To the Editor of New India
Vernaculars

I do not blame the Madras “Council of Indian Education “ for their anxiety to have Prof. Geddes’ views on the subject of employing Indian languages as the media of instruction in Indian schools. For I am aware that men’s thoughts are ordinarily moulded by their environments. Nor do I blame the good and learned Prof. Geddes for his innocent comparison of the revival of Indian languages with the Gaelic revival in Wales and in Ireland. I do not know if Gaelic has any extensive and living literature. But I feel it is high time to remind all parties concerned in discussions like this, that most of the Indian languages have great, historic and livings literatures. Of course their luster has been slightly dimmed by economic conditions during these latter days.

The English – educated minority in this country can be pardoned for being frightfully ignorant of the higher phases of our national literatures: but they will do well to drop that annoying attitude of patronage and condescension when writing and talking about or languages. The Tamil language, for instance, has living philosophical and poetical literature that is far grander, to my mind, than that of the “vernacular” or England.

For the matter of that, I do not think that any modern vernacular of Europe can boast of works like the Kural of Valluvar, the Ramayana of Kamban and Silappadhikaram (Anklet Epic) of Ilango. And it may not be irrelevant to add that I have read and appreciated the exquisite beauties of Shelley and of Victor Hugo in the original English and French “vernaculars” and of Goethe in English translations.

C. Subramania Bharati

New India
23.02.1915

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