To Vikram, an open Letter

Language is code, it is a tool – its purpose is to connect – and NOT cause people to drift apart. We must have a Common Language in India and make it stay COMMON in all sphere of our social and political lives.

There is no point in looking back at history and saying, we never should have been together in the first place, that Punjabis and Kannads are as different as the Brits and Italians (Vikram).

Fact is, we already have had sixty years time together – having decided to stay married and be a NATION. So it makes sense, if we do play along and stick to that tryst we had made with our combined Destiny.

Language is a resource. Yes. Most importantly – though – it is a TOOL. It is something to be USED for the larger, more important goals of living – safely, well and happily.

Staying together does help – history has proved it again and again.

It would perhaps be unwise to regress to the old ‘little worlds within a world’ of yore. Progress to the one world idea – would entail finding a Common Language – for one thing. People got to be able to talk to each other – share ideas, know-how, dispel fear, build trust and get working together.

There are ways to do this. Lets talk about those – oftener – instead of whining about all that is wrong. In fact, if we DO know what is wrong why not simply set down the rights – that needs be done? And start practising in our little worlds on our own, by ourselves, in class, with children, with blog mates, with our blogs, and more importantly staying TOGETHER – nurturing whatever strengthens the solidarity.

*As TOOL Language would evolve. A language would disappear as soon as it fails to serve it’s purpose (not cultural, but business, transactions, life enhancing, life-saving activities). We must accept that! Language isn’t an entity in itself. Do we ever regret the going of that great bog gen1 Computer that looked like an elephant?!

*Hindi isn’t killing any other language. Then Chinese might have killed English long back! One language doesn’t kill another. We give up using one in favour of the other as per our NEEDS.

*As for Culture, that totally depends on how it is passed on and nurtured. again it is hardly static and fixed. It is changing every minute of our active lives. What is valued today as an idea or practice, (say, knowing Bangla to remain Bengali) may not be tomorrow. If I didn’t speak Bangla, I would not be less of a Bengali! I could still access all the thoughts, ideas, practices related to Bong way of life through – people, media, mass media, education – albeit through the medium of a foreign language.

What do you say to that?

I do not want to be embroiled in the academic and political/administrative differences debate of what is National and what is Official. As long as I get to be me, an independent Indian citizen, am not rendered helpless in my own country, can negotiate my way through the streets of any Indian city, I would not bother, if I have to learn and accept and adopt a third or a second language.

Provided am taught that, when am small enough, and not be expected to learn it when, at age forty, I happen to enter your State and need to read the signs there. I like to be prepared. Simple. I do not want to have to learn languages every time I change State. It is a waste of time and resources I think.

“the culture of migration has a generalized effect upon the social atmosphere in which certain types of life choices and social interactions occur.””the choice of a course of study is made not on the basis of how interesting the individual finds it or even what the job opportunities (in India) are, but on the possibilities of future migration.” Also in your UP-TN post you mentioned migration, how it contributed to social value.

Migration and mobility is increasingly becoming a common way of life due to transfers, choice, defense forces mobility, business, politics, movement of resources. In this context, a COMMON language would have to be looked at seriously. To turn a blind eye to that reality is to regress.

The star-marked paras are mainly to address Odzer-‘s apprehensions expressed earlier, here, in comments. I, personally, completely stand by cultural conservation, provided it doesn’t slide into conservatism.

With every political, administrative and social measures adopted, I expect MY life as a citizen to get easier. I expect to be able to get wider choices, better access, more people in my life (philanthropically meaning of course) and more mobility. Thanks.

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18 thoughts on “To Vikram, an open Letter

  1. Can I make a comment about the language barrier not only in India, but throughout the World?

    I see that President-elect Barack Obama wants everyone to learn a foreign language, but which one should it be?

    The British learn French, the Australians study Japanese, and the Americans prefer Spanish.

    Yet this leaves Mandarin Chinese and Arabic out of the equation.

    An interesting video can be seen at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8837438938991452670 and a glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at http://www.lernu.net

  2. Trisha, thanks for your comments on my blog. I will respond to your comments and this letter, but first I have a quite difficult final exam to take next week, that I need to prepare for.

    Look for a response by me by the middle of the coming week. Thanks.

  3. @ Rolling : Let me butt in. Sorry but I just can’t help it considering we have been having this tiny debate for a while now. Let me start by saying that I agree with Vikram that “decentralization should be enshrined in the constitution”. Let me blunt as well. We do not need a common language. I said previously that there are many countries that exist without a common language and they seem to be doing exceedingly well. Take the example of the whole of European Union or even take the example of Switzerland.

