For more than 2 centuries English has been in India and Indian writers and authors have made generous contribution in the development of English language and literature.
Indianwriters in English include such well-known signatures as Sarojini Naidu, Aurobindo Ghosh, Dom Moraes, Nissim Ezekiel, P. Lai, A.K. Ramanujan, Kamla Das, R. Parathsarthy, Mulk Raj Anand, R.K. Narayan, Raja Rao, G.V. Desai, Bhabani Bhattacharya, Manohar Malgonkar, Kamla Markendeya, Anita Desai, Khushwant Singh, Nayantara Sehgal, Salman Rushdie, Sreenivas Iyengar, Vikram Seth, Sashie Tharoor, Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Chandra etc.
Among great political leaders Mahatma Gandhi, Pt. Nehru etc. have been prolific writers in the language. Though the percentage of English speaking people in India is very low, yet it is most widely used among the educated urban people. It is also the medium of instruction in the institutions of higher learning and education.
Hindi in Devnagri script is the official language of the Union and it was stipulated in the Indian on stitution that English shall continue to be used for all official purposes of the Union till January 25, 1965 but a completeswitch over to Hindi was not found practicable within the stipulated and English in addition to Hindi continues to be used for all official purposes.
However, over 44 crore of people speak Hindi and it is their mother tongue followed by Bengali and Tamil. The regional languages are the official languages of the States. There are 18 statutory recognised languages in India. Many people are over-enthusiastic about removing English and replacing it completely with Hindi and regional languages.
They argue that English is a symbol of slavery and colonialism. But they forget that English is an international language and Hindi or regional languages just provide translated material in higher learning and training. Without English it would not be possible to keep pace with the rapid advancements and researches in science and technology.
The mother tongues are important and so is Hindi and it is desirable that the students are imported instructions and education in their mother tongues. But it does not mean that English is no more important or can be completely replaced by Hindi or other Indian languages.
The time is not ripe yet to see that happen. Total abolition of English would leave India far behind other countries in the fields of medicine, engineering, communication, business, space technology, agriculture etc. It would be suicidal to remove it completely from the scene.
Moreover southern States in particular would never tolerate it and there would be a sort of chaos. Discretion is the better part of valour and it is advisable that English retains its present position and status for some more time to come. English is a link language and a means of communication between different educated linguistic and regional groups.
It is a language of learning, higher studies, business, science and technology and opportunities. Even those who advocate its removal in public send their sons and daughters to English medium schools.
English is very rich, powerful, varied and widely understood language. It is spoken by the majority of the educated people all over the world. It can be called a window upon the world of business, science and culture.
As such, more and more Indians are learning English and there is a flood of shops and institutions teaching Indians how to speak English. English is still an important instrument which provides us access to a wealth of knowledge and information of the world.
It was English which helped Indian renaissance beginning/ from the time of Raja Rammohan Roy and Rabindranath Tagore. English helped leaders and people come together inspired by patriotism and national feelings. It gave our great leaders like Bapu, Nehru, Aurobindo, Dr. Radhakrishnan and many others a tongue and voice to protest against repression, exploitation and foreign domination.
It is this vehicle which carried their ideas, dreams and cries to the other peoples the world. Without English it would not be possible to compete; with other nations of the world in international relations, politics business and technological progress and also at home in learning, education and training.
English has come to stay for longer time than many people think. It would be premature and unwise to drive English away at this juncture. Removal of English would cut off India from other countries and international affairs. If we want to grow and develop, we will have to keep close contacts with the other nations of the world.
It would be unwise to discontinue the use of English because it was imposed by the British or we learnt it at the time of the Raj. We cannot lose the expertise, efficiency and advantage of English gained after many decades of efforts and exercise because we have inherited it from the British.