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Is English a Value-Free Tool or a Language of Domination? My Experience in India

Started by Muhsin, November 04, 2013, 07:39:15 PM

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Muhammad Muhsin Ibrahim
Department of English and Literary Studies,
Bayero University, Kano


The title suggests a banal subject, some people might think, which has been at the centre of hot debates among many writers, particularly the Nigerian Chinua Achebe and the Kenyan Ngugi wa Thiango for many years. The case of India is exceptionally a unique one as the country is also very unique in the world. India is a place of myths and legends; a birthplace of some of the world's leading religions and creeds; miscellaneous cultures and traditions, and other peculiarities. It is the second most populous country after China—and would, as projected, overtake China in the ranking in a few years to come—with population of over a billion inhabitants. The people are largely divided along mass and massive ethnically heterogeneous societies that share little or nothing in common. It was gathered in a recent report that 'Over 1652 languages belonging to four different language families...' (—eighteen of which were given recognition by the government—are spoken in the varied and vast geographical entity of India. Nonetheless, one of such languages, being more or less understood by at least more citizens than the others, enjoys a special, elevated status above them, and it's widely accepted as such. The language is none other than Hindi, an Aryan language with more than 300 million speakers across and beyond India.

However, being one of the earliest places the British colonial masters settled and had a very long stay, the Hindi language has what is seen by many as its antithesis, and this is the English language...

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