Social Scientist. v 1, no. 4 (Nov 1972) p. 25.


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PRAKASH KARAT

The Role of the English-educated in Indian Politics

JAWAHARLAL Nehru made his Tryst with Destiny5 speech to the Constituent Assembly of independent India to mark the transfer of power, in English. Since then, English has persisted in Indian public affairs in varying degrees of use and importance. Like the parliamentary system, India has found English indispensable for the running of its political system. But this legacy of British rule, unlike ^parliament3, was expected to be a short-term feature and to fade away as India set about consolidating its political and economic affairs. However, the plan has gone astray. Like most of the British inheritance, English played a crucial role in the sociopolitical changes and innovations during colonial rule and Indians political leaders are finding the task of displacing English fraught with serious consequences to important sections and classes of Indian society.

Our task in this paper is not to make a comprehensive assessment of the positioil of English in all sectors of Indian life, but to ascertain the role English occupies in politics, the function it serves for certain social groups and finally, to study the impact of political developments on the role of English in India. What emerges is that political developments have forced changes in attitudes to English and its functions, and



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