Dear Sir,

Namaskarams! Apropos a social media post penned by you recently and reproduced in the Livemint[1] dated 03.12.2020, titled “Offering Entire B-Tech Programmes in Local Language Will Be the Beginning of End of IITs” with due respect to you I very strongly protest against this narrow-minded colonial era mindset which views “English” as a symbol of empowerment and progress. This point of view is more shocking when it comes from a man of science hailing from the land of the great Krishnadevaraya under whom arts, crafts, science, mathematics, astronomy, engineering & architectural marvels, military prowess and strategy reached its pinnacle, without the crutches of “English education”, even as the great King delivered the Deccan peninsula from the periodic plunder and pillage by the Deccan Sultanate. This letter is aimed at busting the theory of English being a mandatory global language of science and technological advancement.

Sankrant Sanu, an IIT Kanpur alumni, entrepreneur, researcher and writer based in Seattle and Gurgaon, has extensively researched on making quality and effective education in the field of science and technology accessible for all children in India by making a paradigm shift of offering higher education at all levels in science, engineering, technology, medicine, etc in regional languages in addition to the currently available English medium education. Sankrant Sanu has authored a book recently titled, “Angrezi Medium ka Brahmajal” [2] which can be translated in English as the “English Medium Myth” , wherein he has given exhaustive data revealing the fact that English language is used by a miniscule minority of 5% population across the  world as opposed to the notion of it being a popular ‘global lingua franca’ dominating the field of science and technology. In the book Sankrant Sanu also gives policy suggestions to catapult India into a hub for scientific research, software development and as a nation of major innovators rather than the current status of being a nation which largely provides menial services in the field of technology like providing BPO solutions.

Sankrant Sanu also countered your aforementioned opinion piece in a series of tweets buttressing his case with a barrage of facts and data. This letter is a follow up on the  data provided by Sankrant Sanu on twitter putting forward the arguments for the need for a new paradigm to reform education, employment and governance system to provide a level playing field  to the huge majority of India living in rural and semi-urban areas rather than catering only to the tiny section of English-speaking elite. As Sankrant Sanu suggested to his followers on twitter, I have volunteered to write you this letter with a detailed rebuttal to your opinion piece and also kindly read Sankrant Sanu’s book for your better understanding of the subject. Please also go through the videos on Sangam Talks[3] of Sankrant Sanu’s presentations and interactions with the stakeholder students at IIT Kanpur and many other institutions of national importance on the subject matter for a more open-minded approach. Also, kindly see the interview of Sankrant Sanu by Sree Iyer, a US based inventor and out-of the-box thinker who holds 37 patents in the areas of hardware, software, encryption & systems, on Sankrant Sanu’s book and discussion regarding offering B. Tech courses in IITs in regional languages.[4] 

This letter deals with the issue under four major parts viz: I. A detailed analysis of  Sankrant Sanu’s assessment of the global pedagogy in the world of science and technology as opposed to the current educational system in India which impacts its progress as a world leader.

II. Revolutionary comprehensive reforms in governance and educational policy suggested by Sankrant Sanu to facilitate India realise her true potential.

III. Counter reasoning for the commonplace excuses in favour of retaining the alien English language as a superior language for administration, education and employment in India which only ensures that India remains backward and subservient to the western colonisers even after independence.

