Tamil Development into the Twenty First Century

Indian Government Blocks Tamil Development into the Twenty First Century

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, September 1999 (ID.1999-09-03)
Update: July 2010
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Definition

Hindians: People whose mother tongue is Hindi (similar to Tamil speakers are sometimes referred as Tamilans or Tamilians).

Abbreviations

AICTE - All India Council for Technical Education

OUTLINE  

1. Introduction 

2. Engineering Education in Tamil 

3. Indian Roadblock 

4. Irrationality of the AICTE Decision 

5. Compare Hindi Development and Tamil Development 

6. A Three-Pronged Strategy for Hindian Supremacy 

1. Introduction 

When cornered about Hindi imposition and the unjust nature of imposing their language on others, Hindian politicians who control and dominate the Indian government would resort to saying that they want all languages (in the "Indian Union") to develop and take their place replacing English. The truth of the matter is that Hindians want Hindi, only Hindi, to replace English in all spheres of life, from government administration to private business, from education to entertainment. They do not want other languages to develop at all. Hindians want the other languages to stagnate so Hindi can fill the vacuum as they slowly but surely remove English from governmental affairs. Hindians do not want one's mother tongue to replace English but want their mother tongue Hindi to replace English, thus giving Hindians enormous advantages and benefits. The Indian government spends hundreds of millions of Rupees every year to develop Hindi in such areas as computerization, developing technical terminology, writing science, technical, medical, law and business books, etc. We would have no qualms if the money for Hindi development comes from Hindian taxpayers (from Hindi states) but they spend non-Hindi speakers' money also to develop their mother tongue. While spending several hundred million Rupees annually on Hindi development, they dole out very little for the development of other languages. For example, Tamils pay approximately 10% of Indian government taxes but when it comes to language development our share is far smaller (the share is disproportionately huge for Hindi). It proves that Hindi politicians do not want every language to develop into modern languages in this technological era but want Hindi, and ONLY Hindi, to develop into the twenty-first century as a modern language capable of handling science and technology.

Not only does the Indian government spend the lion's share on Hindi development and a pittance on other languages, when a state tries to develop its language using its own state funds, Hindian politicians who dominate the Indian government block the development, thus preventing other languages from taking their due place in the next century. Here is an example.

2. Engineering Education in Tamil

Many students in Tamil Nadu find it difficult to study engineering with English as medium of instruction. It would be easier to study the basic concepts and procedures at the undergraduate level in Tamil. (Experience in technologically advanced nations like Germany, France, Russia, Japan and China where engineering education is in one's mother tongue proves the point.) With this in mind, the state government of Tamil Nadu developed a curriculum and books for undergraduate engineering education in Tamil. Many highly qualified engineers and professors participated in this effort over several years; many of them volunteered their time, for the love of Tamil. An expert panel reviewed the curriculum, books and availability of lecturers and professors, and certified that a student studying engineering in Tamil in one of the approved colleges and passing the examinations would be as good an engineer as one studying in English. Arrangements were made to offer engineering undergraduate courses in Tamil in a few selected colleges. Announcements were made that students may apply to study in either English medium or Tamil medium. It was totally optional; no one was forced to study in Tamil. Only those who want to study in Tamil would be admitted to the Tamil-medium courses. Hundreds of students applied for the English medium and hundreds applied for the Tamil medium. (The Tamil medium students would have to take some English courses and prove their proficiency in English.) All was set to go. Then something happened on the way to Tamil medium engineering education in Tamil Nadu ... The Indian government blocked it.

3. Indian Roadblock

All new engineering programs need approval from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) created by the Indian government. It refused to approve the Tamil medium engineering program in 1997 and approval is still pending (as of July 2002). There is nothing Tamil Nadu can do about it.

What was the reason for disapproval? Is it that the curriculum does not meet the requirements for an engineering degree? No. AICTE did not say that, because the curriculum was meticulously developed by a committee of well-qualified engineers and professors to meet the standards set forth for English medium engineering programs. Then, what is wrong with the Tamil-medium program? Is it that these students will lack sufficient knowledge of English to understand reports and documents prepared in English? No. That was not the reason given either because the Tamil-medium program requires that the students pass English examinations to demonstrate adequate proficiency in English. Then why did the AICTE disapprove the program? AICTE says that it wants to wait until other states also develop engineering programs in their mother languages. Why should Tamil Nadu wait until similar programs are developed in other languages? Hindian dominated Indian government imposes Hindi everywhere. Are they waiting until the other languages also catch up? Then why this step motherly treatment for Tamil?

