Belgaum: A victim of mischief-makers

Sweet and Sour

The Boundary Reorganisation Commission must have taken into consideration the pros and cons of the language issue before allotting Belgaum to Karnataka. There is nothing to stop Maharashtrian children from going to Marathi schools. There is no discrimination against their getting jobs. But mischief-makers will make issues when there is a chance to keep themselves in the news.

The Thackereys and their Sainiks think little besides making a nuisance of themselves simply to draw media attention. First they drove out Tamilians in small businesses out of Mumbai. Then they drove out Biharis, Uttar Pradeshis and Oriyas. Now they plan to target Kannadigas. There seems to be no one to stop their goondagiri.

Allow me to make a few observations about the fate of languages that politicians exploit for ensuring their victory in elections. They pretend to love their mother tongue but send  their own children to English medium schools. Better knowledge of English assures jobs and opportunities for higher learning in India and abroad.

Language purists are the worst enemies of their own mother tongue. Examples I have often quoted are when train compartments carried warnings in Devnagari reading ‘Dhoomra paan nishedh’ and ‘Yatra mein madira paan karna verjit hai.’ Few people understood what they meant. This was the reason why Hindi which is the most widely spoken language in the country has failed to become the link language. Our link language is English.

Another glaring example of politicians misusing language for their ends is from the Punjab. When the census was being prepared, the BJP exhorted all Punjabi Hindus to declare Hindi as their mother tongue. It was largely due to Prakash Singh Badal’s vigorous campaign that if they told the truth and a huge chunk of Ferozepur would not stay in the Punjab.

A conclusive example of the damage language purists can do is the pre-dominance of English in the world. At one time its two rivals were French and Spanish. Neither French nor Spanish accepted words from other languages. English, on the other hand, stole words from all languages to enrich itself — it has over 10,000 words of Indian origin — and is today the most widely spoken in the world. We Indians speak it better than any other people whose mother tongue it is not and score over them in securing jobs and excel in commerce.

The only example I can think of a people changing their mother tongue is of the Jews. They spoke the language of the country in which they lived. They evolved a common lingo called Yiddish. They have a literature of their own. An American, Isaac Bashevis Singer’s novel in Hiddish won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Then they decided to revive Hebrew to make it the national language of their own state of Israel. Today all Jews speak and write Hebrew.

FIFA fallout

Three nuns were attending a FIFA world cup match in Africa. Three men were sitting directly behind. Because the nuns’ animated ways were partially blocking their view, The men decided to badger the nuns hoping that they’d get annoyed enough to move to another area

In a very loud voice, the first guy said, “I think I’m going to move to Sydney. There are only 100 nuns living there.”

Then the second guy spoke up and said “I want to go to Tasmania. There are only 50 nuns living there.” The third guy said, “I want to go to New Zealand. There are only 25 nuns living there.”

One of the nuns turned around, looked at the men, and in a very sweet and calm voice said, “Why don’t you go to hell.There aren’t any nuns there!”

(Courtesy: Vipin Buckshey, Delhi)

Indian police

A policeman’s son fared badly in his half-yearly test. The father was very angry and was going to thrash him when the boy took out a fifty-rupee note from his pocket and said, “Take it daddy and let the matter end here.” (Daddy, yeh lo aur mamlly ko rafa-dafa kar do.)

Room service

The young and pretty chambermaid at the 5-star hotel asked the upstart client she had just shown to his room, “What time would you like to be woken up, sir?” “At seven o’clock,” replied the over smart guest, “and with a kiss.”

“Very well, sir,” said the girl as she retreated down the corridor, “I will leave your message with the night-watchman.”

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