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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mother he has lost his Tongue


A month back, while talking to a guy for some time in English, I spoke a few words of Hindi, and all of a sudden I heard him saying, “Don't mind can we interact in English and not in Hindi. You seem comfortable in it." I counter questioned him, “Ya, but why are you restricting me? Don't you know the Language?" He said,”Ofcourse I do, but don’t mind, we have this habit of communicating in English at work, and I don't like Hindi much.” I was awfully shocked to see how a person, who was born and brought up in the Hindi speaking environment, was now discarding the language, because he has been communicating in some other language at work, and is no more comfortable with his background/nation. In such distressful times I respect my identity a little too much , I simply told him, “I Love Hindi, and would now prefer to talk in it.” With his prejudice and pretence, he lost his impression!
Another incidence is about a teacher teaching in one of the popular schools of Delhi ( don't want to name it here). Being a Hindi language teacher, she faced the humiliation and bias. Other fellow colleagues looked down upon her, and preferred not to talk to her for she lacked in English communication skills. While sharing her humiliation with a popular Hindi journalist, she got tears in her eyes. (....and I used to think Language is for communication.)


In the Era of globalization and 'weblization', there is a need for a common language. In a country like India where many languages are spoken, English has become a common meduim which caters to the communication needs of Inter/national  friends, clients, businesses etc. But does one International language unite us with the basics and locals? Is it the matter of pride or shame, that people have started looking down to those, using Hindi and not English?I was shocked to see the prejudice in the outgrown minds of today for English over our mother/national tongue! 

How proudly somebody was telling me a few days back, that in Japan, people prefer to speak Japanese, in China they interact with each other in Chinese, and Germans love their language as well, if you need to live there, you ought to know their language, people want to learn Spanish. What happened to India?
Every place, region, country has a language, culture of its own which binds them with the locals and commons.Language is our fundamental identity; it connects us with our customs and rituals. We are, little by little, discarding our mother tongue, deliberately trying to impersonate somebody we are not. For that fake admiration in the midst of futility, we are making fools of ourselves.

P.S.  Don't be shameful of your existence. Try to talk to a person, in the language he is speaking. There is no trophy in the end for decorating your tongue with English vocabulary and fake accents and look down to people who are not well equipped with the same!

P.P.S. It is always nice to know multiple languages, it develops your brain

Questions in the End: How Important is your mother tongue for you? Would you be proud if somebody calls you European/American instead of Indian? Or during one of your patriotic fits, will you be hearing patroitic songs dubbed in English with a "yo- touch" in them? How will you pronounce chat-papdi, Dahi-Bhalle, Chole bature, Golgappas, Pao bhaji and other Indian snacks for which you die to scoff on at the local shops? 

37 comments:

  1. My son classifies his friends into two categories: one, the dude category- those who take pride in speaking English and the other the dost category- those who are comfortable with Indian languages. He is obviously comfortable with the 2nd. I also fail to understand what is wrong in talking your mother tongue.

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    1. haha.. thats an awesome classification.

      Sir, I really feel during interactions some of our natural expressions come out better in our respective languages. Connecting to locals, elederly, or general people, going to local vendors, conversations with auto-rikshaw drivers etc. can be more fluently carried forward in our respective local languages. Our language keeps us close to our Basic Identity!

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  2. Well, I like my mother tongue, Punjabi that is, and I talk in it, I write it and I respect it. But if someone doesn't want to speak in it even if they know the language, it does makes me sad but I think it's their decision if they do not want to communicate in it. Who am I to judge them? I do my part of promoting my mother tongue by speaking in it and writing in it, I don't care if others do it or not. :)

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    1. Very right! If we respect our identities, others will respect us too. Moreover we should not facilitate the prejudice against the people who can speak in Hindi/local language only and form humiliating environment for them here!

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  3. शेषा मैं आपके विचारो से इतना सहमत हूँ की मैं ईसपे टिप्पणी भी हिन्दी मैं कर रहा हूँ..अगर ये लेख किसी तरह भारत के किसी अखबार मैं छाप जाए तो मुझे लगता हैं की हमारे देश यी युवा भी इसे पाटकर अपनी सहमति देगी और अपनी विचार धाराओं मैं भाषा के प्रति परिवर्तन लाएगी..इस लेख मैं आपके दुयारा लिखा गया एक एक शबाद तारीफ के काबिल हैं..मैं आशा करता हूँ की आपका ये लेख हमारे देश और समाज मैं परिवर्तन लाने के लिए उचित सहयोग देगा..

