Wednesday, December 07, 2005
The End of a Culture!
For a long time now, I have taken great pride in calling myself a 'global villager'(if the world has become a village, that makes us villagers, right?)! Cosmopolitan outlook, living in a multicultural environment, and just assimilating into it, leaving your own ethnic identity behind. Never really thought if I had an option but to become an integral part of the crowd. But still, the thought keeps nagging me- what of my culture, my roots?
Let's take an example. My grandfather, born and brought up in the Pakistani part of Punjab, knew five languages- Punjabi, Urdu, Persian, Hindi, and English. My father knows four(all of the above except Persian). And yours truly??? Hindi and English, that's all. I can understand and speak some tooti-phooti Punjabi, but...! And it's not just me, I look around at people around me, and the situation is the same everywhere. It's not a problem with me, it's a problem with a whole generation, it's just that some of us just haven't realized the seriousness of it. I sometimes wonder- If I ever get married, my parents, aunts, uncles etc. will be there to sing traditional folk songs, will know all the rituals which have been a part of our heritage for centuries, the whole atmosphere will be distinctly Punju. Cut to the marriage of my children(hypothetical scenario- If I ever get married, and subsequently, If I ever have children)- who is going to know anything at all about any song or ritual, we hardly know enough of the language to ask for water!
Another generation later, the whole rustic, earthy Punju culture would have died out, in my family, and in many other families who have become a part of this cosmo-culture.
Scary??? I really don't know what can be done about it, but maybe there's still time. Maybe we will no longer be ashamed or afraid of using our mother tongue in a city like Bombay. Maybe we are too old to learn, but we can ensure that our children listen to a lot of our language at home, they learn to read it, write it, speak it and understand it, just like they would learn English or Hindi. Maybe people will appreciate that instead of(or in addition to) teaching French/German to their kids as a status symbol, they should teach them their mother tongue. After all, the destiny of a centuries-old culture depends on it! Cheers!
actually I am always surprised to hear that people do not speak their mother tongue.
No offence :D
I blogged hop from AFJ's blog.
CHarity starts at home.Your observation that most folks are unable to speak in thier mother tongue fluently is quite correct. How do you expect it to happen when folks at home converse in English?
Education first starts at home Wan.It is certainly going to get worse with the next generation unless of course we seriously implement certain home rules.
Rita: No offence taken ma'am, just kidding:-)
AFJ: The case in my family is similar. I still have pangs of guilt occassionally and try my hand at speaking Punjabi, but my brother has totally disowned the language!
Aquamarine: Welcome! I sincerely hope that at least some of us can keep the faith!!!