Sanskrit is alien, English is Indian: Datta D Naik

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 28 December 2015 18:13 IST

Sanskrit is an alien language but English is an Indian language; opposing English medium is a waste of energy, feels Datta Damodar Naik, veteran Konkani writer and thinker.

He also feels that the real challenge in Goa is not to learn in what language, but how to learn the language, may it be Konkani, Marathi or English.

Naik also blasted the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch for converting the Medium of Instruction issue as anti-Christian movement by diving Goan society.

He spoke at length after he was honoured with Ravindra Kelekar Memorial Award by Bimb, a Konkani monthly edited by Dilip Borkar, yesterday at Agacaim.

In spite of being a Sanskrit scholar, Naik said, he looks at Sanskrit as the language of privileged Brahmin class, who deprived the lower class and especially Dalits of this language of knowledge.

He also reminded the audience, which also included BBSM leaders like Uday Bhembre, that Babasaheb Ambedkar had told the Dalit community to learn English in order to come out of the clutches of Brahmin supremacy.

“Precisely this is the reason why Dalits have built a temple of English today in Uttar Pradesh”, he observed.

The same formula, he said, was also used by Bhausaheb Bandodkar in Goa by telling the Bahujan Samaj to learn English along with Marathi.

ARE HINDUS ANTI-NATIONALS?

While criticising the BBSM for terming Goa’s Christian community anti-national because they are learning in English at primary level, Naik said majority of Hindus are also today learning in English.

“In that case, majority of Hindu community from Brahmins to Bahujan Samaj should also be called anti-national”, he felt.

Being closely associated with the Samaj Seva Sangh of Margao, its former president said the primary level Vidya Bharati run in Marathi medium is today not getting enough number of students.

Similarly, he said the school management was compelled to convert Mahila Nutan Vidyalay, its Marathi medium secondary school, into English.

He also cautioned the BBSM leaders not to link Dr T B Cunha’s theory of denationalisation to the medium of instruction, stating that the context was different and should not be distorted.

CHILD CAN LEARN IN ANY LANGUAGE

Naik, a prolific writer in Konkani, Marathi and English, also contested the universal concept that learning in mother tongue is a must for a child at primary level.

“Children are so sharp, they can pick up any language”, he said.

The real issue, he felt, is teaching all the languages in Goa with a strong linguistic base.

He expressed regrets that Goan students are today unable to write or speak any language properly, may it be Konkani, Marathi or English in spite of learning in that particular language.

He also appealed to the BBSM leaders to come out of the pre-liberation and pre-Opinion Poll psyche and be flexible with Marathi as well as the Roman script of Konkani.

“I know it is not a scientific script of Konkani, but we should also respect the fact that it is a cultural identity of a particular generation”, he said.

He also felt it waste of time and energy in banging the people, embracing Portuguese culture, under the false notion of nationalism.

“Let them remain in the nostalgia of Portuguese, like how Pondicherry, part of Kolkata and even part of Delhi is still living in the French, British and Moghul nostalgia”, he said.

“Let us follow the principle of Modern, Urban and Liberal approach –the MUL”, said Naik. 

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Previous Comments

Aryan , Panaji , you are raising valid points but people like Sandehs Prabhu Dessai will not write about it and people like Oscar will pull wool over their ears hearing it.

- JRP, Bharatmata | 30 th December 2015 18:59

 

the whole issue of MOI is blown up because of Govt. grants. Many in the past during Portuguese rule did their primary education in Marathi and Portuguese, (I am not aware if Konkani primary schools were there at that time). not even Konkani subject was taught at such schools, even at Secondary level. If vernacular languages should survive, if not flourish, the local people must know to read and write and not just speak that language. Even after having primary education in Marathi, and Portuguese languages ,children could easily switch over to English medium school for S.S.C.. Imagine if all over India, We have primary education only in English and not in local State language? Why have We created States based on language ? What if Germany, Italy or France were our colonial Rulers in stead of English, would We prefer to learn in their language ? Also, A child born to a Goan or Indian couple, but parents settling abroad will certainly give him education in the language of that country. So ,all wise men in the Govt. and general populance should do brain storming and come to an understanding for uniform education policy incl. MOI. Will stopping or giving grants to all schools solve this issue? Local language must be taught at least till SSC

- MADHAV BODKE, PONDA | 29 th December 2015 19:45

 

There are number of reasons why Mr. Datta Nayak's words are foolish

* As per the current laws only Christian run English schools get grants but Hindu run schools don't get grants of English medium schools.

* If Hindus do start English schools they have to comply with horrible RTE act where they have to spend more money than competing Christian schools which dont have to comply with RTE. Hindu schools also have to set aside 25% RTE quota.

* Christian schools ban Pagan practices of Hindu students which is cultural aggression.

This is a gross discrimination against Hindus. Even Pakistan does not discriminate against their minority religions to this extent.

Parents should have the right to decide MoI of their children and schools should be able to compete with each other based on quality. But the current set of laws are based on religion and hence must be opposed.

