Telugu language policy
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Telugu language policy is an issue within the state of Andhra Pradesh, where it is the first language of 85% of the population. Telugu language advocates note a lack of incentivisation and government support for the language, and press for their linguistic rights for Telugu's greater recognition and promotion through government mechanisms.
Telugu teaching as a subject in the primary, secondary and college education is not compulsory. The medium of education need not be Telugu in primary and secondary school education. This lax language policy is encouraging English medium schools. Educated Telugu people are slowly losing capability of reading and writing in Telugu in the era of internet. In some English medium schools, speaking in Telugu with fellow students is meted out with corporal punishment by the school teachers.
Telugu news papers and periodicals are very popular compared to English papers and periodicals in the ratio of 10:1. Hardly 10% of English educated people can comfortably read English newspapers and understand comprehensively.
There are nearly 60 number Telugu TV channels covering issues and social needs of worldwide Telugu people. However, there is only one English TV channel (CVR English) particularly aimed at Telugu or Andhra Pradesh people. There are few national level dedicated English TV channels in India and many international English channels whose viewer ship is less than 2% among Telugu people or all Indians. Few international TV channels such as Discovery, National Geography, etc. in Telugu are also available in Andhra Pradesh.
Most of the correspondence in state & central government offices and private establishments is in English even though the majority employees are Telugu people. Though software tools in Telugu are available in the market, English versions are used invariably in state government offices and educational institutions. All the proceedings in the courts and judgments are in English in Andhra Pradesh.
UNESCO has warned that Telugu language would become dead language in next 15 years if the present policy of discouragement is continued. The encouragement to English over Telugu has multiplied due to vested interests of private educational institutes and the pseudo cosmopolitan intellectuals swaying complete hold on the machinery of centre and state governments. Due to the multi linguistic nature of India, English protagonists who have risen to prominence during the British rule are able to continue the British education policy even after 65 years of gaining independence in the year 1947. A general impression is imbibed in the Indian society for last 30 years that learning English is panacea for the bright future of the people irrespective of good knowledge base in science, maths, arts, history, etc. subjects.
Many educated Telugu people started visiting and residing in all parts of the world in search of knowledge based jobs. They are able to give their first hand credible observations and feed back to all sections of Telugu people that how, many countries are able to prosper faster than India by imparting education in their native languages without depending on English language. All over India native language renaissance is picking up gradually demanding for their usage in place of English. An expenditure less than one day’s gross domestic product (GDP) of Andhra Pradesh state is adequate to achieve Telugu language prominence in all walks of life provided the state government is dedicated to the development of Telugu language. No country in this world has attained developed status without imparting education in the native language.
The evolution of English as the present day undisputed only one international language from an underdeveloped and un-preferred language in UK itself during the medial period, is an exemplary case of English people’s love, dedication and the untiring efforts towards their language development. It is also interesting to note that how, English (UK) people encourage their minority language Welsh though their native language English has attained status of international language. The present status of Welsh language in UK which is mother tongue of nearly 0.7 million people only, is far better than the present status of Telugu which is mother tongue of 85 million people in India.
Mahatma Gandhi's preachings on medium of education
Throughout his life, Mahatma Gandhi is very strong votary of education in the mother tongue of the people. The trauma faced by him in undergoing education through English medium is typical to most of Indians even today. The following are the few famous quotations by Mahatma Gandhi urging education must be imparted in provincial languages.
- “If I had the powers of a despot, I would today stop the tuition of our boys and girls through a foreign medium, and require all the teachers and professors on pain of dismissal to introduce the change forthwith. I would not wait for the preparation of text-books. They will follow the change. It is an evil that needs a summary remedy.” Young India, 1-9-1921
- “The medium of instruction should be altered at once and at any cost, the provincial languages being given their rightful place. I would prefer temporary chaos in higher education to the criminal waste that is daily accumulating….” Harijan, 9-7-1938
- “I must cling to my mother tongue as to my mother's breast, in spite of its shortcomings. It alone can give me the life-giving milk.” Harijan, 25-8-1946
During the year 2012, the Andhra Pradesh official language commission has revived its activities. It was assigned the task of organizing fourth World Telugu Conference (WTC) after a gap of 22 years. WTC was conducted successfully with 5000 Telugu delegates from all parts of the world in Tirupati city during the last week of December 2012. The conference was inaugurated by president of India. The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh has announced that every needed action will be implemented by the government to bring Telugu to prominence. Some of the steps taken are
Actions under implementation
- Telugu is made compulsory subject up to 10th standard in the state from the academic year 2013-14.
