Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Why English ?

A question that is often asked is “Why are the Tamils willing to learn English but not Hindi?”

My answer would be “Why not Swahili ?”

Even though the answer is actually a question, the answer to my question is the answer to the earlier question too – “No significant use”.

If the technical journals and other scientific articles and information/knowledge is in Swahili, people will learn it and not English. The same logic can be used for any other language.

What do we get with Hindi?

Quite often learning/speaking Hindi is associated with patriotism. Does it mean learning Tamil or any other Indian language is unpatriotic ? or is it lesser Indian language than Hindi ? Why is there such a skewed logic ?

Hindi helps you to communicate with the majority Indians is another answer. As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, Tamil is the majority language so its good to know it. If a Tamil, moves out of TN, he should learn the local language of the region and not Hindi. Till then, a mixture of English and a few words can keep him alive in another state. Making Hindi compulsory in TN for the few who travel outside TN is absurd. What is the percentage of Tamils traveling outside TN?

Now that the jobs are predominantly created in the southern states, will the North Indian in general and Hindi person specifically learn a South Indian language – any one ? or in other words, most Hindi speaking person tend to look for Bangalore, would they learn Kannada ? Shouldn’t they learn Kannada?

Respect is a two way street, if you can’t learn my language, why should I learn another language ? Unless and until, I see a benefit in learning another language, I don’t intend to.