In an effort to learn English and become globally accepted citizens, we gradually lose touch with our mother tongue.
Often, we hear people making falsified attempts to speak in English leading to much embarrassment. The accents are fine but it has almost come to a stage that we seem embarrassed to speak in our mother tongue or a language that we are more comfortable with.
Is this our own way of being with the times or gain artificial acceptance or is it that our fundamental system of upbringing no longer fosters this. We decided to check if it is only our youth who have lost their emotional connect with their mother tongue or are parents equally responsible?
“I have been speaking in English since childhood. My parents used to talk to each other in Gujarati but never with me. They wanted me to speak in English as it meant being ‘elite ’ and ‘well educated’ to them. Even at family gatherings, no one spoke in Gujarati, and it was not surprising. Going to the US, speaking in English and earning well is a societal norm and parents just go by it. Hence for me, it was English that naturally flowed,” says Shashi Triwedi (24).
Harmeet Kaur (25) says that speaking in mother tongue is a choice not a compulsion for her. “When I was six, my parents used to send me to the Gurudwara to learn Gurmukhi. I could read and write in Punjabi but I gradually began to skip those classes because I wanted to have time to play. Today, I can read with difficulty though I speak fluently; from my childhood my parents spoke to us in Punjabi and we used to reply in Hindi. This continues even today. It’s not like we have lack of knowledge about our mother tongue, it’s just we don’t speak it frequently,” she adds.
“Frankly speaking, I know very little of my mother tongue, says Prerna Mahajan (27). It was only my grandmother in our family who spoke in Bihari, otherwise no one else did, at least with me. When I spoke to her, my mother was our translator. So, it’s my lack of knowledge and no one to communicate with that led to my discomfort with my mother tongue. I don’t think I want to learn it. I’ll rather prefer learning Spanish or French to add to my Resume,” she adds.
Echoing this, Piyush Singh (36) says, “I am married to a Sindhi girl and we don’t live with my parents as I am working here. I don’t know Sindhi either. So, when we had a baby, we decided to talk to him in either Hindi or English. Although my parents insisted on teaching my son both the languages, we were okay with our son not knowing his mother tongue; Hindi and English are anywise the most commonly spoken languages in India and he can communicate through them,” he adds.
English is taught and spoken across India since it has emerged as the universal language of communication and choice. Yet, staying acquainted with ones native language is probably sensible.
It is probably time for us to introspect to see if we are doing anything to keep our mother tongue alive and passed down generation after generation. Think !
#All views expressed in this column are those of the individual respondents (names changed to protect privacy) and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to this.
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