What are the Reasons for the Popularity of English in Pakistan?
75 languages and dialects are spoken in Pakistan. Pakistan is the guardian of Arabic and Persian traditions. Urdu is Pakistan’s national language. But according to a survey, the number of students in English medium schools has increased by 105 percent during the last 20 years. Importantly and interestingly, despite the extraordinary promotion of English medium schools, 55 percent of our fifth grade students can read only one word of English from the second grade syllabus.
The question is what are the reasons for the popularity of English in Pakistan? One answer to this question is our slavish and colonial mentality. This means that for us English is not just a language but the result of two hundred years of slavery. At one time, Sir Syed was a big supporter of Urdu, but then he advised the Muslims that Urdu did not keep anything in Arabic and Persian. If you want to “progress”, in worldly life, learn English and French.
It turns out that even for Sir Syed; English was not just a language but a colonial experience. The English were our rulers and English was the language of the rulers. Unfortunately, these rulers were also advanced. However, the attraction of English became twofold. That day and today we have not come out of the slavish mentality in relation to English.
We think that by learning English, we will also become like Westerners. We will also start looking like “Master” instead of “Slave”. However, the reality is that our obsession with English is enslaving us more and more. A Muslim cannot hate any language of the world, including English, because Allah has declared languages as His signs in the Qur’an (Furqan Hameed). But unfortunately, the British and the class they created did not allow English to be just a language, but they have made it a manifestation of slave mentality. However, criticism of English is our great cultural and psychological need.
No doubt English is the language of knowledge, but the vast majority of people here learn it not to acquire knowledge, but to create the “impression” of acquiring knowledge. More importantly, a person can acquire knowledge in the language he knows and barely one percent of people in Pakistan know English. 55% of our students can read and understand half a sentence of English. We have been reading English newspapers for more than 30 years, but we only see articles or columns in English newspapers that can be called “scientific”.
One of the reasons for the popularity of English is that it is considered the “language of civilization”. But unfortunately neither the British were civilized nor are the native Englishmen produced by them civilized. If the British were civilized, they would not have been racist, they would not have been colorists, they would not have mistreated the slaves, they would not have taken away their religion, their culture and their language from the slaves. The culture of Englishmen or native black Englishmen created by the British is that they are enslaving their own people. These people surrender to India and America and lay arms on their nation. They do not like to meet their own people, their schools, colleges, universities, clubs and gymnasiums are separate.
Is civilization like this? Civilization is that an Arab has no superiority over a foreigner or a foreigner. No white has any superiority over a black. There are only two bases of superiority just for over Piety and knowledge. If the slave advances in piety and knowledge, then he is said to be better than the master. If the black develops perfection in piety and knowledge, the whites should bow before him with respect.
One of the reasons for the popularity of English is that it leads to better employment opportunities.