India: Retreat to English

Languages are the pedigrees of nations.

— Samuel Johnson A land of vastly mixed pedigrees, India has been forced to concede again that its own indispensable language is English. After meeting with the chief ministers of India's 16 states, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri reaffirmed in Parliament last week that English would continue to be an "associate" official language. By this promise Shastri hoped to calm the linguistic strife in South India, which has cost at least 60 lives and threatened to bring down his government.

India's 1950 constitution provided that during the first 15 years of independence, English as well...

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