English happened to India with the advent of East India Company, during the early 1600’s. While trade and missionary work became the curtain raiser of the English drama, English education was set up relatively later. The process of producing English-knowing bilinguals in India began with the ‘Minute’ of 1835, which officially endorsed T.B. Macaulay's goal of forming "a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern - a class of persons, Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinion, in morals and in intellect". English became the official and academic language of India by the early twentieth century.
Going by what a survey has to say, only about three percent of India’s population speaks English. As baffling as this may sound, it should not be forgotten that it is this percentage that leads India’s economic, industrial, professional, political, and social life. Having such important information moving in English conduits is a fact not often appreciated by Indians who do not speak it, but who are rendered relatively powerless to change that. It is this conflict driven new-divide that acts as the background for a language that encompasses both, the English and the Indian sensitivity.
One way to deal with this mixed language would be to try and comprehend some of the various ways in which we have intentionally and unintentionally customized English to better suit our needs and to discuss some of the problems and situations which can and do arise when we use or experience English in different settings. To start with, we consider that fact that guides us through the dark... [continues]
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