India’s youth ready for Obama’s visit

The NYTimes takes the time to interview some of India’s youth in preparation for Obama’s visit. This trip will be a good break for both Obama and the rest of us who are sick of American politics. In India there is still hope and change.

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100 thoughts on “India’s youth ready for Obama’s visit

  1. “The key is investing in education across all levels and providing incentives for impoverished parents to send their children to school (like the free lunch program, etc). It will also require volunteerism on the part of the privileged and middle classes to donate to ngo’s that increase literacy or to volunteer their time to teach subjects in schools suffering from teacher truancy”

    Wry you're obviously clueless about the real blood and guts of how India operates...."volunteerism..."? Please!
    
  2. “As for education in general, you are right about how an english medium education should be afforded to students from a secondary level onwards, but that doesn’t mean India should be building “Goddess of English” temples and celebrating Macauley’s birthday.”

    Why not? Indians like you worship the english language so building temples to your god is the proper hindu thing to do. Innit?

    Why is it that China, Japan, Korea can develop rapidly without the benefit of your god, the English Language, while India, Africa, Phillipines lag hopelessly behind despite the huge “advantage” of educating their children in the Divine English Language?

    Shine some light here, macaulayite :) :) :) :)

  3. Umm, Japan was already a developed country due to the Meiji Restoration. It nevertheless went through post-war reconstruction due to US investment that provided it with a foundation to become an economic powerhouse after the destruction of WWII. China is not yet a developed country, but both it and S.Korea were able to develop at a rapid clip because initially they did not have to wrestle with democratic roadblocks like India did. They did not have to worry about popular opposition to industrial reform and regulatory streamlining. Once S.Korea democratized it had already hit an economic critical mass because the previous authoritarian government had pursued a policy of import-substitution, followed by export orientation. Its state-backed Chaebol were able to harness educated human capital within S.Korea–following government investment in education— and make it an economic power to reckon with. An important point of note is that both Japan and S.Korea are miniscule fractions of India’s population, had their security guaranteed by the US so that they could concentrate on economic development (or redevelopment in Japan’s case), received large-scale American aid, and are essentially homogeneous societies. Apples and oranges, “innit”?

    China is a better comparison point. It too is a diverse society (despite the artificial han ethnicity), has lifted millions out of poverty, has developed world class universities (such as Tsinghua), has a professional and world beating technocratic class, but still has a long way to go before it can be considered to be a middle income country, let alone a developed one. It, like a formerly authoritarian S.Korea, was able to grow at a rapid clip due to its ability to quickly create a favorable business climate (untrammeled by democratic rights) that could receive American investment from china-friendly post-nixon America. Although China initially was not business friendly, once it set its mind to this under Deng, it was easily able to cater to the needs of business, running roughshod over individual rights as needed. In sum, all three countries made serious investments in education–ensuring a professionalized technocrat class–generally had strategically oriented leadership, and went through periods of import-substitution (in key niche industries identified by the technocrat class) followed by export orientation, and made significant investments in education. A key lesson for India, beyond political change and election of strategically oriented national leadership, is reform of the IAS to ensure the rise of professionalized specialists rather than clueless generalists.

    Finally, regardless of your intention behind bringing up english medium education, I never “worshiped” the english language. In fact, I still believe hindi should be taught as the national link language, and local regional languages taught in each state. English’s utility lies in its status as the language of international business and diplomacy–an incontrovertible fact. While dalit families should be encouraged to teach their children english, it is only to increase the professional prospects of their children, not deify a language that was used for colonial oppression. Celebrating a man who did nothing but attempt to break the Indian spirit with colonial propaganda does not advance the Indian cause. As for your half mocking attempt to brand me a Macauleyite, it is strange and nonsensical, but whatever makes you happy…

  4. “Umm, Japan was already a developed country due to the Meiji Restoration.”

    Pretty stupid aren’t you? What language did japan use to develop during the Meiji Restoration? How does that contradict my point? Sheesh…

    The rest of your post is the usual excuses made by brainwashed drones to “explain” India’s inability to develop. Despite a headstart India lags even behind Africa in per capita income, in alleviating hunger, child slavery etc. There is no excuse for these failures. Democracy has worked in numerous other countries.

