TODAY -

Indian English Day on International Teacher's Day

Madhu Chandra *



I have a very few people who had a huge impact in my discovery of India’s socio-religious and political understanding. That has shaped me and made different among my whole clan. One among them is Prof Kancha Ilaiah, who has authored books ‘Why I am not a Hindu’, ‘Buffalo Nationalism’, ‘Post-Hindu India’, to name some of them, which are considered a most controversial ideologue from those who oppose him.

5th October was his 64th Birthday that was marked as the Indian English Day by the Dalit Bahujan Students at Osmania University, Hyderabad. Prof Kancha Ilaiah’s birthday also coincidentally falls on the International Teacher’s Day. Hundreds of students and scholars gathered and had series of talk about the importance of English education globally and for Indian society and chose to declare the day as ‘Indian English Day’.

Kancha Ilaiah who added English name ‘Shepherd’ to his, which is the same meaning of his clan in Telugu. His education and enlightenment has all connections to English education. In his thirty minutes talk on the eve of his birthday, he referred the impact of English education on the lives of India’s first Mahatma Jotirao Phule and Dr B R Ambedkar. The Socio-religious and political revolution begun by Mahatma Jotirao Phule and brought by Dr B R Ambedkar would have been impossible without English education.

Prof Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd being born in a shepherd clan never could have read the writings of Mahatma Jotirao Phule and Dr B R Ambedkar without English education. Without English, he could never have influenced Indian society socially, religiously and politically. He has been considered as a social mover and shaker among the Indian intellectuals and scholars.

Definitely, if not intellectually, the English education had a huge impact on my life as well. My father had three brothers, four of them. None of them had education and so also my mother and aunts. My eldest uncle had four sons and two daughters. No of them had an education. My youngest uncle had five sons and three daughters. None of them had an education.

My second eldest uncle had three sons and two daughters. The youngest son had the English education and was the head of the Education Department at the Kha Manipur College at Kakching, Manipur. He had four daughters, one son, all of them had the English education outside of Manipur, and now they are in good job and hold important posts.

My father had 2 wives and 13 children. He was financially better among his brothers, but lost all of his wealth as one of my brothers lost in gambling. None of my brothers had an education and only the eldest sister completed graduate and is a teacher in a Government High School, but not the English education. Somehow, I managed to have to English education by joining a Christian mission – called Operation Mobilisation India, now it is known as Good Shepherd Church of India.

The kind of English education I had is a mixture of socio-religious and political education, which has influenced me completely different from the whole of my clan, not in the terms of employment and earnings, but in the areas of social impact, contemporary issues, challenges and development. This begun and will end with English education.

Prof Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd reinforces on why Indian English Day is the need of the hour. He recalls why the Marathas in Maharashtra demands reservation, Patels in Gujarat, Gujjars in Rajasthan, the Jats in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and now the Meiteis in Manipur demanding Scheduled Tribe status in Manipur.

The reservation was not what Dr B R Ambedkar demanded and reservation is not the solution for social emancipation of Dalits in India. Why then the demand for reservation is spearheading all over India. Prof Kancha said, “It is because the Marathas, Patels, Gujjars, Jats, and Meiteis cannot compete the high caste educated competitors and it is because these communities lack the English education.”

Many other dignitaries attended the function; one among them was Bishop Joseph D’souza, Moderator of Good Shepherd Church, and President of All India Christian Council. He said, “English education liberates, gives the mind to reason and questions, and it connects to global.” Bishop Joseph D’souza testified about how he realised the importance of providing the English education for the marginalised Dalit children 18 years ago.

With the help of people like Prof Kancha Ilaiah and Dr Udit Raj, National Chairman of All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations, Bishop Joseph D’souza has begun to open Good Shepherd Schools 18 years ago. Now he has 107 schools all over India, where 26,000 children are studying the English medium education.

Two sections of the societies impacted by the English education - One on the East Coast, William Carey started to impart English education in 1817, where mostly the Brahmin children benefited. On the West Coast, Scottish mission in the Bombay province started English medium schools where Mahatma Jotirao Phule got his education.

In order to promote ‘Indian English Day’ Prof Kancha Ilaiah led the function to take a resolution to celebrate 200 years of anniversary of English education in 2017 marking 5th October as ‘Indian English Day’.


* Madhu Chandra wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at madhuchandra66(AT)gmail)(DOT)com
This article was posted on October 08 2016 and later updated on Oct 9 2016.


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