The various phases that marked the introduction of English Studies in India between independence and today

The various phases that marked the introduction of English Studies in India between independence and today - The status quo was maintained with the European children being tutored by private teachers or their babysitters while the Indian children had their formal education in Pathshalas, madarsas, maktabs and the children of the quality learnt through their private teachers. This situation changed by the end of the eighteenth century when the East India Company brought the whole Indian key under their command and decided to wear the cloak of guardian for the Indians and they started allowing of „ citifying the natives ‟ As stated by Lord Macaulay in one of his after speeches; “ to trade with cultivated men is infinitely more profitable than to govern barbarians” The East India Company started the process of citifying the natives by introducing them to their religion, according to them, the Hindus were a bunch of illiterate, superstitious people in need of godly intervention and the knowledge of Christianity to make them „ cultivated ‟.

In independent India, the University Education Commission (1948- 1949) was the first to study the language problem in the country. The various phases that marked the introduction of English Studies in India between independence and today , It was also known as the Radhakrishnan Commission after the name of its chairman, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan. The commission recommended that’ English should be replaced by an Indian language as the medium of instruction for higher education as early as practicable. But at the same time it suggested that English should be studied in high schools and in the universities in order to beep touch with the living stream of ever growing knowledge. In the Constitution of India adopted in 1950, Hindi in Devanagari script was given the status of official language of the Union of India and English was to continue for 15 years from the date of adoption of the Constitution. 

The various phases that marked the introduction of English Studies in India

It was expected that by 1965 Hindi would replace English in the country. However, this did not settle the language controversy in the country. This was vehemently opposed by the southern states. For them Hindi was a symbol of north Indian supremacy over the south. On the other hand, those who had fought for years for the dignity of their country saw English as a shameful badge of our slavery (Sinha, 1978). The various phases that marked the introduction of English Studies in India between independence and today , By 1959, it had become apparent that the proposed change over from English to Hindi by 1965 was not possible. As the appointed day (26th January) for the abolition of English approached, there were widespread riots in several parts of south India.


English as an International Language:

English is an international language, spoken in many countries both as a native and as a second or foreign language. In almost every country on the earth, English is taught in the schools. English is spoken as a native language by about 375 million people and as a second language by another 375 million speakers in the world. Speakers of English as a second language will soon outnumber those who speak it as a first language, according to research by the British Council. As a rough estimate, 1000 million or one billion people around the world have some knowledge of English, either as a native language, as a second language, or as a foreign language.

In 1968, the Government of India proposed a three- language formula (National Policy on Education). The three language formula first suggested by the National Integration commission (1962) and later recommended by the Indian education committee (1964-66) (popularly known as Kothari Commission), envisages compulsory study of English as a second language (L2) or as a third language (L3) for a duration of six years or three years respectively in non-Hindi speaking areas and as a second language of six years’ duration in Hindi- speaking areas

The mother tongue or the regional language should be the medium of instmction at all levels of education. It provided that urgent steps should be taken to adopt the regional languages as media of education at the university level. It is obvious that the three-language formula was more of the nature of a political solution than of any educational value- the idea being to ensure equal language learning burden in the north and the south. But
the formula, though accepted in principle, was misapplied in various ways both in the north and the south. The various phases that marked the introduction of English Studies in India between independence and today , The spirit of the three language formula v/as that in the north Indian states efforts would be made to teach a language from south, east or west India as the third language. But mest Hindi Speaking states chose Sanskrit instead. West Bengal and Orissa also chose Sanskrit. In :he south people felt that they were being forced to learn a north Indian language. The south and the East increased the importance of English. Some states and territories viz. Nagaland,
Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Sikkim adopted English as
the official language.


English is the associate official language of India which has over 1030 millions (over a billion) people. Pakistan, Bangladesh, and many other nations which were ruled by Britain continue to use English both as an optional medium of instruction in their schools and as one of their official languages. The islands of the Philippines continue to use English as an important tool for education, administration, and for mass media purposes. English is the chief foreign language taught in the schools of Europe, South America, Asia and Africa.

It is more widely spoken and written than any other language, even more than what Latin has ever been. It can, indeed, be said to be the first truly global language. English is nowadays the dominant or official language in over 60 countries. Even though some nations which were ruled by the French continue to teach French as their most preferred second language, English is gaining ground even in these countries. In Japan too, English is the most favored second or foreign language.

In the Sixteenth Century, English was spoken mostly in England, southern Scotland, and small areas of Wales and Ireland. There were only about two to three million people speaking it as their native language. At present one in seven in this world speaks English either as a native language or as a second language.


First Period: (1765-1813):

During this period, the British gradually introduced the English language and Western Language in order to create a class of Indians who could serve the imperial rulers as officials or functionaries, as well as, function as a communicative link between the rulers and the masses. Originally they were afraid of teaching English to Indians. Randle Jackson, a member of the House of Commons, voiced their feelings. He said, “We lost our colonies in America by imparting our education there, we need not to do so in India too.” (Agarwal) However, after the Battle of Plassey in 1757, the situation began to change. In order to win over whom they

had begun to rule, they decided to open educational institutions. Two such institutions were Calcutta Madarssha (1781) and Benares Sanskrit College founded in 1791. Provision was made for the teaching of English there. The earliest attempts to introduce English in India were made by the missionaries who came primarily for the purpose of religious and moral preaching rather than for spreading English. The missionary effort culminated in the setting up of Christian institutions in different parts of the Indian Sub – Continent, where English was taught as one of the subjects.


Second Period: (1813-1834):

The various phases that marked the introduction of English Studies in India between independence and today  , The second phase of the presence and spread of English in India is identified with two names, Raja Ram Mohan Roy and T. B. Macaulay. Raja Ram Mohan Roy led a group of Indians in demanding English Education for Indians. This group was convinced that English would be more useful for Indians than Indian languages for academic, socio – economic, scientific and international purposes. The effort of this group considerably strengthened the hands of Lord Macaulay whose famous minute was passed in 1835. As English developed stronger roots in Educational system in India, the whole sub – continent witnessed more and more Indians

being taken in by the lure of English, native Indian languages suffering a great set back in the process. 


Third Period :(1834-1853):

In 1834 lord Bentinck invited Macaulay to preside over the General committee of public Instruction. This gave Macaulay the occasion for writing his famous minute (1835). He strongly recommended that the spread of western learning could only be possible through the medium of English.


Wood’s Despatch:(1854):

The various phases that marked the introduction of English Studies in India between independence and today  Wood‟s Despatch is often described as the Mogna Carta of English education in India. It confirmed, what Macaulay had said, English was to be the medium of instruction in the higher branches. The demand for English education was already there. Hence, the number of schools and colleges began to increase by leaps and bounds. The predominant position was given to English and the vernaculars bean to be neglected.



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