My Thoughts on Languages Vs Dialects Saga.

Time flies when you are with old friends….and it’s even more fun when you poke fun at them…it’s a lot better than the virtual poking on Facebook.

So here I was spending one of my evening’s helping a friend’s daughter update her work profile as she was applying to some universities abroad, I happened to pick up a sheet of paper that had her details written on it however what caught my attention was the “Languages known/spoken” bit on her  resume…she had cancelled Hindi and Gujrat and written “ENGLISH”,yeah just the way I wrote it here, and my instant remark to that was “firang”…and we had a hearty laugh.

Later during the day while I was arranging some books “the resume” incident just flashed in front of me and enthused the thought of writing this article in my mind. I happened to google the world “languages” to help me perk up my knowledge on the subject. While surfing the net I came across a frequently used term – “Vernacular”.

I’d like to quote Wikipedia –

“The term vernacular is derived from the Latin vernaculus, meaning “domestic, native, and indigenous”; from verna, meaning “native slave” or “home-born slave””

Native and Home born slave, I think that title suits some of us the best because that’s the effect globalization has had on us. Mother tongue has just become a dialect for most of us,its lost the respect a language should be given and the credit for that goes to the universally acclaimed language “English”

English no doubt takes you places,but that’s because when we walk into a book store/library we always pick up a book written in English and if by any chance we pick up a book written in any of the twenty two languages given by the government of India, we are made to feel so very “tacky” I’d say.

English was a language used by the rulers of our country, we struggled to get freedom from the British rule however celebrate the hard earned victory every year through speeches written in their language, what an irony!!! 

The bigger irony is that the British Government before independence proposed to establish a National Academy of Letters to help set high literary standards, to foster and co-ordinate literary activities in all the Indian languages and to promote through them all the cultural unity of the country and hence in December 1952, Sahitya Academy, India’s National Academy of Letters came into existence. It is the central institution for literary dialogue, publication and promotion in the country and the only institution that undertakes literary activities in twenty-four Indian languages, including English. Over the 56 years of its dynamic existence, it has ceaselessly endeavored to promote good taste and healthy reading habits, to keep alive the intimate dialogue among the various linguistic and literary zones and groups through seminars, lectures, symposia, discussions, readings and performances, to increase the pace of mutual translations through workshops and individual assignments and to develop a serious literary culture through the publications of journals, monographs, individual creative works of every genre, anthologies, encyclopedias, dictionaries, bibliographies, who’s who of writers and histories of literature.

Bravo!!! I must say to the great recognition Sahitya Academy has bought to our Indian Literature especially the numerous efforts infused by them to “ promote good taste and healthy reading habits” and create great writers like “Premchand”, “Mulk Raj Anand”, “Vikram Seth”,”Kushwant Singh” and so on….

Sarcastic is what I wanted to be when I read the description about the achievements of the Sahitya Akademi,to me the achievements can be classified in just two categories, one creating a name for themselves and two, reaping the benefits of being a government recognized institution, because if they really did what they claimed to have done.The youth of today wouldn’t have to google to get information about the beautiful colossal of Indian literature.

Since I’ve mentioned the word “youth”, I’m of the opninion that nothing better than media can be the voice of today’s youth, however it’s the media that propagates Indian literature and languages in a completely different dimension. If one happens to switch over channel’s which I believe is one of the most common task of our day, you’d know what I’m talking about – it rankles my mind to the extent that I’ve sometimes wanted to get into the television set and tell the character on the screen the right pronunciation and meaning of the word he/she is trying to use, phew!! I wonder how that’d be like…

If I’m allowed to take a step ahead, I would want to walk up to the members of some political party and give them a pat on the back for the mayhem created just to keep alive the language of the state and giving it, its due respect. Have you seen the ad which says – “jaago grahak jaago”,I want to rephrase it a little if I may and put it forth as,” jaago bharat jaago” because the day ain’t  far enough when the many languages bequeathed to us by the constitution of India would just be dialects and we’d struggle to form the simplest sentence in Hindi which happens to be our national language. Time we contemplated over the expression – “Mera Bharat Mahan”

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