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Views & Reviews

Do the Poor Have the Right To Learn?

By EMN Updated: Jun 08, 2019 8:07 pm

In the previous week all the national and local dailies carried news of strong voices raised by a section of people of Tamil Nadu against the New Draft Education Policy saying that the Govt. of India attempts to impose Hindi on them. Many activists in Nagaland’s Social Media too expressed concern over the issue. I have come across a section of people trying to put forward arguments in the light of ‘Tamil Nadu Model’ in this issue. Fortunately, majority reasoned with good sense and no attempts have been made to polarise people till now over the three language issue.

For the past few days I was in confusion as whether I should share few facts over the issue with the readers or should remain silent. If I say the facts, it may show my people of Tamil Nadu in bad light. On the other hand, if people try to follow the ‘Tamil Nadu Model’ justifying that whatever people from a developed State do might be good for everyone, I will have to carry the sense of regret for maintaining silence forever.

Firstly, the Anti-Hindi Imposition movements date back to the years 1930-40. By nature, the people of Tamil Nadu are over sensitive to issues which mostly may be of trivial to people from other States. Few selfish fine brains of the State, with much foresight and diplomacy made use of this basic characteristic for their political gain and ensured that they and their generations remain in the helm of the State forever. The main argument put forward by the leaders of the Anti-Hindi Imposition movements was that Tamil language , culture etc will be destroyed if Hindi is taught in schools as a third language. Unfortunately, majority of the population of Tamil Nadu has inculcated and inherited this absurd propaganda.

Please note that Hindi is been taught as a third language for many decades in all the neighboring States of Tamil Nadu such as Andra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala, and neither their languages nor culture are been destroyed by Hindi. It is worth mentioning here that most of the renowned Tamil Scholars whose names have been scripted in History were having proficiency in Hindi, Sanskrit and many other languages.

The recent ‘Hindi Imposition Protesters’ conveniently pretend to forget the fact that more than one thousand private schools affiliated to CBSE are functioning profitably in Tamil Nadu and these schools have been teaching Hindi as third language to their students. The number of schools seeking affiliation under CBSE is on the rise and people consider sending children to CBSE schools as a prestigious practice. Interestingly, many of these CBSE affiliated private schools are owned by politicians who lead the Anti-Hindi Imposition movements. Thus, the issue is very simple. Children of affluent families will alone be given the opportunity to learn Hindi and it will not destroy Tamil language and Culture. But the poor children who go to the Govt. run schools should not be given the same opportunity because few politicians’ feels that poor people are not matured enough to preserve their language and culture on learning another language.

Let me make one things clear here. I do not support imposition of anything on people against their wish. But at the same time, people should not be prevented from widening the horizon of their knowledge on the basis of economical conditions. Equal opportunities should be given to all sections of the people irrespective of their economical status. Unlike grown up adults, young children have the potential to learn many languages with ease and I do not think that they may consider it as a burden. As far as Nagaland is concerned, we follow ‘three language formula’ and I observe that learning Hindi practically help our people in many ways. So, I sincerely feel that the three language policy without making it compulsory to secure pass marks in the third optional language should be welcomed by one and all.

Nellayappan B is an Asstt. Director in the Directorate of School Education, Nagaland

By EMN Updated: Jun 08, 2019 8:07:40 pm