Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Editorial, 'MACAULAY'S MEN', in the 31 July 2009 issue of LAW


Even Thomas Babington Macaulay, an avowed imperialist, who worked for the creation of “a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect,” through the introduction of English education in India, was careful to state the compulsion: “We have to educate a people who cannot at present be educated by means of their mother-tongue. We must teach them some foreign language.” And he considered English better suited than Arabic/Sanskrit for the purpose and proceeded – that resulting in the formation of the English educated baboodom in India as faithful servant of the British Rule. We know what enormous sufferings and humiliations we had to undergo in the struggle for our independence and how thousands of freedom fighters had sacrificed their tan-man-dhan for the cause. Since no self-respecting country or nation can/would ever develop without shedding the colonial/foreign domination trappings and all the developed countries have so progressed due to literature and education prospering in their own mother tongues, it was presumed that once we become free, our national languages will take the place of English and that would be a sure way to success of our collective striving for social justice and all-round development. But, alas, that has not come to be because of the machinations of Macaulay’s Men entrenched in the country’s elite – that despite the constitutional mandates to promote Hindi and other regional languages and ‘restrict’ the use of English. Now it is sad to note that in making an unwarranted observation recently, hinting that if the kids are not taught in English medium, they would eventually be not fit even for clerical jobs, even our superior judges have degraded themselves. They ought to have remembered at least Gandhiji’s outburst: “To give millions a knowledge of English is to enslave them. The foundation that Macaulay laid of education has enslaved us. … It is we, the English-knowing men, that have enslaved India…” if not the more reasoned and widely accepted opinions of Tagore, Zakir Husain, Radhakrishnan, and so many other eminent persons who guided our country’s ‘tryst with destiny’. §§§