The article “Let a hundred tongues be heard” (Sept. 27) was insightful, realistic, critical and objective. It is not only in Odisha but in all States where tribals live that they struggle to understand the State language. But it is also true that English has unified the tribes of Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland where numerous tribal languages exist. And the tribals in these States have not given up their culture.

Chandrabhan Prasad is right in saying English-speaking Dalits should take up the Dalit movement as their profession for a pan-Indian Dalit movement to emerge. Dalits speak the official language of their domiciled States. Only English can unite them.

Aaron Jude Netto,


Among the reasons why more and more Indian languages are being dropped as the medium of instruction, one reason is the poor and populist understanding of education among the political leadership. While all our education commissions, national policy documents and even the RTE Act favour the use of the mother tongue as the medium of instruction in elementary classes, we are witness to a number of state run schools being labelled ‘special’ on the basis of their medium being shifted to English. In Delhi itself, the Municipal and State Education departments are increasingly dropping not just Urdu and Punjabi but even Hindi in favour of English as a medium. Obviously, politicians in charge of education do not have any grounding in the discipline and are oblivious to pedagogic concerns.

On the other hand, it must also be recognised that people feel cheated if public schools keep teaching in the local languages while private schools are allowed to use English as the medium of instruction. Thus the demand for regional medium will appear sincere only when a respectful and equal place is given to all languages.

Firoz Ahmad,



Let a hundred tongues be heardSeptember 27, 2012

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