Byline: Amjed Jaaved - Rawalpindi Cantt
Popularity of a language rises or falls with a country's place in comity of nations. Historically, English, French, Russian, Arabic, and mandarin had been languages of imperialistic or conqueror states. Shifts in power triggered shifts in status of languages. English held sway as it dominated commercial, scientific, commercial, scientific and technological fields. Sir Syed understood the link between power elites and language. Britain and France insisted upon enforcing English and French in their colonies. During heyday of Soviet Union, Russian was the lingua franca from Prague to Hanoi. After demolition of the Berlin Wall, Germans began to take pride in speaking German at international forums. People follow language of the dominant power.
Hong Kong's effervescence for Mandarin is due to rise of China. When, around 2050, China displaces USA, English is likely to give way to Mandarin as the world's new lingua franca. We should learn and promote Mandarin in our school system to woo Chinese investment in our country.