'Goddess English' is deity in Indian temple

The deity in the 'Dalit Goddess English' temple is inspired by the Statue of Liberty in the picture. (FILE)

A nondescript village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is set to hog the limelight by building a temple dedicated to English language.

Coming up in the educationally and economically backward Banka village in the state's Lakhimpur Kheri district, the female deity of the single-storey temple is inspired by Statue of Liberty, reported Press Trust of India.

The entire idea behind the temple of Goddess English is to encourage the poor villagers - mostly from India's socially backward classes bracketed as 'Dalits' - to learn the global language for empowerment.

The three feet tall idol of ‘Dalit Goddess English’ is being installed on a pedestal shaped as a computer. The idol carries a pen, a copy of the Indian Constitution and dons a gown and a hat, representing education, rights and modernity. The computer screen would have a Buddhist chakra.

Funded by the villagers and well-wishers, construction of the temple started in April this year and was scheduled to be inaugurated on October 25 to coincide with the birthday of Lord Macaulay who is credited with steps taken to empower the Dalit community.

The report quoted Chandra Prasad Bhan, the brain behind the project, as saying the temple will be opened in November.

He said the temple is expected to popularise English language among the backward Dalits, often treated as untouchables in India’s oppressive caste system.

He recalled the idea of Dr BR Ambedkar, the father of the Indian Constitution and a Dalit himself, who espoused the need to make English the national language of India. But he had faced strong opposition from other leaders who insisted on Hindi.

The villagers have already composed an English song that will be played as prayer every day.

The temple walls will be engraved with symbols and formulae of physics, chemistry, mathematics besides English proverbs. A staircase shaped like a computer keyboard is also in the pipeline, Prasad said.

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