Wondering what the title refers to….well, given that I have run out of creative topics to post about, just thought I would try and get back into the groove of writing by providing short synopses of two wonderful articles I just read today. So, here goes….
The first article I read today (or actually the second one, but am quoting it first as it deals with the first part of the title “English”. Hey, it’s my blog and I can post it in any order I want, can’t I ???
Coming back, the Tehelka article [Link to article] talks about how English as a language has proved to be an empowering tool for various common men and women from various walks of life to improve their overall standard of living. From being a luxury sometime ago, English-medium education today is being viewed as an important necessity all over India today. The article cites examples of a survey of private schools in Hyderabad, a garbage collector from Delhi, a taxi driver in Mumbai, a Dalit writer, an educationist from Pune, and others to bring out the point that almost the entire country today considers English education as an important tool in equipping their children, the future generation for the future, which in their perception is going to be very ‘English-driven’, for lack of a better term.
The fact that English as a language is probably only around 2000 yrs old [Link to Wikipedia article] has come such a long way and today is universally accepted around the world as the common medium of communication, goes a long way to prove the Tehelka piece right. Wonder what all the so called ‘opponents of English’ and ‘supporters of mother tongue’ will have to say if and when they read this article
The second article [Link to article] (Warning: Really long and really old article from 1982) that I want to bring your attention to relates to De Beers and their almost 90 yr old monopoly on the Diamond distribution business. While all of us are aware (and women more so) that a diamond engagement ring is probably the best way for a man to propose to his loved one, how many of us know that this was not necessarily the case until the 1930s. It was only then that De Beers with the help of their advertising agency came up with this ad campaign which created the image of a diamond engagement ring being a symbol of everlasting love which created the famous by line “A diamond is forever”. This particular campaign went on to capture the imagination of the United States which was soon copied by Europe, Japan and the rest of the world.
The article provides great detail as to how De Beers the company went on to have a strangle-hold grip on the way diamonds were distributed and sold across the world and how they tightly controlled the demand of the gems so that the prices always remained high and they would make their profits on the same. Even when other diamond cartels were formed in Russia and Israel, the De Beers conglomerate proved savvy enough to win them over either by force or by negotiating them into their cartel. For a more brief version of the De Beers history read this article [Link to article] which ends with the bittersweet conclusion where the conglomerate has been bought over by its sole competitor as the family which ran it for so long is no longer interested in the business.
I personally had always wondered why diamonds had such bad resale value and this article answered all the questions about that. Wonder if there are similar stories for other precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, etc. I guess I will have to see if the web throws up similar articles for these as well.
For readers who saw the title and came here expecting movie reviews, visit these links instead 😀
English Vinglish [Wikipedia link]
Diamonds are forever [Wikipedia link]
Image Courtesy: Google Images search for “Queen Elizabeth diamonds” 😀