My 25 Years Of Struggle With English

Posted by Abhishek Saini in Society
January 14, 2017

There are still many people like me who are struggling with English. I am still figuring out why English is so important out of all the subjects that I have studied till now. Is it the only thing that will tell you about someone’s capabilities? I know it’s very difficult to talk openly about your weakness and many of us still face the discrimination.

Let me tell you the reason why I am weak in English. I belong to a middle class family where people generally prefer the Hindi language and they feel very proud when their children talk in English with someone else.

I studied in three different government schools throughout my life. After class 5, I changed my school and took admission in Rajkiya Sarvodaya Vidhaylaya Roop Nagar-4. As I was studying in a Hindi medium school earlier, I went to take admission in a Hindi medium school again but somehow the seats got filled. I remember that the teacher had said to my parents that their child is very bright. The teacher also asked why I didn’t take admission in an English medium school. My dad was alright with the suggestion. He said, “We just want admission, be it in an English medium or Hindi medium school.”

Yeah, that day, I was really worried about surviving in an English medium class. Over time, I realised I couldn’t talk fluently in English but one of my cousins who was studying in a private school could talk very fluently. I started questioning myself. Why can’t I? Being a rank holder from class 1 to 12, I was really upset as I couldn’t talk fluently in English.

In class 12, I scored more than 90% in every subject, except English, where I got 75%. I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal as it was just one of the subjects. But I realised during graduation how much English marks are important.

Until class 12, life was very easy as I didn’t have to talk in English, but the real struggle started when I got admission in Kirori Mal College, Delhi University. On the day of the orientation, everyone was asked to introduce themselves. You have to speak in English in front of more than 100 students, that too from private schools. I realised the importance of English. I started ignoring people as I was not able to speak in English properly. All the happiness of getting admission in such a big institution suddenly becomes the worst experience of you life. You are not like others and the reaction you receive when you talk in Hindi is very surprising.

The same thing happened again while I was studying for my master’s from the Delhi School of Economics. I was being rejected in every interview as I wasn’t good in English. That time, I was really worried about my future. I was worried about whether I would get a good job or not as almost 90% of companies give more importance to one’s fluency in English. Somehow I got one job, but they told me that my English was weak, but they could manage. All my hard work and marks I scored in other subjects were on one side and talking fluently in English was one another.

This is not only my story, there are many such people who aren’t fluent in English. They are still facing the same discrimination as I have faced so far. This is not their fault and I think we should do some quality check on our education system. If English is so important, why we are not investing in it at a very early stage? Why are students from government schools still not scoring well in English?

I don’t even know if Youth Ki Awaaz will publish my article or not, as there are many grammatical errors in this, that I haven’t been able to figure out. I am still struggling and fighting with English.


Image provided by author.