Herald: Not against teaching English, against grants to English as MoI: Velingkar

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Not against teaching English, against grants to English as MoI: Velingkar

17 May 2019 06:00am IST
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17 May 2019 06:00am IST

HERALD: You were a founder member of BJP, what went wrong that you felt the need to contest against them?

Subhash Velingkar: The party was formed on the basis of values because it was the need of society then. The party was not formed for the sake of creating a party. Until 2012, everything was going well after that the BJP went back on promises made, which is why we took a stand against it. When Deendayal Upadhyaya, the one who gave birth to BJP, was asked what he will do if the party, which was formed with a vision of creating a difference, allowed corruption to seep in; he replied saying if this ever happens, he shall put an end to the party. 

H: In 2017, you did not contest the by-polls. Was it because of (late) Manohar Parrikar being there?

SV: No, that’s not true. In the 2017 elections and by-polls, Anand Shirodkar and Ketan Bhatikar were our candidates respectively. Even now, we decided upon another candidate, but then the party decided to push Subhash Velingkar forward. I am submissive to the party. I don’t have any independent objectives and therefore I gave my consent to contesting the elections. Parrikar not being there doesn’t make any difference to this decision. 

H: You had issues with BJP regarding the Medium of Instruction (MoI), what is your stand now?

SV: The stand is clearly misunderstood by certain sections of society. MoI has been given a public perception by vested interests. BJP, when it broke its promises to justify their actions, spread all this, stating that we are against English education. It is not like that we are not against anyone, who wants to teach English because now there is, hardly any school that doesn’t have English as the medium of teaching. Right from class 5 to college, we are not against that. It’s a matter of primary education from class 1 to 4. We are against giving grants to schools in the English medium.

H: But why were you against English education at primary level?

SV: As per UNESCO norms and the National Education Policy, right from Pt Jawaharlal Nehru to Narendra Modi, primary education at the national level should be given in the local language of the State. Other than Nagaland and Mizoram, not a single state provides grants to English education. If parents want to educate their child in English medium schools, we are not against that, we want primary education to be in the local language keeping in mind international norms. We are against grants.

H: But what about poor parents who want their children to learn English?

SV: We want the government to identify the poor kids, and let their fees be reimbursed by the government. Grants are useless for kids who have a financially sound family background.

H: Panjim has a sizable amount of minority votes and you have a RSS background and protesting against MoI, how can you convince the minority voters?

SV: We are not protesting against the Diocesan society. Society was divided into two parts by Parrikar – the Diocesan society and the rest. Grants were given only to Diocesan schools. Other schools approached the Courts about the discrimination against them. Even if there are any Hindu schools that have English as their medium of primary education then we are against them too. It wasn’t directed against the Catholics particularly.

H: But how are you going to convince the public?

SV: We consider Catholics as our blood brothers and not some different human beings. This issue is in no way directed towards the Catholics. The Hindu students, which are the majority, are also learning English. It isn’t directed towards any community. We have nothing on the communal basis we just don’t want parents to educate their children in English medium in their early years of education. We aren’t saying a word against English being the medium of education post grade 4. Education should not be mixed with appeasement of the voters as done by Congress. 

H: There is a perception that you are contesting to split votes which will help Congress?

SV: The basis of the statement it absolutely false. We were born to resolve some issues and have clean politics. The BJP is no more value based. The public needs a value-based party, and right now no one can claim that BJP is value based. 

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