Aspirations Are Killing The Mother Tongue

by Nava Thakuria - Mar 31, 2016 03:09 PM +05:30 IST

Aspirations Are Killing The Mother Tongue SL Bhyrappa
  • SL Bhyrappa opined that the children in schools across India should be taught in their mother tongue. English has become a major challenge to all Indian languages, he felt.

    Professor Bhyrappa stated that there was a time when most of the Indian universities were dominated and influenced by the JNU ideology.

Celebrated Kannada writer SL Bhyrappa, who is widely regarded as one of modern India’s foremost novelists, feels that the children should be taught in their mother tongue. Bhyrappa, who was recently at Guwahati Press Club for an interaction programme, however,  emphasized on learning English as a subject efficiently.

“As English medium schools are growing in numbers across the country, we have to think over the implication of the development seriously. In my State of Karnataka, the English educated youths are not interested to read anything in Kannada, not even the newspaper headlines in language dailies,” said Bhyrappa during the ‘Guest of the Month’ program held on 28 March 2016.

The prestigious Saraswati Sanman awardee also added that English has become a major challenge to all Indian languages. The octogenarian author expressed concern that now everybody in India wants to send their kids to English medium schools in expectation of a bright future.

“Not to speak of the affluent section, but also the lower middle-class families today prefer English medium schools for their children. The result is that more and more youngsters in our country now are unaware of the local language and literature. If the situation is already acute in Karnataka, the same may be a reality for Assam within the next few years” added the soft spoken gentleman, who was recently honoured with a Padma Sri by the government.

It may be mentioned that the Kannada Sahitya Parishad, the highest literary forum of Karnataka, pursued the matter with the high court, where the verdict pronounced that the selection of schools for the kids remain the prerogative of parents. The literary forum soon approached the Supreme Court of India with the appeal that the medium of instruction for children should be mother tongue till the tenth standard, but it was dismissed by the apex court.

“So unless there is a specific law in this regard, we cannot expect justice. Prime Minister Modiji also supports the concept to educate the children in mother tongue. But the Bharatiya Janata Party does not have the majority in Rajya Sabha and hence it becomes a futile exercise for them to bring a bill unless the Congress assures support. We need the political will here,” commented Bhyrappa, who was honoured with the Mamoni Raisom Goswami National Literature Award, constituted by the Asom Sahitya Sabha.

His comment was supplemented by veteran Assamese journalist DN Bezboruah, who asserted that anyone educated in regional languages can also learn English professionally.

Bhyrappa spoke about his early life. He has authored over twenty novels in a career spanning more than five decades. Many of his novels were translated into various Indian regional languages as well as English.

His first commendable novel ‘Bheemakaya’ was published in 1958 and he had not looked back since then. Some of his acclaimed literary creations like ‘Vamshavruksha’, ‘Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane’, ‘Matadana’, ‘Nayi Neralu’ etc were filmed by acclaimed directors and received critical acclaim from the masses.

‘Parva’, ‘Daatu’, ‘Jalapaata’, ‘Anweshane’, ‘Grahana’, ‘Saakshi’, ‘Aavarana’, ‘Yaana’ are some of his most read novels. Answering queries from the participating journalists, the nationalist writer commented that the character of Indian mainstream media has changed a lot in present days.

While the media played an important role in the pre-independence era to make India a sovereign nation, it started worshipping first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the post-independence period. Anybody who dared to criticize or oppose Nehru was framed as an anti-national.

Slowly the media turned into a business entity where the politicians started getting involved with the medium because of its influence over the people. The capitalists also did not trail behind and grabbed many media houses. However, with the emergence of alternate media where everyone can participate in the discourses, has favoured the educated common people, stated Bhyrappa.

Talking about the Indian history, the doyen of Kannada literature asserted that he always insists on unveiling the truth over any political interest. He asserted that the students of history should know that Mughal emperor Aurangzeb destroyed lot of temples, but at the same time Akbar the Great maintained liberal and progressive policies.

Highlighting the recent controversy relating to Jawaharlal Nehru University, Prof Bhyrappa disclosed that the genesis of the higher educational institution could be traced back to the Communists supporting the Indira Gandhi-led Congress government in 1969. He also added that there was a time when most of the Indian universities were dominated and influenced by the JNU ideology.

Prior to the press club interaction program, Prof Bhyrappa was handed over the coveted national award in memory of Assam’s celebrated writer Indira Goswami in presence of Dr Dhrubajyoti Borah, president of Asom Sahitya Sabha.

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