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English - The Language of Status Symbol in a Third World Country

BY: megha mukherjee | Category: Issues | Submitted: 2012-04-28 10:16:21
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"I can talk English, I can walk English, and I can laugh English because English is a very phunny language. Bhairo becomes Byron because their minds are very narrow."

This very famous dialogue from an old movie "Namak halal"seems to have tightened its roots over the minds of average Indian people so strong that it has now become a vital part of the impersonation of a high class we all try to flaunt socially. Apparently, In India If you can't communicate or write in English, people are not going to take you seriously nor are you a suitable candidate for a good job. Sadly, being a graduate from Hindi medium school or college is no less than a taboo in the urban Indian society.

Just the other day I met a lady at the party who was Punjabi and could barely speak English, she could have chosen to speak in Hindi like many others do, but her rather vague attempts of trying and speaking a hilarious English or 'hinglish' to be specific, surely made her a laughing stock later after the party wrapped up. There were moments when I wanted to scream on her head "Talk what you can speak."But poor lady, I sympathize with her in some way, she tried hard enough to fit in between the so-called convent educated women of the elite class.

Sometimes I genuinely feel sad for our own language which is considered inferior to foreign languages, always! What a degradation of the rich Indus valley civilization where Hindi is no more valued and desired by its fellow Indians. Just everyone here you see is struck by the English mania, trying hard to become something they are not. Last night, I almost developed an allergy after hearing to the fake British accent of a very popular Bollywood actress over a television interview. I wish I could tell her to stop trying so hard, since everyone knows she was born in Bareilly, and that she already proves by speaking great Hindi in the films. So what's the point in faking it!
Nevertheless the typical Indian generology says if you know fluent English you are probably from a high class/family, if you don't know English you must be a small towner. It wouldn't be wrong to state that young India is an impersonation of the west and drifting away from the roots. Not many Indians take pride in speaking their national language these days and others shamelessly flaunt not knowing good Hindi. The reason being the same; association of a language with status and class or getting good jobs in future. With everything being read and written in India in English, including the school curriculums where Hindi is treated as a foreign language, Indians are left with no choice but to cope up with a language which dominates every sphere of our lives.

On the other hand the English of Indians has always been the topic of amusement in the west, and for them we still continue to be a third world country.
The irony remains...

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