BBSM's demands might be misplaced but they are indeed sensible that government should either give grants only to marathi/konkani schools or all. But not based on whether school is run by Christian or Hindus.

- Aryan, Panaji | 29 th December 2015 16:06

 

the fact that English is an Indian language is fascinating knowledge.

Medium of intruction can be discussed on its own merits without getting anti Christian, Brahmin superiority and Dalit discrimination into its midst

- Dr Ravindra Panandikar, Margao | 29 th December 2015 10:58

 

Datta Naik's views are that of a person who doesn't think highly of one's culture and tradition.It has got to do a lot with his anti religious rational mindset which make him say such things.

- Parag Hede, Panaji,Goa. | 29 th December 2015 09:52

 

I passed out SSC from Don Bosco High school in 1982, during this period most of schools were English medium schools , there were quite bit of Marathi medium schools , but Konkani medium may be very few, I never studied Konkani nor Marathi , it was french for me , but I can still talk fluent konkani , although english is used for all work , it was Shashikala kokodakar as a education minster probably in 1988 english medium schools were forced to change to Konkani due to grants being withdrawn, forget about medium ,education in Goa is below standards , how many Goans pass out IAS,IPS,IFS etc in IIT too very few get in, we have work for better education , this Brahamins cannot see low caste people or any other community climbing over them.

- James Moraes, Cuncolim,salcette | 29 th December 2015 09:11

 

Thank you Mr. Naik for enlightening us on your stupidity Your publicity craving stunts are getting more and more pathetic

You should also put forward the case for learning Hindi through the Roman script and if you look at the reality you will find the trend in Goa is to eschew anything Hindu or perceived to be Hindu

As regards learning in one's mother tongue in the primary stages helps the child it is based on research. Of course for many people of any religion it has become fashionable to speak in English to their kids thus making their mother tongue English but let's not forget the way they murder that language

- DINESH MATHA, Margao | 29 th December 2015 07:59

 

Datta Damodar Naik has hit the bull's eye. What he spoke made absolute sense. “Children are so sharp, they can pick up any language” is absolutely true and can be seen when children of natives of other states residing and born in Goa speak flawless konkani. It is also true that it's not just followers of one religion who look at education in english. Many parents from all religions are looking at educating their children in english. It serves no purpose giving a communal tone to this issue and it is for us Goans to understand what the crux of the issue is. Hats off to you once again Dattabaab.

- Sudheer Prabhu, Ponda, Goa | 28 th December 2015 23:53

 

Datta Damodar Naik's speech is non conventional. He always speaks the unexpected and expresses his inner feeling. His thoughts blow the mind and touches heart. We all goans, Hindus and Catholics speak Konkani at home but when it comes to learning in Konkani, we prefer English. It is totally biased statement that only Catholics prefer primary education for their children in English. It's good that Dattabab expressed his concern and targeted the people who call the Goan catholics as denationalists on MOI issue.

- Paresh Narendra Kamat, Ponda-Goa | 28 th December 2015 22:33

 

After hearing all these revoltive, backward, and hypocritical BBSM leaders again and again, Datta Naik's speech is like a breath of fresh air!

It justifies Savio Lopes's fight for English medium of instruction.

Hope and pray that more of such intellectual leaders come out fearlessly for the broad minded logical conclusion towards English MOI!

- Jorge da Silva Pereira, Panjim | 28 th December 2015 22:12

 

Good thoughts! But only fear is If goan students don't learn konkani/marathi,they will be totally detached from our own language.They will not have any identity to prove they are goans.It may not be with all the goans but certain section (both hindus as wel catholics)prefers to speak only english right from their birth,and they may face problems in the future.But then if people want only english right from primary,it should be allowed and no indian language should be made compulsary at secondary level too.Lets wait for the effects after 15 yeats!!!

- Sudesh prabhudesai, Fatorda | 28 th December 2015 20:35

 

An excellent display of free, frank and fearless thought by Datta bhai.

I Agree with him on children's ability to pick up any language. There is no statistical evidence that scientifically proves mother tongue or any one language can improve life performance outcome.

Dr Mukul

- Mukul , Margao | 28 th December 2015 19:45

 

Language & MOI are two different issues...If a teacher feels that student will understand better in kannada why should one object if he explains in Kanada....MOI is for making one understand the topic..How many schools in Goa use English MOI for secondary schooling? Its unfortunate that we are mixing language & religion...Let better sense prevail

- Pradip Kakodkar, Curchorem | 28 th December 2015 19:29

 

People will send their children to primary schools depending on how well the school teaches their wards.

- D J Borker, Alrem | 28 th December 2015 19:18

 

Splendid Datta...It is only with evolved, liberal thinking like this that we,as a people will progress towards good governance,genuine pluralism and respect for the " other " and eventually a compassionate democracy

Thank you for your courage of conviction, your ability to swim against the tide and for celebrating the religion of humanism and the truth

More power to you and cut a monginis cake on my behalf..I'm paying

Oscar

- dr.oscar rebelo, bhangrachem goem | 28 th December 2015 18:51

 

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