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Don't praise the English

Don't praise the English

Author: A.R. Kanangi
Publication: The Afternoon
Date: July 16, 2005

These days, politicians lie in wait for a chance to catch their opponents trip and then hang on to a juicy word or a chance remark and use it as a stick to beat them with

I am going to get it off my chest. I am going to call a spade a spade. You are all a bunch of morons. Yours is a nation of barbarians. We will never forget our bloody, terrible colonial past. You came to our country as traders. You took back our precious spices. We are a naive, hospitable people. We did not suspect you had any ulterior, sinister motive. We trusted you. In the beginning, you formed a small company. Then, in no time at all, you moved in with guns. At the time you came, all over the country, there were fierce chieftains who used to, at the slightest provocation, fly at one another's throat. You played one chieftain against the other and began to gobble up territory. You formed an army of desperately hungry men and you made them carry out your savage orders. The wretched natives who opposed you were tortured. You put them inside canons and blast them off. The princes became your salves. Then there was India, a part of the huge empire where the sun never set.

Royally exploited

You have a most hilarious, depraved royalty. Why did King Henry VIII fly into a temper and have fits of deadly rage at the slightest provocation? Why did Queen Victoria not have any eyebrow? Those days, there was no cure for syphilis. Quite a few of your kings and queens suffered from this disease.And then, you use only paper to wipe your arse. You never use water. You do not have a bath everyday. Some of you have a bath once a year - on the Christmas day. Pardon me, you are a dirty nation.And you sucked the blood of our people like a monster. You looted the country. You took away our precious treasures. Your men had a cushy time in India. You encouraged Christian missionaries and converted a large number of starving people. You raped our women and raised a new breed of human beings.You saw to it that we missed the industrial kick. You took raw things from our country and made them into finished goods and sold them here. You took cotton and made cloth, which you brought back and sold in the country. There was drought, famine in which lakhs kept perishing. There was no development activity at all.

You have butchered thousands of our freedom fighters. From your country came savage army chiefs, criminals who were unleashed on our people fighting to get rid of you. And finally you gave us a painful parting kick. You promoted the communal divide, actively supported the Muslim crusader Jinnah and divided the country. As your viceroy's wife was having an affair with one of our vulnerable top leaders, the plot to divide India was successfully hatched. You did not bother one bit as lakhs of people were butchered after partition was announced. Maybe, you thought it was a historic happening, which could not be prevented.

I have finished my speech, ladies and gentlemen, no hard feelings. Jai Hind. There are people in our country who feel that our prime minister should have made a speech like the above. They have taken a strong objection to the speech which he actually made during his recent visit to England. The prime minister praised the British, their way of life. He thanked them for the good things left by the British: institutions like the parliament, the judicial system, universities, the administration set-up, the police. Many laws which were passed in the colonial rule are still there. The functioning of the police has not changed one bit. We are following several democratic procedures and practices.The prime minister praised the British and noted the instruments and institutions they used to sustain democracy were in place in India. How could he have praised the British, the BJP leaders said.

We have definitely an old, great civilisation in our country, but before the British came and conquered, what was the state of the country?

Actually there was nothing like India then.

We were united and became one nation - Hindustan, Bharat. Of course, slices of our land were cut off and Pakistan and Bangladesh came into being. There is little doubt that today, there is unity and law and order, thanks to political and administrative strategies initiated in our country.

Just think, we have still not been able to get rid of the British and all that they stood for. Our link language - shame on us - is English. It will be English - for ever.Hindi is supposed to be the national language, but three-fourths of the country do not think so.All the southern states are against Hindi.Hindi is not the language in West Bengal, Maharashtra, Kashmir, Assam, Gujarat or Goa. It is recognised as the 'national language' only in a small belt in the north.The BJP leaders who have faulted the speech of the prime minister must do something about it. Whether they like it or not, English is here to stay - for ever.

We have a great, beautiful language - Sanskrit, but it has almost become extinct.There is a department of Sanskrit in one of the colleges, which wanted to scrap it because of lack of students. Sanskrit is the mother tongue. All languages in the country have Sanskrit words. Malayalam, the south Indian language, has perhaps the largest number of Sanskrit words or its derivatives. There is a rich, ancient literature in the language. There is philosophy, metaphysics. And there is Kamasutra too. We have a vast fund of ancient wisdom.There cannot be any objection to Sanskrit.When Hindi was tried to be imposed on the south, there was a mass rebellion against it. A Congress leader - a joker - tried to address a Tamil audience in Madras in Hindi. Needlessly to say, he was chased out.

National language

It was the misguided zeal of the northern leaders that led to the defeat of the Congress in Tamil Nadu. Come what may, none of the southern states will accept Hindi.It is a big farce to call Hindi the national language of India. Perhaps, it would be more correct to regard English as the national language. There is no agitation against English.And there is no agitation against Sanskrit too. It is our language - unlike English, which is a foreign language. We can walk tall on the day the country decides on Sanskrit as the national language of India.The British legacy is there in black and white, in the language of the country, in heritage buildings, in our ways of life. And there are people who will stick to it and never give it up.It was Mahatma Gandhi who advised the nation not to hate the British. The Mahatma's non-violence included love for the foreign rulers. The Mahatma was a shrewd bania. He wanted, of course, the British to go. He told them most lovingly that they must leave. It is absurd to suggest that because Mahatma Gandhi loved the British, it showed he wanted them to remain. He valued freedom and liberty. He admired the British and some of their ways. He, however, did not ape them. He went to meet the British Queen, dressed only in a loin cloth.I have noticed that these days politicians lie in wait for a chance to catch their opponents trip and then hang on to a word or a chance remark and use it as a stick to beat them with. Maybe, it is okay, these mutual skirmishes, as politicians play the power game.

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