Saving Our Mothers


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!

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