    Language is a huge and an important part of a cultural identity and may be you as a linguist can see it objectively as not being a part of the culture but for us lay people it definitely is and will remain so. India is hardly a “Nation”. It is something that was cobbled up together in one way or another. What keeps it together is a matter of debate but I believe it is the looseness and it needs be looser.

    As a minority of a minority I do not feel comfortable with the idea of one “uniting” language even if it is just viewed as a “tool”. If people want to communicate with each other it should be their CHOICE. If they do not want to do it they should be able to skip it. In any case if you want to move around the country then you should simply and you must speak the local language. If you do not want to do that and just want to have it easy then you should stay back home.

    My people have struggled, worked hard and built for ourselves a state that may be considered prosperous. Others may have whatever opinion about that but I consider that first right of abode and settlement should be of those whose state it is. Having a different language is a great way of keep outsiders at a disadvantage and I suppose it is a legitimate means of doing it. If they are really serious about integration and they put an effort to learn the language then they are more than acceptable. So basically for me it is about showing where your loyalties lie.

    I have read that Mizoram is introducing a work permit system for outsiders, I think its a great idea. There are other Indian states that employ other means to keep them from being overwhelmed for example North Eastern States require permits to enter them. As far as I know Sikkim even stamps foreign passports to this day. Himachal/Uttranchal/Jammu and Kashmir forbid outside states people studying in professional colleges, buying property or some other measures depending on what state it is. It is the right of every state to do whatever it can so that the local people have some advantage.

    Okay so now for the Star marked paragraphs :

    * A language is simply not a tool like I mentioned above. It is also a way of life. What I can do in Punjabi I can not even do in Hindi even though its a similar language. If Heer/Ranjha or Waris Shah wrote in Hindi it would be utter crap. Sorry to say that but that is how it is. There are things that you can express in lets say Dutch or in Japanese that have no similar expressions in English.

    *Hindi is killing similar languages without a doubt. If the state trashes a language of course it will be un-needed. So we must use our own language for official purposes to make sure that it is still useful. That is what we are doing.

    *Culture is dynamic yes but as I said language is a huge part of your culture and its heritage. Are not ancient Egyptians renowned for their language or the Assyrians or the Chinese? Even Punjabi’s are famous for their Punjabi songs and their romantic and sufi poetry? Yes you would be less of a Bengali if you did not speak any!

  4. Vikram, yes sure all the best for your exams.

    Brian, thanks, you are very welcome 🙂 Please do let’s keep this debate alive. I have some questions for you,

    1) Esperanto, the world language, been reading about it since I was in class VI, why has it not been adopted worldwide, even in principle, altho people have been working on it for decades now? 2) What are the concerns, constraints?

    3) If we keep the language of our immediate neighbours as the second language, should we adopt the third on the basis of world demographics? For instance half the world population speak Chinese, so Mandarin? Or an option between, Mandarin and Hindi?

    As you might have seen in Odzer’s comments here, the concern is that one’s own language would die if one started using other languages. Which isn’t the case at all of course. Acquisition of a second language demands that the first language is strongly embedded. However, there is little info-insemination on the subject, most language teachers so clueless and indifferent (in India) about what they do – it is getting increasingly difficult now.

    Language is one crucial resource we have – yet, in a country like India there is very little R&D or systematic training or modernization.
    Teaching-learning-thinking-concepts date back to the 19 century. So citizens do not know or realize what is what and contention is in the wrong direction, resulting in fuelling divisive ideas.

    Point of language was not to divide, language evolved so members of communities could unite and share, protect, conserve, preserve resources and themselves.
    But in India now, to quote Tagore, “the clear stream of reason has lost its way into the dreary desert sands of dead habits”.

    Odzer, as a writer, a person gifted with the ability to think and articulate ur thought, you are crucial to this debate which is why I mentioned ur name, apprehensive that othwise you might give it a pass.

    Odzer, I completely agree that the State language must be taken care of by the State. It is a resource, as such, should be used, studied and conserved.

    In addition to that, people in this country may also learn Englsih as a means of communicating with the other half of the world.

    A third language like Hindi, which is easier for a labourer to pick up, should also be there, as they had Prakrit in ancient times.

    The only thing that I do not feel comfortable about what you say is, that “it was cobbled up, and should get looser”. Switzerland doesn’t have to contend with multiple ethnicity, language or culture. So it is easier there. Also they are so rich, they can, like the Japs, afford it.

