New Delhi: 22.01.2020 Out of my love for linguistics, I have been closely associated with British Lingua, a social venture committed to enhancing the English communication skills of Indian students for the almost three decades. I had several occasions to interact with the trainees attending classes here and I was pleasantly amazed to see their enhanced English speaking skills and confident looks on their faces emanating out of their communicational skills in English. All thanks to Lingua’s pragmatic training methodology that appreciably intertwines theory with practical sessions.
The social entrepreneur Dr Birbal Jha, one of the notable alumni of Patna University, whom I know personally very well as a well-cultured person with a great soul from Madhubani of Bihar, has had a mission to use the English language as a weapon for the weaker sections of the Indian society.
Probably taking a leaf from Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar, the architect of Indian Constitution, who once said, “English is like the milk of lioness, one who drinks it becomes a lion”, Dr Birbal Jha realized very early that with the knowledge of the English Language— Spoken and Written—one can carve out one’s niche and reach the upper echelons of society anywhere in the world.
I am a witness to the fact of how Dr Birbal with a missionary zeal, started his social venture British Lingua in Patna way back in the early 1990s to cater to the needs of students belonging to the state who were hitherto not very competent and fluent in English Language skills required in the job markets. Today, he signifies his name with improving the life skills of lacs of people, more particularly youth from the marginalized section of society.
Over the years British Lingua has become a household name in the country, more particularly in the state of Bihar, where I contribute as a professor at the Post Graduate Department of English of Patna University.
Housewives, businessmen, students and professionals from all backgrounds thronged the training centres of British Lingua located in National Capital Territory and various districts of Bihar, under the tutelage of Dr Jha, who is an astute visionary in real sense. He has been able to establish contacts with most of the intellectuals from his home state and other significant places. Dr Jha reeled them in to be all associated with his training institute for a social cause.
One of the landmark decisions of the Government of Bihar has been to recognize and entrust British Lingua with the task of imparting employability skills to the Mahadalit youth in 2012. The training company has championed the cause of taking English skills to the downtrodden people of the state where his noticeable social contribution is well recorded and acknowledged by all quarters of the society.
It stands to reason that Dr Birbal Jha is a trainer of teachers, with his exceptional role in successfully implementing the Spoken English skills Training and Capacity Building Programme for government High-school teachers in the state when one of the finest officers, Hassan Waris was the Director of State Council of Educational Research & Training (SCERT), Bihar.
I have been a witness to how British Lingua in course of time has spread its wings like a huge bird and came to the national capital of India in early 2000s, where again he has been marked out as a phenomenal trainer and reformer. His role, whether in a cultural movement or a child safety campaign, is worth admiring and imbibing and will be well-recorded in the annals of history.
In the run-up to the XIX Commonwealth Games, held in the national capital, the NCT of Government of Delhi headed by the then chief minister Sheila Dixit, tied up with British Lingua which was tasked with imparting Spoken English and Behavioral skills training to those who were the first points of contacts to the foreigners as well as transport department of Delhi, both public as well as private.
Yet another feather in the cap of British Lingua’s luminous history, staying ahead of the curve, it also changed its way to impart the English Knowledge digitally as technology has made almost everything possible.
With British Lingua’s digital English program, it can afford to reach the doorsteps of people wanting to learn English in Kalahandi of Odisha or Fiji Island in the Pacific Ocean for that matter.
Dr Birbal is a revolutionary in nature and a visionary in character, coupled with exceptional interpersonal skills and professional commitments. His writings are reflective of his in-depth studies of sociolinguistics in the Indian context which makes him a celebrated author of the day. I wish him a very bright future with his digital English vision to reach every individual on the planet who needs language training.
The writer of this piece, Dr Indibar Mukherjee is a senior professor at Patna University, Bihar.