Human equality is a major problem of India. Historically ownership of property created human inequality in all countries. Caste gradations in education also created an unbridgeable inequality in India. This inequality has been carried very successfully to modern India through caste system and education. Fighting for human equality from power is more difficult than fighting from civil society even in modern times. The case of Abraham Lincoln who wanted to grant freedom to African-Americans from power had to pay with his life. However, his death in presidency changed the life of Americans, particularly the blacks forever.

Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy’s fight for equal medium of school education from power for the poorest of the poor, for one full year, is going to have deeper implications for Indian democracy. Once he proposed English medium education in Andhra Pradesh Government schools the resistance began. His proposal for English medium is on par with Kendriya Vidhyalayas, Navodaya Schools, Sainik Schools run by the central Government, with a syllabus of centrally established board of secondary (school) education called CBSE. Such a system is there in all state Government private schools that were in operation from 1947. The opposition to English medium in Government schools came from well established English medium school educated forces in all walks of life. Arguments of mother tongue, choice based language education, lack of preparation, culture, civilization and so on flooded like water gushing from a katta tegina cheruvu(broken lake).

It was an organized attempt to stop English medium education reaching into the houses of labourers as they know that their cheap labour will never be available once English reaches those houses. We have seen during the corona pandemic times how uneducated migrant labour, who were working by selling their labour at cheapest price, suffered without a voice of their own. If they were to get English medium education up to class 12th in their villages in all states this kind of exploitation would not have been possible. Because of lack of equal education the poor (mostly Dalit/Adivasi/OBC forces) suffered in feudal economy in the past. Now they also suffer living as migrant labour without a house, without dignity in the capitalist urban centres. The lockdown has shown the tragedy of about 20 crore voiceless uneducated labourers. Jagan Government’s English medium school education in Government schools with good facilities backed up with Ammavodi will change the labour life for ever. Hence the worry of already English educated forces in all walks of life.

For the first time a charged debate on medium of instruction in Government schools took place in every house. The vulnerable masses do not know what the rich English educated forces are up to. They are opposing the future growth of India as a global power with English educated skilled labour force being available across the country. With a population of 130 crore educated in English across the country will occupy all global markets because English language and skilled labour can easily challenge even America and China in near future.

But the reactionary forces want their privileges to be intact. They want voiceless cheap labour should be available at their command. Uneducated or regional language educated labour who cannot communicate outside their own state are a reserve pool of cheap labour as the present migrant labourers are. They want that system to be continued. Even the communist leaders who are anti-English and pro-class slavery are supporting all steps of exploiters. In Andhra Pradesh this became very clear.

All exploitative class/caste forces which are outside the agrarian productive work are worried, not just in Andhra Pradesh.  This education policy across India with a view that once the labourer becomes English educated they do not like to be slaves for ever. In America blacks are showing the power of English education.

If one state Government takes this revolutionary step it will set an example in all other states. They are upset with Jagan Government’s firm resolve on English medium in Government schools, which is dead bent on changing that slave – master relationship with a weapon of equal education. This is an unexpected resolve of a Chief Minister in post-independence Indian history.

The same forces succeeded in united Andhra Pradesh by sentimentalizing the language issue. In spite of such forces Y.S.Rajashekhara Reddy took the initial step. He could start only partial English medium in just 6400 schools because of these forces. At that time the left anti-English, including the so called revolutionary forces, opposed English medium in Government schools by deploying their teacher organizations.

Though from Dilli to gally anti-equality forces organized themselves against the English medium in Government schools, the Jagan Governenment remained unmoved. Once the English medium education starts from class 1 to 6th connecting to kindegarten fron 2020-21 academic year an educational revolution begins. It will move up year by year. In villages, without going to cities, children can finish class 12th. This will change the whole village structure.

But the parents of all poor children in the villages must remember that all the anti-English medium forces, the left-right and so called liberal democratic forces, will deploy their agents in the villages. They will try to convince the poor parents that English education is not good for them.Their culture will change. Yes it will change the drinking and wife beating culture in the villages. Yes it will change the slavish mindset of working masses. Parents must go to schools and ask for English medium and sign the admission forms without caring the anti-English forces.

If some OBC/Dalit/Adivasi leaders act as agents of their masters and come and tell that English education is bad, do not believe them. Do not forget these leaders do not want competition to their own English educated children in private schools from poor village level SC/ST/OBC children. The educational equality is going to bring many changes in many spheres of village life.

Youth from all AP universities who know the importance of English education in the villages must go to help the mothers to admit their children in English medium only. If this opportunity is missed the slavery of the labouring forces will survive for many more centuries. Once this revolution starts in the schools Jagan’s fight from power will remain for ever in Indian history.

Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd is a political theorist, social activist and author of many books, the latest being From Shepherd Boy to an Intellectual—My Memoirs


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