Sunday, January 22, 2012

Does Dr. Kalam know his mission here?

Let me first put this in to perspective, I am a huge follower of Dr. Abdul Kalam. After reading his books and listening to some of this speeches like millions of others he is a role model for me. He is a big source of inspiration and one of the reasons for me to have respect towards India as a nation, is because people like Kalam, Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda and AR Rahman call/called it their home.

Secondly I do not believe that this Tri lingual initiative is any kind of solution to the problem at hand. I am a firm believer that English language can only be the most practicable bridge between the two communities and lets make English language learning a compulsory exercise and draw up a 10 year plan for that. I do not see real incentives for people to learn each others language and in the scheme of life, when you look among the priorities, for a Sinhalese to learn Tamil is a very low priority thing and for a Tamil living in a Tamil area learning Sinhala is a low priority thing. Do not take my word wrong, but for argument sake even if you assume that majority of the people in both communities like to learn each others language; when it comes to priorities among thousand other things this would always remain a "liking" and would not make much progress as it has been the same way for more than 50 years. I already stirred the pot on the same topic some time back  you can read it here

So when the news articles said Dr. Kalam was here to kick start the tri lingual initiative I was curious to study his opinion and perspective on how this could be the solution. Hence I googled to find his explanation. I came across an email interview he has given to The Hindu (click here to read the interview). Quoting from it,

How significant is the ‘Trilingual Initiative' and what kind of a change do you think it can bring about in Sri Lanka ?

Abdul Kalam: This initiative has to be a start for inclusive growth in Sri Lanka. This initiative will enable the students to learn their subjects better in their mother tongue. For example, I learnt in my mother tongue, Tamil up to tenth class. Also, it can bring cultural and civilisational unity. Above all, the individual languages can enrich each other.

Sir, I guess you had got this wrong. Unlike in present day India, we can and most of us already study the subjects in our mother tongue, this initiative doesn't have anything to do with giving an opportunity for students to learn subjects in mother tongue. Its supposed to be an initiative to encourage people to learn the 'other' communities language. Sir the issue here is we have given little prominence to English hence we do not have a common medium of communication between the two communities at grass root level. Just get people to learn two languages (Their mother tongue and English) and we do not need three.


  1. I used to be his follower, one who read his book shortly after it got released. All went well as long as he was still serving as a scientist.

    Is he a visionary? I doubt it. The problem if him is, he see himself as a visionary but could even not be able to realise how others cleverly make use of him. BJB for his presidency(somewhat acceptable), Congress for the Koodankulam issue and the Atomic MOU b/n US and India (This is where he flopped and messed his reputation). Some of his unprepared(!) media responses were utter rubbish and you would wonder is this the same person given the inspirational addresses elsewhere!

    However, without knowing all these background, just alone looking at his speech is inspirational. Now I start to believe it as his "Reality Distorion Field". But that doesn't really matter if a young kid could be able to get inspired and go on to reach heights! But you Sayanthan, I guess should come out this zone! Suggest you read some stuff which are not your comfort zone(I am asking for trouble I know).

    Ghandi, ARR and Vivekananda with ABJ? Why Hazare is missed out?!

  2. JK give me suggestions to read.

    btw Anna Hazare for me is still a work in progress. At times I find him also to be used as a pawn in the game of politics. I will watch him for some more time before I add him to that list.

  3. Oops .. I was infact joking about Hazare!

    1) There is a widespread criticism on his role on nuclear energy researches and he taking undue credits. I don't recall the articles. There were many I assure you. And the way he handled one of the failed mission launches was also criticized. Great scientists never retire and for the worse he child cried for the second term presidency.

    2) His support on nuclear plants when the world is moving against it(eg Germany, France and Japan). Its obvious he is being used by the central.

    3) The same for the US-Indo agreement on Nuclear energy and the way he supported it.

    4) And the recent visit to Sri Lanka. Isn't it a common sense why the SL govt want him to inaugurate the scientific research center? oops sorry, its not a research center .. something to do with peace!

    BTW sorry for distracting the topic here. The theme of the post is excellent and you pulled it really well.. especially the priorities of the communities and the madness of learning the three languages.