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  4. सुमित, मैं आपका धन्यवाद करना चाहूंगी, कि आपने मेरे इस लेख को समझा और सराहा. मैं आशा करती हूँ कि आज के युवा इस बात पर अमल करेंगे और हिंदी की श्रेष्ठता को समझेंगे और किसी को अपमानजनक दृष्टि से नहीं आंकेंगे.

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    1. P.s. You don't disown the people of your nation on the grounds of english. After all its a language that was gifted to us by the British when we were merely a colony!
      Somebody some time before said the same thing, that Hindi doesn't hold any significance, as its not a revenue generating language. But i would say, being born and brought up in Hindi speaking Nation/state, I dont disrespect the language!
      I didnt talk about other language courses, its all knowing and respecting your mother tongue!

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  6. We alike English and think it is the mark of your grade in the level of literacy because we were and are slaves. Newton would have been hppy to see All objects and particularly indians like to remain in its own state state of inertia. It is our mental inertia that still we love to be slaves of white skin.

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    1. Pradip, I am not against any Language, but i am against disrespecting our mother tongue and creating a bias for the same! Thanks for posting your views on the same! :)

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  7. Shesha,

    I see this happen everywhere too. People prefer to teach their kids English over their mother tongue (whatever it is), or just stop talking in their MT because it is not cool any more.

    We worked on a chinese project for 2 years and we had to chinese work for us because our clients would not communicate in English with us even though they understood what we were saying and knew how to reply. So proud they are of their language while we are ready to discard it for style.

    I so agree with ur post :)

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    1. Right Anu, i saw an African mother on some channel going through the same issue, where she wanted to teach her children her native language. Even in Japan, they do not promote English, as they feel, they'll soon lose their identity to westernization after the exposure.

      So as you said, its the problem everywhere. Thanks a ton for sharing your experience and views:-)

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  8. The point raised here in your post is valid...but what can we do when we had seen that english language is respected more thn hindi these days. It used to be the status symbol few years ago; though things are changing now....

    Whatever language you learn and whatever level of proficiency you gain....jab kisi ko daantna ho, Joke sunana ho, ya gali deni ho(yes i said that)......Apni language me jo maja aata hai..vo kisi aur me nai :)

    Meko vo akbar beerbal ki kahani yaad aa gai...

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    1. Hahaha So true! and Yes i have also read that story you are talking about, and i just smiled thinking about it. Bang on!! Loved your comment. :)

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  9. LoL!!
    I pity such phoney pschophantic facades, who visit vegetable vendors at mandi and ask for a "tetrapack carry bag".
    They live in their own world n r disconnected from reality.
    In India, esp south n Bengal ( Sorry Mamata Didi- Poschim Bongo), they pride their mother Tongue. We generally grow up learning at least 3 languages and interchangably use any one in a single conversation, depending on which term suits the motive/intent of communication. Language n culture is our base, and sum1 degrading it sud b pitied upon.

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  10. Indeed, language is just a medium to convey! Its not the question of pride, but the identity of where you belong to! Thanks for your valuable feedback :)

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  11. what a topic to write upon.... hats off...

    sahi mein aisa hota aya hai and dekha bhi gaya hai.... bhasa ka gyan hona acha hai parantu dusre ka tiraskaar kar apna maan badana ..... sarasar galat...
    hindi ya tamil ya telegu ya kuch bhi kahlo ki apni ek garima hai and apne aap mein paripurn hai..... dhyan dene ki avasyakata hai ki badalte parivesh mein itn naa badal jaaye ki apni hi pehchaan ko bhul jaaye and bheed mein gum ho jaaye... nice writing and nice topic.... likhna ek kala hai par content bhi mayane rakhta hai... keep it up...!!!