- All the sign boards of shops and establishments are to be compulsorily written in Telugu prominently.
- De-recognition of English medium schools and booking police cases against teachers for punishing the students who have conversed in Telugu in the school premises.
- Joined World Unicode consortium and developed Unicode - based script for Telugu.
- Compulsory official correspondence in Telugu from village level to State secretariat level. All the official documents shall be appended signatures in Telugu.
- Statewide functions would be organized every year such as Telugu language day (Gidugu Venkata Ramamoorty birthday), International Mother Tongue Day, official language day, CP Brown birthday, etc. to imbibe dedication in the people towards Telugu language development.
- Rs.20 lakh to each district released to promote Telugu language and culture during the year 2012 - 13.
- Felicitations and awards by the state government for encouraging correspondence in Telugu.
- The fifth WTC will be conducted in USA after five years in 2017.
- Full-fledged ministry will be formed to promote Telugu with adequate funding. It would take up translation of various books into Telugu, vocabulary expansion in Telugu covering all subjects / fields of learning, Telugu teaching books, revival of fine arts & literature academies in Telugu, software requirement, etc. in time bound manner.
- Weightage for Telugu medium students in state government jobs.
- Monitory encouragement to the people involved in Telugu development / promotion.
More proposed actions
- All the political parties in the state shall indicate in their election manifestos, the time bound Telugu language policy to be implemented in case voted to power at state and central governments.
- Telugu visual and print media shall conduct frequent discussions on Telugu language development involving the representatives of all political parties in the state.
- Learning of Telugu typing shall be made a subject in high school education to inculcate writing / communicating in Telugu language in the state.
- Those students up to 12th standard, who are studying in English medium, shall be given the opportunity to write exams as per their convenience in Telugu or mix of English & Telugu in all subjects except Telugu language subject. It is required to prevent students to suffer from the wrong decision of their parents by imposing English medium education.
- All senior officials such as IAS, IPS, IFS, officials of judiciary, ministers, MLAs, MLCs, speaker of Legislative Assembly, chairman of Legislative Council, etc. shall invariably speak in Telugu without using much English while conducting official duty. Government sponsored training programs shall be conducted to those who are unable to speak in Telugu fluently till they perform well.
- All the elected members from the state shall invariably take office of oath in Telugu only.
- All call centre /customer care services catering to Indians shall have Telugu language selection option to interact in Telugu language.
- The government of Andhra Pradesh shall maintain regular contact with worldwide Telugu Diaspora and take their services and guidance in building modern Telugu language.
- The government of Andhra Pradesh shall be in constant touch with the Telugu people residing outside the state and extend adequate support to them in leading secured life for continuing their proud legacy of Telugu language and culture. State government shall also take the services of Telugu people residing outside the state in the development of modern Telugu language.
- Reservations in state government jobs shall be provided to the people with Telugu language skills (reading & writing) residing outside the Andhra Pradesh state.
- Federation of native Indian languages as a national level forum shall be formed to force the central government to implement suitable language policy for developing and protecting the regional languages.
- Both print and visual Telugu media have taken steps to reduce English words use in Telugu programs and also using appropriate alternate Telugu words.
- Andhra Cricket Association has translated the National Cricket Academy's (NCA) coaching manuals in Telugu language. Former India stumper MSK Prasad, who is the Director, Cricket Operations, ACA, was instrumental in getting the manual translated into Telugu. Prasad had taken the help of Surapaneni Rama Krishna, who is a BCCI Umpire and who had earlier translated the 'MCC Laws of Cricket' into Telugu, to work on the manual.
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