With a lot brewing against Hindi in Tamil Nadu, singer Chinmayi Sripadha says she knows six languages and there is nothing wrong in learning languages.
“As someone who speaks 6 languages and believes Hindi / Urdu are beautiful languages – I see what a mess has been made with the Hindi language. It’s just so sad. And absolute random ‘reasons’ on why one *must* learn Hindi. Ugh. The magic of speaking and learning more than (one) language, is that you’ll automatically be interested in learning another. The study of language, culture and anthropology is fascinating. It is spiritual for me,” she says.
According to Chinmayi, “I remember classmates in Max Mueller Bhavan who simultaneously learned Spanish German and Italian. And sometimes French. I learned French and German. And eventually those who speak more than a language easily pick up more.
The magic of language and culture actually beautifully shows us how similar we all are. In appreciating prose, poetry, thought and writings in another, our minds and hearts literally expand. We aren’t looking at the differences and how someone is superior. The mind finds nicer things by default I think. Only politicians find ideas for division.”
“I hear ‘Amma’ and ‘Appa’ when I speak to Koreans. Commonalities with Sanskrit when I spoke to Latvian and Lithuanian linguists and their practices of nature worship. How similar SO MANY cultural practices were before the Church was introduced over a lot of cultures. (P.S.: Dont make this post about evangelism because it is not.),” she says further.
“A language dying means an entire culture, its people, the stories vanish, art vanishes. For all this Hindi Forcing that’s happening, some of the finest poets and writers and auteurs in the Hindi language have died without acclaim and in penury. No one really wants to save Hindi or promote the language. It has all just become one giant drama. And the bigotry is out in full force with humans behaving like absolute idiots saying ‘I wont talk to you if you dont speak Hindi.’ Even kids find a way to communicate to another child that doesn’t speak their language. When did India become this?! Language evolves and changes. It is a living being IMHO. Also – for first generation students teaching in their own mother tongue is important to keep them in school. IMHO. It is silly to introduce a foreign language (any language not one’s mother tongue is an alien language according to me) AND introduce concepts in science and math at the same time. English as the link language can be introduced at the right time and kids willl learn!!”
“We actually have engineers learning Japanese to Spanish for better career opportunities. Indian families settled in Japan have kids born and brought up there who speak Japanese and Tamil / Hindi / Malayalam. Ditto in Italy or any other country in the world where the primary language is not English. And if people want to / have to learn a language – they will. Please also let’s agree that it is NOT possible for everyone to learn another language. But how the politicians ruin it all. Honestly it IS awesome to be able to learn an additional language apart from the ones we grew with,” Chinmayi adds.
“It is a beautiful experience. My parents in law speak Bengali. And Malayalam. Rahul could speak Gujarati. And we have an uncle who lived in Kerala for 30 years and couldn’t manage Malayalam at all. He just couldn’t. And that’s that. My greatest regret is that the first language I ever spoke – Marathi – I dont remember. I have ‘verlernt’ as the Germans say it. You don’t forget a language. It’s another beautiful word that cannot be truly translated (again that’s my opinion.) Hindi Prachar Sabha in Tamilnadu has the max number of Hindi learners/gold medallists than any other state in India. I know a boy came from Nepal to work in a studio in Chennai that I frequent and within a year he spoke fluent Malayalam. And that’s how it works. The fall out of this entire drama is how a really beautiful language is getting so much hate,” she concludes.