I know several instances of women wanting to learn English so that they may be able to talk to Englishmen in English. I know husbands who are sorry that their wives cannot talk to them and their friends in English. I know families in which English is being made the mother-tongue.
Hundreds of youths believe that without knowledge of English freedom for India was practically impossible. The canker has so eaten the society that, in many cases, the only meaning of education is knowledge of English.
All these are for me signs of our slavery and degradation. It is unbearable to me that the vernaculars should be crushed and starved as they have been. I cannot tolerate the idea of parents writing to their children, or husbands writing to their wives, not in their vernaculars but in English.
I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any. I refuse to live in other people’s houses as an interloper, a beggar or a slave.
I refuse to put the unnecessary strain of learning English upon my sisters for the sake of false pride or questionable social advantage.
I would have our young men and young women with literary tastes to learn as much of English and other world languages as they like, and then expect them to give the benefits of their learning to India and to the world, like a Bose, a Roy or a Tagore.
But I would not have a single Indian to forget, neglect or be ashamed of his mother-tongue or to feel that he or she cannot think or express the best thought in his or her own vernacular.
Mine is not a religion of the prison house. It has room for the least among God’s creation. But it is proof against insolence, pride of race, religion or colour.
Important Points to Remember about this Essay:
1- English is studied for commercial importance boys to get a job, girls to get married.
2. Women want to communicate in English.
3. Many people want English as their mother-tongue as English is synonymous to knowledge.
4. It is a sign of slavery and degradation that Indian languages are starved and people write to their relatives in English.
5. It is good to have the knowledge of the world and open mindedness but not to be a beggar or slave.
6. Learning English puts unnecessary strain on children except those who want to enjoy literature and benefit India by that.
7. We should be open minded but not be ashamed of our mother-tongue.