Parth, A member of what I like to call my little blog community has just posted an article on the redundancy of the British Bluebloods and laments the trees wasted on every iota of their lives. That part is fine by me, to hell with the Monarchs. In India they’re a dime a dozen. But I do understand why the Brits do rever them somewhat, and tolerate them. The British Monarchs (responsible for that nasty corruption of democracy known as ‘parliamentary’ democracy) have been inventive enough to see through new ages and yet survive. Whereas the French Revolution almost all but put an end to French Monarchs, and the rest of Europe was going through its upheavals, the English dudes managed to hold their own, and even prosper into the 21st Century! Give them small teency mount of credit for that.
The second, ultra-loaded statement in Parth’s post was how we Indians tend to rever the British for their contribution of Railroads, Democracy and English. I have heard many people bring up that opinion, and frankly it doesn’t really bother me one way or another, and here’s why, at the risk of sounding like a Fuckface.
An old college buddy of mine (of Bulgarian origin) said “at least the British left India with some good things. All the Turks left us with was shit and destruction”. Parts of southern Europe were under the yoke of the Ottoman Empire, and from whatever I’ve heard, they were pretty nasty folk.
So let me make a few very controversial statements:
English is GOOD for India, and NECESSARY for OUR prosperity
Two commenters on Parth’s blog said that English is not required for a country to do well in this world, hell look at China. They don’t know English, and since they are growing at such a fast pace, they soon will know English too. This is a fallacy, a myth, in totality.
First off, ENGLISH is NECESSARY for INDIA to prosper, because we have never been and rarely are now, ONE NATION, but many. China has been a united kingdom for a LONG LONG LONG time. They do have close to one spoken language (yes there are many dialects, ranging from Putonghua to Cantonese, but the script used is the SAME, and so are most of the contexts). When you take some 30 disparate kingdoms and force them to become one country, you need to unify them in terms of language – which language to do you pick? Hindi? Rubbish. It is a mostly North Indian language, and even that’s not entirely true. As a Punju, I can attest that in Punjab, punjabi is the spoken/written language. You think Tamil people speak Hindi? I dare you to use Hindi in Chennai. You will get a much ruder experience. English however is safe. It’s the common bridge between all of India’s disparate languages and cultures. Sure Hindi is the official one, but English is also required, because English has reached a point of cultural neutrality that other languges lack. It’s a glue, it doesn’t belong to any country anymore (though yes, fucking Americans think they fucking invented it).
SECOND, the Chinese will NOT pick up English quickly, and it will remain difficult for them to pick it up. There are very empirical reasons why. Chinese is NOT a branch of the Indo-European languages. Indo-European languages are not tonal. Most Indo-European languages are read from left to right, and most definitely cannot be read from bottom to top!! To this day the common roots are visible. Take Hindi and French – simple example. In French, you call Teeth – Les Dents (Dents is pronounced like the English word (with british pronunciation) Aunt, with a D in front of it (dAunt). The Hindi for Teeth is Daant which sounds almost exactly the same, it’s been proven they have the same root. Lord knows what the Chinese word for Teeth is. Same goes for counting. Whether it’s French, English or Hindi, you hve the same phonetic sounds for the same numbers. You do NOT find this similarity in Chinese. In Cantonese, the counting goes as follows: Yut, Yee, Saam, Sae, Ng, Lok, Chat, Paat, Gow, Sup.
Hindi: Ek, Do, Teen, Char, Paanch, Che, Saath, Aat, Now, Dus
French: Un, Deux, Trois, Quatre, Cinq, Six, Sept, Huit, Neuf, Dix
English; (oh count it yourself, but note that English has many Norse/German influences in it)
NO similarities between Chinese and the others.
English is actually not so hard for Indians to pick up, and is GOOD FOR INDIA, BUT NOT NECESSARILY REQUIRED OR BENEFICIAL FOR CHINA.
The British would have left India anyway…
As much as I will be stoned to death for this, I think we can all agree that this true? No? Well I still think so. After WWII, England was broke as hell. America was on the rise. America would have pushed for Indian independence just to piss off the Brits, and they would most likely have left anyway. Sure they didn’t relinquish Hong Kong that easy, but Hong Kong was on a 99-year lease anyway…And who knows maybe they would have left a united Sub-Continent… but that is all part of the If’s and Buts’ dialogue. At least we Indians get to say we kicked the Limeys out….
Phew, end of blant for the day….