Sunday, 13 March 2011

Lingua Franca

"East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet..."
-Rudyard Kipling

We have a strange problem in this country, and that problem is one of communication. Or,as the auto wallah in Bangalore said to me, in one poignant moment of greivously mismatched rhetoric, "Naai Aaatta..." So, the point I am trying to make here is, that of simple communication. One book which had a profound impact on me was Fritjof Capra's The Tao Of Physics.

I thought it was a load of shit. But it was in our 1st year curriculum, and I had to read it anyway. Now waht it said was something like, people make up words to communicate words, and once those ideas have been communicated, they forget the words they used. This makes sense. You see, language is all about ideas, and ideas do noyt come from the lnguage, they come from the person speaking the language.

Here's the point. Most ultra nationalist, Hindutva loving, saffron terrorists would deny this, but the primary mode of communication today, is in fact the english language. And while Hindi might be the official language of our country, there are very few people who, in fact speak it on a regular basis.

For we are a country without any homogeneity. Either in terms of finance or culture. We are a country with most people who have very little in common trying to find some common ground. India has over 1800 languages and dialects, and no one could expect any single person to know all of them. Hence, while Hindi may be our choice language for abuse, and filling up govern,ment forms....

WE all know its Englih we prefer.

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