  5. Let’s look at some of the positives of Obama’s visit. The speech in parliament was excellent. It was both endearing and novel the way Obama displayed an affinity for Indian names, historical figures, literary works and expressions. Can you see the average parochial, insular American( or Canadian) acknowledge and mention “Vivekananda” the “Panchatantra”, and say “Jai Hind” and “Dhanyavad”. Without getting carried away, Indians should appreciate the intrinsic worth of this acknowledgement.

  6. Satyajit,

    “Dev” is actually Prema, a long-time Sepia Mutiny commentator who has an unshakable hatred of anything related to India. You won’t get very far arguing with her (ie, please don’t feed the troll)..

  7. Also, for those who are comparing India’s record with China in economic growth, remember that China has the ‘advantage’ of a state that does everything with the stroke of a pen or barrel of a gun. In India, there are debates, discussions, protests, processions, arguments, strikes, lock outs, shut downs, disputes etc.

    There was a very interesting panel discussion on IBN ( CNN-IBN) on the Obama visit. Most of the people were upbeat and positive. But there was a strong dissenting voice from the head of the CPI( communist party of India) economic cell, who said repeatedly that the economic benefit of the Obama visit will go mainly to the US, and not to Indian workers and peasants. It was said openly without hesitation. In China, such a discussion with dissenting voices, or even nuanced supporting voices( as on the panel) would not even be held.

    India and China share values as far as family and education goes. Other than that, they are very different countries. India is discursive, open, democratic, fractious, turbulent, self questioning, self doubting, while China is regimented, authoritarian and contrived.

  8. Satyajit Wry, excellent posting about the differences between India on the one hand and South Korea, Japan and China on the other. Yes, what these countries have achieved is remarkable, but they cannot be compared with India, which had to grapple with more issues. People often forget that South Korea was a quasi-fascist state from the 50′ s right to the end of the 80′s. There are of course individual and sectoral things from these countries India can learn from and be inspired by, but in totality, their experience has little relevance for India.

  9. Satyajit Wry is actually correct and as usual, makes his points in a solid manner. The detractors are reaching, and not very successfully.

    One thing I would agree with kidpoker666 (I hope that doesn’t mean that you are a devil that pokes kids, btw!) is that India shouldn’t look to anyone else to solve their problems. They have to have the faith and confidence to look inwards and come up with solutions from themselves. The US is naturally out to look after itself as India should be – so India should act accordingly. If it suits to get close to the US and be a part of the UNSC etc then why not do it? But it should always be borne in mind that every country is out for themselves and every decision should be taken accordingly.

  10. Let me not forget to mention Varun Shekhar as well for also bringing some much needed sanity to the board.

    I still don’t know why you guys don’t register. You would provide a great counterpoint to the vocal people who vocalize but do not contribute half as much in terms of wisdom and factual debate. Not to mention, you actually dare to have a positive view and stance on India (shock horror!). But how can it be so, India is such a terrible place, nothing good ever comes out of there!

    The most amazing thing to me about so many Indians and NRIs is the fact that they are unwilling to be positive about their own country of origin. Fine, India has problems, but so does the rest of the world. India is working on those problems. But if you are going to highlight the negative (as we should so that these issues can be brought to light and dealt with) then it is only right to celebrate the positive as well, the little victories along the way. That is how you build momentum, pride and belief.

  11. @correct [quote] “They have to have the faith and confidence to look inwards and come up with solutions from themselves. The US is naturally out to look after itself as India should be – so India should act accordingly.” [end quote]

    If we look at somewhat ‘successful’ solutions that Indians have implemented, most of them look pretty ‘INDIAN’ to me. :) IMO the biggest outcome of nationalization of industries that occurred earlier was the evolution of middle class. Government, and even autonomous and Semi-autonomous, agencies/banks/educational institutes/research institutes etcetera were pretty inefficient from a western perspective however via these sleepy and inefficient agencies Indian government was able to push its agenda of family-panning, literacy, housing, quota for scheduled tribes and scheduled castes through. If you have been fortunate to live in a ‘township’ which housed the workers of a public sector unit then you’d know what I am talking about. Of course the negative side effect of nationalization was unbridled corruption.

