English played a great role in our freedom movement. It served as a link language among Indians belonging to different regions and provinces. Again, it is through this language that India became aware of great strides made by the western civilisation, science and culture. Not only that, it brought us closer to the people of other countries.
English is no longer the language of Britain. It has grown into an international language. Even countries like China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and many other countries of West Asia and Africa are learning the English language.
English is one of the important working languages of the United Nations Organisation. Indians who are well-versed in this language have, therefore, greater scope for getting jobs in the various offices and agencies of UNO. In fact, UNO has more Indians serving in its various offices and establishment than is warranted by India’s share. The main reason for this is that a large number of Indians possess knowledge of the English language. India is very fortunate that its people learnt this language. Knowledge of this language has helped India to develop close relations with the English knowing countries. It has given India an important place in international affairs.
It is a well-known fact that advanced knowledge of science, technology, space research, nuclear field, medicine; engineering etc. is abundantly available in English language. By learning the English language, the Indians have been able to gain access to this vast treasure of knowledge in the fields of science and technology.
India has a number of languages. After India became free, the country was re-organised into States on the basis of languages spoken by the people. Hindi was spoken by the majority of people and as such it was declared the national language of India. But its imposition was opposed tooth and nail by the southern States of India. These States were assured by the then Prime Minister, Pt Jawahar Lai Nehru, that Hindi would not be imposed on them. As a result, English has virtually become the link language of India. It serves as a link between northern and southern States. It has enabled us to preserve the unity oldie.
However, protagonists of Hindi language are not in favour of the continued use of English even as a link language. They want that with the end of British rule in India, English language should also be thrown out because, whatever its merits, it is a foreign language. Our love for this language is nothing but sign of our slavish mentality.
But the supporters of the Hindi language should not forget the fact that English also belongs to the same Indo-European languages family to which Sanskrit and Hindi belong. English has been in use in India for as many as 150 years. It has virtually become an Indian language. It cannot and should not be discarded in haste.
We should look at the language problem dispassionately. Hindi is no doubt our national language. It should be encouraged, developed and popularized. Till such time as it is accepted by the southern States, English should continue to be used as the official language along with Hindi. English is the repository of all modern scientific and technological knowledge. We should not lose it. The most prudent course for us is to let Hindi and English languages flourish together and enrich each other.