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Kanika Datta: The language of progress

Independent India's genius must go beyond leveraging a colonial heritage

Foreigners visiting China tend to return with amusing stories of the Middle Kingdom’s idiosyncratic grasp, or lack thereof, of the English language. India by contrast is considered “fortunate”; as descendant of Macaulay’s Children, educated Indians have a passable working knowledge of English. Thanks to Britain’s globe-girdling colonial rule — of which the Commonwealth remains a rag-tag reminder — and the USA’s domination of global business after that, English as the world’s lingua franca became received wisdom from the nineteenth ...