This comes under top secret, classified Government secrets – but I can safely tell you that we have no need to really worry about the nuclear bomb. The new weapon of mass destruction is worse – the vernacular.
The fall out is also more deadly.
We had disease, floods and droughts that once killed off our population in vast numbers. Now all we have to do is get p’proper government approved schooling. The advantage here is that you can opt for your vernacular. But the fallout is that it gets your jugular.
Try sitting for an interview where the interviewer knows only Tamil, Hindi, and Bengali, while you only know Telugu. Just the same if you knew only Swahilee and your interviewer, only Japanese.
No good for getting a job, is it?
But if you did some wire pulling and got a job in spite of such communication breakdowns at interviews, because you knew the prime minister’s secretary’s mother, then I suppose you would not fall into the category of the jobless, starving masses. If you were lucky, you could even land up with job as a doctor where always the doctor has the upper hand in killing the patient and not vice versa. (Legally you can blame it on the Latin in medical textbooks.)
Well, the History of Lingo is a bloody one!
When the first colonization took place, the British had dinosaurs for neighbors. Like all good neighbors, they were suspicious of each other and the fact that they did not speak each other’s language made things worse. The rumor that the dinosaurs ate humans for lunch was rampant.
So they hired a British multi – linguist spy to check out on the dinosaurs. The spy was told to give a precise report which stated whether the dinosaurs were vegetarians or non- vegetarians.
The spy lived in the dinosaur colony, for a while, observing them and was impressed with their kindness and consideration towards him and their peaceful compatibility with each other.
When the spy returned, he was asked for written report.
Precise – so a military decision could be taken.
Tick the appropriate – Vegetarian or non -vegetarian.
The spy simply wrote – truly Humanitarian.
The next day, the humans exterminated the dinosaurs.
India had British imposed English language while they (the British) ruled, and when we became independent (true Desi colonial rule), we became multilingual. But we have had to develop our own indigenous interface with languages so we can understand each other.
New developments took place.
Like Honking on the roads while driving anywhere, all the time.
The need for translation is not required.
Different states have adapted in their own unique ways to handling multilingualism.
Let me tell you about Delhi as an example. I live here. Perhaps the most unfair accusation the Delhi’ites are subject to is their reputation of being rude. This is simply not true. It implies that the Delhi’ites talk in a language which others can understand.
Soul language is the mother tongue of the Delhi’ite. It can be interpreted, but never interrupted. This is a language where words do not matter, but the emotion counts. It has its own uniqueness … and starts with Maa Ki… Behen Ki… or involves sign language involving thumbs with fingers along with vocals…there is also rich literature involving body parts.
Being the capital it has adapted to encompassing multilingualism on a global scale. You cannot feel lost here, you will always feel at home – like the generation gap with your parents, you do not understand it, but you feel it, it also has an association with home.
India is fast becoming the most favorite tourist destination for Indians. Go to a small, remote town in the interiors of this Asian sub -continent and you will be surprised- not only will you not know where you are, the locals will not be able to tell you too. The road signs will be in strange squiggles which will not match the GPS on your mobile and the sign language will fail to produce food, water, and directions.
No wonder the tourism industry is globally promoting India as the number one destination for adventure tours.
India is probably the only country that has shown great breakthroughs in solving the multilingual crisis. The solution is to go atomic.
Let me explain. The science of communication as we Indians have discovered, can be condensed into an atom – Hello. How you say it be it hello, Helooo or heliwo will convey the sentence, the mood and the meaning.
I learned the art from my Mother in- Law.
Relationships can be condensed into a single hello. She gives give me a cue – and I wish a hello, to my numerous in-laws, in the correct precise way (the pitch and tone precisely matched to the relationship). I do not remember ever having the necessity of adding any syllable to the hello. Or even going a word beyond it.
No linguistic or relationship complications, here.
And I am proud of my linguistic competence of being able to talk to anyone on any subject, in a single monosyllable.
No understand? Then you must be – Chinese? Briteesh? Bhusavalese ? Udipese ? Sirsaese? Tejpurese ? Malerkotlese ?
ISSUE 200 Jobnet magazine
Copyright © 2014, Lima Sehgal
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