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Modi intensifying efforts to relegate English as India sheds colonial past

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (File Photo)

Narendra Modi’s government is stepping up efforts to relegate English to the margins of Indian life by offering medical and engineering degrees in Hindi along with shifting course language to Hindi for the first time.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled state of Uttar Pradesh announced that they will begin teaching medical and engineering courses in Hindi, though the option of learning in English remains.

“Some books of medical and engineering courses have been translated into Hindi. The students will be able to study those subjects in Hindi from the coming year,” UP chief minister, Yogi Adityanath tweeted.

The announcement came days after union home minister Amit Shah launched India’s first Hindi version of MBBS textbooks of anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry in another BJP ruled state of Madhya Pradesh on October 16.

"Through the new National Education Policy, PM Modi has given more emphasis to the mother language of students. This is a historic decision," said Amit Shah. 

Ever since the decision, doctors have been stunned by the decision to offer the course and degree in Hindi. Until now, English had been the only medium of language medicine was taught in. 

For the past nine months, around 97 translators have been brainstorming to translate terms such as biopsy, neuroblastoma, and hemorrhoids to Hindi.

Modi says the decision will allow Indians from poorer backgrounds, not fluent in English, to pursue medical and engineering studies.

“We aim to ensure that the children of poor parents become doctors and engineers even if they are not educated in English” Modi said on Wednesday in Gujarat.

Ever since the right-winged BJP came to power in 2014, it has vowed to resurrect Indian traditions and Hindi language in the wake of westernization and the persistent leftover of the colonial mindset.

BJP party leaders have often emphasized and campaigned for the importance of Hindi language and for the restoration of lost traditions.

Modi has frequently spoken of freeing Indians of the “colonial mindset” left by the British empire and of removing the relics of that rule.

Consisting of about 122 major languages that are spoken throughout India, Hindi is not the national language of India. The Constitution of India does not give any language the status of national language.

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