People’s view: Samajwadi Party’s anti-English stand outrageous

April 12th, 2009 - 3:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Lucknow/New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) Outrageous, illogical and regressive - these are some of the angry reactions from people in Lucknow and other metros of the country to the Samajwadi Party’s manifesto that promises to curb English medium education and the use of computers.
Party chief Mulayam Singh’s stance against the compulsory use of English language in education, administration and judiciary, and his claim that the use of computers was creating unemployment has been trashed by a cross-section of people, saying the move would only cut job prospects.

“At a time when English is deemed as an universal language, and has become a prerequisite for good jobs, the decision taken by our former chief minister (Mulayam Singh) is irrational,” Ashish Chitranshi, a Lucknow resident whose two sons study in an English medium school in Indira Nagar area, told IANS.

Hemant Rastogi, a Class 12 student of Montfort School, aspires to become a corporate honcho and he too had similar sentiments.

“It’s illogical. English has emerged as the common medium for us to get jobs not only in different states within our country, but abroad too,” he said.

“With such a decision against English, Mulayam will only hamper our job prospects,” Hemant added.

“The IT sector has become one of the top job providing sectors. It is surprising why Mulayam is against computers,” remarked Mudit Swaroop, an engineering student of the Babu Banarsi Das College.

“It seems Mulayam is against technology and his steps would only promote backwardness in the state,” said Pulkit Mishra, a computer applications student of Lucknow University.

Shabnam Hashmi, a social activist in New Delhi, said the Samajwadi Party was “confused”.

“Agreed that we need to lay emphasis on the national language and regional languages. People need to study in their language at least till primary,” stressed Hashmi, whose NGO Anhad (Act now for Harmony and Democracy) does development work in remote areas.

Mulayam Singh’s vow has invited flak on the internet too. An anonymous blog comment on the Samajwadi Party website slammed the manifesto.

It said: “What a manifesto! Why have you opened this website? Why is all this in English? Why do all your leaders speak English? …Your manifesto is (like) Taliban’s ideology to throw our nation into stone age..We will ensure that you don’t even win one seat.”

Teachers were surprised that the party espoused such views in the era of globalisation.

“It’s a foolish idea. In today’s world when everything is going global it is absolutely necessary to know English,” Kamal Mani, an English teacher in a private school in New Delhi, told IANS.

“It’s like going back to old days - might as well put a stop to growth!” she remarked.

“We emphasize on computer-based education because children need to be prepared for the outside world. People depend on computers for their bread and butter now. So how can it hinder employment?” Mani asked.

Said Sujata Roy, a teacher in a school near Gurgaon: “Where the whole world wants to move ahead, progress with technology, make new advancements, they (the party) are trying to take the country backwards.”

Many felt English education had helped India carve a niche on the global map.

“India’s advantage is that it has a strong English base - look at the BPO sector. The party is looking at only one aspect that other languages are being compromised, but the motto should actually be to promote but not over-emphasize the need for English - that way the national language and regional languages won’t suffer,” stressed Vikram Verma, a Delhi-based businessman.

“One has to move forward in life - not go back to the dark ages!” he added.

“No computers? Putting a ban on English education. It’s outrageous. They need to focus on more pressing issues like increasing security and generating more employment opportunities,” said Shivani Singh, a college student in Hyderabad.

“We’re living in an age where saying that you are computer illiterate is a major setback… So we might think of going back to the stone age,” said Arjun Agnimitra, an computer engineer from Noida.

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