    [quote] “The most amazing thing to me about so many Indians and NRIs is the fact that they are unwilling to be positive about their own country of origin.” [end quote]

    I am an NRI, Desi born American – my experiences in America help me in calibrating my experiences and provide new perspective. (ex: My dear wife who is the diversity coordinator in PTA is catching a lot of flak (along with the Principal and other PTA officers) from a Bible-Study group who are objecting to 15 line blurb about Diwali in the school’s news letter. However so far everything has been conducted in a civil manner – no one is shouting slogans at my door steps and no one is praying out loud for my heathen ancestors :) )

    The criticism about India that you see here comes from all sides.

  12. Sulabh,

    I see your points.

    I would cite one example of the CWG. Let’s not even get in to the fact that India should not have even been bothering to host it as it is simply a way of perpetuating colonialism and its effects even longer. The crowd booed Kalmadi at the opening ceremony. Now, I agree that Kalmadi may well have deserved to be taken to task about his behaviour, there may be no doubt about that. But why would you boo your own countryman in front of the rest of the world and at your own “party” as it were. Don’t they understand how bad that makes them look? I mean, deal with the guy, but do it in private as Indians. The rest of the world does not give a monkeys about your issues with Kalmadi and all it does is make your country look bad. How can people not see that? Of course, there were also hardly any positive stories about the CWG from the Indian media itself. The rest of the world was already giving India ALOT of grief about how allegedly poor the preparations were (I never saw one story about the metro or the airport terminal, but I saw alot about one dirty sink and the bridge collapsing), so why does the Indian media put the boot in as well? At least show both sides, but they did not. Nor did they show how good the village actually was, how wll it had turned out, and how much the athletes enjoyed it.

    I would also say (on your bible group thing) – that would never happen in India! Secularism rules.

  13. TTCUSM–thank you for the heads up on the prema sighting.

    Varun and Correct, thanks for the remarks.

    I do feel I should respond to one or two points made by Dev/Prema before attempting to bring my end of the discussion to a close.

    1. The geopolitical and diplomatic landscape of the 19th century was quite a bit different than that of the 20th and 21st centuries. In Europe generally speaking, french was the lingua franca (hence the phrase), and globally, the American century had not yet begun. English did not have the widespread predominance that it does right now. In this era, it is an asset in the services sector, which accounts for India’s rise in BPO, etc and the Philippines march to becoming the new call center of the world. Japan, China, and S.Korea all developed (or have been developing) primarily due to their manufacturing prowess, which does not necessitate english language proficiency. The rise of services came later in those countries.

    2. Dalit english language proficiency is encouraged not to make them rootless, but to ensure that the community as a whole is not left out of India’s growth. Chandrabhan Prasad’s publicity stunt (though perhaps well intentioned) nevertheless flies in the face of Indian nationalism and self respect. Ambedkar was scathing of caste and casteism, but he nevertheless was a nationalist at heart. There is a fine balance between modernizing and keeping and honoring your roots. As noted in the movie The Last Samurai (yes, cheezy but relevant), India must develop, but keep her “spirit”. A valid question is whether The self celebrating New India has managed to do that…

    3. “The rest of your post is the usual excuses made by brainwashed drones to “explain” India’s inability to develop”

    It has been developing (unless you haven’t been reading the news for the last 15 years). Millions have been lifted out of poverty already after almost two decades of growth, and hundreds of millions more can if India can continue to clock above 8% growth. But the thing about democracy is you get the government you vote for (or the EVM’s vote for). So if people want government to be more responsive, they have to start voting in leaders on the basis of competence rather than dynasty. Since the G-word will raise another can of worms, I’ll use the example of Bihar for good governance. Nitish Kumar has returned respectability to a state that, in spite of its tradition as the home of India’s greatest empires and a seat of knowledge, was turned into a laughing stock by LPY due to lawlessness and nepotism. But the people of Bihar eventually voted for competence over dynasty and the state now clocks between 7 and 11% growth (depending on to whom you talk). The rest of the country must do the same.

  14. @correct..

    About CWG – A lot of criticism of the facilities was unfair bot a whole lot was on the spot. however it seemed that it was Indian news media that was leading the frenzy to chew the organizers. Why did Indians put up with this kind of one sided coverage ? Why is there nobody in the media to put forth a counter argument ? Why can’t you all break the self serving and sanctimonious cabal of Dutt, Ghosh, Sardesai and Roy ?

    “I would also say (on your bible group thing) – that would never happen in India! Secularism rules.”

