Education: Most Important Language

In the first flush of nationalism, India declared in its 1949 constitution that Hindi would become the national language by 1965. It would be, Jawaharlal Nehru declared, "the great unifier." English was to be "phased out."

Last week, speaking before the states' education ministers, Nehru reversed his ground. English, he said, would be retained in the Indian educational system as the major language for an "indefinite" period. Added he: "Manpower for industrial, scientific and agricultural purposes cannot be trained in any Indian language in the foreseeable future."

Behind Nehru's pronouncement (which was promptly endorsed by the education ministers' conference) was the knowledge...

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