IV. Conclusion


Facts Busting the Myth of English as a Global Language of Science and Technology

  • According to Sankrant Sanu’s research, if we consider the top 20 countries and bottom 20 countries in terms of their GDP per capita, excluding very small countries with 5 million population, all the top 20 developed countries teach in their mother tongue. Only 4 of the top twenty countries use English as a medium of instruction. In contrast to this 18 of the 20 poor countries do not use their mother tongue in their higher education, governance and judiciary. They are former colonies using colonial languages such as Spanish, English, French etc. This fact in itself should be a matter of contemplation.
  • Less than 5% of the world population have English as their mother tongue and an additional 4% use English as their second or third language, of which India is perhaps the largest contributor! Of the rest of the 90% of the world which does not use English there are many rich, developed and technologically advanced countries.
  • Today China exceeds the USA in Artificial Intelligence Patent filings, this has got the US worrying about a time in near future when China would outstrip the US in AI technology. China’s education system at all levels is in Mandarin and not English.
  • The European Union has 24 official languages and operates in all the 24 languages of its member states.
  • Japan, Korea, China has nearly 752 companies between them of the top 1000 companies in Asia. All the Asian giants like Toyota, LG, Samsung, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, etc conduct business in native language and their branches in other countries use local languages. It is only in India that major business houses, MNCs and IT companies proudly operate in English mandatorily. 

Stagnation of Development and Inequalities Created Due to Imposition of English as a Superior Language in India

  • From the UNESCO Report of 1953 onward, there are multiple studies across the world which demonstrates that children learn best in their mother tongue. So, the medium of instruction needs to be their mother tongue to enhance their learning capabilities and arrest dropout rates.
  • A study conducted by the Bharti Institute of Public Policy, Indian School of Business aimed at finding whether medium of instruction impacts the learning outcomes at primary level.[5] The study was conducted in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh with a sample size of 915 children from 233 schools which comprised of Telugu medium schools and English medium schools. It was found that the Telugu medium school children scored better in maths which is a good indicator of cognitive development despite the fact they were hugely disadvantaged with lack of proper infrastructure, lesser nutritional intake and lesser teacher participation compared to the English medium schools with good infrastructure facilities and students coming from wealthy backgrounds with well-educated parents.  
  • It is astounding that despite being aware of these facts, the Andhra Pradesh government declared to convert all government schools into English medium schools. Similarly, the Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh governments declared to convert 5000 government schools to English medium which defies logic as this will completely stagnate the young students’ brain development. The students in rural areas with no English backgrounds will have to grapple with schools now turning English medium from hitherto Telugu medium. Unable to comprehend anything in English medium schools they either while away their time aimlessly or drop out from schools. This results in colossal loss of human resource potential, in fact as termed by Sankrant Sanu, it is a “Human Resource Disaster”.
  • Despite this the State and Central government claim they are committed to promoting native languages but on ‘public demand’ they are facilitating English medium education  as it is a language of ‘development and global communication’. 
  • The fact is Government of India has over the years even after independence promoted the British colonial policy of using English as superior language by reserving high level administration, white collar jobs, apex judicial system and premier educational opportunities of the country only in English medium and relegating low level jobs and primary education for regional languages. The Supreme Court of India and most of the High Courts in various States operates only in English whereas the lower courts functions in regional languages. Academic institutes of national importance like the IITs, IIMs, AIIMS give technical, business and medical education only in English. Similarly, the entrance exams conducted by the National Defence Academy and the official communication of Government of India is only in English or Hindi and not all the languages in the Schedule VIII of the Constitution of India.
  • This creates two classes of society namely, the superior English-speaking elite and the inferior native mother tongue speaking people along with the claim of Hindi imposition on southern states of India.
  • This discriminatory policy creates a mindset that English is mandatory to be in the upper echelons of society and use of native mother tongues neither secures admission in premium institutions, nor topmost white-collar jobs. Thereby a craze for a foreign language unrelated to one’s culture and identity begins. As such the English-speaking elite of India have become cultural and linguistic eunuchs. The total imposition of English in rural areas will only worsen the situation by making the hitherto well-grounded rural population rudderless without any language skills neither in English nor their mother tongue.
  • Quoting here a review of Sankrant Sanu’s book, “Angrezi Medium ka Brahmajal” by Prof GK Gopalan of the Indian Institute of Science, who studied in Telugu later on did PhD from Stanford University, would sum up the situation very aptly. He stated: “One of the highlights of my childhood education was discovering the system of chhandas in Telugu poetry, which has absorbed many of these ideas from Sanskrit, and has associated with it many computational aspects such as binary notation, use of error codes and even investigated, for possibly the first time, an algebraic structure such as a de Bruin sequence. The current education system seems to have taken these out of current syllabus to the impoverishment of Indian minds.”[6]


