Sunday, July 14, 2024

Nehru’s Language Legacy to India: Bridging Divides or Fanning Discord?

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Post-independence, Jawaharlal Nehru’s policy of upholding English as the official language of Bharat left an enduring negative imprint on the nation’s linguistic choices. His short-sighted policies were aimed at administrative continuity and convenience in the post-colonial Bharat. However, this choice has ensured the sowing of seeds of linguistic division in the nation.

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On J.L. Nehru’s birthday; let’s explore the echoes of Nehru’s Language Legacy that still resonate in the tripartite split of Bharat into- the English Speaking, the Hindi Speaking, and the Vernacular. Does Nehru’s true legacy lie in fostering disconnection and germinating the roots of regionalism?!

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The Chasm Expands: Consequences of Language Policies

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Nehru’s endorsement of English was rooted in convenience. As an English speaker, whose formal education since age 15 was in English, he chose to continue running Bharat in its oppressor’s language. Under the guise of international communication and continuity, Nehru carved a linguistic chasm that remains unbreached after 76 years of Independence. Oh, how the British must have loved the fact that Bharat’s Independence speech was delivered in English.

Nehru’s policies ensured that India would forever remain divided! The English-speaking elite would thrive in a cosmopolitan bubble, while Hindi and its dialect would be frowned upon. Additionally, the vernacular languages and their legacy would struggle to maintain any relevance in the national context and would forever have to contend with regional identities.

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Southern States: The Dravidian Schism

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The English Language policy’s ripple effect reached the southern states, fanning the flames of linguistic discord between India’s North and South. In Tamil Nadu, the anti-India concoction of linguistic estrangement and socio-political movements was given a free pass with this policy. The policy effectively fanned the flames of Aryan-Dravidian ideology championed by E.V. Ramasamy (EVR). It enabled the Great South of Bharat to feel disconnected From the Hindi-speaking heartland.

Consequently, this drove the final nail in EVR’s divisive narrative. It fueled a sense of separatism in Southern Bharat.

EVR successfully used this to drive a wedge between the Dravidian South and the rest of Bharat. Even today, Indians from various states of Bharat today can only effectively communicate in the language of their colonial masters. They would rather use their erstwhile master’s language than Hindi which originates from Bharat’s soil!

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Nehru’s Language Legacy: Hindrances to National Unity

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Nehru’s lack of engagement with Sanskrit and lack of formal education in Hindi has ensured that Bharat remains divided. His delay in accepting Hindi as the national language hindered the prospect of a united linguistic identity. Thus, Nehru can directly be held responsible for fostering disconnection between the states of Bharat. 

Even the society of Bharat stands divided by language. The upper crust of India prefers English with a British accent, which marks them as the elite class! Then comes the middle class that uses Hindi or Vernacular language, which marks them as peasant! Lastly, the poor of India who speak mere dialects of Hindi or the local language! Therefore, the umbilical cord to the cultural and linguistic roots of Bharat was snapped by Nehru. Therefore, Nehru’s Language Legacy is the fractured linguistic landscape of India.

Rethinking Unity: Beyond the Language Divide

On J.L. Nehru’s birthday, we Indians should reflect deeply on Nehru’s Language Legacy! Bharat should reassess its linguistic priorities. Only a Nation that is United in Its Language and Culture can stand strong against Foreign Powers! The path to national unity lies not in the perpetuation of Hindi, but also in helping Bharat embrace a language that is borne from its own land! Acceptance of Hindi should be pivotal to empowering the linguistic diversity that defines Bharat! It’s time to bridge the linguistic gaps in Bharat! Let India be a nation united by the strength of its diverse languages. Thus, the narrative of Bharat should be spelled in the language of its people; be it Hindi, Sanskrit or Tamil; not in the Bhasha of its oppressors and looters!

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