Mother tongue is breast milk

India is a third world nation where the pertinence of English is indubitable. The language has played a significant role in shaping up a modern nation. Being one of the major languages for communication across the world, Indian diaspora has increased leaps and bounds outside the country. The reason for India being the world’s second-largest English speaking nation in the world after the United States is that there are many states with different mother tongues. The division of the provinces is predominantly on linguistic grounds. Apart from the local languages, there are many dialects spoken.

U.N. has recognized five languages as its official languages and of them, English takes the first position because of its background, international acclaim of easy access to the people. If we go back to historical facts, we see that half of the globe was under the British imperialism. Those countries coming directly under British rule had by necessity or under compulsion to learn English and the rest either being influenced by the English culture or to keep pace with modern trend had but to opt for learning it.

French, German, Greek and definitely Sanskrit are not inferior to English, yet the fact is, English had stood the test of time. From the pragmatic point of view, it should receive a great boost. Inflict, English serves as a window to the world. It is known to all that the legacy of the English language has left an indelible imprint on the Indian psyche. Hence we can’t deal with English just like a foreign language. Secondly, the entire spectrum of education and philosophy, science and technology can be better understood through this language.

The common practice all over the world in the modern age is to learn the English language to facilitate easy understanding political, social, cultural and religious issues because this language is easier than French, German, Greek and Sanskrit. It is with the help of this language that we are gaining knowledge of modern science and technology and are keeping ourselves in touch with the most progressive ideas and current thoughts.

English has emerged as the most important global language. It is a wrong view to hold that it is a language of the British alone. English has evolved to be a language of science and technology. Majority of all important books for higher studies are written in English. The Indians must not keep their eyes closed in this adventurous period of globalization.

But over the last decade and a half what perturbs the most the incorrect way of framing sentences, outlandish enunciation and the colonial hangover which is jeopardizing not just the language but impacting the proper erudition of their mother tongues, Bengali or Bangla in particular as I hail from a state where Bangla is the official tool of communication.

The bulk of the gen-next is oblivious to the language movement that has taken place in our immediate neighbouring country for safeguarding the sanctity of Bengali language. The bhasha shahids or martyrs of language had laid down their lives to protect the language. After facing lots of tyranny the new country Bangladesh was formed in 1971 with Indian aid, not to mention after a well-fought war. Bangla became the national language of a nation. We Bengalis have almost forgotten their contribution. In fact, I wasn’t surprised that many of the new millennium children don’t know anything about the movement. Though many of them posted their Facebook and WhatsApp status about their attachment towards Bengali.

I actually don’t blame this generation. It is the collective failure of the governments and parents. English has become synonymous with avant-gardism. A large section of the working and business class have migrated from other states endangering our language. The masses also got along with Hindi. Not shudh Hindi but filmy Hindi has been embraced. Guardians are suggesting Hindi as a second language, English is the first. Amar chheler Bangla ta thik ashey na. You know my son isn’t acquainted with Bangla is a favourite catchline of an umpteen number of proud parents.

Let me throw some light on the background of a few of these parents. Most of them completed their schooling or discontinued their studies from the local Bangla medium schools in the turbulent seventies and lethargic eighties of the last century. The then state government had shunned the learning of English from the grass-root level giving rise to countless English medium schools. These very parents address their child beta unlike khoka or mamoni as we were called during our growing years. When asked why the answer was hilarious. Beta sounds modern. I feel sorry for these species. They are so indifferent that they are muddled amidst modernity, English and eruditeness. Unsurprisingly the concerned guardian is a philistine to such an extent that he himself can’t frame a correct sentence citing Bengali as his native linguistic. He suffers from a certain kind of inferiority complex which is why he doesn’t prefer his next cohort to learn his mother tongue. Predictably his spouse is also of the same feather. She is uncouth to the core. They have never taught their wards that mother tongue is like breast milk, the first official intake of every living being on earth. Every materialistic demand of the child is fulfilled without inquiry. These broods will never learn correct English whereas their disdain for their mother tongue continues. And we keep searching for sources that are threatening the learning process of our mother tongue. It lies within. Introspection is the need of the hour.





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