    Work permits are a great way to safeguard the interests of one community. WB should have done it long back, look at what a mess that rich, fertile State is in, today. I feel so sorry for my beautiful State. We have been too kind. But, Bengalis dont know business. We know farming, administration and poetry. So we needed the enterprising Marwaris and Punjabis. They complement us.

    However, I realize with horror that if we didn’t have a common language English, between us Odzer, a Bong like me never would have been able to get to know wonderful creative individuals like you or Nita, or Brian, or anybody else!!

    When am with you, I use the language you and I both speak. I use Bangla with my mother. Wth my Ben, I use Hindi. It seems fine to me. I get the best of all worlds.

  5. @ Rolling : First of all I would like to gently and kindly say something to you personally. Please do not use the word “Jap”. It is a racist slur invented during the World War against the Japanese and it is taken as a racial slur by them. It is like calling someone a Nigger or a Paki.

    Now secondly I would like to make something clear from my side. I am not saying that you should not learn a second or a third language. Sure you should. However for your own purposes not for facilitating ‘outsiders’ 🙂 As an example lets say many Germans speak English but refuse to speak it to you. Similarly in Japan most Japanese can ‘speak’ some English but unless you speak up in Japanese they don’t care about what you are mumbling in English to them.

    As for Switzerland it is a diverse country with diverse religious backgrounds. Even a tiny country like Nepal has many languages. Size has nothing to do with ethnic, religious or any other type of diversity.

    As for India as a country. I have a theory about that. Each time India was “United” it was done by coercion and force. Maurya tried it, his grandson Asoka tried it as well. He went in to shock for the rest of his life as a result and gave up all war mongering. Aurangzeb nearly lost his mind doing it. The British were far wiser and they let the local states be. Now the Indian government has finally done it but only after the country was partitioned (for which supposedly they take no responsibility and claim the UK did that) and now they have a huge headache of keeping it in one piece. History tells us that each time the subcontinent came under one sovereign it did not last long enough. If I was an investor in a company I would go by the past performance so why not do the same to a country? In any case as I said before we are a State of Nations. Some of the Nations within India existed far longer than the others. As an example Tripura has had 186 Kings over 2500 years. Compare that with post Independent India’s 60! The Indian government forced the abdication of a 13 year old to remove that dynasty. Evil isn’t it? So karma wise I say we carry a huge load.

    As for knowing people there are several wonderful people in the world everywhere. There is certainly no lack of people but if you truly want to know someone you will always find a way. Also do not forget we have more than one way of communicating and its not only language that is the only option. As for Esperanto that failed because it was “Made Up”. Most academic mumbo jumbo is just that. Made up.

  6. In Salman Rushdie’s novel, Midnight’s Children, there is a character called “Reverend Mother”. When her liberal-minded husband decides to make their children learn English, she protests, and says,

    ‘If God meant people to speak many tongues, why did he put only one in our heads?’

    That’s a good comeback, I must say. But if you look into it, the very statement is against Reverend Mother’s stand. Who said that the language inside our head is any specific language?

    The point is, it’s not. We express it in a given language, but inherently, what goes inside our head is common to all : because they’re electrical signals inside our brain.

    I recently read an article (appeared in the CAT paper) which treated language as an instinct, not as a learned ability (What Reverend Mother was referring to). According to the author, of all the people on earth, a child is the most proficient in language. I loved this idea.

    Anyway, my point is , there is a difference between language and it’s expression. Whereas language is the Content, its expression is the Form.

    All human beings are inherently capable of understanding content if they can grasp the form. So the central point of this debate is differences in Form. The point is , as Reverend Mother points out, “Why should there be different forms, if there is only one form in my head?”

    Now there obviously will be different forms, because different cultures developed differently. However, for intercultural communication, what’s important is the content, and not the form. Which is why a common language is required.

    So when someone refuses to share the content they have with the outer world on the grounds of form, it’s basically refusal to let oneself grow, because sharing knowledge (content) is how we keep up with the world.

    As I said before, language as a cultural thing can be done through promoting culture in that language (There are so many successful examples of this, Bangla Rock, Marathi Theater). In this way culture will always be respected and preserved, while still going along with the rest of the world.

