New Delhi, Ramakant Chaudhary: Taking a leaf from Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, who once said “English is like the milk of lioness, one who drinks it becomes a lion”, Birbal Jha gulped down the ‘milk’ to an extent that he has been able to share with those deprived of this life-changing skill. Now self-made Birbal, once destitute is a world celebrity, featuring in the records of celebs.
Outstandingly, apart from top communication skills trainer, he is a noted author, social entrepreneur, social thinker, cultural activist, lyricist, linguist and columnist all rolled into one. To his credit, he has more than 30 books covering the aspects of English communication skills, personal growth, manual, parenting, culture and society.
Remarkably, he received a lot of compliments for his weekly columns ‘Seekhen Sahi Angreji’ in Dainik Jagran and ‘Jano English’ in Hindustan, both national dailies. Apart from many others, Oxford University Professor Elizabeth Schoel has endorsed Dr Jha’s magnum opus- Celebrate Your Life. His latest book- ‘English for Social Justice’ is an eye-opener.
In 2013, putting a spotlight on the need for English education, he wrote a drama, namely ‘Englishiya Boli’. Moreover, he has composed many poems in three languages- English, Hindi and Maithili, showing poetic skills.
In 1993, moved by the pathetic situation of his home state he coined the slogan, ‘English for all’ for his social venture – British Lingua with the mission of helping people, more particularly the country’s youth avail themselves of the advantages of English communication skills that bestow a lot.
A million of youth from the unprivileged section of society who were initially deprived of English education and employability skills have been able to improve their lifestyles, thanks to his initiative and commitment to the social cause.
Heading British Lingua specializing in communication skills training in the country Dr Birbal devised a unique English SIM standing for Structural-cum-Interactive Method ( SIM) for a quick and easy grasp of English language skills, His SIM has been endorsed and appreciated by various international schools of thought on the subject.
The technique adopted is practical, simple and easy to meet the requirements of all four aspects of Language learning Skills- Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing under the heads of Teaching English Sounds, Word Usage, Sentence-Framing, Interactive Sessions, and Personality Development engrained in the SIM.
The trainees get trained in all 44 English sounds, basic components of the language. Further, the word usage is divided into five parts-Literal, Figurative, Phrasal, Idiomatic and Proverbial expressions with the SIM.
“Learning English is easy when you know its patterns which give you a base of how words are arranged for a specific meaning that you may want to convey. It is very essential to learn which word should be placed first, which one in the middle and which one later or at the end of a sentence. Such a system of arrangement of words is called an English structure or pattern. Twelve structural words help you formulate all English structures” says Dr Birbal Jha.
The candidates get programmed into thinking in English through a mechanism of the English SIM without fumbling for words, adopting the direct method and having gained the ability to frame sentences based on the patterns.
The SIM has a meticulous inbuilt system that improves learners’ intellectuality with a strong base, exploring your linguistic abilities and inner potentialities. Discussing diverse topics of national or international value develops their mental power, ideas, thoughts and perception to a great extent. With all these features, the techniques adopted will have a far-reaching impact on youth receiving training.
Born in 1972 to an extremely poor family in a riverine village Sijoul of Madhubani, a district of Bihar, Birbal lost his father when he was hardly one year old. He lived a very miserable life as a child. His mother Jaipura Jha, who brought him up worked on farmland to eke out a living and make both ends meet.
With 27 rupees in his pocket, Dr Birbal for the first time ventured out of his remote village to Patna on 3rd April 1988 in search of a job and possibly further education. However, he had no option but to work as a waiter at a street eatery in Musallahpur where he came in contact with his current colleague Pradeep Jha, who helped him get a job as a peon at erstwhile Murlidhar Press.
He went through all the trying times. There was a time when a brick was his pillow to support his head while sleeping. The footpath was his roofless shelter to pass the night only to wake up at the crack of dawn. The endless blue sky was his wrap over his body. His khadi lungee was akin to a mattress for him to lie on.
He is a Ph D and holds 2 Master’s degrees from Patna University, where his name figures in the category of notable alumni. Having received early and secondary education in the village, he did his 10th Board from Bihar School Examination Board in 1988.
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 Behavioral Skills to those, who were the first points of contact at the international event.
Recognizing his expertise and scholarship, the Government of Bihar entrusted his social venture with the task of implementing the first-ever ‘Spoken English and Capacity Building’ training program for Government High School-teachers, in 2009. Furthermore, his social enterprise has been able to bring about noticeable changes in the lives of millions of the poorest of the poor in the country, more particularly in Bihar where more than a 30 thousand youth from the Mahadalit community were trained to drink ‘the milk of lioness and change their lifestyles.
In recognition of his social, cultural and literary works, Dr Jha has been bestowed upon several awards and citations matching his towering personality. His practice of learning and sharing with others is in tune with his intention of taking advantage of English Skills for the common man of India. He is credited with arranging 365 marriages all dowry-free. Further, he is regarded as having created a revolution in English training in India.
What could be more satisfying for him than the recognition of a piece of work under his social leadership? A postal stamp was issued on the Mithila Paag in 2017 following the ‘Save the Paag Campaign’ launched by Mithilalok Foundation, which he heads as founder Chairman.
As a child activist, Dr Jha has launched campaigns for the safety, security and well-being of children. In this regard, his songs are so heart-touching, moving and emotive that all and sundry get riveted. He has written a book titled ‘Child Safety’. His writings and works are reflective of him being a prolific writer.
He led the ‘Child Safety Campaign’ aftermath of a 7-year-old schoolboy who was murdered by slitting his throat at the Gurugram school campus. He has composed lyrics for dozens of songs as a non-professional person. One of them ‘Kya Gunah Tha Mere Bache Ka’ which has been posted on YouTube has more than 8 million views to date.
Apart from being conferred with several national and international awards including ‘The Star of Asia Award’, Dr Jha has been accorded the status of the ‘Youngest Living Legend of Mithila’ through a book by Vivekanand Jha published in 2017, titled ‘The Living legends of Mithila’ recognising 25 leading personalities from the region for their social contributions.
His expertise and commitment to social causes also drew the attention of the New York Times, which ran a story on him in 2003.