    If it does not happen in India then it is not due to secularism. IMO secularism does not rule in India. What rules is common sense – people adjusting and compromising and avoiding conflict. When I was going to school, Kendriya Vidyalayas introduced Yoga in its PE curriculum – this continued for a couple of years till someone complained on religious grounds. After that complaint there was no Yoga in school – am not sure that even today yoga has been reinstated as an activity in school. This was the time when the Syed Shahabuddin (not the terrorist but the politician) was ruling the roost – threatening, boycotting the Independence Day etc.

    I wanted to convey this via the bible-group story - We live in a state (in US) which is pretty red and pretty ‘religious’, pretty much a Tea bagger’s haven. Almost everybody goes to church. Sill a group from this ‘majority religion’, however misguided, felt comfortable enough to openly express their grievance. Their main gripe is based on the fact that they, in spite of numerous attempts on their part, are not given any space in the school’s news letter. According to the principal and th PTA, the reason why they are being refused is, one – they are not part of the school (they use school building for classes after hours) and two – what they want to put in the news letter has nothing to do with diversity. ( The school principal – who is a church-going individual makes the final determination.)

    Finally, let me ask you this (totally hypothetical) – if some guru from some ashram decides to initiate a campaign to re-instate Yoga classes in KVS schools would you be able to support him openly ? (without the fear of getting branded as a Right Wing Hindu Activist ? :) )

  15. “English did not have the widespread predominance that it does right now. In this era, it is an asset in the services sector, which accounts for India’s rise in BPO, etc and the Philippines march to becoming the new call center of the world. Japan, China, and S.Korea all developed (or have been developing) primarily due to their manufacturing prowess, which does not necessitate english language proficiency.”

    In this era China is developing rapidly without the benefit of the english language. Iran is doing quite well with persian. Brazil with portuguese. The fact that you think anglophile India and the Phillipines can develop with call centers instead of manufacturing prowess proves your stupidity.

  16. Umm, did I say that India can develop without improving its manufacturing base? I think you’re proving your own stupidity with these assertions. So just this last remark, and I will leave you to your devices.

    1. India is already on the path to improving its manufacturing base. VW and an assorted number of foreign automakers are moving to India (due to its lower manufacturing costs and central location in Asia) with Chennai earmarked as being the Detroit of Asia. Domestic companies like Tata and Mahindra are already making waves internationally. Manufacturing must become a key driver to indian growth in the intermediate and long run since not everyone can go to an IIT and become an IT worker. Jobs must be created to employ the working classes as well.
    2. India’s services sector consists of more than just call centers. There is IT, BPO, Biotech, Pharma, Health care, and so on and so forth. Please do some reading.
    3. To get a piece of this pie, China has actually been encouraging english language instruction. In fact, english language instruction in China has become a lucrative industry in and of itself (so good job proving your own ignorance). As a result, the Indian software sector has become increasingly concerned about this and has even started expanding into China (a questionable move perhaps, since China has a long standing practice of creating and supporting government-backed national champions–such as baidu–after MNCs have come in and transferred skills sets to China’s workforce). In the intermediate run, China will start to strongly contest the services pie with India as well (and given current labor costs in China, likely gain ground quickly and seriously compete here), so efforts must be made to adapt to this, and make forays into manufacturing as well.

    In any event, I’m sure you will fine some minute point to misinterpret to engage in yet another exercise of public ignorance, but I believe our time is up. Good day, sir/madam/whatever you are…

  17. In this era China is developing rapidly without the benefit of the english language. Iran is doing quite well with persian. Brazil with portuguese. The fact that you think anglophile India and the Phillipines can develop with call centers instead of manufacturing prowess proves your stupidity.

    You can’t know many (if any at all) Brazilians, Chinese and Iranians. English is very widely used in all these countries and for all those who aspire for managerial or technocratic positions, English is a must. The only ones who don’t care to become fluent in these language are the politicians. Ten years back (a loooong time ago) my grad school class in the US had fluent English speakers from across the globe. My Brazilian friends conversed in English with my Argentinian and Colombian friends – because they would tell me it is easier for a Portuguese speaker to understand Spanish than the other way round. My Scandinavian, German and Dutch friends conversed in English. My Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, and Korean friends conversed in English. You sound like a Rip Van Winkle, the world’s passed by your door a generation ago.

