We live in a country where we are judged on just about anything and everything. Right from the clothes we wear to the food we eat and even the company we keep becomes a parameter on which our personality is judged even before we get to know each other or speak to each other. And of course, let’s not even discuss the gender part here.
As if these aren’t enough, we also judge people on their speaking abilities. So much so that we base people’s intelligence on their fluency in English. Perhaps we can easily recall at least one instance when we passed a derogatory comment or mocked at someone who spoke wrong English. Yes, we’ve all done that and there’s nothing to be proud about in this!
But today, once and for all, let us get this straight. No, the one who speaks English well isn’t necessarily intelligent and the one who doesn’t speak English is definitely not a dimwit. Let’s look at some real-life examples who prove just this. And they’re there in every field — be it sports, politics or even entertainment.
1. Narendra Modi
Yes, you might raise your eyebrows at this and say, “But he speaks English!”. Yes, he does. But we all know where he comes from. It is not his first language or even second. Coming from a background where he rose from a tea vendor to India’s most beloved PM, he is a real-life example of someone who did not need the support of the English language to become what he is today. Hailed for his oratory, Modi delivers quite well in Hindi as well as his mother tongue Gujarati, and everyone looks forward to hearing his speeches. Even at international meet ups, he chooses to speak in Hindi rather than in English.
2. Vladimir Putin
If there’s one powerful leader who is known, loved and admired (and, perhaps, slightly feared) by people all over the world, it’s Vladimir Putin. And yes, even he doesn’t speak English fluently (although there have been instances where he corrected his interpreter).
These are just two examples. There are others such as Chinese President Xi Jinping, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and many more. These politicians are at the top of their game and yet did not need the support of English to prove their intelligence or reach where they are today.
1. Kapil Dev
The man who won us our first cricket World Cup was not very fluent in English at the height of his success. So much so that he even got ridiculed by many because of this. However, that did not stop Dev from becoming one of the greatest cricketers of all time.
2. Lionel Messi
Unarguably football’s greatest star and a star of people’s hearts the world over, Messi does not speak much English. But that in no way affects his game or even his fame.
There are many others in this list as well. And that too from sports ranging from cricket to football and WWE to martial arts. Jose Aldo, Inzamam Ul Haq, Marouane Fellaini are just a few other names.
1. Kapil Sharma
The reigning funny man of the country, Kapil Sharma himself admits that his English is poor. The guy was even made fun of (in his own show) about this many times. But this didn’t stop him from being where he is today.
2. Kailash Kher
The voice that makes our hearts move, Kailash Kher does not know or speak English much. And why should that come in the way? He sings beautifully in Hindi and does not need English in any way to be the best at what he does.
Kangana Ranaut (who now speaks English quite well), Dharmendra, Hema Malini, and even some international celebrities too are notable examples of those who don’t speak English!
And here’s something more to make the point home. The people we look up to when it comes to seeking advice or divine help, even they don’t understand or speak much English. Would we call them unintelligent, too?
Religious and spiritual leaders
1. The Dalai Lama
Yes, the most enlightened spiritual leader in the world too speaks broken English and most of the times uses an interpreter to get his points across to his followers or preachers.
2. The Pope
Even the head of the Roman Catholic Church does not speak or understand English very much. That in no way makes him any less of an enlightened, spiritual or revered figured.
All in all, let us understand and accept the fact that English (or any other language) is just a means of communication and no rocket science. So, if one speaks English well, that’s great. But the ones who don’t speak English well are equally or sometimes even more intelligent and successful than the ones who might be Masters of the English language. So a person’s understanding of English cannot be a parameter of his or her intelligence.