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