March of the Evil Empires!
English versus the feudal languages!!
VED from VICTORIA INSTITUTIONS
First drafted in 1989. First online edition around 2000
It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!
Part 2 - Delineation of a feudal language nation
18. The English experience
The English when they were in India could protect themselves from these snares of feudal language culture by maintaining a level of aloofness from it. Had they mingled with the native Indian in the native language, they would have been divided on the basis of position, age, sex etc. So that their easy system of interpersonal communication would have disappeared and in its place the system of communication would have been marked by severe gradation.
The efficient system of English administration would never have come to British-India. They would not have been able to build any system here, the methodical administration, police or Army, the judiciary, the education system, the railways or even the roads. Instead, they would have been Administrators, who under compulsion to maintain the dignity and decorum of their positions would cut themselves off from their juniors and the general public. It may be borne in mind that only in a system where there is easy communication and transfer of ideas would problems be understood in their fullest aspect and solutions found.
In an English-speaking group, it would be easy to select a person to take charge. The leader in this group would be different from the one in an Indian language-speaking group. In the former, he is accepted as first among equals. However, in the latter, this concept of ‘first among equals’ progressively changes in connotation because the feudalistic language brings in gradation. When one becomes the leader, outsiders extend homage to him, which would discriminate against the others heavily in words and terms used.
Hence, generally in feudalistic language-speaking people, if a group of equals contains a heterogeneous crowd, then, nobody would willingly maintain one among them as a leader. If at all, one is put as the leader, then he would not be allowed to function. For, intrigues would be the order of the day, from day one. The only leader possible for them would be one who is an accepted superior in many aspects, foisted on them from outside. This superior, to maintain his leadership, should cultivate a halo of superiority by practising a degree of aloofness. In an English-speaking society, the leader need not be such a superhuman personality. He can be an ordinary person with knowledge and abilities to interact and make things move in an efficient manner.
However, I do doubt if an English man would understand the gravity of what I am saying; even though it may be very obvious to an Asian. Yet, I doubt whether the latter would acknowledge understanding it.
Just compare the house of the British Prime Minister, with that of the Indian Prime Minister. In India, the Prime Minister should show this hallowed greatness, with a cloak of unapproachable aloofness. There should be grandeur and pomp to go with it. It is, more or less, the repetitions of the ancient Kings, and other rulers of the subcontinent. Even the British had to resort to pomp and pageantry, to impress the natives here, For the natives are programmed to associate intelligence, capacity and the need to respect and obey, with display of brutal power, pomp and pageantry.
Robert Clive did bitterly say that the whole social atmosphere of the subcontinent was the exact opposite of that in England. He couldn’t make his fellow countrymen comprehend as to how different it was. For, they would not be able to understand it, as the language software in which they were living was entirely different from the language softwares of the Asian peninsular region.
Here in India, prestige and power should not only be had, but also displayed, in its complete splendour. Then only would things work here. There is no sense of precedence or of queuing. Nobody cares about a word or commitment made to a lower indicant man. Yet, to the higher indicant man, one is respectful, keeps one’s word, and is punctual. If a lower indicant man complains that the higher indicant man has not kept his word or commitment, or that he is not punctual, then the society would react with shock. For how dare this minor fellow say such things or claim such things? The very thought of questioning the higher indicant man’s integrity would smack of impudence and impertinence. It would definitely be seen as a sign of stepping beyond one’s position. Native psychologists might even smell a sign of a mental problem in such assertions of one’s right to fair treatment.
There is no promise that is honourable. It all depends on who gave the promise to whom. The word of honour given to a socially weak and powerless person need not be kept, and this unpardonable action is not even considered worthy of thought. Promise given to a powerful man or institution is kept. This is not just because of any fear of punishment. The language programs the people to delight in such actions to the superior.
The English came as traders to a land where traders traditionally didn’t occupy a decent social position. In their trade commitments, and logistics, they were dealing with enormous distances, and the value of time was high. Naturally, they would have had to face the problem of disregarded commitments.
In such a social atmosphere, it is only natural that the English East India Company went for show of impressive power and prestige. I do not want to go into the other aspects of the company or about its other compulsions in the subcontinent and other places. But here, power and prestige worked wonders in terms of getting things moving and getting precedence. No other social-motivating factor was known here. Actually in all places where there is feudal language, the social functioning would be based on similar philosophies.
Macaulay and his theory of filtration
Lord Macaulay made great efforts to bring in English education to India. His idea to popularise English is known as the filtration theory. The idea is that the British should teach English to as many British-Indians as possible. They in turn would act as the harbingers of English in this land.
Though Macaulay had a mighty great understanding of subcontinent, he did not reckon on the fact that the people of the subcontinent would not share any knowledge with their fellow countrymen. For, the social philosophy works on superiority and inferiority. Knowledge and information acquired was to be used for social dominance. Here English remained as a tool of domination, for the socially dominant class, instead of the liberating force it could have been.
Actually, the coming of the English language was the greatest social event in the whole history of the subcontinent. It gave the general populace a software for communicating with the different layers of society; across barriers of age, sex, caste, officialdom etc. with a philosophy of equality and dignity. Earlier, the very thought that an ordinary peasant is in any way equal to an official would not have been intelligent, even with the help of all the discourses in the ancient Hindu Philosophies.