Friday, February 8, 2013

Pained tourist

In recent past I got an opportunity to visit some most sought after places, where people throng from far of places in India and abroad. I was excited, so was my family, for we were visiting these places which we had only seen in photos and on TV. What awaited us was not that good experience.  I was disillusioned not knowing if I should revere it or look at it in despair.
For me all these places are sacrosanct and I expect the same from others as well. You must be wondering what I am talking about. I am garnering strength to put forward my thoughts as I want people to think over it and act accordingly. Amidst grandeur and opulence, sacredness and piousness there was mountain of filth all around. Giving an impression of a blemish on a clean white cloth, thus making it look filthy.
This filth was created by our very own countrymen young, old, rich, poor, uncouth, sophisticated, literate, illiterate etc. showing scant regard for these places which are revered, visited by sea of people, but who cares. The problem with we Indians is, all of us know what our rights are but unfortunately very few know what our duties are. This is one thing which is taking us nowhere but down.
I could see people throwing bottles, paper, plastic and everything possible that would dirty the place, wiping out historic impressions by their creative works on the walls, furniture and what not. Unfortunately, there was no one to stop them from doing so, and even if someone did, they ignored them royally giving them a look of “mind your business” written all over their face.
Entry fee Rs 50/- for Indians and Rs 200/- for foreigners this message board bowled me, why are we charging them so high and in return what are we giving them, filth, dirt, foul smell?
What deeply disturbed me was a foreign tourist running out of this historic building holding his nose, to avoid the foul smell and filth which had forcefully embraced everyone around. What image are we creating in the eyes of these guests, who visit us from far off places?
I think when it comes to cleanliness, discipline we would be ranked painfully last, if not last, somewhere near. It does not give me any pleasure when I say this, but you would experience this in your day to day life.
Why do we do this, are we insane, why this callousness and blatant disregard for what is expected, don’t we understand it’s incorrect; how we could dirty the place where we worship or destroy the place we visit regularly, for happiness and leisure.
I always felt the culprits were the poor uneducated people, but I was being na├»ve thinking the way I did. It has nothing to do with rich poor, literate, illiterate, it’s all about right attitude and knowing ones duties towards the society and country as a whole.
I often get to see rich people, driving the swankiest cars in town, flaunting their latest gadgets, littering in public places openly. We may have the material richness but when it comes to our duties in society and elsewhere we are the worst paupers.
Believe me, this pains me no bounds and make me sad, as to why we do this. Why can’t we keep our surroundings clean, respect nature, monuments, religious places, we all love to visit and enjoy? Why do we blame the govt. all the time for not doing enough to put a check on this vandalism of sorts? Isn’t it our duty as well to help government. in this endeavor?
Time has come we educate people and help them understand it’s our property, and it’s us who has to take care of it, preserve it against all odds. But before that we ourselves should take a pledge of not littering the surroundings, monuments, religious places, parks, mountains, not vandalizing the monuments, buildings by scribing our love stories.
Pass on this message to your kids so that they understand the importance and be responsible citizens. This education should begin at home; I am doing my bit are you?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

English Vinglish

I often wonder why we Indians think speaking in English makes us erudite, classy and sophisticated. Is this something our past rulers the English gave us as a Souvenir, or it’s our inferiority complex that has compelled us to speak English.

It’s a growing trend nowadays in Indian household to speak in English and not in one's mother tongue. I don’t understand this madness, and I pity those who do it, at the same time I also feel extremely agitated when I see this, because in doing so we are killing our own languages and not exposing our kids to plethora of our languages.

The justification to this madness, of speaking in English at home is, we want our kids to be very competent, and what’s the point in speaking our own mother tongue, it’s not going to fetch us and our kid’s good jobs.

For a moment let’s accept it, but don’t you realize that the older generation, our parents never had an opportunity to speak English at home or else where, they studied in vernacular mediums and yet they are successful and were able to carve a niche for themselves in this world? I do agree to some extent that their time was when globalization was not the buzz word and there was not much competition those days, but still they worked hard, learned to speak the language of business and survived.

The bone of contention for me is, parents forcing their kids to speak English at home and not their mother tongue because of points mentioned above.

They will learn English or other foreign language in school or listening to others, but don’t rob them from speaking their mother tongue, let them enjoy the beauty of our languages as well, the literature, songs, poems etc. This will broaden their horizons.

I am also OK with speaking English at home, but not at the expense of once mother tongue.

I do agree that English today is the lingua franca of the world, and it’s a necessity to know it very well, but when we Indians feel ashamed to speak our own language, that’s not acceptable to me. Many of us feel that if we speak English we are considered high class and sophisticated, what a pity.

Don’t you think it’s us who are suppose to protect our things, be it languages, traditions etc? else our languages will soon be extinct.

If kids are asked about Munshi Premchand, Mulkraj Anand, Pu la Deshpande, Acharya Atre and for that matter other great Indian writers and their writings, they have no idea who these people are, but if you ask them about Mark twain, PG Woodhouse, Charles Dickens or any other English name they will be proud to tell you about them, how much they liked their books etc. why is this the case, have we tried to find out? It’s us who don’t expose our kids to our own things, be it languages, books, history etc. but we take immense pride in asking them to speak English, French, Spanish or other foreign languages. I have come across many parents who flaunt their kids linguistic skills, and when you ask them which all languages their kid speaks, they will proudly declare the names of all foreign languages, except their own mother tongue. This really saddens me and compels me to think how are we going to save our languages.

Don’t you think we should inculcate a sense of belonging of our languages in our kids? and tell them, speaking ones language and preserving it is as important as once career? If this thought is passed onto our kids they will take pride in speaking our languages and not feel ashamed, this way our kids our future generation will contribute to enrich our languages and prevent them from getting extinct, because besides our heritage, culture, language is our identity and its us who have to retain, protect it.

I don’t want to sound preachy here, but this is what I think. Let me say it again I am not against English or any other foreign language, but it should not be spoken at the expense of our own languages, and we should take pride in speaking our languages and not feel ashamed.