English Versus Hindi; The Ultimate Battle Of Languages!

Does it’s victor mark the end of an era?

I’ve always studied in an English Medium school.

Since you’re here, I guess, you have too.

Do you remember what was it like?

We followed an unsaid hierarchy system. Students good at speaking English were considered superior to those who were not. And, not just in schools, at malls, offices, even restaurants!

This mindset is not just limited to students but adults as well.

Let’s ask ourselves, what’s the big deal?

English was gifted to us by the Britishers and it really is a beautiful language, no doubt.

Except, in India, it has become a matter of class.

Middle class people are desperate to be a part of this “elite” club. They strive hard to send their kids to English medium schools.

Well. It’s pretty straight-forward, you send your child to public schools where they teach in the local language: he’s more likely to become unsuccessful in life. After all, how are they supposed to sit at the same table as the big guys if they don’t understand the language?

I do not disagree.

They’re right. It’s true major MNCs or even government jobs in India require English speaking people. They certainly have more opportunities than others.

English is key.

Hence, we have established; these parents aren’t wrong.

But is life all roses in English speaking schools?

The answer is no. It’s not.

There are three categories:

  1. Students who are good in English: These are the teachers’ favourite. Spoken-English monitors. They are also the first ones to be selected to perform on stage in all major school fests. Pretty popular.

I used to be one of these kids. You’d think life was easy for me but it wasn’t. I was liked by teachers but secretly hated by my fellow classmates. People might ignore an error or two in any other case but mine. All my mistakes were magnified and celebrated.

Where exactly is this spite coming from?

The answer is — insecurity.

The real concern here:

Why are little kids being poisoned this way by the system?

2. Students who are good in Hindi: They are appreciated by the teachers but that’s about it. There are no major fests celebrating Hindi. No one wants to hear you talk in ‘ancient’ Hindi on stage. It’s uncool.

One of my friends used to write poems in Hindi, he was advised, “If you wish to impact a young and vibrant crowd — go for English!”

It’s just sad that we don’t appreciate our own language’s beauty.

3. Students who are good in Hinglish (Hindi + English): This lot is stuck in between. They only know how to talk in Hindi — using the English alphabet. They can’t appreciate their parents’ choice of Literature (Hindi) cause they barely come across it in their millennial lives. They also can’t write a proper letter in English cause it needs, well, English.

I believe these people are the biggest victims of this new-age caste system.

Why exactly is it an ego-issue for the masses?

It’s simple.

Since English is spoken within the “elite” club, when you comment on a person’s English speaking skills, you’re indirectly commenting on their social status in the society.

“What do you mean I speak no good English? You think I’m low class?”

Since it’s this big a deal, many supposedly ‘elite’ people only talk in English at restaurants even when it’s evident the staff isn’t comfortable with the language.

They coldly watch as the waiter shuffles his feet and awkwardly answers their queries in his broken English: hoping, the manager doesn’t notice!

I have this funny feeling that Satan has some real ‘high-class’ plans for these people. Just saying.

If you know the local language why can’t you speak in it, pray tell?

The hilarious double standard.

As if us Indians cribbing over western media making fun of our accent wasn’t enough — a lot of people make fun of accents of their fellow countrymen.

A village person speaks English differently than a city person.

If you pronounce a word incorrectly not only the city folks bully you in school, you will also carry the shame throughout your life.

Low self-confidence? Check.

Less friends? Check.

Less opportunities? Check.

Let’s not forget, ladies prefer men who speak fluent English. Nobody cares if your crush cannot construct a single sentence to save her life, nope, she deserves a man who knows his ABC. Okay?

I had successfully wrapped my head around this ruthless rule about funny accents until, one day, an American guy entered our school.

He could not speak Hindi but he constantly tried, his pronunciation was incorrect and the grammar just …poor.

To my surprise, no one cared!

That’s right. In fact, all of a sudden, it was cute!

“Michael is so cute! Have you heard him say ‘paani’ it’s adorable! I’m totally asking him out.”

Um. Guys. Seriously?

“But hey, he has a funny Hindi accent! Doesn’t that violate the accent rule,” I’d ask.

“Are you kidding! How mean! Hindi isn’t even his mother tongue. It’s his second language! At least he’s trying!”

Exactly.

How difficult was that to understand, princess?

Why do I have to be Michael in my own country to not be good at a second language and still rock it at school?

What are we missing out on?

Our culture is slipping through our fingers as we feed our insecurities by looking down upon our own.

Firstly, we need to take it easy.

English is simply a language. Just like Hindi, Tamil, Assamese or Gujarati.

Many leading countries, for example: Japan hasn’t rejected Japanese on it’s road to success. They are defined by their vibrant culture.

Outsiders learn their culture to fit in and not the other way round.

Take a moment and think about the sheer damage bullying does to kids who fail to speak a particular language.

Think about the dimwitted people being promoted — not because of their expertise in their craft but because they speak better English than others.

Average ideas in English hold a lot more value than good ones in Hindi.

Not just languages but every other aspect of a ‘modern’ Indian’s life is heavily influenced by the west.

I’m tired of Indians copying westerners …relentlessly seeking their validation.

Aren’t you?

Where is this ingrained insecurity coming from anyway?

We only feel insecure when we give others permission to make us feel that way.

I am proud of my cultural identity and it’s rich heritage bestowed upon me by our ancestors.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends from outside India but I will never copy them just for the sake of it. No one wants a puppet. People only appreciate originality.

Remember, America already exists but we only have one India.

Her uncool languages, her boring culture and her embarrassing traditions have been tossed aside by our cool-AF-Snoop-Dogg generation.

Even after such constant tantrums, India, has always only embraced our unreasonable yet ‘modern’ ways.

Let’s take a moment and share her embrace this time.

People person. I write for the world to see some issues I do — with the same intensity. It’s a long battle but I’m armed with pens and books. Let’s do this.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store