    India could have unified behind a national language or even 3-4 60 years ago, Hindi definitely and a minority language from each part of the country. But for reasons best known to our ancestors we did not. It can’t happen any longer, because many linguistic groups are spoken ginormous numbers of people. how do you tell Bengalis that Hindi will be the national language, when their neighbors across the Padda in Bangladesh use Bengali as their national language? Likewise for Tamizh. And then what about Malayalam, you zimpLy can’t forget it.

    I am not going to bother busting your call center myth, it is so stale and passe.

  18. China has actually been encouraging english language instruction. In fact, english language instruction in China has become a lucrative industry in and of itself (so good job proving your own ignorance).

    Your stupidity is really remarkable. Chinese schools are teaching English as a foreign language not as a language of instruction. Big frickin difference that you are too dumb to grasp.

    The chinese engineers who are building infrastructure projects for India and Africa were educated in chinese. You would think that a country of over a billion could produce enough engineers to build a few infrastructure projects. It is an inexcusable failure of the indian educational system. No nation has yet developed using a foreign language as the medium of instruction.

  19. Finally, let me ask you this (totally hypothetical) – if some guru from some ashram decides to initiate a campaign to re-instate Yoga classes in KVS schools would you be able to support him openly ? (without the fear of getting branded as a Right Wing Hindu Activist ? :) )

    The Yoga debate in India ended >15 years ago. Last year at the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind national convention, Swami Ramdev delivered a lecture on Yoga for hours.

  20. Umm, I wrote english language instruction (to the layperson, i.e. you, it means lern gud anglish to reed and tok to other peeples), not english medium education (to the layperson, i.e. you, lern all ur skul subjacts in anglish) . Big difference and why I wrote it was a lucrative industry. Had I meant that english medium education was a lucrative industry, I would have mentioned private schools, which I did not, and which was also not the point of discussion. It is also why I wrote about dalit english language proficiency in a previous post. Good job, dude/dudette/thing…

    You will likely post again with some other attempt at prevarication as you must grasp at straws and split hairs to save some semblance of face since your main argument was deconstructed; however, I just wanted to make this little clarification since it’s based on my intent and not an objective fact. Other than that, adieu.

  21. My point was about english as a medium of instruction and you in your unbelievable stupidity claim to have “deconstructed” my argument by giving the example of chinese studying english as a foreign language in school. Ridiculous. The other psuedo-nationalist ignoramus, Jyotsana, is similarly going on about some Brazilians speaking in english. But do they learn science and engineering in english in their schools? You slavish macaulayite are too dumb and too brainwashed.

    • You brought up english medium education initially, then made this point, here:

      “In this era China is developing rapidly without the benefit of the english language.”

      http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/archives/006364.html#comment-279912

      I responded to it by discussing the growth of english language instruction to facilitate china’s service sector growth. Looks like you confused yourself. Good job…

      Ok, ca suffit. Adieu, for real this time

  22. Jyotsana,

    Since I imagine the comment in bold was addressed or made in response to me, I just wanted to comment back. It’s obviously an old debate, not just in India, but also on sepia. I’ll just try and sum up briefly before signing off ( I think I’ve contributed enough on this post). A point of note, my family also speaks a regional language (southern, not tamil), so there is no self interest imbuing my advocacy for hindi.

    1. “how do you tell Bengalis that Hindi will be the national language”

    -you respond by asking whether they would rather be speaking Mandarin. India has to unite to face the myriad of challenges that face it. Establishing hindi as the official language does not mean that bengalis have to stop speaking bengali, tamilians have to stop speaking tamil, etc, etc. It just means that hindi should serve as the language of national government (with regional languages continuing to serve at the state government level). English has been serving as a link language to some degree, but as I mentioned above, modernizing need not mean wholesale westernizing. India should develop, learn what it can from the world, but not forget who she is. Hindi still has its roots in India and was recommended by Gandhiji to be the national language. English was not.

    1. A medium of communication is critical that has its roots in a country and that can be espoused by all parts of it. It increases administrative efficiency and ensures mutually communicability (lack of which has impeded cross-state police investigations).

    2. China is actually almost as diverse as India, with numerous regional dialects, some of which are incomprehensible to native Putonghua speakers. And yet, granted by official decree in its case, China selected that language as one that all Chinese must learn.

