Apr 26, 2012

GuestSpeak: Do you speak English?

"Hey you need to improve your English"
I overheard an English speaking lad who sat right behind me, at the airport with his friend. “but you understood what I said, isn’t that more important? In any case English is not our language so I don't care about the accent" said she and burst out into giggles. I turned around to look at the girl; she must have been in mid thirties, beautiful looking girl who appeared to be a small town girl from north India. The young guy looked at her with disapproving eyes. I could make out he was  not too pleased with her reply but had no answer either and in my opinion she was absolutely right in what she had just said.
source: the internet

Often I come across people who either try to correct someone or look down upon someone who neither can’t speak English nor has an accent to spoken English. It’s surprising to see people address someone uneducated if he or she does not know English. In recent past we have seen the names of few states having been changed back to their original names and also witnessed enough bloodshed in the name of religion, there are people who are not willing to accept Hindi as their mother tongue but we do stand united on English. And that can happen only in our so called Incredible India. Surprisingly after years of freedom from foreign rule we still have not been able to come out of it actually made their stay linger on in our minds. There are several other countries that became colonies of imperial rule but India is one country that seems to have adapted to a foreign culture so well that it seems to have forgotten its own culture, values and life style .Adapting to good things about others is understandable but adaptability to a language to an extent that one feels superior to the other if one has a command over foreign language is quite surprising at least I am not able to understand.

My question to those who think knowledge of English language makes them a superior species, like American Hollywood Nigerians can have a Nollywood and India can have a Bollywood similarly if a British can have a Brit accent, so can an American an American accent why can’t an Indian have an Indian accent. Why do Indians have to be perfect in a foreign language? There are rare opportunities when one may have noticed some one laugh at the other or treat the other person as uneducated who does not have a good command over spoken Hindi for that matter any regional language. Nor have I come across a person say "I am uneducated as I don't know Hindi” but one often gets to hear "Saab padha likha nahin hoon is liye English nahin aati". I think it’s high time we Indians came out of the shadow of the British raj and feel proud as being Hindustanis.

This post is written for 'Hold the Thought, Get the Point' by Alka Narula.

You can catch some more of Alka's posts at her blogs here and here.
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