FUTURE OF MY LANGUAGE Skip to main content

FUTURE OF MY LANGUAGE

Earlier last year I went to Mumbai for an internship. People in Mumbai are of mixed culture. A heavy number among them is local people who speak local language i.e. Marathi. I also encountered the same situation everyday where I would find many people talking in Marathi in my office. Mumbai being an alive city will preserve its language for a long time to come. But this is not the case for every region.




I once had a chat with an old man sitting outside his house and thrashing the wheat. It was a nice morning in the month of July at a hilly area Karnaprayag. He was sitting on the ground and lived just 10 meters away from where I stayed. I used to see him everyday on the same chair while going to office. He was consistent. So was I. It was Sunday and my day off from office when I went outside the guest house into the sun. I used to live alone in that 3 BHK guesthouse and I used to feel alone sometimes. This loneliness lifted my feet in the direction of that man. I went to that man pretending to pat a dog who was sitting beside him. I stood beside him. A very old soul with wrinkles present all over his body. Every wrinkle shouting one of his story and experience of life. He was not that old as he looked but being in village, carrying heavy loads all his life made him look older than his age. Doing household chores is part of your day in a village of India. I stood beside him and offered him the biscuits showing which I had called the dog. The man smiled and his front two teeths had fallen off. I got the reason for the rejection. One for the dog and one for myself. I waited for that man to speak to me for maybe 10 minutes. But he did not. I had a long day ahead of me and was not leaving that man before he passed my time somehow. At least one hour I hoped.




I asked him, "What are you doing?". I knew what he was doing. I myself had done it in the past when I was a child for fun. But this is a very beautiful question to start a conversation. If a man is doing something and you ask him about it, he will speak about it. A lot. If he does not like it, he will curse it. If he likes it, well you have at least half an hour conversation ahead of you. I have experienced it hundreds of time. Ask to your father about his job, ask to a retired army man about the border and their eyes will shine like a newborn baby. The man started, "Oh! this is thrashing. I am separating this husk from the wheat" etc etc. I won't go into the details since this is not about wheat and husk. After an hour of conversation about few things we came to a point where he said me, "I am really sad about the way people leave this village." We came to this point after I told him that the organisation where I work goes to distant villages and distribute seeds of various plants so that they plant it here and get money worth their crop. Sad how? Well, they leave this village and move to a city. They forget their own men, their own culture, their own language.




He was worried about the fact that the children of his friends, who work in cities, don't know how to speak their local language. He told me how disheartening it is to see his own language just dying as his body comes near to death. His language and his culture is dying with him. All of his friends and their families now live in the cities. They earn better and have almost forgotten their own village. They visit once a year. Now you cannot compare your salary in a village to that of in a city. The expenses are much more in a city. But this is the excuse they give. Although I understand the better education and medical facilities reasons. But, will this leave all the villages just a piece of land? Do we need to settle down to our home town to practice the language we speak? India was a country with 19,500 languages according to the census (Census 2011 India) of which many are unknown or very less spoken. A good number of people speak around 760 languages out of which 250 have vanished in the past 50 years. This time is equivalent to one generation. We are losing our language generation by generation. Is it a good thing that India will succumb to just few languages? Or is it bad that India is losing its diversity? One of the most diverse country today pleads to the rural people to retain their culture and mother tongue. It is not important to live in a place to speak your language.



The old man was concerned about the same. He told me, "two generations more and no one would know what language we spoke." The language he speaks is quite popular in the north and two generations is very less time to write the language's name in the history. But yes, this language is disappearing generation by generation. I have witnessed it myself. He feels very ashamed when two local people talk in hindi instead of knowing the local language. There are it's own advantages of having a single language across the country. It helps to connect all the people to each other. All the parts of the country feels familiar. All the sign boards are readable. Or does this thing keeps India stand apart from many countries? Is it good? Or the man's worry was right? Maybe coming years would tell us.

Comments

  1. Yes it is to worry. I am also ashamed that i can speak few words of my language. My parents become sad that after their generation very few people speak their own language. He hurts when his childhood friends in neibouring village not talk to him in their regional language. It is hurting for them our parents and for their parents to see their language disappearing slowly by everyday.

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    Replies
    1. Yes. I have seen many people expressing their concern over this issue. I hope I see some change in the future with people feeling proud over Hindi rather than English.

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  2. Greetings from China. As a Chinese, I can totally related to you and your story. In my county, more and more young peoples are leaving their home town for big cities, what also left behind them are their languages, local cultures and custom, and everyone is now speaking Mandarin and forgetting their local dialects.

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