Incredible India: Language, Culture, and People

We wrap up our country spotlight on India by taking a look at the language, food, cinema, and concerns surrounding women’s safety.

Language of foreigners to highest users:

English in India is known as foreigners’ language. Most of the conservatives tried to reduce the usage of English, but I think it is quite natural since the country had been under the control of the British. Indians initially rejected the English, however, later after the globalization Indians felt that without English you cannot survive in the modern world. Even though India has as many official languages, Indians have shown keen interest in learning English. India is the second largest English speaking population after the United States.

Today the largest English circulation daily is neither in the United States nor in the Great Britain, but it is in the India. It is called The Times of India. 

Unsafe Women to Indian Rulers:

Many media houses in recent days showed that Indian women are not safe in India and some of the international media deliberately international student voice magazine indian-women-in-saris-2over exaggerated the stories. Every Indian now knows that Indian women are not as safe as they used to be, but they are not as unsafe as some sections of media lead to believe.

Why do not they recognize the fact that in 2009, India is the only country in the world where the head of the major coalition partner of India, Sonia Gandhi, and leader of opposition in parliament, Sushma Swaraj, and then President of India, Pratiba Patil, and the speaker of loksaba, Mera kumar, all these top posts, in government and in parliament, are enjoyed by women at the same time. Isn’t it incredible?

In many countries, women never enjoyed the top post throughout history. Even today, divorce rates are more than fifty percent, which indicates how happy and valued their women are.

India is one of those countries where women have voting rights at the time of independence as equal to men. They got equal rights to enjoy all positions as men do. For example, Britain did not allow full voting rights for women until 1920. France gave voting rights in 1944 and China in 1947, and this indicates the respect and their treatment towards women.

international student voice Best-of-BollywoodIndian Cinema and Cuisine:

When I came to the United States most of my colleagues, who are from different countries, did not ask me where you are from. To be honest, they simply asked me, “Did you watch ‘3 idiots movie’?” They showed me their laptops which are filled with Bollywood movies. I was literally shocked! And some of the movies I did not even watch. Ali, one of my friends from Saudi said, “My mom is a very big fan of Bollywood!” He started grilling me about different movies of Sharuk khan.

When I hang out with international friends most of them ask this question to me, “When are you cooking Indian food for me?”When we conducted “Diwali Night” on the campus, most of them said they came to enjoy Indian cuisine.

With the above stated things, India exercises  its “soft power” to influence international community.  Soft power is a concept developed by a Harvard Professor, Joseph Nye, which simply means ability to influence other people by persuasion rather than by using coercion. India is doing exactly the same thing.

Indian Nobel Prize Winners:

Rabindranath Tagore, in literature 1913, for Gitanjali. 

Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, in physics, in 1930, for his “Raman Effect”.

Mother Teresa, Nobel Peace Prize, 1979, for her help to humanity.

Amarthya sen, in economics, 1998, for his contributions to welfare economics.

Hargobind Khorana, Indian born American Citizen, in medicine 1968, for interpretation of genetic code,

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Indian- American,  in physics, 1983, for his studies on structure and evolution of stars.

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Indo – American, in chemistry, 2009, for studies on structure and function of ribosome.

Incredible Problems:

India also has some incredible problems. The major problem is political corruption and I believe this is the mother of all the problems in India. Sanitation is another major problem in India. In India, we have more cell phones than toilets. Illiteracy is another major problem in India; Indian literacy rate is still 74.4 percent, whereas most of the third world countries also achieved more than 90 percent literacy rates. According to IMF in 2011, per capita income of India is $3663, still much lower than many third world countries.

international student voice Digamber EslampureArticle written by ISV Ambassador, Digamber Eslampure. 

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  1. Digamber,
    Your statement: “Most of the conservatives tried to reduce the usage of English, but I think it is quite natural since the country had been under the control of the British. Indians initially rejected the English, however, later after the globalization Indians felt that without English you cannot survive in the modern world.” Lacks basic understanding of the framers of the Indian Constitution as well as the understanding of the importance of the English language during and after the British rule. English is the constitutional language. The use of English was not disputed by the literate who were educated in that language. A large population of the Indian population is conversant in English. Also, when do you think globalization started?

    • Hello HS,
      I appreciate your view; since you raised an important point “Importance of English language before and after independence,” let me put the record straight, if you go through my article, I did not say that English is not our constitutional language, but you should understand the reason behind adopting English as our second official language.
      Most of the freedom fighters, including our Father of Nation —Gandhi, were against the usage of English language, he believed that ‘to give millions a knowledge of English is to enslave them.’ He also mentioned “ The foreign language has caused brain fag, put undue strain upon the nerves of our children, made them crammers and imitators, unfitted them for original work and thought.”
      Nehru, was keen on making Hindi as an official language, however, he faced a strong opposition from southern states, especially Tamil Nadu. These southern people believed that if Hindi becomes the official language, most of the Hindi speaking states dominate everywhere in India and they will not get equal opportunities —in governance and jobs. Some of them even threatened to separate from India. These southern states believed that English would be equally difficult to both the Hindi speaking northern people and southern people. In that inevitable situation, they adopted English as our official language.
      If English has such a great importance in India, “Constitutional language,” In 1960s why Gujarat banned English from primary schools? Why West Bengal did the same thing in 1970s? Even today, exception of North Eastern States, less than 10 percent of the state schools in India are English medium schools. Many states allowed English only from sixth standard. Don’t you think this is oppression?
      Second point is about globalization; well, no one can tell you exactly when globalization started, but I can tell you that only after liberalization of Indian economy, most of the Indian companies especially IT companies and BPOs started participating actively in globalized foreign trade. These BPOs stressed the importance of English. They provided huge employment for good English-speaking Indians. From then, Indians gave much importance in learning English. Rather than mentioning these entire things I simply mentioned it as after globalization. I hope now you understand what I actually mean.

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