Advocating for scrapping of English language as a criteria from jobs, Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav on Saturday instead urged that all work should be done in Hindi as “a farmer and the animals he lives with are not aware of English”. He, however, was quick to add that he was not against those who study English.
“English should not be made compulsory in jobs. Only then can children of poor farmers and labourers will progress. At present, children who are fluent in English move ahead in life while a farmer’s son lags behind. Where will a farmer’s son learn English? His parents, the animals he lives with are not aware of English,” Mulayam said.
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He, however, claimed that he was not against any language but only wanted to promote the mother tongue.
“People have publicised that I am against English. I am not against any language. We will even support those who study English. But I am not in favour of making it compulsory for jobs,” Mulayam said, while giving examples of countries such as Japan and Russia, which, he claimed, have progressed by adopting their mother tongue.
“Even in court proceedings, the work should be in Hindi so that a farmer whose case is pending there also understands things. He may give inputs about his case only when he understands the documents,” the SP leader said. He was addressing an event organised for felicitation of poets Gopal Das Neeraj and Udai Pratap Singh here.
Mulayam said socialist ideologue Ram Manohar Lohia was an expert in English but preferred Hindi for work. Narrating an incident, he said former Tamil Nadu chief minister and DML chief had opposed him for favouring Hindi. “When I told him that that I am in favour of Tamil also as it is their mother tongue, he called me for tea. I want that mother tongue should be promoted. One can easily understand things,” he said.
Mulayam claimed that only 2-3 per cent people understand English. Recalling another anecdote he said, as a student, he had once failed in English in a tri-monthly exam. “Though I was UP champion in wrestling, my teacher Udai Pratap Singh told me that I will be known as a failure and not as a champion. I mastered the lesson and cleared the English test,” he added.
Mulayam also said that apart from Hindi, Urdu should be promoted as the two languages together strengthen harmony.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in his speech, meanwhile, said that government work in state is being done in Hindi. “Countries have progressed by working in their mother tongue. When Netaji (Mulayam) was defence minister he had initiated the culture of working in Hindi in armed forces,” he said.
On the occasion, UP Language Department conferred ‘Sahitya Shiromani’ award on Neeraj and Singh. They were also rewarded with Rs 21 lakh each. Maryam Siddiqui, a Muslim girl who had won a Bhagwad Gita Shloka competition in Mumbai, was also felicitated with Rs 11 lakh reward.