SATAN AND SARASWATI:
The Double Face of English in India
BY - E. ANNAMALAI
When India attained freedom in 1947, the British symbols were replaced but the institutions and instruments were retained. During the prescribed period of 15 years for the complete change of the official language of the union, there was growing political opposition in some states to the progressive use of Hindi for official purposes. In 1963 two years before the deadline, the parliament passed the official language Bill (amended in 1967) providing for the continued use of English without time limit giving legal status to the assurance given by the prime minister Nehru in the parliament to the opponents of Hindi four years earlier. Now English is associate language of the union.
The replacement of English as the medium of education at the primary and secondary stages has taken place for all subjects in a large number of schools, though the English medium is still available, particularly in schools run by private trusts, minority organisations, missionaries and the central government. It is an alternative medium in all stages and union.
After independence, the nationalistic euphoria gave way to the realities of economic reconstruction of the society with its concomitant competitiveness between the different regions and linguistic groups to share its benefits, and of dependence on international powers.
After Second World War, the stature and power of English increased internationally in the political and commercial spheres. English had become more and more indianised grammatically and functionally due to its us by a large number of Indians thanks to increased education, commerce and journalism and the India English was no more foreign.
The reasons for the reluctance to change the medium of English after independence are the same as the ones to introduce it. For i.e., to impart science and modern knowledge and to develop a sense of solidarity with the ruling class.
So we can say that English language has both side positive and negative (saraswati and Satan)