His party may have become synonymous with hi-tech campaigns and projected itself as the darling of rising middle classes, but BJP chief Rajnath Singh believes English has done harm to Indian languages.
"The English language has caused a great loss to the country. We are losing our language, our culture as there are hardly any people who speak Sanskrit now," Singh said at a function on the value of the cow on Thursday. “Knowledge acquired out of English is not harmful but the anglicization penetrated into youths in this country is dangerous.”
Information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari was quick to take a dig at Singh. "Paradox-BJP outsources vision document to anglicised policy wonks while ranting English caused great loss to India," he tweeted.
While a leader close to Rajnath said the statement was to be related to the fact that he was speaking at a very traditional event, observers feel this may also mark a strategy.
“They are trying to reach out to the Hindi belt, where the Hindi elite has an ambiguous relation with English, with which it isn’t comfortable,” said Badri Narayan, an Allahabad-based academic. “They are trying to create a Hindi psyche to replenish their Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan constituency.”
Ironically, SP – which despised English due to the Lohia tradition – has tried to get hi-tech with Akhilesh Yadav’s laptop distribution, and the BJP may be trying to get into the void.