Language – An Identity Crisis

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Yes, I belong from a suburb where your hopes, dreams, ambitions are supposed to be crushed between the examples of the achievers and failures. This is the place where you will be accustomed to the load-shedding, where neither you will get the uninterrupted electric supply like the towns nor you need to pass each day without electricity. Rather you will be forced to be habituated with comfort (or luxury) and right after the moment, that will be snatched. Here, you cannot be fashionable or simple, because the main characteristic of this place is you have to act like a mediocre.

If a girl wears hot-pant, they will complain how someone can be so shameless in such a ‘cultural country’! But be cautious, you cannot learn any lesson from here! Since if you go ahead and sport ‘Burkha’ or ‘Saree’, you’ll either be called unfashionable or you’ll be a victim of those animalistic humans (Yes, that’s called Rape these days!). Here you can marry a woman without even knowing her and can apply your masculinity and the woman will not get a single chance to oppose that. Here you just educate your girl-child to qualify her in the marriage marketplace. Though we say a lot about our advancement but always a little learning will be a dangerous thing.

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I don’t want to talk about something which comes to the spotlight very often; rather, I would like to highlight a part which repeatedly goes out of the focus. Being a literature lover and a Bengali from the origin, I have grown up gulping Bengali books, but my love for English was also there. I have noticed, there are always some people who unnecessarily create some misunderstanding even in the simplest matter. They will smell something fishy even if you are going towards your bathroom in the morning!

One evening, I was busy in a conversation with my friend and that was happening in English. Usually, we try to speak in English for two reasons: 1) We like the language 2) those conversations help us to improve our English fluency in future. But let’s have a quick look at the comments of the “educated” ones – “Do you guys want us to know that you can speak English?”, “Hey, we can understand you can speak, now stop!”, “Yes, we cannot, now will you guys stop?”. Ultimately, they have criticized our choice of English over Bengali. Instead of getting the right point, they just yell and they will be yelling. Yes, the vice versa also happens. I have seen a group of people was making fun of an individual just because he didn’t know English much!

I have some questions:

  • Can’t we even speak in what we like?
  • If we prefer some other language over our mother tongue, how that can be disrespecting? We don’t even get a chance to choose our mother tongue!
  • Speaking in English is not always about flaunting. It’s “our choice” isn’t it?
  • If I don’t know English, how do I become illiterate?
  • Is English the benchmark of being smart?
  • Why can’t we just let the languages and people be like them? Anyone can choose anything. It is their life. Isn’t it?
  • Aren’t we capable of telling the suburb and the middle-class mentality that either let us stay in a hut, or in a 3BHK?

This is Abhirup Ghosh, once again came for taking a little time of yours. I write contents for my living and my passion and that’s why I maintain this blog. Please contact me, for any writing needs, be it, creative, or technical.

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