    3. Hindi cinema has actually increased the viability of hindi as the national language. No regional cinema has as much influence as hindi cinema does. It is the national cinema for all intents and purposes. That hasn’t stopped people, even non-dbd’s like me, from watching regional cinema, nor should it. But we all need something to unite around culturally and socially.

    4. Hindi already serves that purpose, being one of the two main languages of government, the language of the Indian army, and the language needed to get by in autos (I have used this even in Chennai, where my choices at the train station were tamil and hindi)

    5. Lastly, if people from my region of India do not find it a burden to learn a language like hindi (in spite of our own proud linguistic tradition), there is no reason why special treatment should be accorded to bengalis and tamilians who may not be so inclined. Adjustments often must be made in the name of national interest.

    I’ll just leave it at that, since I think I’ve already opened enough cans of worms on this post, but I hope that answers your question. Later.

  23. Only thing I wish to add is that English is no longer viewed as a foreign language in India, and that’s been the case for many years now. It’s part of the fabric of Indian life.

  24. You brought up english medium education initially, then made this point, here: “In this era China is developing rapidly without the benefit of the english language.” http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/archives/006364.html#comment-279912 I responded to it by discussing the growth of english language instruction to facilitate china’s service sector growth. Looks like you confused yourself. Good job…

    You are as stupid, dishonest and shameless as they come. Unlike India and the Phillipines, China is not developing with an english language service sector. Anyone with a clue knows that.

    I don’t think you are confused. I think you are pathologically deceitful. There are way too many indians with your deceitful mentality and that is a big part of the problem with India.

  25. Why the hell should there be a national language.Hindi being the national langauge gives Hindi people an unfair advantage with jobs.

  26. There are way too many indians with your deceitful mentality and that is a big part of the problem with India.

    aww…our very own epimenides build him his own statue.

  27. Nah, forget about the statue. Just continue living in delusion and deceit since you are not mature enough to handle the truth. Go watch a bollywood movie or something…..

  28. Your stupidity is really remarkable. Chinese schools are teaching English as a foreign language not as a language of instruction. Big frickin difference that you are too dumb to grasp.

    Dev/Prema/Derailed Train – it doesn’t matter what a language is used to teach. It matters (as in frickin’ matters) how intensive instruction in that language is. Of course it doesn’t matter how much you blabber, if you have no clue about how much English is used in many countries around the world.

    Satyajit Wry, the bold wasn’t addressed to you, it was for Dev’s benefit, wasted no doubt though. The Han Chinese – the overwhelming majority of China – have been unified by a common writing system and a literary language Mandarin (or mantrin or of the court) for centuries millennia? unlike we Indians. It becomes exponentially difficult as the years pass. It was easier by orders of magnitude during the time of the Qin, and would have been magnitudes easier if we had adopted a common language around 1947. Today it is out of the question.

  29. “it doesn’t matter what a language is used to teach. It matters (as in frickin’ matters) how intensive instruction in that language is.”

    What a complete idiot. Is that supposed to be a clever response?

    Is instruction in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, Russian etc less intensive than in English? How come they are miles ahead of India?

  30. Question – (to the mods) – if “Dev” is such a well known troll, why isn’t he/ she being banned or warned? This blog appears to be another example of how the “Indian media” likes to put itself down!

  31. Jyotsana,

    Thanks, yeah, wasn’t sure.

    Your point about script though is open to question since regional language speakers have to learn roman script anyways, which is a completely different and alien system. If anything, devanagari is easier to pick up for one who is literate in a brahmi-based script (I picked up devanagari on my own). The basic phonetics and logic are the same and sanskrit has had influence (varying degrees of course) on virtually all regional languages. In fact, brahmi (the earlier pan indian one) and devanagari (a later script predominant in the north, but nevertheless a descendant of brahmi) form the bases for virtually all native indic script. Even tamil script is derivative of brahmi. So from a lipi perspective, things are not that far apart.

    Additionally, as you probably know well, the attempt to make hindi the national language was stymied by the dravidian movement led by Periyar, with many Tamil politicians threatening secession. That was why hindi was not made the sole language of national government at that time. If anything, with the dissemination of bollywood, it would actually be easier to make hindi the national language now. It is already present in all the major cities and towns. There is no reason a three language formula can’t be maintained, with regional language for state administration, hindi for national administration, and english for international business/diplomacy purposes.

