Paying obeisance to the power of the English language in India, a private institute in Banika village in this district is building a temple dedicated to a new goddess — English Devi.
The idea is to generate awareness among the Dalits in the area about the importance of English and to inspire people to learn it in order to gain access to the avenues mainly open to the elite.
“Religion in any form binds people and we thought that if people are religiously associated with learning English, it would prove much more beneficial for them,” said Nisha Paul Jauhar who runs the Nalanda Public Shiksha Niketan Inter College with her husband.
Narrating how the couple was impelled to spread awareness for the need to learn English, her husband Amar Chand Jauhar said, “I felt shocked when I — despite being a postgraduate and diploma-holder in physical training — could not respond effectively to the queries of an Englishman who visited my area a few months ago. And when I looked at the larger picture, it seemed much more gloomy. The Dalits here are largely undereducated or uneducated. That’s when we thought of building this temple. Our contact with renowned Dalit scholar and thinker Chandra Bhan Prasad strengthened our resolve.”