Recently I saw this Bollywood movie called ‘Hindi Medium’ which brings out the hypocrisies of a nation that is ashamed to speak its language. Thanks to this movie that inspired me to share my thoughts today on the issue that have always concerned me.
As I started travelling overseas I learnt how nations that have progressed, treasure their languages and how their citizens take pride in using their mother tongue. The Chinese, the Japanese, the Russians, the French and the Germans are just a few examples and the list is endless. But I get ashamed and dejected upon thinking how badly we treat our languages. The situation is so bad that most of us would scratch our heads if we are asked to write even a moderately difficult paragraph in Hindi. Or just forget about that and ask yourself, when was the last time that you wrote something in Hindi? Not the kind of Hindi in WhatsApp texts that we send all day using the Latin script but I’m talking about writing something in our Devnagri script. Also, is it not a sad reality of our society that there is no dearth of schools where children have to pay a fine if they speak in Hindi.
And as I write about this issue today, so let me also talk about those Indian parents who talk to their kids in English. I myself have plenty of such friends in my circle and I would like to say this to such friends of mine that you don’t look any modern or sophisticated when you use English with your kids at home and at public places. The only thing you look like is a fool. And then there is this second category of people whom you identify with “Beta, food finish kiya”, “Mamma ka finger hold karo”, “Hand wash karke aao”. This category of people is mainly comprised of housewives, especially the newlyweds. This category is worse because they can’t even frame a full sentence of English and yet won’t let go of a single chance to flaunt their English. These people are not fools, because they are cartoons. And finally there are some unique people like one of my good friends in Delhi, who would talk to me in Hindi but would talk to his parents only and only in English! My father is not an exception either who despite of being a Professor of English can’t speak fluently in English and yet take utmost pride in using as many English words as possible in a damn desi hindi sentence.
The first two categories when combined form the category of people who are overly worried about their child’s future and unfortunately we all have such friends and relatives around us. Dear such people let me tell you that it is not how much you worry for your child that would make their careers, rather it would be their own hard work & destiny that would shape their future. Here I would like to take my own example. I did my schooling from average institutions and in all my life I have never spoken a full sentence of English with my parents and yet today I comfortably manage conversations in English with people from across the globe and moreover I scored 8 bands on IELTS very recently. I’m not trying to brag or boast myself but I fail to understand that when an ordinary person like me can be reasonably good at English without making any special efforts then why speak a foreign language in our everyday lives and become a laughing stock. Why not just send our children to an English medium school and let the school do the rest.
I’m not against the English language, it’s a wonderful language and the only link language that breaks borders and connects all of humankind. I’m against using English as a tool to divide; it is wrong to establish English as a class and as a symbol of status and power. A huge responsibility lies on the employers in the private sector of India who are mistakenly promoting English as a prerequisite to any and every job in India. It is nothing but funny that in our country interviewers expect the candidate to speak at least basic English even while recruiting an office peon.
I would like to conclude by saying this to all my countrymen that we can never progress as a nation until we respect and are proud of our motherland and our mother tongue.
Jai Hind & Jai Hindi!