Bihar is the only state in India wherein in spite of the undoubted merits; pass without English is still in force in the 10th Board Examinations under the state secondary school education system introduced in 1967 by Karpoori Thakur, then chief minister who was part of the Angrezi Hatao (Down with English) movement led by Ram Manohar Lohiya. However, scenario has drastically changed today with the advent of science and technology and global needs. The government fiat needs revisiting in realization of what this language has in store for school-kids.
“For overall development of society, the advantage of the English language must percolate down even to the lowest strata of society as English is a passport to higher studies, overseas education and job market. Today’s youth naturally crave access to it in view of its utility and power it offers”, said Dr Birbal Jha, noted author and head of Lingua Family working for the deprived section of society for 25 years.
Spoken English is now termed as a skill by central government through its Directorate General of Employment of Training which has designed Modular Employable Skills approved by National Council of Vocational Training (NCVT).
"English is here to stay, there seems to be no evidence that any other language will usurp it as the prime medium of communications. Moreover, the three language formula adopted in the country through the Official Languages Act passed in 1963 mandates English as a compulsory subject for the infinite time. ", added reformist Dr Jha who has recently written an interesting book –‘English for Social Justice In India’.
Dr Jha, who has been championing the cause of English training in the country and has trained more than 30 thousand Mahadalit youth in Bihar in collaboration with state puts forth “Let the deprived section of society also get hold of English communication skills and join the mainstream of society which boasts of their privileged education. Noticeably, education is something that makes or unmakes someone and knowledge of English in a contemporary global context is indubitably essential for career-making, growth and lifestyles”
Advocating English for all through his book, Dr Jha known as Paagman of India quotes article 348 of the Constitution which reads the language to be used in the top court and all proceedings shall be in English. It makes out that justice from the Supreme Court is delivered only in English. This re-enforces Dr Birbal’s view—English is a must for social justice in India.
‘Thus, the Angrezi Hatao movement dying down, Bihar needs to wake up to the need for compulsory English in school curriculum while paying a homage to Karpoori Jee on his birth anniversary on 24 January”, concluded social thinker Dr Birbal running the English Language Awareness Program as a movement since 1993.