By Madhu Kumari
The man, synonymous with English training in India is no other than Dr Birbal Jha, who evolved and expounded a unique Structural-cum-Interactive Method for a quick and easy grasp of the English language, which has been endorsed by various international schools of thoughts on the subject.
At the age of 21, Dr Birbal, who otherwise may have gone for any administrative jobs, came up with the start-up of his social venture- British Lingua which has been able to fairly sharpen the skills and improve the lifestyles of lacs of students who were initially deprived of English education and opportunities demanding such a skill.
“What we simply do at Lingua Family is to add linguistic value to those learners approaching us by way of training them in the required life skills. Frankly speaking, we simply and methodologically enhance the net-worth of a person by multiple times in a specific time frame by equipping them with the English communication skills which boost their scope of employability, personality and prosperity in today’s world.”, says Lingua Managing Director Dr Jha, who has championed the cause of English training in India over years.
Interestingly, Dr Jha, who coined the slogan ‘English for all’ for creation of an ideal social setting is often quoted as saying “the advantage of the English language must percolate down even to the lowest strata of Indian society so much so that even the deprived section of society should gain unfettered access to various opportunities including employment and intellectual development.” However, when it comes to social life, he feels strongly about Indian culture, values and ethos which are very reflective in his lectures and practice in his personal life.
With globalization taking root in early ‘90, Dr Jha embarked on the training journey in 1993 on the bank of the pious river Ganges in Patna, which gradually gained traction in different parts of the country. Since then there has seen no looking back but he has been constant in pursuit of meeting the very purpose of social needs.
To his literary credit, ‘Spoken English Kit is one of his million-copy bestseller books among his 24 odd books. His latest paperback is ‘English for Social Justice in India’ wherein he has brilliantly demonstrated how a fair knowledge of English is instrumental in ensuring social justice in the multilingual society like India. Remarkably, he received a lot of acclaim for his weekly columns ‘Seekhen Sahi Angreji’ in Dainik Jagran and ‘Jano English’ in Hindustan, both national dailies. With Oxford University Professor Elizabeth Schoel beside many others highly appreciating Dr Jha’s magnum opus- Celebrate Your Life, he is an institution in himself considering his erudition and prolific works.
As an editor, he brought out ‘Lingua Bulletin’ for a decade which has rendered tremendous help to the language learners in the country. Thanks to his sincerity, integrity, dedication, professional commitments and strong conviction, today he is an established name in the field of English communication and soft skills training in the country.
The youth icon Dr Jha in 2017 was accorded as the status of “The Youngest Living Legend of Mithila” where he was brought into the world on 22 January 1972 in a remote village of Sijoul falling in the district of Madhubani in Bihar.
In collaboration with the Government of Bihar, his social enterprise has been able to bring about noticeable changes in the lives of thousands of Mahadalit, the poorest of the poor in the state.
In the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in Delhi, he headed the training team of British Lingua which imparted the first-ever training in Spoken English and Behavior Skills to those who were the first points of contacts. This earned him a good name.
Dr Jha’s continued research has become one of his greatest assets; it has a clear correlation with his teaching methods and reflects the needs of the people in contemporary society.
Recognizing his expertise and scholarship, the Government of Bihar entrusted him with implementing the first-ever ‘Spoken English and Capacity Building’ training project for Government High School-teachers in 2009, its successful completion has set the benchmark for English education in the state.
As the Chairman of Mithilalok Foundation working for socio-economic and cultural development, he launched ‘Save the Paag Campaign’, following which the government of India historically issued Postal Stamp on Mithila Paag in 2017 as a landmark.
In recognition of his social, cultural and literary works Dr Jha has been bestowed upon several awards and citations matching his towering personality. He holds the view of an egalitarian society where everybody should get an opportunity of living a decent life. He is a social worker in every true sense of the word. His learning and sharing with others is on with his intention of taking English to the common in India. He is credited as creating a revolution in English training with slogan ‘English for all’ in India.