Singing is one of my favorite pass times. I have accounts in the karaoke platforms like Starmaker & Smule where I sing on various Indian tracks whenever time permits. Once, I decided to sing a popular Telugu song originally sung by Late Shri SPB Sir and I don’t know Telugu. The lyric of the song was written in only English and Telugu. I can’t read Telugu and it’s very difficult to read/write proper Indian pronunciation in English. If the lyric has “ADE” written it and you don’t know the language, then it’s tough to decide whether to pronounce it “AADEY” or “AID” or something else. So finally I had to listen to the song, a tiny portion at a time and write it down in my own mother tongue i.e. Odia (Language of Odisha) with respect to its actual pronunciation. If you know any Indian language well, then you can figure out that almost any kind of sound can be written using them. This is how I managed to sing a song in a language that I don’t know, with kind of ok pronunciation.
Now, thinking why I told this story? I’m pained a lot by seeing how many of our Indian languages are losing their favor and flavor. Let’s see what exactly I’m talking about:
Losing Favor: You need to learn a foreign language like English in order to read many books written by international authors in that language, communicate with people who either know only English or know English and another language that you don’t know & also to brighten your job prospects. We should learn English for the reasons mentioned above, but mustn’t underestimate or reject our own language altogether. I have seen numerous instances where people prefer to communicate in English rather than their own language. In some cases I’ve seen people speaking in Hindi instead of their mother tongue, though all parties involved have the same mother tongue. We should be proud of our languages and use it wherever possible.
Losing Flavor: (Taking example of my own mother tongue Odia): Those of you born in 1970s or before actually know how Odia is properly spoken or written in its real flavor. If you listen to younger people living in urban areas of Odisha speaking Odia, you would wonder what they are speaking really? Listen to the Odia channels on TV, you’ll find many programs where the Odia spoken is actually an amalgamation of Odia, English & Hindi. People these days consider the celebrities as role models, listen to them in any interviews and you’ll instantly recognize the type of Odia they speak. On top of that the competition among parents to send children to English medium schools, make them good in English and Odia is not required plays a big role. I’m sure this is not happening with just Odia, could be the same with many other Indian languages too. These things make me feel that the original flavor of the Odia language is diminishing.
Therefore I hereby appeal to everyone to kindly read, write & speak in your mother tongue whenever possible. Teach the same to your children as well, if your mother tongue is not taught in their schools. This will encourage your local authors to write more good books in that language and that will help the language to thrive.
Here is an excellent video where you can watch/listen to Dr Sudhanshu Trivedi talking about our Indian languages.