My SCRAPBOOK (సేకరణలు): A COLLECTION of articles in English and Telugu(తెలుగు), from various sources, on varied subjects. I do not claim credit for any of the contents of these postings as my own.A student's declaration made at the end of his answer paper, holds good to the articles here too:"I hereby declare that the answers written above are true to the best of my friend's knowledge and I claim no responsibility whatsoever of the correctness of the answers."

Monday, February 20, 2006

Indian Cow

You'll forget your English by the time you finish reading this. This is a true essay written by a successful candidate at the UPSC Examinations. The candidate has written an essay on the Indian cow:

You can check the veracity of this fact from the pages of The Hindu at the following URL:
Excerpts of this classic essay are provided at the end of that article.

Indian Cow

"HE IS THE COW. The cow is a successful animal. Also he is 4 footed, And because he is female, he give milks, [ but will do so when he is got child.] He is same like-God, sacred to Hindus and useful to man. But he has got four legs together. Two are forward and two are afterwards. His whole body can be utilised for use. More so the milk. Milk comes from 4 taps attached to his basement. [ horses dont have any such attachment]
What can it do? Various ghee, butter, cream, curd, why and the condensed milk and so forth. Also he is useful to cobbler, watermans and mankind generally. His motion is slow only because he is of lazy species, Also his other motion.. gober] is much useful to trees, plants as well as for making flat cakes[like Pizza] , in hand and drying in the sun.
Cow is the only animal that extricates his feeding after eating. Then afterwards she chew with his teeth whom are situated in the inside of the mouth. He is incessantly in the meadows in the grass. His only attacking and defending organ is the horns, specially so when he is got child. This is done by knowing his head whereby he causes the weapons to be paralleled to the ground of the earth and instantly proceed with great velocity forwards. He has got tails also, situated in the backyard, but not like similar animals. It has hairs on the other end of the other side. This is done to frighten away the flies which alight on his cohesive body hereupon he gives hit with it.
The palms of his feet are soft unto the touch. So the grasses head is not crushed. At night time have poses by looking down on the ground and he shouts . His eyes and nose are like his other relatives. This is the cow....... "

We are informed that the candidate passed the exam, and is now an IAS!


Indian English never ceases to amaze and delight. When a parent complains of an unnecessarily "strengthy syllabus" troubling his daughter or a little baby doing "interval" in her nappies, one can hardly resist a smile. May be wrong, but how appropriate and uniquely Indian! The number of "done-key" and "maun-key" stories from Punjab are too numerous to repeat. Donkeys and monkeys may not care one way or another, but they provide real "pluy-year" (pleasure) to those who have enough "luy-year" (leisure) to "muy- year" these things.

In southern parts of Tamil Nadu, on the other hand, pleasure would be a motor car as against a jeep. Jeeps are tough on your spine and behind, cars are a pleasure, I suppose. Where else but in India would a young mother wanting to make a good impression on her visiting parents-in-law shout at her five year old son, "Hurry up and wear your jetties! Don't run around showing your bathroom!" as the little fellow escapes her grasp. And then there is the one about a teacher asking the children to open the classroom windows on a stuffy day to "let the atmosphere come in"! A much repeated joke about the language of PT masters is "both of you three stand in a straight circle!" Or the one about an Accountancy teacher: "I have two daughters - both girls"!

But English in India can horrify just as easily as it can delight. The latest is about those who correct English examination answer sheets for the various school leaving board examinations. Students of class XII report that just about any teacher is allowed to correct English scripts. So, even if you have been taught to write in a particular way expected by the Board, the Physics teacher who corrects has no clue about it. She may simply go ahead and correct.

Shreeja, a bright youngster from Bangalore who always scored in her nineties, including in her tenth standard boards, thought she had done very well. Imagine her shock when she saw the results - only 73 per cent. It would not have mattered very much, but the university she was applying to selected students on the basis of the average percentage scored in English plus three other subjects. So though Shreeja had scored in the nineties in all other subjects, she was disappointed when English brought her average down drastically. "Some Hindi medium teacher has corrected your paper!" said her classmates trying to console her.

Anand, a student from Chennai, was already contributing articles to newspapers fairly regularly. He had won many inter-school essay contests and two open competitions. Since he wanted to study journalism, it was critical for him to score high marks in English. He loved the subject. He had already taken the British 'O' and 'A' level exams in English for which he was awarded an A grade. His mother was a journalist and father an economist - there was an atmosphere of English writing in the house. Quite naturally he was sure of an excellent percentage in English. But horror of horrors, all he got was 80 per cent. This straight away excluded him from admission in English or journalism! "I heard tha a PT master has corrected English papers in our region!" he came crying home. "My friend, Subbu, also got low marks - 82 per cent. And imagine Kantha getting 99 per cent. She was constantly pulled up in class for her terribly poor spellings and no punctuation marks right up to the tenth Boards. Now she has switched to the state board so she ends up beating all of us!"

Anand's world would have crumbled, but for the fact that the better colleges in Delhi University did not trust any of the boards for marks in English. They had their own written tests to assess competence. Based on his good performance in the entrance test Anand made it to the course of his choice. His friend, Subbu, never made the cut off for economics, commerce, or even mathematics because of low English marks.

A recent study from the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, showed that around half the SSLC English teachers for 2001 themselves made gross mistakes in English. The study was based on questionnaire responses from over 2000 teachers who had accepted valuation duty for the March 2001. SLC examination. Of then only 578 had written without spelling or grammar errors, more than 45 per cent had never attended any in- service training programme, and only a miniscule seven per cent had a degree in English. Moreover, even of the few who had a degree in English, as many as 57 per cent were third divisioners themselves. It appeared that the government system allowed any graduate to handle English which was considered to be neither a "core" subject nor a "language".

Little wonder that the one comparative advantage that the colonial period left behind for India, English language skills so successfully encashed by our computer professionals over the past few years, is rapidly disappearing. An essay on the cow supposedly written by a successful candidate in a UPSC examination is a lovely example of the English acceptable even in higher examinations.

Go ahead and savour some of the extracts:

"The cow is a successful animal. ... and because he is female, he give milk... Also he is quadruped, four legs together. Two are forward and two are afterwards. His whole body can be utilized for use...Various ghee, butter, ... and the condensed milk... Also he is useful to cobbler, watermans and mankinds generally.... His motion is slow.... Also his other motion is much useful to trees, plants as well as making flat cakes in hand and drying in sun.... Cow is the only animal that extracts its feeding after eating. Then afterwards he chew with his teeth whom are situated in the inside of the mouth.... He has got tail also, but not like similar animals. It has hairs on the other end of the other side... to frighten away flies which alight on his... body whereupon he gives hit with it.... At night time... he shuts his eyes like his relatives, the horse does not do. This is the cow."

Would this pass in any other Indian language examination?

Send this article to Friends by E-Mail"



Post a Comment

<< Home