Need for Paradigm Shift in Education and Governance Policy 

Sankrant Sanu has suggested the way ahead to break this chicken-and-egg situation by urging the following comprehensive reforms in governance and education policy: –

The Central Government should bring about a consensus with all State Governments and  political parties to enact a legislation to firstly state that the Government of India would communicate in all the 22 languages listed in Schedule VIII of the Constitution. That is to say, whenever it receives any petition from a citizen of India written in any of the 22 languages, be it Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati etc the Government of India would communicate with the citizen in the language of his/her choice instead of just in English or Hindi.

Secondly, the government should also make the High Courts and Supreme Court of India accessible to all citizens by being able to file petitions and plead in all the 22 languages mentioned in Schedule VIII of the Constitution. This can be easily done by having many translators to help the Judges, also in few years’ time with growing technological advancement Real Time Translation solutions would be possible even as one speaks.

Most importantly, the Government of India needs to make education at all levels including premier institutes available in the regional language of the State in addition to the current English medium courses. To begin with, the Government needs to build at least one IIT, AIIMS and IIM in each State with the regional language of the State as the medium and recruit existing senior faculty who are passionate about Indian languages to be the Directors of the institute. This would enable the students to avail best quality technical and medical education in their language of choice. It would enhance the potential of students, give birth to real innovations transforming India into a truly developed State offering the world breakthrough technological solutions and medical interventions rather than simply trying to imbibe what the western countries has to offer us.

Sankrant Sanu suggests this can be easily achieved by translating books available on science and technology in all the regional languages by employing good translators and coming up with a common glossary of technical terms based in Sanskrit[7] as common for all the regional languages. A method similar to the system of Latin scientific terms and nomenclature common in all European languages including English can be adopted. As Sankrant Sanu says, when the Chinese can use a book written by an Indian in English titled, “Byte of Python” translated in Chinese to access technical knowledge in their own language, then why cannot the same book be translated in Indian languages to make it available to Indian students? Why should Indian students be spending their energies learning and perfecting  an alien language like English just because engineering, technical or medical education is not available in their mother tongue or native language of choice?

Sankrant Sanu also points out that this initiative should be backed by the government making suitable laws so that MNCs and large Corporates conduct their businesses in India without making proficiency in English mandatory as they do in Japan, Korea, Israel, France, China etc. For example, MNCs like Microsoft etc run their offices in English only in India and in western countries where English is their first language, everywhere else, for e.g., the Microsoft branch in Haifa runs their office by employing programmers, developers, etc using Hebrew language with little or no knowledge of English. These MNC offices have one or two lower-level officials knowing English who handle the communications with their offices in America.


Tackling the Cliched Arguments to Maintain Status Quo of English Imposition                        

  1. “Japan, Germany etc. are homogenous societies, unilingual, cannot be equated with India. India is entire Europe”

This argument is often repeated as a pretext to state India cannot operate in native languages as it is multilingual and cannot be homogenised. Sankrant Sanu, has made a path breaking suggestion of celebrating all our regional languages by making education and jobs at the highest levels available in the regional language of the State, as each State has huge population and geographical area equivalent to the individual countries of the Europe Union. So, India can be compared to the European Union where all the 24 languages of the 24 member states are official languages of communication and business. Each country of the European Union has education at all levels in their mother tongue without any need for a “link language”. Sankrant Sanu certainly does not recommend imposing Hindi as the national language on the southern states of India at the cost of their rich traditional heritage of local language, literature and culture.

