Thora Hindi ho jae!
Will vernacular programming languages work?
I have come across programing languages in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, etc. many a time. They are super niche languages, there's a very small community that actively uses them and there is even lesser documentation to work on the basis of. That left me thinking, what if this idea were to take off? This newsletter issue is just me trying to articulate my thoughts around this topic.
My tryst with English
I am a native Hindi speaker. During my college days, my process of speaking English would be to think of what I wanted to say in Hindi and then translate it into English. This was extremely draining. At the same time, I would witness those alpha kids from my college who could shift from English to Hindi and then back to English like it was nothing. I could never do that then. But with time, after talking so much in English for so many years, I can call myself fluent and can shift from one language to another pretty easily. But is programming in Hindi really possible?
The shift from 2019 to 2021
When I started teaching back in 2019, a lot of kids would request me to teach in Hindi. That was not a problem for me, in fact, it would have been much easier. But I avoided doing that because even if you learn in Hindi, you will have to do your job in English. The companies hiring engineers in India were mostly offshore locations of western companies. Hence, English was important even from a communication point of view.
Today, in 2021, the majority of the employers of Indian engineers are Indian startups. I witness so many founders facing the issue of acquiring good tech talent in the country. That is why I feel there's a lot of scope to solve this problem if we start letting builders in vernacular programming languages in because the only barrier that stands in one's path to learn to code is English.
How big is this language barrier?
There are many NGOs that work with kids from extremely poor families whose monthly income is not more than 4000 rupees. They teach these kids a bit of English and computer skills. But even then, they are mostly eligible for Personal Assistant jobs with salaries of 5k to 10k per month. Now imagine if one of these kids joins NeoG Camp and after 9-10 months, gets a high-paying job, a monthly salary of a lakh rupees. 4000 to 100000. That would be the real change, the real 0 to 1 impact. But what's stopping me from bringing this level of change? English.
The road ahead.
I do realize that day-to-day communication will still be an issue, but I also feel that it can be managed and dealt with. Programming is not a language problem, it is a logic problem, and logic is independent of language. You don't need to think about what you want to code in English, it's not like you are talking to a computer.
So ask yourself. Will vernacular programming languages work in the industry? This is an open question, and if someone wants to tackle it, I am ready to help them in any way I can, even with funding. If you think your core value aligns with this issue, let's talk.
Till next time
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