    Third, China is incredibly diverse with official dialects having changed over time as well. Additionally, there were periods where regional identities reasserted themselves due to the collapse of centralized empire and various states being established at times. All is not as uniform as made out to be. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Mandarin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_language

    During the time of the Qin (and Han) dynasties, Prakrit was the court language in the vast majority of Indian kingdoms/empires, going deep into the south. As a literary language, sanskrit pervaded all parts of the country, serving both cultural and liturgical purposes. Hindi is the direct descendant of these languages.

    It is not really a common script/writing system that unites people, but common culture and shared history. As Adi Sankara demonstrated, this does exist in India, no matter what part of the country you hail from. I understand that many remain proud about their regional language (I certainly am) and some are reluctant to espouse hindi as the national language (I am not), but as one non-native hindi speaker person to what I presume to be another, it is possible to do both. In any event, I think we’re now well outside the domain of this post, so I’ll just leave things at that. Nice chatting with you. Later.

  32. What a complete idiot. Is that supposed to be a clever response? Is instruction in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, Russian etc less intensive than in English?,,,How come they are miles ahead of India?

    Dev aka blabbermouth, they are ahead because they don’t have too many bright lights like you.

    S.Wry the 1060s anti-Hindi violence erupted much after the DMK renounced secession in 1962. We (I mean we Tamils) have been shortsighted. But as with everything else belief is one thing and practice is another. Hindi is widely taught in Tamil Nadu because it is the ticket to jobs outside TN. Although migration for employment has tapered quite a bit in TN, immigration is now a very big thing. For decades TN has relied on blue collar workers from Bihar and UP for a variety of semi-skilled trades in construction and process plant maintenance )for pharma, chemicals, refining etc). Now in addition with the services boom, there are 1000s of Hindi speakers migrating to TN, not only to Chennai but also to Tier-II cities like Coimbatore and Trichy. So there’s heckuva lot of Hindi being learned and taught!

  33. Jyotsana,

    Actually, the attempts to nationalize hindi preceded even independence (as seen in Rajaji’s attempt), with agitations of varying scale extending through the 30s, 40s and 50s as well. The agitations of the late 60s were not, as I’m sure you know, the only ones.

    However, thanks for the insight on large scale immigration from Bihar and UP (did not know that). Props to TN for handling it better than certain counterparts in Maharashtra. Regardless of whether the children of these migrants attend public or private schools, they should learn the language of the state (from what I understand, migrants from other states have often sent their children to their own regional language schools, and never end up learning tamil, This is also not right, as the principle works both ways). C’est tout pour le moment. later.

  34. To Satyajit Wry:

    The next time the Dev/Prema/Valmiki bot shows up, it’ll be with the name tag “Arundhati Roy” ;)

    “In fact, brahmi (the earlier pan indian one) and devanagari (a later script predominant in the north, but nevertheless a descendant of brahmi) form the bases for virtually all native indic script.” Actually it was on a trip to Thailand when I realized this. Seeing what was a modified brahmi and being able to link it to all the Indian languages. Having lived outside of India for so very long, I see the uniting threads quite easily now. But living in India as a child, Hindi/devnagari looked very different from Telugu or Tamil and ne’er the twain shall meet.

  35. Prema, It is really entertaining to observe your little sideshow mujra. Like a hurt and threatened Ichchadhari Nagin, you re-emerge in different guises, spewing venom, lashing out furiously and in general doing whatever your political commissar in the patriotic re- education camp told you was required to make benefit glorious motherland.

    1.I do not know the exact size of the Indian economy, but if you stop twitching and observe your own link carefully, you will see a button called “rank by growth”. It is right next to the “rank by size” that you saw on your google expedition. The result might cause some pruritus, so keep some calamine lotion handy.

    1. Here is a report from the Economist on the projected size of the different economies in 2020. Enjoy with a samosa and a bottle of Kingfisher.

    2. The size of the parallel economy is about the same as the legitimate economy in India. A rude realisation of this came to me during my visit to the Nehru place software market in Delhi a few days ago. This is both a good and a bad thing, but a potential source of strength nevertheless.

    4.I wonder how you choose your nom de plumes- They have a pattern which I can’t explain logically, but I can pick you out 9 out of 10 times. Fascinating, the mind of a revolutionary drone…