  7. @ Alok : As like Rolling you are making the mistake of thinking that I am saying you should not learn multiple languages. What I am saying is distinctly different. What I am saying is that a state should make sure that all the business is carried out in the local language. It should also make sure that people who migrate have an incentive to learn the local language. If it is so easy that they can simply walk in and not even have to bother dealing with the local language they will never learn. Also what I am saying is that the local language is a way of keeping the local jobs for the locals, especially white collar and high paying jobs. Whether it is within a country or internationally.

  8. Odzer, that bit of history was enlightening. It was Sher Shah Suri, later Mughal Emperor Akbar adopting the idea of an unified Hindusthan.The British legacy also is the idea of a Nation.Indians didn’t know or have a sense of “country” earlier.True.
    So, I do not wish regression to “local” ,”limited” , “closed” , “reserved”,”pocket state” of yore.Tomorrow if the US or Switzerland does this, where would our bright minds be? Rotting here? The reason they move forth is because their society stayed dynamic. Because Obamas happen there. We in India – could do better because it is grafted in our history. Our marriages, social system, Hinduism lasted years and years because it was so adaptive and NOT closed! It’s just that our politics is bad.

    Tagore had unequivocally accepted “vishwa” idea.His vision behind establishing Vishwabharati still holds good and is futuristic.The whole world would have to be ONE Nation soon,as it would be the “war of the world” reality in future.Considering that, “local” holds little significance, and I WOULD not marry a Bengali, I want my blood to get as mixed up as possible 😉

    1) State should have “somethings” in local language, leaving an option for a second COMMON language to sustain to and fro flow of resources – people included.The interdependent nature of our beings makes it mandatory that we have provision of ‘incorporating’ in all spheres of our lives. Reservations,compulsion, like closed marriages, would weaken the nation.

    2a) I understand this concern : to safe guard interest of State resources, we can design/build a healthier work culture, educate people to better utilize resources – have strictures for participants to contribute towards nurturing the ‘local’. Like Canada has, or even the US/UK etc.
    2b) Make it feasible for bright youngsters like Alok, Vikram, Priyank to be in politics/admin here.

    Going and being in another State is like using somebody else’s bathroom – you use it with care, or at least Mum should train children to do so (have you noticed how our uncaring callousness make us use public facilities like washrooms and staircases? ugh! 😦 . It is a matter of training, less of legislation, nai?

    3) “Local jobs for locals” – you mean, u dont want my Sunrita at NASA someday, because her English is bad? U want her to fight reservation for a local American? Even if she is better? Because her job affects the interest of the whole world, you-me-Americans, we want the best there in high positions – not local half baked material, right? Let the best man win every time? Job, women, resources, elections?

    4) I do not want my class to be boring all Bongs or Marathis, want my Sridarans, Sholki Patodias, Loveline Kaurs, Vichar Singhs, Ravish Malhotras, Rajeev Baruas, Agarwals, Lakhani brothers, Wangchuks and Swarnims, P Ganesh, Siddharth Rajadhyakshas – all of them – together.

    If their parents had to fight for permits, my class would be dull, uninteresting, insipid, monochromatic and so very COMMON.

    5) I do not think Federal as in the US, would be possible here, as we are (including Teachers) half educated and utterly dishonest.
    I like the idea of INDIA, the way Nehru and Radhakrishnan had envisioned it.Can we not improve on that without regressing to old time “pocket state” idea?

    I want Punjabi khana to be available in Kolkata, I would hate to have to eat Chinese food in the roadside Ladi. I love Mumbai for what it is – a mini India. I like the fact that they have a Chinatown back home and you get authentic Chinese speaking shoe-makers selling in English.Tibetans serving delicious thukpa in the heart of Kolkata, without speaking a word of Bangla. We laugh and sing together, in English.

    I do not want reservations anymore, as that has left thousands of posts empty in WB etc,driving qualified people away.If the locals are good – they can win it anyway, without reservations – as you or I CAN anywhere in the world.

    6) I don’t want my children to be weaklings, products of reservation, living in “local”, restricted,regimented,controlled environs, like in labs, like guinea pigs. I want them to be free as birds – fly in tandem with the universe or be predators that are capable of hunting their way through life.

    I want the world to be like a civilized jungle, Odzer, and us living like sophisticated, educated and cultured predators 🙂 if we cannot be Jediis. Guess you are going to hate me now and stop talking to me? But I would still come and read you, because I really do like your mind a lot, and would not want to lose access – bec of language, politics, or ideological differences – ever.

    Alok, you are right, Chomsky I think had said that “Language is an instinct”…yeah seems, it’s the form that keeps changing, content and purpose often driving that change.