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  12. That's a great topic to write upon. This is truly a sad reality. People using Hindi as their medium of communication are looked as "down", which is totally incorrect. I really pity that guy, because now he has lost his identity, and is simply now following others, which will lead him nowhere.
    But the problem here is this. People in China speak Chinese, People in Japan speak Japanese, people in Russia, speak Russian, people in Germany speak German, BUT people in India DON'T speak Indian. People in India speak Hindi, Tamil, Telegu, Bengali, and all sorts of other regional language. So, we cannot have a single language to be followed all over the country, and this is exactly the reason States are created.
    I really think, one should be proud of their mother tongue, and should actually do something to preserve it.
    Kudos to you for picking up such a topic! Great :)

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    1. Thanks Ritvik for such a warm comment! You know Hindi, is our national language! The common language which was recognized as the language of India (nation). So while people speak Tamil, Telegu, Punjabi, Haryanwi, Bengali, the common language that binds different regions, states, castes, classes(uneducated and educated both) is supposed to be Hindi. Sadly, most of us have forgotten its importance after so many years of independence!

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    2. Umm.. It was the time of Independence, that the Indian Government was planning to scrap English, and continue with only Hindi as the official language. Some non-hindi speaking states opposed to this, as things would have become difficult for them.
      Even now, there are many people, who are not comfortable with hindi, particularly in the southern part of the country (they have preserved their mother tounge). I went to Bangalore, and my driver was more comfortable speaking English than Hindi.
      I find it hard to believe that Hindi could actually be a thing that could bind everyone of us. I mean, a language could represent a community, or a section of the society, but a diverse nation like India, I don't think so.
      This is probably the difference between European nation and India. Countries there are small, and so a single language binds the people, Language here changes every 200 Kms, and so, it cannot be the same here.
      Which makes me think, if most of us don't know Hindi, then what binds us?

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    3. Except in South India, elementary Hindi is taught in almost all schools in every state be it Maharashtra, Punjab, Bengal, or Gujrat.
      The principal official language of the Republic of India is Standard Hindi, while English is the secondary official language. The constitution of India states that "The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script."Source wikipedia Another fact is that Hindi is the most widely spoken language in India.
      Ref.:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_number_of_native_speakers_in_India
      Though in times of today, i agree with you, Hindi can't bind us all togeather. But our nationality can. Still if you go in Maharashtra or chennai you will find people promoting regionalism (been a victim). It is possible that others might be facing same kinda problem in Delhi as well(though i don't know about it.)
      When talking about Europe, there as well people have now started accepting English in the countries like Germany, when before they never used to entertain people much who did not know German!!!
      Yes we need a language: Hindi, english wtv. But we first need to respect our identity, stop behaving like morons and creating bias for the people not proficient enough in spoken English. We need to respect Nationality and above all Humanity before anything else!!!

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    4. It's good to see you writing on topics that concern you and our society at large.
      Ritwik has written the exact point I had in mind. We don't have a common tongue binding us as in nations like Japan, China. And Shesha, one thing I would like to correct is Hindi is not our national language, infact India has no national language. Asking others to accept Hindi over their language is again degrading the status of their language. We have seen implications of such language impositions in Anti-Hindi agitations of Tamil Nadu which included self immolations by many youths.

      When people in a family have differences and ego issues, an outsider who has established their superiority can be the common link of communication, same has been accomplished by English. It is unfortunate however that some people despite being rich in two or even three languages, pretend they only understand one! Their tragedy I'd say, not ours.

      We all think of problems and solutions, but few write about them so they can be shared and discussed. Keep up the good work.

