[lg policy] Bangalore: One language in school nonsensical, says Karnad

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 9 15:08:06 UTC 2012

One language in school nonsensical, says Karnad
TNN | Nov 9, 2012,

BANGALORE: Playwright Girish Karnad feels teaching one language at
school is "nonsensical" and "tragic".

During a talk on 'Culture and Entertainment' organized by the Azim
Premji Foundation at its campus here on Thursday, Karnad favoured
"bilingual education". He said: "What has happened to Indian education
is tragic. Teaching two or three languages in schools was a gift,
which we have lost now.''

Karnad said the policy of one-language medium of instruction in school
came from Europe. "The notion of one-language medium of instruction is
nonsensical. The language problem is unfortunate. It's possible to
teach and learn two or three languages. I've learnt them. Whatever be
the medium of instruction, English or Kannada, other languages can be
taught,'' he added

Referring to English and Indian languages, he said: "We're in a
linguistically strange situation. The learning and earning language is
English, while the laughing and crying language is the mother

He said teaching of English was an important change the British
brought to India. "English has become our language. We don't just
speak it, but define our life in it." he said.

The writer said the opening up of the skies in 1991 (allowing cable
television and satellite TV) has had an impact on the performing
media. "Indian languages are flourishing in the performing media,'' he

He said music, more glorious than ever, saved Bollywood from being
swallowed by Hollywood. "About 50 years ago, Italian, Japanese and
French cinema were the benchmark. Look at them today. Hollywood has
eaten them up. We may not know to make a 'Titanic', but they don't
know to make 'Hum Aapke Hain Kaun','' he said.

Karnad feels colonial confrontation has had three kinds of impact on
the arts - it killed some; some grew stronger; and new ones emerged.
He said dance and music flourished, as it broke caste barriers.
"Painting and architecture was destroyed by colonialisation. They
never had any sympathy for Indian architecture,'' he said. He said the
destruction of the Babri Masjid brought back traditional Indian
architecture. "After the Masjid was demolished, there was a new-found
interest in Hindu temples. Many people donated generously for the
construction and revival of temples. However, the aesthetics were
backward-looking,'' he said.

Slamming the right

Right-wingers make claims about the history of dance, music,
literature and theatre -- everything in India starts 2,000 years ago.
In fact, art and culture go back 5,000 years. Bharatanatyam is not
2,000 years old. It was first adopted by the Madras Music Academy in
1933. The word was coined that year.


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