    And like Religion,Systems etc Language too is ahuman construct – arbitrary, not Natural in the sense an apple is organic/natural – that was created to aid life and nurture it.

    As soon as it starts abetting life, it would be discarded.Self-preservation would push life to move on – to the next big idea that would help hold it all together. Just like it is in the world Physics, Maths, Fluid Dynamics or Code. One would give way to the other more effective one. It would evolve, morph, die. Changing culture, politics and human nature along.

  9. Well I agree that there should be a common language for communication purpose. If I go to Tamilnadu for some official purpose I face lot of problems communicating with rickshaw drivers, understanding the sign boards etc etc.

    Wht we can do is first language in schools can be kept as local language but second one can be english , hindi or whtever. At least this will reduce the communication problem.

    Well someone here has mentioned Switzerland, ok in italian, german or french part of it the first language is different but they have common second or third language i.e english, german or french.

  10. @ R0lling : Well why is it regressive if you do not want to be inundated by outsiders? I am a bit surprised that you associate it with that. In any case why is being “Progressive” any better either. Like I said communication should be about choice. If we want to communicate then we will find a way. However teaching a language for the convenience of outsider is downright stupid. Satan here has mentioned he has trouble understanding rickshaw people down south. Perhaps then he should learn some Tamil. Why should they learn Hindi or English? Its just a linguistic colonialism mindset of people who live in Mid-India. As Bjork said in one of her songs and rightly too :

    Declare independence!
    Don’t let them do that to you!
    Justice

    Start your own currency!
    Make your own stamp
    Protect your language

    Declare independence
    Don’t let them do that to you

    In any case the communication problem is not as BIG as it is made out to be. I have been traveling locally and internationally since I was 16 and in some situations like for example while being in China and not speaking a word of Chinese still doing quite well. I hate to hear the following sentence “but why don’t they simply speak English”. Well yes, they do not. Get over it!

    Language has precious little to do with availability of different types of food. You are skipping the whole point again. People who MOVE must speak the local language so that they can integrate with the LOCAL culture. I am not saying people should not move at all but what I am saying is that those who do must show a commitment to their new home by learning the new language. Coming here, taking a job from a local and then expecting the locals to speak in another language is downright unacceptable.

    The word that you envision is not as “Free” as you think. If you are truly a liberal then you must accept the fact that there are some cultures who are at the verge of extinction and they may not really like the idea of being over run by outsiders. There are some people who may not want to deal with another culture. It has nothing to do with being a lab rat. That is your imagination at work. Some people may want interaction with another culture, some people may not. However as for state policy, I am a complete supporter for protection of the rights of the local people over outsiders any day. Indeed I do not care if some Indian woman works for NASA or not. Its not a big deal.

    When you immigrate or migrate you must do so with a commitment and shoulder a responsibility to your new home. Part of that responsibility is fitting in. There is no free lunch. As for the idea of India, when such a thing does not exist, indeed it is only an idea.

  11. Got to say, I absolutely loved Alok’s comment. I couldnt have put my own thoughts quite that eloquently. Bravo…very well put!

    My own two cents on the whole debate. To insist that outsiders must learn the local language in order to communicate with people living in a particular state while doing nothing to facilitate this communication at your own end reminds me of a stubborn kid in school insisting that if other kids want to become his friends, they must come talk to him first. Inevitably this is the kid that always ends up a loner without friends.

    To me, pride in your own language is one thing. Communicating with the rest of the world is another. To insist that all business and communication in your state be carried out in the local language shuts out the rest of the country and the world to you. By making it so much more difficult for the world outside your village to communicate with you, sure, you will keep the local jobs local, but that is not always a good thing…there will also be way too much inbreeding of ideas, and reinventing of the wheel. There are other ways to ensure that locals get first priority at jobs.

    Why do we teach English in schools around the world? In the hope of having a common language with which we may communicate and exchange ideas with people living in their own sheltered corner of the world. Similarly, a common language in India would serve as a means to exchange ideas from different corners of India that speak different local languages. To refuse to adopt this common language and insist on everyone communicating in just the local language in a state makes it all the more cloistered and sheltered to the rest of the India and the world.

    And as for the fear that hindi might kill the local language. Learning a new language hardly makes an existent language obsolete. It is the parents job to ensure that kids still speak their mother tongue and take pride in it. I grew up abroad hardly ever NEEDING to speak my mother tongue, but my parents still always insisted on us kids speaking the mother tongue at home and with our relatives, ensuring that while we learnt many other languages along the way, we never killed off our mother tongue. I take pride in my mother tongue but at the same time realize that the rest of the world does not speak my mother tongue and that I too must adapt to the way of the world and learn to speak other languages to communicate with them. As I said before, pride in your mother tongue is one thing, insisting that the whole world speak that language in order to communicate with you is another.

