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Should English continue to be the Official Language of India?
GTO: Gentleman, the idea of my assembling you here is to hear your views on one of the most controversial subjects of the country today. We are going to discuss the question of official language of the country, i.e., 'Should English continue to be the official language of India?' I hope this discussion will generate more light and heat as generally happens elsewhere.
Candidate No.1: Gentlemen, the subject before us is 'Should English continue to be the official language of India? I shall begin my talk with a very emphatic 'yes'. English has been the most important and powerful language and, beyond doubt, it will remain the most important and powerful language of our country. If a regional language or Hindi replaces English, we will be confined to the boundaries of our own states and the country. This will lead to disintegration. It is English alone which acts as unifying link. Hence, I favour it to remain the official language of our country. Moreover, it is English which possesses all the major features of a national language, i.e., it is spoken by the majority of the people who run the administration of our country. It possesses potentiality of growth and expression, and is a living, and growing international language. English is the window through which we see and understand all the different communities, races and the States of India. In a certain section of the people, there is a feeling that those who know English are cut off from the masses and the mainstream of democracy. This is not true.  It would be so to some extent if a person knew only English but not if he also knew the regional languages. Nobody denies the virtue of mass communication through the language of the area concerned. As a .matter of fact, all our political leaders are doing that and knowledge of English is no bar to it. On the other hand, it adds new intellectual dimensions to their thinking and makes it more up to date by enabling direct access to modem scientific knowledge and thought processes. The other argument that only a small percentage of the people know English is equally unconvincing in this context. In any society, it is only a percentage of the people who reach high degree of proficiency in any language. Why only English? And high proficiency is what we are concerned with when we talk of UPSC examinations and all important assignments in the Central Government.  All sections of people, even the economically weaker know English. Hence, it is not the exclusive privilege of anyone class of people. I am, therefore of the opinion that English should continue to be the official language of our country. .
[Comments: Candidate No.1 enjoys extensive ideas and has made a strong case for the retention of English as the official language of our country because it is being used in all administrative and legal matters. It is useful tool in international affairs because we can communicate with other nations of the world in English language. He has brought out the salient features of the topic in a coherent and forceful manner and his presentation has put forward excellent impact on the group. By virtue of his number one speaker in the group, he has taken the opportunity being the first to impress the group. He can be selected depending upon the competition from other candidates.]
Candidate No.2: Gentlemen. I am afraid. I do not agree with my friend's views. Even though I come from a so-called non-Hindi state, I feel that Hindi should immediately be adopted as the language of our country. It is the mother tongue of the largest number of people in the country and even in those States where Hindi is not spoken as the mother tongue; many people can understand this language. It is the language of the majority of the people of our country and at the same time easy for the minorities to learn. It is also a growing language capable of expressing all manners of ideas and terms. Hindi is best suited to be our official language. This was frankly admitted and blessed by all our leaders of the national movement and finally they agreed, after the achievement of Independence in 1947, that it would replace English in 15 years after our country becomes a Republic. It is high time that English be replaced by Hindi.
[Comments: Candidate No.2 has brought about a favourable case for the adoption of Hindi as the official language before and after independence. According to him, Hindi is the mother tongue of the largest number of people of the country, which is not a fact. In the southern States of India, the regional language of the particular State is their mother tongue. Moreover, we should not look after the interests only of those whose mother tongue is Hindi. There should be a universal language which should be understood and adopted by all citizens of India alike, and it can be other than Hindi or a regional language of a particular State. Many years back, there was a demand from the southern States to divide India on the linguistic basis which our country cannot afford. Hence, the plea given by Candidate No.2 cannot be accepted. Therefore, he does not deserve selection.] 
Candidate No.3: Friends, I agree with my friend who is in favour of Hindi becoming the national language of our country. Majority of the people in our country favour Hindi and would like to give it the rightful place of our official language. Unfortunately, it is the politicians who are trying to add fuel to the fire as they have vested interests. They have revived local patriotism after the formation of linguistic states with the result that the people have now begun to assert the claims of the regional languages. They have created a fear in the South that if Hindi becomes the o~ language, they would be at a disadvantage as compared to others in the years to come. If a policy of persuasion and helpful guidance is followed, I am sure the present hatred for Hindi in the South will cease and also opposition to Hindi will lose its force.
