Language planning is generally used to refer to deliberate, conscious, and future-oriented activities, which aim at influencing the linguistic repertoire and behaviour of speech communities. Other terms, which are partially synonymous with language planning, are: language management, language determination and language development. Haugen developed a four-fold model in connection with the process of language planning. The model consists of four stages: (a) Selection of norm, (b) codification of norm, (c) implementation and (d) elaboration of function. As the Indian situation has repeatedly shown, selection of a language in a multilingual country and of a norm within that language is not at all an easy task. Further the processes of codification, standardization and elaboration in different domains of activity pose very difficult challenges. So far as India is concerned, we haven't had a well-formulated language policy in place ever. In fact, we have succeeded in avoiding it, perhaps rightly so, for a very long time. What we did formulate were a series of strategies such as the famous 'three-language formula' in education in addition to some of the most fundamental provisions in our constitution. Even in the case of English, though in principle we have looked towards the British Standard as the norm, we have welcomed the growth and development of an Indian Standard as well as some minor influences from the American Standard.
India is a country, which has a large number of linguistically and culturally distinct communities with their own social and regional identities. Therefore, any homogenizing, monolithic solutions to language planning will not be successful in such a scenario and this is exactly what was done in India by the colonial rulers who created an opposition between English and the vernaculars. There was no experience the British had in language planning in multilingual countries. They nearly withdrew all state support from 'vernacular' education and supported only the education of English and that too to an extent they needed to sustain their colonial rule in India. When India gained independence, the magnitude of undertaking even a modicum of language planning became obvious in the constituent assembly debates. It was clear that no Indian language was yet in a position to be regarded as the national language and that there were several major Indian languages that had been pushed under the rug by the British as 'vernaculars' which now asserted their claims for a legitimate place of honour in a free India. It was not easy to reconcile these claims. Distinguished scholars argued vehemently not only favour of Hindi but also Sanskrit, Bengali and Tamil. There were also equally strong pressures for maintaining a sense of continuity in administration, trade, higher education, mass media and judiciary and for sustaining a language like English that would continue to be a window to the world in the future. Sanskrit asserted its claims from the pedestals of antiquity and as a repository of the most ancient knowledge and literature of India. The interface of language and education, particularly at the school level, raised its own problems.
Language planning can be distinguished from language policy. Language policy describes the underlying political and sociolinguistic goals that are implied in the activities and measures of language planners. Macaulay's Minute becomes the official language policy of the British government in India. It also cements the place for English in the Indian educational, administrative and social systems. In sum, the period between 1765 and 1947 is an era of British patronage and encouragement of English in this country. The Language Acts of 1963 and 1967 reinforce the position of English. The post-independence era in India shows a continuation of colonial policies with regard to English and as a result, it has become even more deeply rooted in Indian society. Today, it is a matter of policy that the government of India insists that the education of the child must be in her mother tongue and that efforts should be made to ensure that every child leaves school not only with sufficiently high levels of proficiency in Hindi and English but also learns as far as possible a classical and a foreign language. The importance of language across the curriculum is beginning to be seen. Many people today recognize the significance of the positive relationship between multilingualism and high levels of scholastic achievements. Multilingualism is increasingly seen as a Resource rather than as an obstacle (see the recent 2005 Position Paper of the NCERT National Focus Group on the Teaching of Indian Languages).
The language planning in India goes back to the time of Lord Curzon's education planning which starts in 1899. English first came to India in Portuguese and other European ships. The desire to create a strong base for English in India was initially motivated by several missionary schools teaching English in the earliest days of the East India Company. Macaulay strongly believed that there was no intrinsic merit in Indian history, culture and Indian people can be educated only through the medium of English. A group of prominent Indians led by Raja Rammohan Roy was fascinated by the amazing progress of the west. They had been agitating for quite some time for the introduction of English education in this country. Lord Bentick's concurrence to Macaulay's Minute on Indian education is indeed memorable. The establishment of the Universities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras in 1857 was a landmark in the history of education in India. All these Universities have English as the medium of instruction. Gradually, English takes over from the 'vernaculars' as the official language of India.
