The 3-Languages


The three-language formula for our education and teaching was devised in the Chief Ministers’ conference in 1961 and enunciated in the 1968 National Policy Resolution. The Union Education Ministry in consultation with the states formulated this formula of language learning. It provided that Hindi-speaking states would teach three languages, namely one of the local languages (mother tongue, viz. Maithili, Avadhi, Brajbhasha, Rajasthani), Hindi and English. The children in non-Hindi-speaking states were to be taught the local language (mother tongue), along with Hindi and English.

But alas! the way we have been running the affairs of the country from Delhi, that too under Nehruite Indian National Congress, Indian Education system was doomed to fail the three-language formula, only to blame the states, education being a state subject under the Constitution. Most of the states, except Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Tripura, have implemented the Three-Language formula and three languages viz. Hindi, English and state’s official language are taught in the schools of these states. Hindi is not taught in the states of Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Puducherry. A few of the Education Boards in some states permit even foreign languages such as Spanish, French and German in place of Hindi. (I should stand corrected if there are some factual mistakes in my information on this).

Delhi/Congress have been pitiably deprived of a predisposition to ever introspect whether they had managed to teach Hindi as lingua franca or it was UP-MP-Bihar we were teaching. Why was it never propositioned from Delhi  under Congress that Hindi-speaking states should teach Hindi, English and a language from one of the non-Hindi-speaking states? As for Hindi we teach in each state including Hindi-speaking ones, literature from different state languages translated into Hindi should be taught. In principle, a poem from Hindi, an essay from Tamil, a short story from Kannada, a one-act play from Bengali, stories from Sanskrit, poetry from Urdu, essays from Sindhi, folklores from Ladakh and Kashmir, stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata – all translated into Hindi should constitute the Hindi syllabus, whichever the state may be. Teaching Hindi as link language ought to mean teaching India.

This should equally apply to English. Do we want to teach English language or intend to teach England, Europe and America in India? Content matter from each state language and every corner of country translated into English should be taught. What is the sense of teaching Keats, Wordsworth or Emerson in class 5th , 6th , or ninth and tenth instead of Akilan (Tamil), Vallathol (Malayalam), Tukaram or Gyaneshwar or Muktabai (Marathi), Kanchan Baruah (Assamese), Bulleshah and Nanak Singh (Punjabi), Ghalib or Iqbal (Urdu), Nazrul Islam and Rabindranath Tagore (Bengali) – all translated into English? Let us make our children learn the English language that had imbibed India, not some foreign lands. When we teach a language we don’t teach a mere language. We teach its literature which essentially belongs to people’s culture, thought, philosophy and lifestyle. Hindi and English we teach MUST belong to entire India, every corner of India.

By the way, what prevents us from teaching the same content in all the three languages? The same collection translated into Hindi, English and the state language being taught? It is likely to make learning languages and understanding matter for any child not only easier, but faster too!

Higher studies in English literature or Hindi or the regional language excepted of course; which are, even otherwise, not part of three-language formula, only a matter of choice and preference of the individual scholar.






Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.