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Let them learn English

In India's language wars, the poorest are deprived of the lessons that are the key to success

By Zareer Masani   December 2012

An English class at Rajyakaiya School in Narlai village, Rajasthan, northern India (photo: Getty Images)

Perched high up in an ugly Delhi tower block is a shrine to the newest deity in India’s teeming pantheon—the Goddess of English. She has been invented by Chandra Bhan Prasad, a Dalit activist (from a caste formerly known as Untouchables). His apartment is crammed with icons of the growing cult of worship he has founded.

The goddess herself blazes forth from one wall in the lurid colours of a bazaar poster (see overleaf).…

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