Language is the soul of human communication. Humans communicated and engraved the foundation of human connection in this living world. The dexterity of developing a wide array of languages is certainly the most attractive feather in the hat of human achievements on earth. Communication holds a huge meaning within its five syllables. In a world where life exists from bacteria to Rafflesia to blue whale, communication is omnipresent. Be it vocalization, olfactory, sign language or (being a microbiologist) quorum sensing. Life persisted on this earth, not only due to ample resources supporting life forms, but also due to a symbiotic association channelized through active communication. Humans proved their superiority by holding aloft the ability to speak. The timeworn pages of history have countless tales to tell about the origin and progress of different languages. Every language is draped in its own mellifluousness; every language holds an irreplaceable uniqueness; and every language is bestowed with a power to express emotions intricately. If language is an instrument of mere expression then WHY SUCH A HUE AND CRY OVER ENGLISH? World linguistics reveal the existence of 6500 spoken languages and English is just one of them. Yes! It is true that English is the leading actor in the play that is human communication. However, it still remains a language and not a sign of one’s supremacy.
I am a science graduate. Professionally, I was very much involved in biological research and presently endeavouring in the world of education. Science was of course my ambition but literature was my desire. As a child, my Sundays were never paid out before the idiot box. Rather, some prose or poetry from Tagore or a lachrymal gland influencing composition of Sarat Chandra or some emotional plays from Shakespeare always remained my favourite pastime. My formative ages bloomed amidst two languages, Hindi and English. My upbringing, far away from the land of my own mother tongue, probably forged an undying urge to learn and accommodate Bangla literature in my mind. Throughout my life I remained a non-resident Bengali and the true breed Bengalis almost ostracized me for not being at par with them in Bangla knowledge. Thirty years have passed, my love and urge towards Bangla ever enduring, but those Bengalis have changed. The once-upon-a-time pride of learning Bangla literature has waned drastically. I find parents proudly stating that their children are fluent in English and DO NOT KNOW Bangla. I find teachers snatching the mother tongue from the tongue of a kid and imposing some English words instead. Holding an English novel penned by a foreign author has become the vanity of teenagers. I see guys with the buzz words of ‘Hi bro wassup’ garnering much more attention than a guy who doesn’t speak English. Is it a situation restricted only to Bengal or amongst Bengalis? NO!!! Disregarding one’s mother tongue and embracing English has become an epidemic in India. Roam anywhere in India; English doesn’t remain a language anymore. Speaking in English is regarded as a status symbol, studying in that medium is perceived as a matter of prestige. The hilarity is it is not conversing in grammatically fool-proof English which is considered as a status symbol, rather the usage of slangs like ‘WTF’, ‘LOL’, ‘ROFL’, which has gained prominence. Opting for any foreign language as an additional subject is seen as adding value to one’s career. However, achieving a higher degree in one’s own mother tongue is regarded as futile and frivolous. And, the hilarious part, in a country like India where every state has a different language and literature, the biggest publishing houses publish in English. Bizarre, isn’t it?
English, the language of Englishmen, never became famous in a day. The language originated in Western Germany and the era of imperialism and colonisation played a huge role in making English prominent throughout the world. However, it achieved cult-status when an English-speaking country like USA became synonymous to power. You truly understand the prominence and predominance of English when every single development in human life is dictated in the same language. Be it a drug discovery or an economic fluctuation or the simple guideline of using an electrical appliance. There are almost 60 countries in the world which use English as their official language. It is certainly a bliss to have a grasp over English knowledge to quench one’s thirst of gaining knowledge in science or finance on in any other subject for that matter. Still, my statement remains unaltered. English is a language and a mode to express and certainly not a sign of supremacy. One’s supremacy is derived from one’s logical aptitude, intellect and ability to tackle life’s difficult situation. The knowledge of English is like an itinerary towards one’s knowledge destination. However, one’s ability to acquire knowledge is free from English and entirely depends on one’s basic intellect and endeavour. If English is the apex certificate of literacy, smartness and intelligence then I am afraid to say that there are many illiterates who epitomise idiocy yet speak in English because English is just their mother tongue.
My thoughts are never crafted to denigrate English. Neither can I do that nor can anybody in this world. Fabricating a language was the biggest triumph of human civilization. Every language spoken in today’s world is so grand and exemplary that humans are too small to affront them. Rather, my words are meant for those who proclaim to be superior and outstanding by disrespecting their own mother tongue and holding aloft English as the language supreme. A mother tongue is like the first alphabets of communication for humans. Without respecting A-B-C-D, can any of us reach the paramount of English language? The answer is an unambiguous NO. A language does not demand our undivided attention or respect but we as humans certainly need it to communicate, to emote and to express. Disowning our own roots can never help us mount new branches. Belittling one is never essential to appraise another. The same theory holds water for language as well. Conversing fluently in impeccable English cannot make you superior. Intellect, accomplishments, and acquired knowledge make one superior. English is indeed a beautiful language. Let it be a language. Do not canvass English as a sign of supremacy.1 comment