  12. Rolling, you start out with a fundamental premise that there is a national language, but there isnt one. The word itself is never mentioned in the Constitution or any Indian law. There is a substantial difference between a national and official language. An official language is a language in which people communicate with the state, and agencies of the state communicate with each other. A national language is a language that represents a nation. India cannot have a national language because it cannot be represented by a single language.

    The Indian state is a democratic state, it is meant to be equally accessible and neutral to every citizen of the country. That is why one can communicate with the Union government in any of the 28 languages of the eighth schedule. In the same vein, the government of Maharashtra, is to be equally accessible to citizens of the state of Maharashtra. It has responsibilities towards any citizen of India as per the Constitution, but it is a representative of the citizens of Maharashtra, who elect it.

    The Constitution provides for Rights to Free Speech, Free Movement, Assembly etc. but there is no ‘Right to Convenience in linguistic matters’. No matter how inconvenient communicating in the local language may be for you, it is the will of the majority that it be the official language there. You have a right to demand otherwise, but it can only happen if the majority wills it. The fact that you cant easily navigate each city of your nation is just the result of the fundamental nature of this country, it is a multi-lingual federation.

    As for ‘uniting factor’, there is only one thing that can and does unite India. Its called the Constitution, which among other things bestows the right for every state to regulate its linguistic matters.

  13. Trisha you said “you mean, u dont want my Sunrita at NASA someday, because her English is bad? U want her to fight reservation for a local American? Even if she is better? Because her job affects the interest of the whole world, you-me-Americans, we want the best there in high positions – not local half baked material, right? Let the best man win every time? Job, women, resources, elections? ”

    Let me assure that there is a HUGE amount of reservation at NASA. It is basically impossible to get a job there is you are not a US citizen. And frighteningly easy if you are an American. Trust me, as an Aerospace Engineering graduate from an American university, I have seen many less than competent people get placed easily in NASA.

  14. I am sorry, the more closely I read what you have written, the more patronizing you sound. What is the meaning of ‘local half baked material’ ? What makes you think all migrants are so awesome ? Americans have built the institution of NASA, with their sweat, genius and most importantly, US taxpayer money. And again, it is upto them to regulate how they choose people are recruited into NASA. It would be probably improve NASA a lot if they did not make things easy for US citizens, but they have every right not to choose to do so.

  15. Vikram, hi nice to see you back, hope ur exams went well. 🙂 Sorry, didn’t mean to sound patronizing, please do not take half-baked w.r.t ur country of residence, seriously, 🙂 think India, with thousands such people in every profession, partly thanks to reservations. 🙂 NASA was merely used to contend a point. Now, “NASA, with their sweat” part,
    resource that man generates (research facility), according to ur NASA example, goes preferentially, to people who create it, right?

    However, with resource that man inherited? The earth, sky, water, air, minerals etc. – that belongs to every life that exists here?

    Why create additional barriers, when natural ones already exists in nature? Instead, to sustain us,why not scout out binding factors and iron out divisive stuff? In short, continue with the three language formula and enforce the use of Official Language for official purposes,to help citizens function smoothly 🙂 You dont have to learn Bong when you enter; when you settle down, in DUE course, you would pick it up anyway! Till then, a predecided and pre-learned common Official language wd do?

  16. Odzer,

    I really don’t understand the motive behind people Walling themselves in. And I’d really like to know.

    So could you list out here the advantages of a system which promotes local people to stay within boundaries?

  17. I grew up in NE India where we were hated as Bengalis. We were called Dkhar & Kharbang & Mayang & Bonga & what not. Because we were brighter than the locals & were perceived as a threat. When we moved to WB , we found that a small section of the local population in this liberal state also hated us because of our East Bengal origin.
    However, I have also noticed that the growing popularity of Hindi is leading to the decay & slow but sure extinction of that very language for which we were marginalized in the NE. Our Union govt. has a duty towards all the languages of this country.We have a Vishwa Hindi Puraskar. Why not a Vishwa Bharatiya Bhasha Puraskar for all Indian languages? We have Non-Hindi-speaking scholarships to encourage non-Hindi-speaking people to learn Hindi. Why not Hindi-speaking scholarships to encourage Hindi-speaking people to learn other Indian languages?

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