­[Comments: Candidate No.3 is a camp follower of Candidate No. He has tried to blame the politicians for favouring Hindi as the official language. He has also tried to convince the group by giving reference to the southern States. If the people of South also learn Hindi, they would be at par with the people of other parts of the country. But will only Hindi work for the national interests? What about our international relation? Can we as all the countries to also understand Hindi because it is our national language? How shall we be able to deal with them for we do not know the language spoken by the majority of the people of the world? This candidate cannot be recommended for selection].
Candidate No.4: Gentlemen, I am also in favour of Hindi taking the place of English in our country. It must be admitted that the language controversy has been narrowed down, specially relating to candidate to candidate seeking jobs in the Central Government. The resolution of the Congress Working Committee suggesting the application of the three-language formula for the Central Civil Services and other Examinations, coupled with the acceptance by the Indian Government of the previous resolution of a working committee that anyone of the 14 national languages can be the medium for UPSC examinations, should offer a lasting solution. This knowledge of three languages, including the mother tongue, is required by a candidate seeking entry into the Central Services. This solution should remove apprehensions about the inequality between the Hindi speaking and the non-Hindi speaking people. This must be accepted as a national solution for this vexatious question.
[Comments: Candidate No.4 has given good justification for continuation of English along with Hindi, by adding any one of the national languages for all Central Services Examinations. By doing so, the candidate would get opportunity to prepare for the examinations in their regional language also which formula has been accepted by the government. However, the regional language would help the candidates in their states only. The candidate, however, cannot be ignored.]
Candidate No.5: Gentlemen, I support candidate No. 4. I would reiterate the suggestion made at one of the meetings of the National Integration Council held under the chairmanship of our beloved Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru that for the benefit of those who have to study a language besides their mother tongue and English, that language might be studied in the Roman script. This will lighten the burden involved in studying three languages. Tamil students studying Hindi may study Hindi in Roman script and similarly Hindi students, studying Tamil or Telugu may do so in Roman script. I would recommend this for consideration by the authorities entrusted with the task of implementing the-three-language formula.
[Comments: Candidate No.5, supporting the ideas of candidate No.4, has suggested for introduction of regional language in Roman script as proposed by our former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. This is a good suggestion but it cannot be implemented for higher studies. This was at one stage introduced for training defence services personnel who come from different states. It can be implemented in primary classes but cannot be continued for higher classes and in colleges. Nor can it be implemented in administrative and commercial matters. In southern states, Hindi is now being taught as a language in Devanaigri script, which they are able to follow. Let the students study in their own regional language in their own script instead of Roman script. This candidate cannot be useful for an organization which works in English language]
Candidate No.6: Friends, I disagree with the views just expressed and I strongly support the view that English should be retained as the official language of our country. If we want to continue our communication with the rest of the world, we must use language spoken by other countries or, in other words, by largest number of people in the world. English should remain the official language. It is the bridge between the east and the west. It is our window to the outside world as has already been stated by a previous speaker. If we do not want to live in isolation, we cannot afford to abandon the use of the English language.
[Comments: Candidate No.6 follows the views of those who are in favour of Hindi only or Hindi along with a regional language as the base for official purposes. He has rightly pointed out that English language is a link between India and other nations of the world and without English we cannot prosper. By ignoring English and implementing Hindi only as the official language, we will cut off from other nations unless they are well versed with Hindi language. There is no other country in the world which has Hindi as the official language. We will thus be feeling ignored. The opinion given by this candidate is almost the same as that of Candidate No.1 and cannot be re commended for selection.]
Candidate No.7: Friends. I strongly support the opinion expressed by Candidate No. 6 that English should continue as our official language. It has the richest literature. Books on modem sciences, rockets and sputniks are in English and not in Hindi. English had created the unity of India and was the only common language among the educated people throughout the length and breadth of India. A Madrasi can speak or write to a BengaIi through the medium of English. Our national leaders like Gandhi, Nehru and Radhakrishan were great men of letters in English and their finest works are in this language.
