Education, being a bridge between society and progress, has a great significance in shaping one’s language and culture. The emphasis on English as an official language impacts the regional language or vernacular. The way our regional and linguistic identities have been constructed is as problematic as the creeping influence of English on our lives. And often, this has resulted in a form of violence that is as serious as the violence that the pre-eminence of English is doing to Indian languages.
The implications that this has for education are as serious as the effects that English-medium education has on Indian vernacular sensibilities. What happens when Sindhi is subsumed under the Hindi category of languages? The medium of education of the Sindhi speaker becomes Hindi. The textbooks one has access to are also in Hindi. But, the Hindi of the textbook is alien to her. Its grammar, its morphology, its sentence construction are all alien too. Thus the language get reduced to the status of dialects losing their actual worth.
When a language dies, as Devy notes, “a unique way of looking at the world disappears”
The concept of standardization of a language directly or indirectly outpaces other vernacular. The proud body of the literature is now part of the Hindi canon. This has embellished Hindi’s status as an ancient language and in pursuance of the nationalist discourse, a Hindi has been constructed that has reduced these proud tongues to the status of “dialects” of the Hindi ‘standard’ language. To construct an acceptable standard, these allied languages have been denied their very identity.
The system of giving preference to one over others is good in framing a standard set of norms all over the region but outpaces the originality of cultural heritage. The custodians of our mother tongues have marginalized and alienated many people in the foolish pursuit of a standardized and pure language. We cannot hope to recover the pre-eminence of our mother tongues without the support of all sections of the people. That support will not be forthcoming in the current scenario.
There is a need for a equality to be achieved in order to keep up the pace of progress and prosperity balanced. Our vernaculars must now re-imagine themselves differently to keep the cultural heritage and traditions alive for the coming generations. There is a need to be celebrative of the language’s many forms and learn to appreciate the beauty of these forms. This hankering for purity must be consigned to the rubbish heap. Else, they will perish and it will be nobody’s fault but their own.