I disagree with Justice Markandey Katju that Hindi is the link language in our country (“Required, two tongues,” Sept. 20). In the era of globalisation, it is English, not Hindi, that is the link language. I came across a north Indian working in a private firm in Chennai with a keen interest in learning Tamil.
He said he lived in Hyderabad for two years without learning Telugu but could not survive for even a month in Chennai without learning Tamil. What prompted him to learn Tamil is the fact that many Tamil people cannot speak English. So instead of persuading non-Hindi speakers to learn Hindi, we should persuade all Indians to learn English.
Justice Katju’s suggestion that everyone should learn English is commendable. But why should south Indians learn Hindi when north Indians are not expected to learn any south Indian language? Nowadays, many people come from the north in search of jobs to the south.
For their own sake, they should learn the language spoken in the State in which they work.
U.R. Navin Sreejith,
English should be our link language so that there is no pressure on school students to learn three languages in States like Tamil Nadu.
Their potential can be better channelled towards learning more of science and technology.
I am reminded of an incident that happened in Bangalore two months ago. I hired a taxi to go to a well known hospital. The driver did not know a word of Tamil or English. He said he was good in Hindi. As I had studied Hindi in my college about four decades ago, I could give him directions to reach the hospital.
If someone in Tamil Nadu says people should learn Hindi or English, he or she is treated with scorn. Unfortunately, linguistic fanaticism has taken deep root in the State. Experience is the best teacher. But the price you pay to learn from experience is high.