Right to Speak English

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The death of a child brings in agonizing thoughts and inseparable pain as each year pass by. Nothing other than “Mambazham” a poem by Vyloppilli Sreedhara Menon can depict those emotions without flaw and great perfection. A stanza from his poetry: (English Translation)

These mangoes are made for little one to pick and eat.
Without knowing the reality you shunned from me
won’t you come back running when I call to feed?
Do accept this mother’s food with passion, even you are imperceptible.
Soul of her child then transmuted to a mild breeze and embraced consolingly.

Sangeeta, a first year graduate student committed suicide in 2010 in Coimbatore. Mothers heart ached, co-students mourned, the press celebrated the death for a day or two and then forgotten forever, no pages of history reflect this death and will never be. A sudden replantation from a rural village to an urban lifestyle devastated her life. A rustic person like her could not fine-tune and fit into a new cultural tuxedo. College mates often teased her of being fragile, shy and for being a colloquial Tamil village girl. She couldn’t stand the endurance; the fact to be abused every day and decides to finally end her life. Sheer pressure to outperform; beyond her capabilities provoked her attempt and she indeed succeeded. The mother cried.

The same year another final year student Raj Kumar; committed suicide in Coimbatore having a similar background to the tragic episode.

India is the World’s suicide capital with many youngsters deciding to depart the tormented world in a gist. One of the highest among these is the student suicide rate. In a study published in The Lancet in June 2012, the estimated number of suicides in India in 2010 was about 187,000. A large proportion of adult suicide deaths were found to occur between the ages of 15 years and 29 years.

Coincidently the same year as Sangeeta and Raj Kumar ended their life.

We still follow a curriculum which is more than 30 years old. Can we blindly blame the educational system for this? The government boasts of improving the economy and growth rate and so on. However what have we done to improve the quality of life in this country?

In contrast to the urban area the rural areas saw a large amount of farmer suicides in India.

While all this was happening, a brave young girl; Sakthi Suganya a fresh graduate, from Anna University decided to act; instead of mourning over the death of her friends. She decided to bring in a change to the way English is taught in Tamil Nadu. This gave birth to a Facebook page called “Right to Speak English”.

The page is yet another example of social learning. The page today has more than 4500 fans following it and about a 1000 active members. Though this is not yet a structured way of educating people, this page definitely does offer some inspiration for those who want to take up learning through social forums.

This gesture from brave women like Sakthi; indeed gives us hope and reassurance that; change will be brought in.

We have had several campaigns like this to sensitize people, but most of them are short-lived.

Mile sur mera tumharaa, to sur bane hamaraa.

Let’s sing together for prosperity. If you wish to follow Right to speak English, please click here: https://www.facebook.com/RightToSpeakEnglish

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