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  13. There are still many schools in India, where Hindi isn't taught (Even after excluding Southern India). The school affiliated to regional board, still doesn't use Hindi, and generally encourage the regional language. I've stayed for 4 years in Gujarat. Studying in a school which is affiliated to the Gujarat board, studying Gujarati is compulsory, and the medium of teaching is also Gujarati. People in the Jharkhand, Orrisa, Bengal, North-Eastern State, parts of Punjab, still they don't know Hindi well.
    Hindi is most widely spoken language of India by "THE NUMBER OF NATIVE SPEAKERS". Okay, The major population of India resides in the area of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and other parts. All these areas have Hindi as their native language/mother tongue. So, obviously it has to be the most spoken language.
    But the point here is not that if we can call Hindi as the "major" language of India. But the point here is that "Can ANY language represent or bind the people of the country?". In case of India, when we say a language binds the people, it's not the whole country, but only a certain group of people. Even if we make everyone learn Hindi in the country, it won't help, because Hindi would never take the place of their own Mother Tongue. My day-to-day communication is done in English, that doesn't mean English now represent me, Hindi is still my mother tongue.
    India is a land of cultures. Such regional languages are a part of our culture. While Hindi is common in certain part, Kannada in another. But these are two different cultures.
    What I want to say, everyone should say---
    "I LOVE MY INDIA" (English)
    "मेरा भारत महान"
    "ನನ್ನ ಭಾರತ ಅದ್ಭುತವಾಗಿದೆ."
    "என் இந்தியா உள்ளது."
    "મારા ભારત મહાન છે."
    "আমার ভারত মহান."
    Language simply doesn't matter, but everyone of us should have a sense of nationality. Anti-nationalist who promotes regionalism should be punished, and first on the list should be "Didi" (I hope you understood :-P)
    So, to summarize it:-
    1. In your post, you talk of a man who is ashamed of using his own language. Which is totally wrong. One should respect their culture and do every possible step to preserve it.
    2. Hindi is official language, but cannot be used to represent the people of the country, as many still don't speak it or are comfortable with it.
    3. Smaller countries, don't have much diversity, and hence can accommodate a single language as the sole representative of the country. Which isn't possible with India due to it's diversity in culture.
    4. Steps should be taken for developing the sense of Nationality among the people of the country and among the school children.
    5. Students in school should be taught not-to-be-ashamed of their culture, and encourage them to promote and preserve their culture.
    6. Surely, Humanity, Nothing above that. If everyone has a sense of humanity, this world would be a better place to live. :-)

    PS: Sorry for making a "small post" in the comment section. :-P

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    1. Yeah! I agree! We can still promote the root languages and try to break the stereotypes that this new era has created in the name of modernization!!! We can spread the word, talk about such things in our day to day discussions. Then only the mindset of so called "modern" class will develop. Then only they can instill good values along with better real life-education in their children.
      P.s.I appreciate this small post, a healthy discussion always makes a post sucessful! Thanks a ton. :)

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  14. Greetings from a Fellow Hindi speaker :),

    I am not sure how i have reached your blog but then BB makes you do things the thoughts of which often linger on for a few days in your life and at times leads to mistakes which you curse for life.

    By BB i don't mean the oh so reverred black berry but merely Boredom browsing :D

    Coming back to the topic, Though I completely agree with you that a few people do feel indignified in using the mother tongue and something should be done about it.
    However, nothing can be done to change such people but what we can do is change the children who are growing up in the world of English speaking maids/parents/drivers/shop owners/teachers/grand parents/relatives/sitcoms/nursery rhymes and the list is endless.

    That is where we are at fault, if we are going to surround our kids with everything that starts with A and ends with Z then how can we blame them for not knowing Hindi :)

    Some people are right in saying that it is a diverse culture but it does not mean that we derive a common means to interact in English with every one. I equally enjoy interacting with a Punjabi with the "adjectives" as with a UP wala who i believe has the funniest of words(yes a little bias towards our own people ) or be it the fun of lissening to Gujrati/Marathi or the loudness of Bengali.
    But i don't let one thing out of my mind that is sticking to my roots and being proud of it. Being proud of being a desi, proud of enjoying kulhad(earthen tea pots) mein chai or even the traditions during our festivals. These should be an integral part of every indian or else the rate at which americans are adopting our culture we might soon outsource our dance/language/movies and music to them in addition to 'Yoga' and 'Chicken curry'

    Dhanyavaad :D

    P.S. Really good to read that people feel the same about Hindi

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    1. Hi, Ankit. welcome to the blog and thanks for the greetings!

      I couldn't understand which mistakes are you talking about in here as the outcome of boredom browsing? (thanks for mentioning boredom browsing as I was thinking about the reserved term for "BB" :P )

      Anyway, back to the topic, I agree with you! Yes we can enrich the growing minds by connecting them with our roots and culture. Along with english, we can teach them to equally respect our mother tongue! If ever we come to know that the school education is creating a blockage in the young minds for hindi or for anything else, we should talk to the authorities and have discussions`!!!

