Page:Speeches And Writings MKGandhi.djvu/443

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.

the vernaculars will gain in influence, and when they acquire State recognition, they are likely to show merits beyond our imagination.


It behoves us to devote attention to a consideration of a national language, as we have done to that of the medium of instruction. If English is to become a national language, it ought to be treated as a compulsory subject. Can English become the national language? Some learned patriots contend that even to raise the question betrays ignorance. In their opinion English already occupies that place. His Excellency the Viceroy in his recent utterance has merely expressed a hope that English will occupy that place. His enthusiasm does not take him as far as that of the former. He Excellency believes that English will day after day command a larger place, will permeate the family circle, and at last rise to the status of a national language. A superficial consideration will support the viceregal contention. The condition of our educated classes gives one the impression that all our activities would come to a stand still if we stop the use of English. And yet deeper thought will show that English can never and ought not to become the national language of India, What is the test of a national language?

(1) For the official class it should be easy to learn.

(2) The religious, commercial and political activity throughout India should be possible in that language.

(3) It should be the speech of the majority of the inhabitants of India.

(4) For the whole of the country it should be

easy to learn.