[lg policy] Karnataka: The Language Policy Debate Continues

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Tue Feb 3 21:16:13 UTC 2015


 The Language Policy Debate Continues

 [image: Devanuru Mahadeva]Writer Devanuru Mahadeva has slammed the Supreme
Court's directive on the language policy, which leaves the choice of medium
of instruction to parents.

In response to a query as to why the Government is firmly in favour of
making Kannada compulsory when only parents know the best for their
children, Devanuru said, "When I used to campaign against bonded labour in
our villages, I would go to each household requesting poor parents not to
send their children to work. They would yell at me and say they knew what
was in the best interest of their children, and who was I to decide?"

Noting that other countries are doing their best to promote local
languages, Devanuru said India is yet to come out of its 'psychological
slavery' to colonial rulers. "Japanese is the language of instruction in
almost all Japanese schools. In China, the mother tongues are Mandarin,
Mongolian, Tibetan and Korean, and the country is spending heavily to teach
English and Spanish only as languages so it can expand its empire. In
Malaysia, the colonial language is being replaced by the mother tongue," he
observed.

Devanuru had refused to chair the 81st All India Sahitya Sammelana on the
ground that the Government has not been doing enough to make the teaching
of Kannada mandatory in primary schools. Speaking about the government's
decision to amend the RTE rules, he said, "I welcome the decision but still
need to study it to assess its effectiveness."
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