If Hindi is a threat to our national and regional languages, what about English?

The hypocrisy lies in our belief that Hindi would/will corrupt our children, yet constantly mixing English with Urdu

It lies in objectifying Hindi as threatening to our language but stereotyping Urdu; for example those who are well-spoken in Urdu must not be fluent in English, similarly, they may be old-fashioned

All stereotypes

Therefore, the real question is whether it is mother tongue versus foreign language, or mother tongue versus Hindi? The Zee TV generation (myself included) and their parents know that the arrival of cheap cable showered us with a variety of content on television

This included opportunities to learn English through Western shows as well as pick up Hindi words from Star Plus

Soon, Urdu was on the backburner as Ainaq Wala Jinn fizzled in thin air and children replaced Urdu words with Hindi in their daily speak

The honest answer is that even without Star Plus, Zee TV and now Doraemon, we have pitted Urdu and our regional languages against foreign languages

Parents complain that children are learning Hindi words from Doraemon

But the cartoon is not the only one to corrupt our language

Even 10 years ago, a student in my Urdu class was shocked to learn that ‘sehmat’ is a Hindi word for ‘ittefaaq’ in Urdu

Now over the same 10 years, parents have started using a combination of English and Urdu with their children in the hopes of developing bilingual skills to ensure academic strength

“Beta, shoes pehen lo!” “Shirt kahan hai?” “Yeh table pe rakh do!” These are only a few of the dozens of corruptions we make in our language as English words have crept in our daily speak

Even though each of the English words used above have Urdu counterparts, we still include them

The idea here is not to undermine the importance of English or any other language, but to speak one language at a time if it is a so-called ‘corruption’ we fear

I remember that my parents never feared my potential incompetence in the English language (which is already so actively taught in our schools now) but rather stressed upon me speaking pure and proper Urdu or English – one at a time

It did not make me any weaker in English; rather it gave me strength and confidence to excel in both languages at school and otherwise

An example of strong bilingual skills, yet preserving in each, is found in the United States where learning Spanish is compulsory for many children

Yet, we don’t hear them say, “May I sit on the silla?” instead of, “May I sit on the chair?” This does not compromise their language, English

Neither does it compromise the one they are adopting

The second hurdle we face in this linguistic crisis is the typifying of those who prefer Urdu or a regional language over English

We demean Urdu and regional languages as much as we demean Hindi, leaving us in this hypocritical state, so-much-so that excelling in them becomes a reason for judgmental reactions and stereotypes

I, too, have been a target of this criticism, especially for my decision to pursue Urdu at a higher level (even after ‘O’ levels) instead of foreign languages

Why does being good at Urdu reflect weakness? Why does excelling in English showcase strength? It is this inferiority complex and consciousness of our own language that allows even animated characters like Doraemon and Nobita and Indian vamps on TV to take over our children’s tongue

Doraemon is certainly not worth watching for the values it imparts – but to rest the fall of our language on it is unfair and unrealistic

It is our own failure to decide what our children should learn to speak first

And, by not confidently speaking our own language with them throughout, we have allowed this corruption

Be it Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pashto or any other language we speak, we must speak it in its pure form and then expect our children to learn it

The same goes for English or any other foreign language

Date:06-Aug-2016 Reference:View Original Link