Dissecting the Yash Pal Committee Report - Part VIII

English integrates a trivial fraction of India horizontally but mainly disintegrates it vertically

We have already shown that considering English as an instrument of National Integration is a logical error – the error of taking a language which is good for one thing (bread) and offering it as the solution to another (National Integration). Because of this logical error, English fails in achieving what no single language is ever capable of achieving – India’s National Integration. In this essay, we show what English does achieve in reality, and how that is detrimental to India’s future and India’s National Integration itself. But before we move on, we urge the reader to note that we’re calling English as “good for bread” for only one reason – the pre-existence of a lot of content in the bread-sciences. Otherwise, any language is equally “good for bread”.

Returning to the matter at hand, the glorification of the English language as well as the English elite has resulted in a small fraction of Indians – not more than 5% of India’s population – which has become, as planned by Macaulay,
a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect.
As planned, this class has distanced itself from India in taste, opinions, morals and intellect – remaining Indian only in blood and colour (there are examples of even blood and colour getting distanced because of all the international “experiences”)! This is the class which gets into and runs universities, works in and runs MNCs, throngs media-houses, is globally mobile and even gets to become Yash Pals who decide the future of India! It is this class for which all of India’s systems are built, this class which makes all the news, this class which talks about global warming, this class from which emerge the self-proclaimed saviours of the unity and integrity of India. When it comes to universities, this class has mobility all over India because all the universities run in English. Universities in Karnataka prefer an English-educated Bihari or Malayalee to a local Kannadiga who is – as we wrote earlier – criminally excluded from the whole game! Thus, these universities are in reality built for immigrants, not natives - because there are more members of this class outside Karnataka than inside!

This class is spread thinly all over India and speaks one common language – English (again, as planned by Macaulay). You can actually look at it as another linguistic state inside India – a logical state living in the physical states with English as its “state language”. We consider it apt to call this as a “horizontal state” whose people are spread horizontally across the different linguistic states of India. We will use the terms “class” and “state” interchangeably in this context. The actual, physical, linguistic states of India (e.g. Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Tamil Nadu) can now be described as “vertical states”.

The horizontal state is economically stronger than most of India and loves to think of itself as the true India – simply because of its pan-India presence (albeit it forms nearly 0% of the population in most of India) and because its geographically dispersed “citizens” are united in the neglect of everything local (including the local language and local people) and one in the upholding of that which is equally distanced from all of India (English)! When a member of this class from Uttar Pradesh is able to communicate with a member from Karnataka in English, both think they’ve just exemplified National Integration because they’ve given up their own languages (which are described as “dividing lines”) in favour of communicating with each other in a common language. Nowadays, inmarriage has become almost a rule in this class – meaning people from this horizontal state do not pick their spouses from the vertical states! A boy from this class from Tamil Nadu marrying a girl from the same class from West Bengal is advertised as a great example of National Integration – because both parties give up their “local”, “parochial” identities in favour of a pan-Indian identity – one which produces children who speak only English and are further distanced from the vertical states.

In this way, English achieves what may be called as “horizontal integration” of a trivial percentage of India’s population – less than 5% – and simultaneously the disintegration of the people of the “horizontal state” from the “vertical states”. The fact that these horizontal Indians form the sum and substance of media coverage blows their importance out of proportion – often giving the message that the “vertical states” don’t or must not exist. It is blissfully forgotten that most of India lives in the vertical states which are disintegrated from this elite “horizontal state”.

While citizens of the horizontal state are well-educated and well-employed, those of the vertical states continue to languish in ignorance and poverty. Each vertical state is characterized by a unique Indian language which is local to it. Empty vessels that they are, these vertical states fight amongst themselves over petty issues and basic amenities such as water, creating a loud noise. Internally, each vertical state is exceedingly corrupt and misguided. The vertical states seem to really possess nothing attractive for the members of the elite horizontal state to be interested in them or their development.

Thus, English has achieved the disintegration of the well-educated and well-employed from the true India which lives in the vertical states. Devoid of the well-educated and well-employed, the vertical states are left without a future. The well-educated and well-employed who should ideally help the whole of India to develop and escape from the pangs of hunger and ignorance, instead turn a deaf ear to those problems. The few among them who actually intend to help solve those problems are so disconnected from the real India that they are unable to understand the basics of engaging which it – of which basics the need to engage in Indian languages and use them as instruments of development is first and foremost.

So here we are in the beginning of the 21st century where India’s most educated and cash-rich citizens are totally disconnected from the rest of India – the horizontal state has built stone-walls around its periphery and made it impossible for people movement in either direction. This National Disintegration is real but eludes widespread recognition.

Don’t get us wrong – the horizontal state definitely increases the GDP of India – but to what avail, when that state is so disconnected from the rest of India? To what avail, when its success cannot be repeated in the vertical states? To what avail, when it doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of the vertical states? To what avail, when it turns a deaf ear to the problems of its own bretheren whom the same land has given birth to? To what avail, when the citizens of this horizontal state in Karnataka actually feel more connected (both physically and mentally) to the USA and Europe than to their own bretheren in Karnataka?

Till now, this horizontal state has done everything that its founder – Thomas Babington Macaulay – designed it to do, except one thing. And that thing is for this horizontal state to actually connect with the vertical states and improve their lot by providing for education in the dozens of Indian languages. The “citizens of the horizontal state” in Karnataka as one Macaulayan class have done everything their maker had willed them to do, except what they should certainly have done, which is to

refine the vernacular dialects of the country, to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from the Western nomenclature, and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population
and thereby make the bread-sciences accessible to and contributable by the vast Kannada-speaking population of Karnataka. This next step is very important to make – and this is where Prof. Yash Pal and his committee have failed.

Prof. Yash Pal and his committee are guilty of continuing the mistake of pouring in all their efforts and all the funds allocated for the education of Indians onto just one state – this illusive English-speaking horizontal state with a handful people who are divorced from mainstream India which lives in the vertical states – the Karnatakas and Tamil Nadus and Uttar Pradeshes of India. Even if Prof. Yash Pal and Co. had blindly followed what Macaulay the racist expected them to do, they would have invested time, money and energy in thinking about education in Indian languages. But they have failed in doing so. They have failed us. They have failed the people of India. They have failed India.

But India shall not fail as long as the urge to integrate the illusive horizontal state and the vertical states is alive, as long as the importance of Indian languages in the development of Indians is understood – even if by a handful of committed people.

End of series. Return to Part I.

1 comment:

Vikram said...

Kudos to whoever wrote this. This is probably the best article to date I have read on Karnatique. Very articulate and crisp expression of thoughts. I totally agree with the content as well.

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