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Last Sunday I was watching movie 'English Vinglish'. It is a movie showing struggles of a woman named Shashi. Though her family loved her and her husband always admired her for her cooking skills, she sometimes felt low in confidence due to her limitations in English language. Her daughter was reluctant to take her to teachers parents meeting, her husband used to make fun of her saying she is born only to cook (in sarcastic way) were among few scenes shown in the movie where she was made to feel low. Her life takes a challenging turn when her close friend calls her to come to USA to help her in arrangements of her daughter's wedding. She was scared to heart to go alone there where almost everyone speaks only English. Question how she will servive there had totally occupied her mind. Out of this nervousness she got humiliated in front of other people. Then she decides to learn English secretly in a month. On the wedding day everyone was taken aback when she presented a toast to couple in English. But later while returning to India she proudly asks for a Hindi newspaper from air hostess. Of course English is just language and not knowledge.
I think many people can relate themselves to Shashi's story. Though everyone possess one or other talent but they are looked down upon for not able to speak English. Someone is good at cooking, some at sewing, someone is a good singer and some can dance well. But English is misunderstood as a skill above everything else and is taken as matter of pride. I remember one personal incident in this regard. I was talking to one of my neighbors and I casually enquired about her daughter's studies. It was evident from her face how happy she was when she told me that her daughter is doing extremely well in English subject but Hindi is little weak although they belong to a Hindi speaking region. This incident left me with a question, aren't we sowing idea in young minds that English is a measure of once capacity and intelligence? Haven't we started taking English speaking as matter of prestige? Isn't it a common instinct that when we meet someone who is fluent in English is interpreted as belonging to good family, smart and well educated? In my opinion having knowledge of English is good, but it is not right to measure someone's ability based on it and make it a matter of pride and prestige.
Definitely we need to learn English for growth and development ( applicable in India) but we should not forget that there are many countries where first language is not English and yet they are among developed nations. Knowledge is diverse and knowledge of English is just a part of it.
I would like to leave on a note that learning is good but it should not be limited to only English. English is a language like any other language and should not be mistaken as a measure to judge someone's ability.
Thanks for reading the blog. Please let me know of your opinion about the subject through comments.