Sankrant Sanu further noted the fact that the 3.3% inter-country migration for work in European Union is similar to inter-state migration in India. He stated that the Census of India, 2001 data indicates that only 4% of the total population of the country migrated to a different state from where they were born. So, almost 96% of India stays in the State of their birth. Are we therefore, imposing English on 96% natives of the state for the 4% migrants? Moreover, less than 20% of the total inter-state migration takes place for work, business or education, a majority of 44% of  inter-state migration takes place due to marriage. Thus, less than 1% of the total population of India migrate out of a state for work, business or education. Of this 1% of the entire population of India, hardly a 0.1% aspire to migrate to America, UK or one of the few English-speaking western countries. This elitist 0.1%-minute minority make vociferous and voluble arguments for further imposition of English as a “link” and superior language of business, governance and premiere education in India. Additionally, of the total migration, 67% is rural to rural and 10% is urban to rural which obviously does not require English as a link language.

  1. “English is a popular link language”

Notably, the fallacious theory of English as a “popular Link language” also fails as even after more than 70 years of independence and continued colonial vestige of imposing English in governance, education and plush jobs, English newspapers still form only 10% of total readership so also is the case of English television news channels in comparison to other Indian language newspapers and news channels. So, English is not the most preferred language when it comes to personal choices of educated people in India. It is noteworthy that the share of English newspaper readership in India before independence was 30%, this has reduced to 10% today as with increased literacy and education people have exercised their choice to read newspapers in their own mother tongue rather than an English newspaper whose content does not relate to their sensibilities, culture, tradition or food habits. Hence, as Sankrant Sanu says, the policies till now have only aided in producing 0.1% of the Indian society  which serves the US or UK at the cost of suppressing a billion people, making them feel inferior and killing development of India.  

  1. “Even in these homogeneous societies, (Japan, Korea, etc) many institutions have started moving to English now, seeing the disadvantages they are facing. They are learning from us. Not sure if there is an equivalent of India in the world.”

The above argument to sustain English is highly delusional as Japan with Japanese medium education has produced in the last 10 years, 10 Nobel Prizes in the field of science and medicine. When will we learn that talent prospers only in mother tongue? Moreover, China has now changed its policy of  learning English as it has overtaken India in outsourcing jobs and is racing to become a world leader in AI technology all the while using Mandarin as the medium of education and employment. Moreover, with the rapidly developing Real Time Translation technology learning English for communication purposes has become redundant.

  1. “We are producing global technologists, not technologists for Tamilnadu (sic), Andhra etc. We are also dealing with a huge aspirational generation. We must not confine their aspirations by tying them to one language or one mode of Instruction.”

There is an oft-repeated erroneous argument to link global with English, this argument is extended to mean ‘global technologists’ as ‘English proficient technologists’ which is flawed, as how can Japanese Nobel Laureates or Chinese AI inventors or the Russian, Israeli world leaders in technology educated in their mother tongues not be ‘global technologists’? Moreover, learning additional languages for communication is one thing and making English proficiency mandatory for higher education and employment is another matter.

  1. “Our faculty selections need to be on a global scale.”

This excuse for resisting teaching in regional languages in IITs is countered by Sankrant Sanu well by pointing out that world class institutes are not stuck with English for science and technology. He urges that we look at “Technion”, a Hebrew-medium institute of Technology which is ranked much higher than our IITs. Israeli technology is far advanced than India, in fact Israel’s economy runs by providing technological solutions to the world so much so that even arch enemies of the country like Saudi Arabia has now come around to gain from its technological advancement. So, when Technion could do well with Hebrew faculty why can’t the IITs do well with a Telugu or Tamil or Hindi faculty? Moreover, what about the current discrimination against not employing technological experts not proficient in English as faculty in the IITs?

  1. “Offering complete BTech and masters courses in local languages will deprive the students of a vast amount of resource material available in English.”

Sankrant Sanu argues that this argument fails to understand the difference between reading ability and conducting classroom instructions and exams in a foreign language. He further says do people who put up this argument realise how imposing English is destroying talent?

