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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Start of the Day: Take pride in your language

Dunno why but at the start of the day, a quote of Jawaharlal Nehru sprung to mind, "The only way for a people to grow, for their children to learn is through their own language."


Last year, while I was traveling in Kochi with my sister, the driver who was taking us told me, "I heard you and your sister studied outside Kerala most of the years. But you both speak our language beautifully better than most people here. How do you do that?"


I said that my parents insisted we learn to speak, read and write Malayalam wherever we were. That's as simple and effective as it gets.


Start of the Day: Do our kids know their own roots?
Today, our kids learn the names of plants, trees, rhymes and everything from other countries more than their own. Gradually, it is from the home or sometimes from dedicated teachers they learn about their own local facts. For example, our kids know about trees, birds, plants in other countries more than what is in their own backyard. 


Start of the Day: Are we going overboard with 'global' thinking?
Spiritual masters - take any of them - spent years trying to explore and understand their own roots before going to any place else. We think that we are doing a favor to our kids by telling them to learn what is globally relevant. Good enough but should it mean that we don't teach them what is locally relevant as well?


Start of the Day: Languages have real, original gems that we know little about
Try translating a beautiful proverb in an Indian language to English. You will find that it loses its soul and essence. So, imagine the great loss that each Indian language faces when each generation loses touch with it. The power and reach of one's own language cannot and should not be underestimated.


It could be because I meet many Malayalis in India who take immense pride in saying they can hardly speak their mother tongue Malayalam. I also have many Bengali friends who complain the same that their children have lost touch with their language and cannot read or speak it well. So, this is a far spreading malaise that can wipe out the beauty and essence of a variety of Indian languages.


English is a global language but to put it plainly, you don't switch mothers when you see a beautiful English woman, do you? Mother is always a mother. The same applies to one's own language, religion and country.


As globalization and its effects embrace us, lets respect that and teach our kids about their own roots. Let them embrace their identity with more awareness and understanding.


Or, do we want to bring up children who are totally ignorant about themselves - their language, their tradition and beliefs, their country?


I don't and will not take such a risk.

4 comments:

Asha said...

Beautiful post! I myself wanted to write a post on this. Emotions and feelings are best expressed in your mothertongue than in any other. I too grew up outside TN and can speak good tamil, read and write. So do my children. Infactt they were born outside TN and live outside can speak very good tamil and read too.

Posts like this are the reason why you were awarded 'Versatile blogger' by me. You missed my post, perhaps. Take it when you are free.

harimohan said...

Agree with you Swapna
we just cant miss our roots
actually i cannot read malayalam very fast and becos of this i miss malyalam literature a lot
but
the homebred malayalee should also lose thier cynicism to other languages specially english which they are quite poor in

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

@Asha - It's great to hear that your children speak, read and write Tamil well. That's the kind of generation we should bring up. Hats off to you and to them! I am sorry I missed the post on Versatile Blogger. Will check and hey, many many thanks for awarding it to me.

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

@Harimohan - Yes, I understand what you mean. Thank you for dropping by to read. Really appreciate it.

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India is my Country & my Pride