“Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes

I was riding a scooter on a busy upmarketplace when Iremembered that I had to buy some stationery material for my daughters. Fearing a reprimand at home, I took a U-turn and straightaway headed towards a shop known to me since a long time. With a busy day coming towards its end, everybody seemed in a rush to return to their homes. And I too was among that lot. As usual, the shop WS crowded with customers — most were in their teens and Sonie with bags on their backs. Nobody wanted to lose even a minute and waiting to buy a trivial thing like a pen seemed an arduous task.

Language is the blood of the Soul
Language is the blood of the Soul

A handsome boy in his 20s dressed smartly jumped the queue and asked the shopkeeper, “Do you have a good quality pen with you?” The shopkeeper didn’t reply. Again, he asked, “Tumhare pass good quality pen hai kuya?” The shopkeeper was busy attending to others who had come before him. This time he fired the same question, but a little irritatingly, “Arre tumhare passachhapenhai kathat writes in a good manner. I want a gel pen jo likhte samay bilikul leak na kare. Mala lavkar hawa aahe.” The man turned towards him, gave the pen, took the money giving him the hardest possible


look and murmured.Alisi bhasha bolte hain bache jismine na English hai, na Hindi aur na Marathi.” This incident really made methink deeply and I wondered whether we, as a society, can connect to the above quote of Oliver Wendell Holmes that language is the blood of the soul. The importance of any language can be gauged by the fact that it connects a child, still in the womb, with his mother to see the beautiful world through the medium of language. Recently, Research Division of India International Centre has come up with a very interesting study – “Native and regional languages are facing an identity crisis and are heading towards extinction.” I cannot stop myself from relating the above incident to the above mentioned study. The language of this otherwise ‘smart’ youth may be

one of the dimensions that hampers the progress of native language in any region of the country. However, the importance of regional language can never be undermined as it reflects culture, tradition, customs, beliefs that is passed from one generation to the next since time immemorial. And most important, language depicts a particular civilisation that is rolled into history for the future generations. India is a house to variety of languages that change its tone and tenor from one region to the other. This great news establishes a fact that our country possesses a literary treasure that keeps our personalities adaptable with the requirements of the world. But looking at present situation, where youths are more attracted to English considering it to be the language of elite, the need has arisen for giving a much-needed thrust to regional languages. As the child’s first class begins at home, a complete overhauling of the family system can bring an air of positivity where regional languages can blossom freely. There are so many questions that hit the mind. Why do parents force their children to speak English at homes? Why do many of us consider our mother tongue inferior? Or for that

matter, why children feel mother tongue to be outdated? There is a very simple answer to these complex questions. The society makes them feel so. If one looks at the daily routine of most of the houses, one will find that the child is bereft of the vocabulary their granny’s and grandpas used in the olden golden days. With the advent of nuclear family system and both the parents working- struggling to find quality time for children, use of mother tongue in the houses remains limited to just a few hours. As child is the shadow of his elders, on most occasions, he is notable to speak any language with fluency. Then what can be said about writing is beyond imagination. Linguistic survey of India points that many regional languages are disappearing because children fail to learn their ancestral tongue. Moreover, one needs to understand that languages cannot be preserved by making dictionaries or books. Any one langauge, if spoken fleuntly, on a daily basis, it will bloom like fresh flowers attracting one and all. The second important key that may keep languages alive are schools. It is heartening to witness that more and more schools have realised and recognised the power of any regional language. In an interview with Principal of a renowned school, Istill remember how she gave impetus to the mother tongue for making her students understand the fine nuances of Maths and Science.

“I don’t think knowing English makes you more intelligent or bright. It is a means of communication like any other language. But the craze for one language should not be at the cost of our identity that is defined from our mother tongue. As I am in the profession of teaching since 35 years, I can very well say that students learn better in their native language as it is the most natural way for them to learn. Even teachers can express and explain their thoughts and ideas in a better way in native language. It also helps in building a strong foundation for a learned and a well informed child,” explained the Principal in great detail.

One notable thing about the pattern of education in Sweden is though English is given its due importance and people are very well verse with the language, all the other subjects, to the students, are taught in Swedish for the better understanding. We can also take a cue from this system to promote regional languages. Moreover, students should not be punished for using their native language in schools as it creates inferiority complex in them and they start disliking their mother tongue.

A nation-wide movement like the one in case of Sanskrit or Arabic can work wonders in keeping the essence intact. Portraying them as language of technology is attracting more and more young blood with a zeal to learn them. Therefore, it is necessary for parents, teachers, and elders to create a warm and comfortable environment in which a child can know the complexities of languages. Strong lingusitic skills are not just an asset but a complete experience of passing the treasure from one generation to the next. This base of our identity, culture, tradition, custom binds us into a civilization that emits its richness since time immemorial. If we lose our own tongue it is like losing a part of ourselves.

Nelson Mandela had rightly said,

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart”.


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