A Language Facing The Modern Era: Serious Concern

Akshay Dutt Tiwari

Wait wait…a noise coming from outside…that window.”[soliloquy]…I opened the window wide and… “Stop Hindi imposition” , “Hindi is not a National language” , a mammoth procession with agitation going with banners in each hand. “Imposition, what a selective word giving fire to their procession”-I thought and smiled. Is it patriotism for nation or a linguistic patriotism? As I observed, this “Stop Hindi imposition” is nothing but a type of behaviourist attack on the lang. with different selfish motives. I asked myself more or less- first,what their purpose or intention behind that procession or rallies? Second,why only regional states[non-hindi] take part in these types of processions? Then after brooding I come to know. Really speaking, they just try to develop specific culture and language,collectively or individually. Slowly and gradually, linguistic conflicts have taken place of linguistic revenge nowadays.

A language is of course a medium of communication, conversation, expression of ideas, thoughts, sentiments, etc…While interacting, I asked many foreigners regarding Indian lang. and their perception about the native lang. of India.Answer I got from them- “Hindi” . I mean,for any foreigner India is a country the lang. most highlighted above all Indian languages is Hindi.

In general, foreigners consider Hindi a native lang. of Indian land [but not actually native for Indians]. For them it’s native because as far as lang. is concerned they see the country as a whole in broader sense but not a country with different states, languages and dialects. For instance, if you ask any individual belonging to other state about the lang. frequently spoken in northern India, their answer would be- Hindi. But you see, other languages and dialects also in practice in those states. Likewise, for any foreigner there’s a common prepossession regarding lang. of any country.

So, when we say ‘raashtra‘ , it connotes country and state both. Now, people who belong to particular state[raashtra] or bhasha[lang.], they don’t consider Hindi a National lang.[raashtra bhasha] or official lang. But this perspective is apparently ok up to certain extent…why?

Like English, Hindi is a mixture[khichari] of many lang. In this way,Hindi is not a ‘raashtra bhasha’ in one sense. But what if it takes a form of rallies and riots and reveals another aspects and intention behind? I mean, if it takes a form of rallies and revenge and creating linguistic conflicts then it signifies that in which sense or perspective they have taken the word- ‘ raashtra’ [state] and ‘bhasha’ [lang.], isn’t it?

This is one of the reasons behind their dirty politics for a particular lang. and also one of the alternate way behind the rallies and processions to promote and get recognition for lang. of a particular state, in a veil. They make various political agendas and propagandas to politicise selective lang.[sounds like selective criticism] a ruling lang. over a particular lang…By doing so, they could disturb the upcoming generations through such thoughts and mentality for a lang. Unfortunate is that a big stripe[majority] play a vital role who consider themselves educated, civilized, and cultured, or a philosopher, a teacher,a lecturer or a professor…They enthusiastically get involved and initiate and influence such rallies and compel others to follow their crowd. Eventually, such rallies take a shape of a big riots…and that’s what we see.

Now, questions are obvious to arise. If they are enthusiastic and interested in rallies, why are they not enhancing their rallies to protect endangered languages?I think it would be great if they do so. If Bangla[bengali], for instance, is one of the most widely spoken lang. in the world, what’s the reason of agitation or the purpose of shouting – “tumi ke, ami ke?” [what/who are you, what/who am I?] and response they get in same tone- “ami bengali, tumi/aapni bengali” [I’m bengali, you are bengali].This is how they are boycotting Hindi [or may be other regional lang.] and this one aspect which can be seen directly. But we shouldn’t ignore the other side of the coin and that is- while doing so, they try to fill in every ‘mind’ a mentality of isolation and people of that region tend to think that they are separate state or region from other states and regions. There’s reason behind. The reason is to show their lang. is unique and high-rank than other lang. and literature. That’s called parochialism.

Linguistic diversity is really a major concern to be taken into account. Shall I say, it‘s disturbing the day to day life of common or general public on the basis of linguistic discrimination. As per my observation, this discrimination on the lingual basis, further, could give birth to the ethnocide mentality in the ‘fresh mind’ which could be responsible for lang. death or shall I say, lang. attrition. As we know, many other countries other than India had/have been facing the linguistic discrimination. The government of a particular state or country get compelled by the public opinion for the division of country or state due to lang. controversies. However, there’s no such thing as lang. controversy but I think it’s an egoistic state of mind which reflects in a particular place and spreaded all over.Negative factors and environment are of course responsible for such state of mind which enforces us to refuse to accept Hindi[or a particular lang.] as Indian lang. even.

Frankly speaking, whether or not, we consider Hindi an official lang. or a National lang., it doesn’t really matter. But, like Satya mev jayate [National emblem], Hindi also represents and symbolizes nation’s integrity and serenity and that’s what matters a lot a lot! Actually, we have been distracted by our past or history, slaves and by many other reasons for years that we are unable to catch or perceive in a right way the nationality or patriotism for the nation, isn’t it?

Critics mind may criticize when I use this phrase- “Ram ji ki chidiya Ram ji ka khet, kha lo chidiya bhar bhar pet” [in this Indian land, no restrictions for ‘birds’ to get their ‘stomach full’]…Even in today’s context this phrase is reasonable, wrapped with the concept of togetherness. Where that culture gone which says- “Atithi devo bhava” [the guest is equivalent to God] ??? India is known for this culture and I think it’s difficult to protect our heritage by ignoring the very base of our culture and even impossible to protect our heritage or culture from the wave of linguism. India is known for its spirituality, various religions, different regional cultures and so for the different languages as well…and that’s called diversity.

Now, what if the diversity creating the whole lingual controversy? Again it’s our fault…It’s not diversity which creates the controversies but in fact it’s our mentality which is responsible for creating such conflicts and controversies and keep dividing us in different ways and also on linguistic basis. No lang. is superior than the other. We should learn from the universe[space] as it’s really a great example. Inspite of diversities, nothing is going unnatural above, isn’t it? Planets and meteorites are moving in own way and axis, planets revolve round the sun, we see in morning, sun in the east and evening, in the west…It’s all natural. So, languages of the world or a country are also natural, we read, write, speak or learn to convey our thoughts and ideas. Even for a moment, if we think of this big world of advancement, the conflicts and discrimination based on lang. is just poppycock. Consciously we are still in sleeping modeit’s time to wake up now. I mean, this is the point where patriotism must come in us to protect and save our country from linguistic discrimination.

Change is obvious for evolution, growth, and development, no doubt. But linguism can make the people of country and state self-centered in such a way that growth and development will highly be affected. In organisational level, it affects the overall organisational behavior and functions. It creates the ambiguity for employers and employees relationship and their working environment, which further creates hinderrences to achieve and accomplish a determined target of an organisation on time. In this way,emplyees from other states, when they shift or migrate for work to any other state, they don’t get congenial environment or they find themselves incapable to cope up from the dominance of regional linguism.

Last but not the least, when minor issues[individual level] become the mentality[majority] then it’s hard to cope up with, isn’t it? So, the government must take a right step for maintaining the deference and decorum of languages and the nation, and also an appropriate action against those rallies, processions and such goons who are exaggerating the ‘fire’ by taking political advantage, otherwise that can become the thin end of the wedge in coming future. Thank God English continues to serve as the lang. of prestige today, accepted and spoken world wide. They can’t draw a veil over this lang. because it could cause trouble or embarresment.

Aah come on, let’s shut the window now…” [soliloquy]..