Sankrant Sanu writes:
A few years ago I set off to villages in Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttarakhand to do a study. I carried with me non-verbal IQ tests normed on the US population. I administered these to children in the US, children in English-medium urban schools and children in village schools. In my sample, Indian village children outscored both Indian and US urban children in IQ. In a small village Khandodra in Haryana, 30 per cent of the children scored above the 90th percentile. I was stunned. When I spoke to the principal of the village, he spoke about how the English class system in India affected the children’s self esteem and their chances of future progress.
हमारा ग्रामीन क्षेत्र है। अगर हाईर ऐडूकेशन से टच में है तभी बच्चा सफल हो पाएगा। जब वो आठवीं क्लास पास करता है, दसवीं तक जाता है, उसमें इंगलिश की ऐसी हीन भावना आ जाती है, की ऊपर जाता है—काॅम्पिटिशन में भी इंगलिश-मीडियम है।(Ours is a rural area. To succeed these children need to be in touch with higher education. However when the child passes 8th class, goes into 10th, he experiences a feeling of inferiority in dealing with English; to go higher the competition is in English).
This encounter created my passion to reverse this injustice. A child in Turkey, in Malaysia, in Korea or Japan, does not face the same discriminative glass ceiling as the child in a village in Khandodra. Some years ago, Malaysia made an explicit decision to change its highest court system to allow Bhasha, its native language (a word ironically derived from Sanskrit). Yet in this ancient land of scholarship of ours, which influenced other civilisations for centuries, we cannot plead our case in the Supreme Court in any Indian language.