Why we isspeak Inglis

Jerry Rao offers a revisionist view of Macaulay’s infamous minute:
“At one stroke, he became the most important founding father of modern India. Irrespective of one’s views, to think of India without the English language is pretty much like thinking of India without the monsoons. It may not touch everyone, but its influence touches everyone….”
“…Neither Macaulay nor the Raj was perfect. I would argue that 58 years after the British departure, we need to get beyond our sense of grievance. There is a case for balance and selective praise. In short, a revisionist view of our British imperial legacy is overdue. Indira Gandhi can be our Dalhousie-putri (they both impoverished maharajas and nawabs); Jaswant Singh can be our Curzon-putra (they both worried about our security in a dangerous neighbourhood); and we can all be proud Macaulay-putras!”
Plenty of room for argument there, and I see that the games have already begun.





One response to “Why we isspeak Inglis”

  1. rahul Avatar

    “…One night after a particularly raucous bop at Trinity College in The Other Place (Cambridge), I saw Thomas Babington Macaulay stagger out past the porter’s lodge. Two hundred and four years old, he insisted on attending every social event at his old college – not that he enjoyed them very much – just to see if everyone was behaving themselves. ‘Lord Macaulay!’, I exclaimed, ‘What a surprise’. He was pleased to see that I could string together a sentence in his language, though slightly perturbed that I had not set my sights on becoming a babu in the civil service. ‘Oh but now the best babus go to the IMF’, I told him. ‘Now that would really be your kind of place. They have this one-size-fits all policy to make their work really easy. It’s sort of like the Penal Code you wrote that we all ended up with’ (I had discovered only the day before that the fraud section in the Nigerian Penal Code was 419, not so far off from our chaar-sau-bees). ‘I should warn you, though, that we’ve really messed up your language’, I continued. ‘I wish we’d done the same with the Penal Code. We’ve still got your favourite s. 377, even though homosexuality was legalised in Britain in the ‘60s. It’s a bit like the hunting scenes that still hang in my house, even after hunting’s been banned in Britain. And the flourishing of cricket in India, even after…You should come to India now, Lord Macaulay. You’d love it!’Come to India, come to India, India teri hei! Hai! Hind, hind, hind, hind…- from something I wrote

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: