I find daily proof of the increasing & continuing wrong
being done to the millions by our false de-Indianizing education.
We seem to have come to think that
no one can hope to be like a Bose unless he knows English. I cannot conceive a
grosser superstition than this. No Japanese feels so helpless as we seem to
The medium of instruction should be
alerted at once, and at any cost, the provincial languages being given their
rightful place. I would prefer temporary chaos in higher education to the
criminal waste that is daily accumulating.
Education through a foreign Language
entails a certain degree of strain, and our boys have to pay dearly for it. To
a large extent, they lose the capacity of shouldering any other burden
afterwards., for they become a useless lot who are weak of body, without any
zest for work and imitators of the West. They have little interest in original
research or deep thinking, and the qualities of courage, perseverance. bravery
and fearlessness are lacking. That is why we are unable to make new plans or
carry our projects to meet our problems. In case we make them to fail to
implement them. A few who do show promise usually die young.......
We, the English educated people
alone are unable to assess the great loss that this factor has caused. Some idea
of its immensity would be had if we could estimate how little we have influenced
the general mass of our people.
The school must be an extension of
home there must be concordance between the impressions which a child gathers at
home and at school, if the best results are to be obtained. Education through
the medium of strange tongue breaks the concordance which should exist. Those
who breaks this relationship are enemies of the people even though their motives
may be honest. To be a voluntary victim of this system of education is as good
as the betrayal of our duty towards our mothers. The harm done by this alien
type of education does not stop here; it goes much further . It has produced a
gulf between the educated classes and the masses. The people look on us as
beings apart from them.
It is my considered opinion that
English education in the manner it has been given has emasculated the English
educated Indian, it has put a severe strain upon the Indian students' nervous
energy and has made of us imitators. The process of displacing the vernaculars
has been one of the saddest chapters in the British connection. Ram Mohan Rai
would have been a greater reformer, and Lokmanya Tilak would have been a greater
scholar, if they had not to start with the handicap of having to think in
English and transmit their thoughts chiefly in English. Their effect on their
own people, marvelous as it was, would have been greater if they would have
been brought under a less unnatural system. No dought they both gained from
their knowledge of the rich treasures of English literature. But these should
have been accessible to them through their own vernaculars. No country can
become a nation by producing a race of imitators.
English is today studied because of
its commercial and so called political value. Our boys think and rightly in the
present circumstances, that without English they cannot get Government service.
Girls are taught English as a passport to marriage. I know several instances of
women wanting to learn English so that they may be able to talk in English. I
know families in which English is made a mother tongue. Hundreds of youth
believe that without the Knowledge of English. freedom of India is practically
impossible. The canker has so eaten into the society that in many cases the only
meaning of education is Knowledge of English. All these are for me signs of our
slavery and degradation. It is unbearable to me that the vernaculars should be
crushed and starved as they have been. I cannot tolerate the idea of parents
writing to their children, or husbands writing to their wives, not in their own
vernaculars but in English.
The foreign medium has caused brains
fag, put an undue strain upon the nerves of our children, made them crammers and
imitators, unfitted them for original work and thought, and disabled them for
filtrating their learning to the family or the masses. The foreign medium has
made our children practically foreigners in their own lands. It is the greatest
tragedy of the existing system. The foreign medium has prevented the growth of
our vernaculars. If I had the powers of a despot, I would today stop the
tuitions of our boys and girls through a foreign medium and require all the
teachers and professors on pain of dismissal to introduce the change
forthwith. I would not wait for the preparation of Text books. They will follow
the change. It is an evil that need a summary remedy.
Among the many evils of foreign
rule, this blighting imposition of a foreign medium upon the youth of the
country will be counted by history as one of the greatest. It has sapped the
energy of the nation, it has estranged them for the masses, it has made
education unnecessarily expensive. If this process is still persisted in, it
bids fair to rob the nation of its soul. The sooner, therefore educated India
shakes itself free from the hypnotic spell of the foreign medium, the better it
would be for them and the people.
This article is taken from the book
"The Selected Works Of Gandhi"
Vol. 6 The Voice of Truth