Dalit 'Goddess English' temple in UP's Banka village | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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Dalit 'Goddess English' temple in UP's Banka village

A temple dedicated to the 'Goddess English' will soon be erected in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri district in the Banka Village in an attempt to promote the language among the Dalits.

lucknow Updated: Oct 27, 2010 13:13 IST

A temple dedicated to the 'Goddess English' will soon be erected in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri district in the Banka Village in an attempt to promote the language among the Dalits.

Financed primarily by a trust run by well-wishers, this single storey structure in black granite will be emblematic of education and the language; as will be adequately represented by the shape of the three feet tall idol shaped like a computer screen, which will be seen donning a gown and a hat, along with a copy of the Indian Constitution.

The idol however goes a step further to draw inspiration from the Statue of Liberty, along with a computer screen which will bear the dharma chakra, claims Chandra Bhan Prasad, the man who came up with the idea of the temple.

This commemoration to the cause of education comes with the birth anniversary of Lord Macaulay who stood as a champion of Dalit empowerment. In tandem with the same the temple, whose construction began in April this year, had been set to be inaugurated on October 25. Yet after having run into some problems, it will now be inaugurated in November.

The community has borne the brunt of poverty since long, owing to its backwardness. This stemmed primarily from a gross linguistic imbalance between the Dalits and the other developed communities - a malaise that owes its origin to history. Adds Prasad, "When it was being debated as to what should be the national language of India after independence, Dr Ambedkar was the only national leader who vociferously batted for English while all the others were against it. And today we see the imbalances caused in the society because of English as those who do not know it are left behind."

Today, this temple is only a small step at bringing the community at par with the educated populace. Yet, it has generated much enthusiasm among the Dalits, who have today been brushed into a twilight zone. "In future, the temple would become the focus of Dalits with most of their rituals like the ones relating to births and weddings revolving around it," says Prasad.

"To give a touch of modernity, the engravings of symbols and formulae of physics, chemistry, mathematics and English sayings would adorn the walls. Efforts are also being made to build the staircase of the temple in the form of a computer keyboard," he said.

What is today the Dalit-run Nalanda Public Shiksha Niketan, will tomorrow be the temple epitomising modernity through its engravings and banisters. Yet far beyond its facade is the cause of a language whose rooting in the community will ultimately see betterment.