In the context of post-independence India, the debates of Constituent Assembly in 1949 clearly indicate the significance of English in India. Though, English is not listed in the VIIIth Schedule of the Constitution, English is given the status of an associate official language for a period of fifteen years. In a speech delivered on 7August, 1959, Nehru assured the people of non-Hindi-speaking areas that English would continue to be an alternative language as long as they wish to be so. With anti-Hindi feelings on the rampage, the government is forced to pass the 1967 Official Language (Amendment) Act assuring the continuance of English in addition to Hindi as the official language of the Union; it also authorized a three-language policy for the school education. In order to resolve the problems of language in education, one is not surprised that the Government of India proposed a three-language formula in 1961. It was subsequently modified by the Kothari Commission (1964-1966). The modified-graduated three-language formula proposed by the Kothari Commission seeks to accommodate the interests of group identity (local languages), national pride and unity (Hindi) and administrative efficiency and technological progress (English). Many provisions in the Constitution of India deal with languages in general and English in particular. These include: PART III, Articles 29-30; PART V, Article 120; PART VI, Article 210; PART XVII, Articles 343-351; PART XXII, Articles 394 A and the EIGHTH SCHEDULE. Articles 343 to 351 of the Constitution deal with the 'status' of different languages. For 15 years English is to be used for all the purposes for which it is used before. Although there is a separate part -PART XVII- devoted to 'official language', provisions pertaining to language are spread over different parts and chapters of the Constitution. Article 346 "provides that the official language of the Union (Hindi or English) shall be the official language for communication between the Union and a State and between the States inter se"
The Three Language Formula which was essentially predicated on the twin assumptions that education will be through the mother tongue and that North Indians will learn a South Indian language (all of whom would hopefully learn Hindi)) never really worked except in a few states like Orissa and Maharashtra. For example, in Orissa, most children did learn Oriya, Hindi and English; in states like UP and Bihar on the one hand and Tamil Nadu and Kerala on the other, the three language formula was followed more in its violation than adherence. Most children in the North learnt Hindi and English and then opted for Sanskrit, which was given the status of a modern Indian language in addition to being a classical language. In the South, in Tamil Nadu, the most common pattern was Tamil and English, a two language formula.
As we have pointed out elsewhere in this report, English-medium schools though few in number and mostly catering to the elite are available everywhere and they violate the spirit of the three language formula in every way. Till recently, most government schools tried to conduct primary education in the mother tongue or regional language and introduced English at a later post-primary stage. This situation as the following table shows continued well into the 1980s when the situation started changing in favour of English. According to this survey, the teaching of English began at class 5 to 6 and goes on for 5 to 7 years in most States and Union Territories. However, there are a few States and Union Territories where English teaching started at class 1 to 3 and went on for 8 to 12 years.
State School-level Andhra Pradesh V-X Assam IV-XI Bihar VI-XI Gujrat V-XI Haryana VI-XI Himachal Pradesh VI-XI Jammu and Kashmir VI-X Karnataka V-X Kerala IV-X Madhaya Pradesh VI -XI Maharashtra V- XI Manipur III -X I Nagaland I - X Orissa I- XI Punjab V-XI Rajasthan VI- XI Tamilnadu III-XI Tripura III-XI UttraPradesh VI-XII West Bengal III-XI (Source: Chaturvedi and Mohale 1976)
However, the recent NCERT statistics show that over 70 % states have now decided to introduce English from Classes 1 to 3. Keeping in view the multilingual situation in India, the current recommendation is that all education at the primary level should be in the mother tongues of children and that if facilities are available, English may be introduced as a subject from Class 1. It is only at the middle school level that more languages should be introduced and the classical and foreign languages should be introduced only at the secondary and senior secondary levels. However, at each level, the multilingual nature of the classroom should be treated as a resource and care should be taken to ensure that no child should feel insulted on account of her language(s). In the centrally administered schools, education could be imparted through Hindi and English since these schools cater to the needs of children from different linguistic states. At the tertiary level, the state official languages and English are the media of instruction. In professional education and science courses, the medium is mostly English. Almost all Indian universities offer undergraduate and post-graduate level of study in English. In almost all other institutions other than schools and universities, English is the only medium of teaching and learning.
Regarding the languages of administration, the Constitution provides that "the legislature of a state may by law adopt any one or more of the languages in use in the state or Hindi as languages or languages to be used for all or any of the official purpose of that state"(Article 345). In addition to being 'the associate official language' of the union of India, Northeastern States and some Union Territories have declared English as their official language. English is the 'sole official language' of Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, Arunachal, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Mizoram and Pondichery, Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadveep.
By 1920s English had been accepted as the language of the elite, of administration and all-India press. Some of the most widely circulated newspapers of present day in India were established at that time: The Times of India (1839), The Hindu (1878) and The Hindustan Times (1923). As far as daily newspapers are concerned, the circulation of English dailies and magazines of different kinds is the highest in the country as a whole. They are also the ones which will be easily available in the urban areas across the country. The English press is wider in news coverage and more cosmopolitan in views than its Indian language counterparts. Academic and other journals are mostly in English. The world of advertising is also largely dominated by English at the national level. However, in recent times, several ads employ mixed slogans; yet one of the languages used is invariably English. In spite of the dominance of English at the national level, it is the regional languages that dominate at the grass root levels in different linguistic states. For example, it is the Hindi and Panjabi newspapers that are most widely read in the North; similarly Karnataka has Kannada newspapers and Kerala Malayalam etc. In fact, in the remote areas of these states, it may be difficult to find an English newspaper or magazine.
