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.

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