      Enjoying different festivals, richness of cultures and traditions, kulhad wali chai or lassi, various Indian cuisines... yes, it indeed is an amazing experience! Thanks a ton for your valuable comment. :)

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  15. Well the mistakes of boredom browsing are more pertaining to my life rather than your blog. I am a bit of a writer myself(wanted to start a blog but somehow life keeps me busy with a better passion, reviewing and listening to new music).

    While i still figure out which link 'read-extended chaturvedi family tree' made me reach here I would like to comment that your posts are very relevant and to the point rather than beating around the bush(or smoking it) as other bloggers that i have read do.

    Really loved the post on Smokers, Superstitions and Santa claus. Will read more as I get time and maybe get inspired to start my own blog. Oh and the one on 'Naani','bua saas' is something that I have seen a lot in the Chaubey community :)

    Keep writing (never reduce talking I have been getting the same advise for ages now, hasn't really affected me)

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    1. Thats really good to hear! Yeah, I started writing few yrs back to kill that monotony and to register my introspections and contemplations on various things(boredom browsing led to constructive/non constructive writing). Its good to get comments and words of appreciation from people who are into writing. Thanks a lot for your feedback, it really means alot!
      Hahaha u read that post as well about "nani, bua-saas" Actually I have this habbit to talk alot and make witty comments to tease others and make them laugh, and sometimes i fall in my own trap. Though its enjoyable & I love it even more!!!
      Thanks for the advice, i'll try to chirp a lil more... sometimes it brings out some material for the blog here as well... :D

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    2. your previous comment has been accidentally deleted! Sorry for that. I have been born and brought up in Delhi, though have traveled to various places in India, but haven't really lived anywhere else till now!

      Your second comment said:
      Ankit ChaturvediMay 10, 2012 1:05 PM

      Coming back to the Topic that I suddenly rememberd. that if you look at Pakistani Musicians starting from Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali khan, Rizwan and Mauzam, Ataullah Eshakvi, Meesha Shafi,Sanam Marvi, Abida Parveen, Arif Lohar,Javed Bashit and Arieb Azhar

      Now What I have done is mentioned singers from different generations that soothe to different segment of audiences within their own country and outside Pakistan. In all of these singers you would find one thing common.

      Their roots in classical music are very deep you can actually feel the range of their music and knowledge in their blood which is where the difference stands between them and us because we will eventually lose that grip on hindustani music and arts.

      The success of Coke studio pakistan and failure of the indian version is because of this one plain difference that Pakistanis still cherish their culture and heritage given to them by none other than our forefathers.

      Proof that only English speaking will not get you places :). As rightly quoted by Nusrat fateh ali khan in his sufi offering written by Bulleh Shah

      "Aiwayn Rooz Shaytaan Naal Lardaan
      Kadee Nafs Apnay Naal Larrya Ee Nai
      Bulleh Shah Aasmani Urheeyan Pharda
      Jayraa Ghar Baitha Ohnu Pharyaa Ee Nai"

      I fight the devil everyday
      But i never fought the confusion inside me
      Bulleh shah looks he seeks only higher things in the sky
      He does not care for the one that he already has...

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    3. Its a beautiful poem and true as well.

      I heard the coke studio's performances from Pakistan and it was really soulful and interesting. I heard the performances here, and they lacked somewhere. Though I didn't follow the series much, but somehow I wasn't convinced with the performances in it. Seemed overdone to me!!!

      I have been to various classical music performances. Last year only I attended a program performed by Rajasthani folk singers, then in one of the programs where son of Lt. Kumar Gandharv gave a scintillating and melodious performance... ( you should hear the songs by Kumar gandharv) again this year I attended a performance by Sufi kathak foundation- where they sang sufi songs. In all these places they had their audiences... and people were enjoying the shows!

      Though u are absolutely right, here the number is very less. A very small population has taste for Indian classical music, ghazals, sufi songs etc. In India people need advertisements and need to feel its in vogue to follow the things.... People are busy in adopting what they don't have that others have in the name of modernization!!!!

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    4. Lol. Yeah I know ur hindi is Good... :D I am sorry for the deleted ones!

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    5. Good to know about you Ankit! Don't u think we are making it a chat forum and deviating the discussion from the main topic!

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