He strengthens his argument by citing how an English medium BCA graduate, from an underprivileged background, educated in a government college in Gurgaon during a job interview said that they have never done any project or coding and were just taught ‘theory’. They were taught from a book and they wrote paper exams. The books were in English and the teacher taught in Hindi as they did not know English. The teacher was perhaps a product of the same system which produces graduates with no employable skills despite them being intrinsically bright. Sankrant Sanu also noted that since students do not understand books written in English for their curriculum, they simply learnt by rote and this destroys their intellectual capabilities and learning skills.

Meanwhile, in China children are taught Artificial Intelligence in pre-school. They learn programming in school. By the time they are in college they become ace hackers or Computer Scientists. China has reworked its education system from top-down to equip with skills needed for its workforce. It is competing with US in high-tech solutions, exceeded AI patents filed. China has done all this in Mandarin and not in English!  Here is what Eric Schmidt, former Google Chairman, has to say about Chinese progress in AI using Mandarin: “By 2020, they will have caught up. By 2025, they will be better than us. By 2030, they will dominate the industries of AI”.

PART IV- Conclusion

If the aforementioned in-depth  reasoning has failed to even make you ponder with an open mind about imparting education at the highest levels in mother tongue to unleash the talent of real India, I do not think anything else would. As the proverb goes, “You cannot awaken a person who is pretending to be asleep”. Or perhaps the syndrome planted by Thomas Babington Macaulay’s, The English Education Act of 1835 is so deep rooted that now Indian minds have become too colonised to shake itself off the colonial hangover of slavery to English language.

Gandhi ji’s opposition and dangers of imposing an alien English language as a medium of education is well known, they are relevant even today. Quoting some lines from his writings on the matter:

 We seem to have come to think that no one can hope to be like a Bose unless he knows English. I cannot conceive a grosser superstition than this. No Japanese feels so helpless as we seem to do…. The medium of instruction should be altered at once, and at any cost, the provincial languages be given their rightful place. I would prefer temporary chaos in higher education to the criminal waste that is daily accumulating.
Education through a foreign language entails a certain degree of strain, and our boys have to pay dearly for it. To a large extent, they lose the capacity of shouldering any other burden afterwards, for they become a useless lot who are weak of body, without any zest for work and mere imitators of the West. They have little interest in original research or deep thinking, and the qualities of courage, perseverance, bravery and fearlessness are lacking. That is why we are unable to make new plans or carry out projects to meet our problems. In case we make them, we fail to implement them”. [8]

Taking cue from Gandhi ji I would like to add that although ISRO launched the first Indian rocket named  after the great mathematician and astronomer, Aryabhatta, independent India with English medium education is yet to produce another Brahmagupta or Aryabhatta who changed the face of mathematics and science forever. English medium education in India has so far only produced perfect simians who ape the western colonial masters and labour to wipe out our heritage of Indic civilizational knowledge rooted in our ancient tradition of scientific enquiry.

Kindly do read Sankrant Sanu’s book, “Angrezi Medium ka Brahmajal” for a thorough understanding on the subject without the encumbrances of an Anglophile. Hoping to build a consensus to usher in a revolutionary change in education system which promotes our native languages, centuries-old rich culture and ancient tradition of scientific temper thereby laying the foundation for regaining our status in the world as a Vishwaguru.


A Concerned Bhartiya.

[1] Offering entire B-Tech programmes in local language will be the beginning of end of IITs (

[2]Published and sold by Garuda Books:

[3] ‘Angrezi Madhyam Ka Bhramajal’ – A lecture by Sankrant Sanu on Sangam Talks published on 16Feb2017.  Link:

[4] Sankrant Sanu on why it is important to learn in one’s mother tongue, published by PGurus on 14Nov2019. LinK:

[5] Students taught in mother tongue perform better at primary school level – The Hindu

[6] Andhra Pradesh’s decision to kill Telugu-medium schools is a step backwards (

[7]Sanskrit is acknowledged even by NASA as a very scientific language with a syntax suitable more for computers and digital solutions.

[8] Selected Works of Gandhi, Vol 5, Voice of Truth.                                                                                                                                         

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