Friday, 30 November 2012

Dalit Goddess 'Hinglish'

'Hinglish', that peculiarly Indian language construct, much beloved by call centre managers everywhere, and as equally loathed by the misbegotten western callers to those same centres (See Dell Hell post for example), has its own goddess. Yes the pantheon of Hindi gods and goddesses has gained a new goddess 'Hinglish', with her own sādhu or 'saint' in the form of the high Victorian politician 'Thomas Babington Macaulay', who introduced the idea of teaching and governance in English to the different races of India (incidentally cementing the possibility of a united independent India).

The new goddess is named 'Dalit Goddess English' and even has her own prayers "Oh Devi Ma, please let us learn English! Even the dogs understand English", and "Jai Angrezi Devi Maiyaa Ki" ('Long Live the Mother Goddess of English') ...... however whilst this new goddess may be welcomed by the Dalit (aka 'Untouchables') of India, who have found expertise in "English" has freed them (well loosened the social constraints), from the oppression of the all pervasive caste system, others are not so pleased.

Dalit Goddess English

Indian nationalist Hindu politicians have always scorned the 'Anglos' (Indians of mixed British and Indian backgrounds) who traditionally held the middle civil service ranks in the 'Raj', as "Macaulay's Children" a pejorative label for 'anglicised' Indians .... but with only 40% of the country speaking a regionalised form of colloquial Hindustani (that used in Bollywood films and aimed at the "cow belt" farmers of northern India), and rest speaking many dozens of languages, in fact the future could belong to "Macaulay's Grand Children".

However, as with all things Indian, there's a fly in the ointment - while Hindu nationalists consider 'English' the 'Trojan horse' of globalisation, the teaching of the 'English' in the medium level schools of India (those where shopkeepers and maids send their children for an 'English' language education), is so poor, that its almost incomprehensible to either the native, or better taught Indian 'English speakers'. This has raised the spectre of India finding itself with yet another minority language .... 'Babu English' - the language of clerks. This new language, 'Hinglish', that is coming out of the private medium level schools of India, may actually set India back in the global race, as other countries such as China, Vietnam and Eastern Europe, take 'English' as a second language, but teach it correctly.

Its a funny thought that, Indian politicians will send their own children to proper 'English' language schools, knowing that India's future lies in the global economy, while using 'Hindu Nationalism' to prevent this same advantage being given or taught to the children of the poor ... strangely, there is some evidence that those Indian state schools which do teach 'English' as a second language, are actually turning out better English speakers, than those private establishments that profess to teach only in 'English'.


  1. Like the reference to 'Dell Hell'. In the US this is the name give to calling Indian 'Kalli' centres, where people allegedly speak 'English'. They have all been stopped over here because the US customers refused to deal with them.

  2. Must cost millions in lost business .... The accountants never look at loss of goodwill, when they count beans.

  3. Interesting analogy. New Labour politicians such as Blair and Abbot send their own children to private or grammar schools. All the while closing this route for everyone else's (especially working class kids) ..... F*cking hypocrites.


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