Remnants of British Era are still so prominent in our lives, that we refuse to give up the feudal hangover and being an English medium becomes the measure of our knowledge. Today enormity of English cannot be denied in our lives.
Yes ,English is just not a language , but rather the measure of an individual’s intelligence, in today‘s day and age.
It is so diligently embraced and imbibed as the high flown language , that it has attained the tag of being the official medium of communication in our social lives.
Despite of being aware of the fact, that majority of the Indians converse in their mother tongue,
we still emphasise the significance of being an English medium, that even the children in their tender years are constantly pressurized to be fluent in the alien language.
Like all earnest parents who desire their kids to become fuller human beings through english medium education, my parents too, emphasised the significance of the subject matter, quite early in my life.
Dad being a Fauji was well conversant in the Language , but the Punjabi medium had left an everlasting effect on his vocabulary . The teachers of government school taught him subjects and topics in such a way , that they became his life lessons with a strong base . What the hindi medium school taught him , even the military academy could not teach him.
The base or foundation of education was so strong , that even the convent educated or students from private schools could not compete with him , except for his spoken english or the pronunciation part.
There were many awkward moments for him, with flashes of insecurities creeping in, at times.
Though he could put any foreigner to shame , through his english grammar and formation of sentences, but when it came to conversations , they were limited to monosyllables.
Though over the years he has picked up the nuances of conversation in the Language but some things still fail to change. For instance , his love for food takes him to various food joints and restaurants, but when he asks for the Menu card, it becomes the ‘Meenu card ‘ though the initial embarrassment has now been taken over by laughter’s, over such lunch dates., but dad is not ready to drop the extra ‘e’ from the word, while calling it out loud and clear to the waiter, each time he places his order, and no, there are no astrological reasons behind it, the reason is purely his local lessons .
It takes him some time, when he watches a Hollywood flick, to comprehend the English dialogues, though subtitles come as some relief for him.
On the other hand, I cannot read the signboards in punjabi while travelling and always look up to his assistance., which he proudly reads out , well this adds on like a feather to his cap, apart from knowing hindi and english.
I still remember, how desperately my parents wanted me to join a convent school, despite of being aware , that the Nuns at the Convent before admitting me, would put me and them, under scanner along with gruelling and grilling session of questions , basically testing our knowledge ,regarding our spoken English .
Moment the Nun at the Convent , asked me to recite an English poem, which I , did not, adding on to the embarrassment of my parents , the nun appeared to be an absolute despot to demure me, at that very moment, who was rather flabbergasted at my replies , leaving my parents in a farrago.
Further on , I added to their woes , by constantly asking about the things kept on the table of the Principal in the language coming under my comfort zone.
How treacherous I appeared to my parents , at that time , for speaking in our own mother tongue ,that they must have thought of disowning me , at that very moment.
It was only subsequently, that I realised , that English is mandatory , as Hindi becomes optional along with its poor cousins Sanskrit and Urdu in the long run.
The demand of the universal language has graduated from job interviews to school going kindergarten kids. Large hoardings , of english medium schools and coaching classes are not only limited to grownups but now the radar has tiny tots in its circumference.
Now the grooming classes with fluent english is in the offering for the primary kids as well, as these classes
bloom and mushroom in every nook and corner.
A scene from the movie “Satte pe satta”, is still so fresh in my mind, rather deeply embedded, where the dream girl acts as a tutor to her six loutish brother in-laws and teaches them English ,only to pick up ladies, the conversation which starts with “I like you” ,ends with “I love you”, after wooing and chasing the ladies. English here indeed became a funny language , atleast for me.
One more funny word , I have been hearing or rather bearing throughout my life is , the way many people rip apart the majestical word called ,”Lion,”, this is not limited to the kids only , I have confronted many adults , using the word in famous Ajeet style from the film “Zanjeer” , and pronouncing it as ,”Loin”.
Britishers introduced the Language on the indian soil , to produce Babu’s to make the clerical jobs easier for themselves, not knowing that it would soon become indispensable parts of our lives to an extent, that it has become the language of aspiration and an indicator of upward social mobility.
From BPOs to sales persons in the air-conditioned malls, the pizza delivery guys or the girls at the saloons, all are eager to climb the ladder of success, with the usage of the language.
Learning or speaking a foreign language is nothing to condemn about, but let it not be a barrier or divide amongst the classes or masses. Pushing oneself to a lesser known territory is an act of great will, but downgrading a person on his or her abilities of speaking in English is no measure of judging people.
Now a days ,There is a mad rush amongst parents to enroll their children in English schools, even before they are born. The panic striken parents are petrified at the idea of not getting a suitable school for their kids, and so they resort to tactics of acquiring swanky apartments or even projecting themselves from the economically backward classes, it becomes a hook or a crook situation for them.
Let’s not make language a barrier in judging people, whether one speaks impeccable English or hindi , both are languages, and a person speaking cannot be put in the category of being a feral or being inept at handling things or performing a task.
Let’s change this feudal mindset , where we get impressed by the english speakers and empathise or deride the others, because language is no criteria for a judging someone’s intelligence quotient.
Let teach our kids to be equally at ease with vernaculars too, let them be oblivious of the human language divide we have created, by erasing the superficialities and going deeper , for a strong foundation.