Questioner: What is your opinion of teaching in native language, vs teaching in English?
Sadhguru: See we must understand this, these 25 or 30 different languages in this country – if you add up all the dialects, they tell me there are 1300 dialects. But at least 25 to 30 full-fledged languages with a script of their own, with a huge body of literature behind it. A full-fledged language is not an overnight happening. The oldest language on the planet is Tamil language, you’re in Tamil Nadu.
Language is a very important part of human intelligence
See language is a very important part of human intelligence. Many linguists around the world have clearly recognized the power of language. Human ability to use language, essentially is rooted in India. It’s from here, the ability to use the language came to the rest of the world. Almost all the languages, which are largely, you know, in Europe and Arabia based – all of them have Sanskrit influence on them. So, in our eagerness to just get a job, we don’t have to completely destroy these languages. We will loose out something very very big.
See, English is a fantastic thing in terms of its simplicity. In terms of, because internet and, you know, modern technology has taken to English language, it is a must. Nobody can be against English anymore, you got to take it, even if you don’t like the British you have to like the English language. It is part of our language now. One good thing we did, though many bad things happened during the British rule, one good thing is we absorbed the language.
The phonetic range that is there in Indian languages is such, it stimulates every aspect of who you are
Today many educated Indians can speak better English than most British can speak. It’s a good thing. But at the same time, we should never kill these languages which have been there for thousands of years. Because the phonetic range that is there in Indian languages is such, it stimulates every aspect of who you are. English language has a very narrow phonetic range. So this ability, to use sounds to stimulate and trigger one’s intelligence and energy within ourselves, is something that we should not give up.
Every child must know one more language other than English, whatever that is. Because anyway our states are divided on linguistic basis. So in that state whatever the language is, they must know. In our over enthusiasm for employment-oriented education, I know many schools are completely destroying the local languages. This should not happen. Local language must be there, it must be a part of you. At least people should know how to speak and read – [even] if not, you’re not a great, you don’t know how to write great literature. At least you should know how to read and speak one more language other than English language. Our education policy has taken that into consideration. It is responsibility have every school to ensure that happens.
And I feel, the easier way to do it is, maybe they’re studying science, they’re an English medium, they’re largely studying English language. But you could make some play, some theater, some art, something in local languages so that people use that as a social thing. Use that as an entertainment, where there’s a natural interest in how to express themselves in that language. It is a must. We should not kill these languages because it’s taken thousands of years to create it. This is our national pride, that we have the maximum number of languages.
At least in your homes with your children and wherever possible, there must be a certain amount of time where we must use the local language
If we had to create this many languages, see we must understand this – for e.g, Tamilnadu and Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Kerala – there are no geographical separation. There are no oceans between these states. There are no mountain ranges clearly demarcating and separating the populations for a long time. But though they lived here for thousands of years, they kept their language, these people kept their language. It’s so beautiful. When they went to trade and transact, they learnt the other language. But, they always kept their language. But today, the new generations are losing their language so rapidly.
It’s very important, all of you, at least in your homes with your children and wherever possible, there must be a certain amount of time where we must use the local language. It’s very important. We will regret this deeply after a couple of generations if we don’t take care of it now. Because you can’t bring back a language. You can kill it, but you can’t breathe life into it, it’s very difficult.