada which is creeping into the creme de la creme of Karnataka, the state is headed towards death. At least the Government should stop acting like a petty hawker looking at securing the day's meal, and invest in longer-term projects and initiatives! At least the Government should dare to dream big!
Where are the real statesmen who understand that it is Kannada which can improve the lives of Kannadigas? Where are the real statesmen who can dream like the Israelis and set up Kannada-Technions? Are they all dead? Have they all sold their souls?