English films are imported and they are shown all over India in major towns. The All-India Radio and Doordarshan in New Delhi and its stations in different parts of the country use English. . The government channels have programmes in Hindi and English for the whole country and in some regional languages in the metropolitan centres of the concerned regions. The AIR and Doordarshan play an important role in spreading English. English channels from outside the country are available selectively through satellite or cable. English newspapers are published from all the states and union territories of India. The trends in watching cable TV show different trends: on the one hand, channels such as BBC, Discovery, Star, HBO, ESPN etc are becoming very popular; on the other, most frequently watched programmes on the TV include the Hindi soap serials.
Article 120 lays down the official language of the parliament. It says inter alia that the business in Parliament shall be transacted in Hindi or in English. The corresponding language provision for State Legislatures is under Article 210. Business in a State Legislature may be transacted either in the official language or languages of the state or in Hindi or in English. English is the major language used in the proceedings of the houses of Indian parliament. Any member of the parliament is free to express her/his opinions in a language she/he wishes to use. Provisions are made for suitable translations. Similarly, every citizen has the freedom to appeal in a court of law in any Indian language and it is the duty of the court to have the appeal translated into English or the regional language or the official language of the state.
Article 348 stipulates that language of the Supreme Court and High Courts shall be English until Parliament by law otherwise provides. Similarly authoritative texts of Acts, Bills, Rules, and Regulations etc. shall be in English. States may, in addition, use their official language(s) for this purpose but English text(s) will be deemed authoritative. A state legislature may prescribe the use of any language other than English for Bills, Acts passed by itself. The proceedings of the Supreme Court and High courts are recorded in English under a constitutional provision. (Article 348)
English in India is getting modernized in its own way. It of course tries to keep pace with what is going on in UK and the USA; what is more important is that the interaction between English and other Indian languages is continuously producing expressions that are unique to Indian English. The college and university youth has developed an idiom that is unique to them; many writers, though they maintain the basic syntax of English, innovate in a variety of ways. Nobody in India has tried to codify what may be termed as typically Indian; such undertaking cost huge amounts of money. However, reference books such as the Oxford English Dictionary, keep updating their editions from time to time accommodating the innovations made across the country. At the societal level, as we have already pointed out, English has been instrumental in creating a huge gap between the rich and the poor. In many cases, the 'English elite' alienated common people and acts as 'gatekeepers' who define the reality for the rest of the society. Such obsession with western values percolated through English often gets censored as the 'brown saheb' mentality.
The consolidation of English studies in India coincides with the consolidation of English as a colonial power and the consolidation of English literature in Europe. A literary canon consisting of selections form Chaucer, Milton, Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Keats among others was introduced in India as a package containing the 'finest pieces' of literature. What happened was that irrespective of whether this knowledge was adequate or not, every educated Indian, till recently, swore by this canon. It is only in recent years that literature written in regional languages has gained some respectability.
In the area of translation, English retains its dominant position allowing some concessions to Hindi and regional languages that compete with it. Yet, any writer in Hindi or any other major Indian language gets 'real' recognition only after his/her work gets translated into English. It is only recently that Penguin India has started publishing books in Hindi. But it is so unfortunate that rather than starting with some original writers in Hindi, it has started with the Hindi translations of well-established English writers such as Khushwant Singh.
There are some important language institutions funded by the government which play an important role as agencies of language planning for English and other languages in India. Such institutions under the central government include: The Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysore and the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (CIEFL), Hyderabad with their regional centres in several states.
The Sahitya Akademi, a government-sponsored autonomous agency, is formed to coordinate the promotion of literature in 21 languages. The Central Literacy Academy (Sahitya Academy) awards annual prizes for the best writing in over twenty languages including Indian English.
Though English has for a long time contributed towards creating a divide in the Indian society, today the attitudes of younger people towards English are significantly different from those who live during the British colonial rule. The interaction between English and Indian languages is becoming intense by the day and the two have indeed contributed richly towards each other's growth. A greater acceptance of Indian English as a 'Complementary' code of speech in the pluralistic milieu of the country has given rise to processes which promote hybridization, creolisition, code switching and code mixing between Indian languages and English. Today, the urban milieu provides more opportunities than before for Indians to interact among Indians through a smattering of English or by a frequent shift from an Indian language to English or vice versa. The elements of one language can be formed with the elements of another language in a number of linguistic processes arising out of languages in contact, such as borrowing, switching and mixing. The code switching is generally seen from Hindi or Scheduled languages to English in order to show a sense of belonging to the upper strata of the society.<
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