"Languages - Make Us Strangers In Our Own Country?"
IDEAZ on – "Languages - Make Us Strangers In Our Own Country?"
by P . T . Choudary, Chairman
Institute for Democratic & amp; Economic Affairz(IDEAz)
Quotations for consideration:
- “Language is for easy and proper communication and not for proving one’s erudition or for snobbery.” - Anon
- “A common language is the most obvious binding element in any society.” - Michael Howard.
To encourage a common language and script that allows for better National Integration and ease of Global Communication.
- A National Language must allow for communication across the Nation.
- Even if Languages are different a common script helps.
- If our ancestors had insisted only on their ‘Mother Tongue’, then we should all have been speaking ONLY in PRAKRIT or PALI or SANSKRIT. If they sought the advantage of better communicability over purity of traditional language or mother tongue, then perhaps we too today, should strive for better communicability for each of us all across our country.
- India has about 25 major languages, each with its own script, and over 1600 distinct dialects across 28 States and 7 Union Territories.
- Though many Indians are multilingual from infancy, communicating across ALL languages and scripts is impossible.
As citizens of our Country, India, we are free to go where ever we please within it, but once we are out of our own State or the State we were brought up in, we are handicapped. We can no longer freely communicate either verbally or in writing with the people now around us. We find ourselves strangers within our own Country.
Perhaps some around us speak and understand English (or rather ‘INGLISH’-Indian English) and moving within that restricted circle we find our self quite at home, but that circle intersects often with other local circles in which people do not speak ‘INGLISH’ and there once again we are strangers or ‘Pardesis’ – at a loss. If we know some Hindi or Hindustani (the pidgin or mixed version of Hindi, Urdu and some of the other Indian Languages) we might get by in many parts of the Country where the local Language is Hindi or its cousin or in other urban centers where some of the people are familiar with Hindi / Hindustani. But in other areas, mostly rural, we will again find our self at a loss.
Not only that we can’t communicate, except for a few commonly recognized words aided by sign language, but we also cannot read or make sense of the Milestones, Name Boards, Destination Boards on Buses, Direction Boards, Buildings etc and hence cannot know where to go, and to whom, for help and even when we do find someone we are unable to communicate, we are handicapped.
So, as it is no one’s stand that everyone should know all the languages of the Country and yet, as we do need to be able to at least communicate with one another, we need to find a solution to this