English was decreed to be the official language of India from 1835, when the country was under British rule from 1835, — the same year Lord Macaulay's Resolution declared official funds would be 'henceforth employed in imparting to the Native population knowledge of English literature and science through the medium of the English language' (Spear 126-27). While English helped in the advancement of Indian higher education and the intellectual modernisation of a new middle and upper class — the Indian intelligentsia — it marginalised the regional languages of India which, in the earlier part of the nineteenth century, were beginning to break away from the dominance of classical learning imparted through Sanskrit and, later, Arabic and Persian (Zograph; Shackle). These regional languages, which are among the most important elements in the construction of Indian identity in a multilingual and multiracial land where people see themselves as Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, and so on, had to wait until India gained independence in 1947 to receive due attention through official, social, educational and cultural use.



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