4. Irrationality of the AICTE Decision

AICTE's reasoning for disapproving Tamil-medium engineering program in Tamil Nadu does not make sense. Some years ago some Karnataka universities started offering engineering degrees in electronic communications, before other states had such offerings. AICTE did not delay approval of that program until other states also did the same. Many years ago Tamil Nadu was one of the first states to offer degree in mining engineering. No one stopped it until other states also started mining engineering programs. So why block Tamil-medium engineering education because other states do not have such a program, in spite of the fact that the program meets all requirement for an engineering degree.

Since AICTE's reasoning does not hold water, only conclusion we can reach is that Hindian dominated Indian government does not want Tamil or other languages (except Hindi) to develop into modern languages suitable for science and technology.

5. Compare Hindi Development and Tamil Development

Indian government refuses to allow Tamil-medium engineering education in Tamil Nadu because it wants to wait until other states also develop such programs. Is the Indian government doing the same when it comes to Hindi use?

A few decades ago the Indian government introduced Hindi in the telegraph department. Using Hindi and non-Hindi speaking peoples' taxes, Hindi telegrams were made possible not only in Hindi states but in every telegraph office in every state, even in places where no one understood Hindi. It took more than a couple of decades until other languages were also introduced. Even now we can send telegrams in Tamil from only some offices in Tamil Nadu while Hindi telegrams can be sent from any office. Did the Indian government say, "We will delay the introduction of Hindi until everyone is able to send telegrams in the mother tongue?" No. Then why abort Tamil-medium engineering education in Tamil Nadu because other languages have no such programs? Is it not step-motherly treatment of the worst kind?

If a Member of Parliament (MP) speaks in English, it is automatically translated into Hindi for the benefit of Hindian MPs. Did the Indian government say, "We will wait until we have facilities to translate into all languages"? No. Then why is Tamil held back until other languages also develop engineering programs? Is it not to block Tamil from developing into a technical and scientific language in the twenty-first century?

We can give many more examples. But I will give just one more from the engineering field.

What is more technically advanced than the field of nuclear physics and nuclear engineering? A friend who works in the Atomic Research Center told me of a memorandum from the Center Director. He asks every employee to do as much work as possible in Hindi, including taking notes at meetings, writing comments on margins of reports, etc. He also announces rewards for those who excel in the use of Hindi, with special rewards for those whose mother tongue is not Hindi.

Another Indian government department that is heavy in engineering and science is the Oil and Gas Commission (OCG). Here also every employee is asked to do as much work as possible in Hindi and there are rewards for those who do so. In fact the ministry responsible for the Oil and Gas Commission has a senior officer and several junior officers with the sole responsibility of overseeing that Hindi is used more and more in lieu of English.

Thus the Indian government is thrusting Hindi everywhere, including highly scientific and technical fields like nuclear energy and oil and gas exploration, even on unwilling non-Hindi employees, using Hindi and non-Hindi peoples' taxes. But when Tamil Nadu introduces Tamil-medium engineering education, using state government taxes, the Hindian dominated Indian government stomps it on the head so that Tamil won't emerge as a modern language suitable for engineering and science.

6. A Three-Pronged Strategy for Hindian Supremacy

Hindian politicians who dominate the Indian government have a three-prong strategy for Hindi supremacy (and thus Hindian supremacy). (1) Remove English usage in government and business saying that it is a national shame to use the foreign English. (2) Pour Hindi and non-Hindi peoples' taxes into Hindi development while starving other languages for development funds. (3) If a state uses its own state taxes to develop its language to replace English in the state, block it using central government (Indian government) powers. (Years from now the Indian Government will allow Tamil-medium engineering education in Tamil Nadu, after Hindi has developed (in technical subjects) substantially over and above other languages in India. By then we will have to start from scratch, train new professors and lecturers to teach in Tamil, and update and write new technical books. Tamil would lose years of development because of Indian Government delay.)

This three-prong strategy has the effect of Hindi replacing English everywhere and thus making Hindi supreme. This elevates Hindians to some type of first class citizens, and pushes down others to some type of second-tier citizens.

What are we going to do?


UPDATE: (added August 1, 2010)

We predicted in Section 6 of the article, "Years from now the Indian Government will allow Tamil-medium engineering education in Tamil Nadu, after Hindi has developed (in technical subjects) substantially over and above other languages in India". Finally, after well over a decade, it has happened. Tamil Nadu State Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy announced in February 2010 that 11 colleges would offer Tamil medium of instructions in civil and mechanical engineering from the next academic year. Students may opt for Tamil or English medium. Even students studying in the English medium may write their examinations in Tamil if they so choose. Because of the obstructionism of AICTE, Tamil Nadu had to wait 13 years to introduce Tamil medium in engineering colleges.

We thank Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy for their continued efforts in getting Tamil its due place in engineering education. 


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