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English Language: Symbol of Slavery?

English Language: Symbol of Slavery?

The question arises why our elite prohibit English language for masses while they profusely and proudly speak it and write in it and get education through English medium schools from nursery to highest degree.

By Gulsher Panhwer

PM Imran khan on the occasion of launching single national curriculum termed it freeing the country from slavery. Meaning ‘we never tasted the freedom as if we were under the indirect rule of British Empire’. Besides showing his abhorrence for English language he also lamented the fact that for learning English language, English culture was also adopted resulting country’s economic and “moral” decline.

First, is English or any language bad, answer is big no. language is just medium of communication. It depends on the user of the medium to use it in positive or negative manner. For example, if a person insults and chooses abusive words it does not render the language bad.

The question arises why our elite prohibit English language for masses while they profusely and proudly speak it and write in it and get education through English medium schools from nursery to highest degree.

Majority of the language experts continue to lament in leading English newspapers that English medium schools are great injustice to non-English speaking children. They strongly demand (and rightly) that children should be taught in mother tongue at least for primary classes. But when scratching the mater little bit deeper one finds that children of almost all such campaigners of mother tongue education study in English medium schools.

A long time ago, elite literary personalities from Sindh gathered to demand education in mother tongue and introduction of Sindhi language subject in English and Urdu medium schools. On little bit research it transpired that children of majority of these the English haters   studied in English medium schools.

When asked that why don’t they practice themselves what they preach for others. They will retort that they have no alternative schools with Sindhi medium imparting quality education thus they are compelled to send their children to these   English medium schools. Same is true for Urdu speaking critics of English medium education.  Then another important question props up, who is responsible for rising standard of public schools. It is that its prime and constitutional responsibility of ruling elite   to ensure access to quality education for all children. Thus it is lame excuse of the elite that due to poor quality in public school they send their children in English medium and at the same time cry hoarse that the English language is bad. They love to shift their wealth in western countries, love to reside there and fully adopt western culture and then lecture to the poor that copying western culture is symbol of slavery.  They let the schools and colleges in rural periphery and slum area of big city to rot and their building crumble without teachers, working as animal shed and warehouses of landlords.

Why this dichotomy of elite opposing learning of English language and abhorring western culture whereas they themselves adopt and benefit from these. The answer is that it is in their vested personal and class interest. They amass wealth through illegal means. With this wealth they create elite English medium schools imparting high quality modern instruction. And after educating their children from these educational institutions they monopoly the high paid jobs and occupy the position of high power. They keep the children of masses uneducated or poorly educated. They bad name the English medium modern education in attempt for discouraging poor from attempting to enroll their children in low quality private schools offering English medium education. Because they fear that if masses are motivated for quality education, one day these low quality affordable English medium schools might improve their quality through evolutionary process. And they might catch up with high quality expensive modern education institution. This, they fear will endanger the future of their (elite) children.

If English language was such a bad thing, why Sir Sayed Ahmed Khan enjoined Muslim to learn it? If our illustrious leader Quid-e-Azam hadn’t armed himself with modern education and English language imagine how it would have been difficult to counter the conspiracies from British imperialism and cunning congress leaderships.

Predominance of any language lies in its speakers holding   economic and literary strength.  When Greek nation states thrived and have tremendous contribution in almost all branches of knowledge, Greek Language dominated large part of the world and elite of that time around the world were eager to learn, speak and write in Greek. During Roman Empire’s dominance, the Roman language flourished. During golden Muslim era, Arabic language was widely venerated. When British conquered vast swaths of earth, the English language was adopted as badge of proud and passport to economic power and elevated positions.

At present most of knowledge and information is in English. The English is vital for getting scholarships in reputed foreign universities. With population explosion and shrinking of livelihood opportunities multitudes of our youth is in depression. The thriving foreign job market as well as online marketing is one of the windows of opportunities for our youth to get education and earn foreign exchange. With deluge of extremism and intolerance dogging over society, English language is a medium for our youth to interact with world and promote soft image of our widely peace loving country.

Here the demeaning of English language and English culture and comparing it with slavery by our PM is deplorable. He himself has background of getting education from the institution which extensively use English as medium of instruction.

He has wide range experience and exposure to western culture. Ergo its strange he is calling aping of that culture as symbol of slavery.

This writer has got change to visit different countries and worked with English speaking professionals form different countries. They are extremely polite, abhor telling lies, accept their faults and mistake with grace, never break traffic singles, always stand in queue for their turn. Never pride themselves on breaking the law, never making fun of persons with disabilities and less unfortunate ones among them.

However, every society is not perfect and western society and culture might have some drawbacks   and their own problems. Their ruling elite and big corporations have   vested interest too. But generally speaking western societies including English speaking nations have evolved to high degree of civilized societies, practicing equality, fraternity and other adorable traits

It is clear that learning English or any language is no indication of neglecting one’s own language or matter of any inferiority. Neither appreciating good traits of any culture is symbol of slavery. However, amassing wealth through illegal means, wallowing in wealth and wasting it, taking no step to modernizing education and economy and go with begging bags to every western and eastern countries for aid and loans and in return doing their biding certainly falls in type of modern slavery.


Gulsher Panhwer is a freelance writer mostly touching the environmental, cultural and such other issues. He can be reached at gulsherp@yahoo.com