Sanskrit has been a link language in India up to about 1100 c.e. Except possibly
for Tamil all the other major Indian languages are either derived from Sanskrit or closely linked to it. Since 1100 c.e, however, influence of foreign invaders have displaced Sanskrit from its role as a link language.
Persian was the link language from about 1100 to 1800 c.e. Since then English
has taken over the space vacated by Sanskrit and Persian.
Advantages of English
English has of course brought a great deal of concrete advantages. It is a window to western thought. Knowledge of English opens the door to the rich
scientific, technological, philosophical and commercial literature of the west. It is relatively simple to integrate with the current world system with
the knowledge of English.
Disadvantages of English
English has also brought a large number of disadvantages. It has divided Indian people into two classes, English speaking and non-English speaking.
The English speaking class knows about the world and benefits from that
knowledge. The non-English speaking class cannot obviously do that. Moreover,
if this situation continues, it may lead to the death of Indian languages in
the distant future. What is the point of learning a language if there is no
use for it commercially, scientifically, or technologically?
What can be done?
The first thing that should be done is to enrich the vocabulary of Indian
languages. It must be a collective effort. A collection of Indian language
scholars together with scientific, technical, commercial and legal experts should be assembled to create a common vocabulary of scientific, technical, commercial and legal terms for Indian languages. I am suggesting a common vocabulary since then it would be easy to read and translate scientific, technical and commercial Indian language literature. Indian universities should be upgraded to research universities and Indian language journals should be created in scientific, technical, commercial and legal areas.
Books should be written in scientific, technical, commercial and legal areas
in various Indian languages. I am not suggesting that we should discard English. English can continue for the present. All I am suggesting is the urgent need to upgrade Indian languages so that they remain relevant for the future. Available of scientific, technical, commercial and legal books in
Indian languages will also heal the breach that exists in Indian society
today. This seems to me the only way to save our mother tongues!
More posts by this author:
- Why is Sanskrit considered a Divine language?
- My Classical Mechanics teacher
- When Sooltan Mahmood Khilji of Malwa made Hindoos eat their gods
- Do Mantras work?
- Did medieval muslim rulers destroy Hindu temples to save Hindus from being looted?
I did my school, college and parts of my University education in Kolkata. I got my M.Sc degree from Kolkata University. I went to USA in 1979 and got my M.S and Ph.D in Physics from University of Pittsburgh in 1984. I did my Post Doctorate in University of Southern California, Los Angeles and then worked as a Research Scientist in the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Space Sciences Center of University of Southern California. My scientific work includes heavy ion-atom scattering, multiphoton ionization and heliosphere data analysis of Pioneer 10/111 and Voyager 1/2 deep space spacecaft and analysis of solar extreme ultraviolet data obtained from SOHO spacecraft. I have been a National Aeronautics and Space Adminstration (NASA) Principal Investigator from 2002 – 2007. I have been a member of a NASA awards committee to decide allocation of money to different scientists. I have also refereed scientific articles submitted to Journal of Geophysical Research and Astrophysical Journal.