[Comments: Candidate No.7 has followed No.4 and has given additional opinion that since all modern books on science and technology are available in English, besides other languages of the European countries like French, German etc. we should continue with the English as a national language. this candidate also cannot be ignored for selection]
Candidate No. 8: Gentlemen I strongly support Candidates No.6 and 7 and I am of the firm opinion that English should be our official language. In this regard, I fully agree with my friend who opened this subject. English is the language which is most expressive and at the same time most immaculate dress of modern thought. It contains the trophies and the glorious achievements of the past and the weapons of the future conquest in the field of Arts, Science and technology. It is English that has introduced all the countries to the world and has embalmed and preserved the relics of ancient wisdom. It is the language of civilisation itself. It is English that has brought the different people of our vast country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal together. It has bridged the gulf between several races and communities of our country who have their own native tongues. English has even bloomed up the great Thar Desert, made the Western and the Eastern Ghats accessible and melted the Himalayas which in the past were inaccessible due to speech barriers. It is English which was used as a major weapon for achieving independence.
[Comments: Candidate No. 8 has given good justification for continuation of English as our official language since everyone is able to express his opinion – whether it is in the field of arts, science, technology, etc. Indians are doing research in all fields in India as well as foreign universities in English language only which is a universal language. If we had adopted Hindi as the official language, Rakesh Sharma would not have gone to space along with Russian cosmonauts. It is the language which has helped Indian women like Kalpana Chawla and Sunita William to do research in space technology and bring India's name to fame, although both had become American citizens. English language has also kept the people of all parts of India united because there is langue barrier for them. All can understand this language which is taught from primary to higher standards of education. This candidate deserves recommendation for selection.]
Candidate No.4: Gentlemen, excuse me for interrupting. I feel that those who are avoiding the use of English as the official language are not patriotic. English is a foreign language and was forced on a slave country. We have freed ourselves from the bonds of the foreigners. If we continue to use it as the official language, we will continue to remain slaves mentally although physically we have become free.
Candidate No.7: Gentlemen, I again support the cause of English. I am no less patriotic than those who favour Hindi. My contention is that patriotism should not be carried to the extent of fanaticism. We should face facts as they are. Just because a person is a protagonist of Hindi, it does not mean that he is patriotic and again, just because one speaks in favour of English it should not be understood as a lack of patriotism. People who talk of wiping out English are only placing political time-bombs which might explode in the next generation and blast the entire country. Hence, to save the country from such situation, I am convinced that English should be retained as our official language. I would like to conclude by saying that if the language is lost, something is lost, if Hindi is lost, much is lost, but if English is lost, everything is lost.
Candidate No.8: The myth that English is a foreign language and should, therefore, be discarded and given secondary position is a wrong notion and a wrong approach is being made in this direction. As was referred to earlier by one of the supporters of English, the 'Discovery of India' and 'Autobiography of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru' have made a tremendous impression in the robust English prose. Tagore's 'Gitanjali' won him the Nobel Prize for literature. The former President of India, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, has interpreted Indian thoughts to the world in lucid flawless English. The Indian Constitution itself is written in English. Can we still think of English as a foreign language? (An Urdu version of our Constitution was prepared in January 1983.) According to eminent jurist and our former Central Minister. M. C. ChagIa, it will be many years before Hindi can take the place of English in uniform functioning of the judiciary, which is the bedrock of our democracy. He was, therefore, strongly of the opinion that English be retained as our official language and Hindi should be used as a working language for some more years. The supporters of Hindi have lost their case in my humble opinion.
[Final Comments: The entire group is a mediocre one. Candidates Nos. 1, 4 and 8 deserve commendation as per the comments given against each of them. Since some time is left for the group to express its additional opinion, this extra has been utilized by Candidates No. 4, 7 and 8, who have without discarding the use of Hindi, favoured continuing English as the official language. As rightly said by Candidate No.8, our great leaders like Dr. S. Radhakrishnan and Jawaharlal Nehru wrote books of international fame in English language and Dr. Rabindranath Tagore also wrote 'Gitanjali' in English language which won him Nobel Prize for literature, we cannot bypass English being a foreign langue. English has to retain its position, as the official working language which cannot be completely changed by Hindi. All law books are written in English because it is understood by all the states of India.. It would be difficult for judiciary to function if law books are available in Hindi only.]
GTO: Well, Gentlemen, I think we have had an interesting discussion on this controversial subject. As you are aware, greater and greater use of Hindi is being made in our country. But the fact remains that English will retain its position as the official working language and Hindi may not get the same status for many more years if we want to continue our contact with the other countries of the world. Hindi is our national language but English will stay as our official language in spite of the efforts of its antagonists.

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