Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ha ha, language issues

The other day I had to give a speech at my complex. While some people came up to tell me it, in the usual nice way people have, that is was `inspiring', one vinegary person pointedly told the organiser the matra basha was being ignored by some people!! He meant me, of course. Sod, I am from Tamil Nadu. I speak passable Hindi and can be understood well enough. I am also suffering when the language comes out a bit wonky (because I am a linguistic freak and it hurts me more that a language rolls crudely off my tongue) but that is not due to my not trying. In childhood is when you really pick up the nice nuances of a language. If political leaders in my state had not played politics I would also be speaking great Hindi. But instead of appreciating that I can speak the language well enough perhaps not elegantly enough people still pick on me!! One school kid who (I was teaching yoga to that bunch) once told me that I `sounded horrid' when I speak Hindi. I don't think so at all -- but thanks to Bollywood actors, from Mehmood onwards, poking fun at our Tamil-accented Hindi is a big laff:) Any case, I will laff along -- all I can say I love all languages and I feel attempt must be made to speak all elegantlyand yes, regional languages must be given prominence because otherwise they will suffer greatly as future generations neglect them completely. Indian languages are beautiful and spiritual and each must be conserved and the only way one can do it long-term is to bring them in use in daily currency.

Coming to the language issue here, while the Shop boards names issue became big, the media generally ignored all the events happening in my part of town (Thakur village). Lots of shops got into real trouble, as seems to happen as a matter of routine here. In any case, following that, some shops have gone overboard and do not have any name in English -- the idea was to have the shop name in both languages I thought. See Garcia, the pizza guys, in the above photo:)

In Tamil Nadu, where also the language issue has long been politicised, everywhere you will find boards both in English and Tamil. That is because Tamil Nadu has international aspirations.

If any foreigner comes to Thakur village (surprisingly, quite a contingent lives here) I can imagine him looking at the Garcia board and wondering.... I mean, it does not even a small pizza or a food plate image to indicate what it is selling!! Fear, as they say, can be quite a key!

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