05 December, 2006

Language problem

One day we had been to a museum in London and while we were inside the art gallery deeply involved in looking at the displays, my daughter vanished and suddenly appeared with a mask (must be easy to identify whose mask it is)which was funny and made us to laugh. The kids are very creative, and one day while I was helping her with her breakfast, she suddenly said "Dad if Jesus and Lord Krishna meet now, they will not speak with each other. Do you know why?". Inquisitively I asked "Why?" and she said "Language problem. Jesus cannot speak Hindi or Tamil and Krishna cannot speak English. So I think they will have communication problem."
I am sure my neighbour would have heard my laugh. I was wondering how this got into her mind. I guessed probably with all the Christmas celebrations going in their school, she must have had this thought. I did not want to probe much into her chain of thought. But started thinking about Language problems.
The first time I had Language problem was when I travelled out of Madras to Hyderabad. I felt very bad for not knowing the language what others were speaking. Then when my cousins visited from Bombay and other states, they used to speak in Hindi. I thought I should learn Hindi too to understand what they speak, and enjoy more.

Now being in London, and travelling around I hear many languages. It is interesting to learn few words. I think languages will be there always with few modifications now and then. My children do not know Hindi and everyday they are bringing in new words. They are curious to learn Hindi too. There are plenty of children in their school whose mother tongue is Hindi and Urdu. It is nice to know many languages and great to speak them. We were deprived of those opportunities during our school days in Madras.

I think it is high time we should have a common language in India and should be taught to every one in every state and no fanaticism should be allowed. Because we live in abroad, our interest towards our mother tongue has not decreased. When we learn other languages we widen our knowledge about our language too, and try to know the relevant word in our mother tongue and thus improve our mother tongue too.

Our great politicians should realise this and bring changes in our education system to encourage our future generations (than their kith and kin only) to learn more languages in Tamil Nadu rather sticking to only one language.


Kittu said...

well said. Language particularly in tamilnadu has been the biggest drawbacks. I've to admit myself that i got spolt to the same atmosphere of not willing to know other languages like "Hindi". After knowing languages is as Asset and slowly every children should know 2 regional languages, one national language and 2 foreign languages :-)

Dan said...

you took a long break this time balaji.

Sundar Narayanan said...

you remind me of the joke in the movie muhammad bin tuglak..

since no one agrees on which language should be common he suggests a language that no one speaks!!


visithra said...

i thought english was the common language between everyone?

The national language here is malay (the local muslims language) - followed by english

long time ago they decided to stick to it n everyone is required to learn the language regardless of race - though we mostly use english - malay is better conversed in villages n non office jobs

Jo said...

I am sick of the Hindi (North Indian) domination in every field (mostly in the arts & entertainment areas). So I prefer English over Hindi because it will help me to converse throughout India and abroad. Malayalam is my mother tongue and I know Tamil a little to write, read and speak. Perhaps I should learn Hindi too (just for the communication sake).

Deciding on an common language in India is really difficult. Because we have too many languages and its all connected to the regional culture and identity.

Jeevan said...

I agree!! In my school days there was a 3language to choose a language on their wish. In this i choose Hindi, i was thought Hindi for 2 years, even now i know the alphabets, but if see a word some where i can't read, because of un touch for last 6 years.

First time I thought it was a doll, after reading i understand its Mithu, Good looking dear mithu:) Her Joke was sweet.

Kavi said...

English is the bond Balaji. It may be a foriegn language, but then, that helps us connect. But then, how do we define foriegn. To me, anything that isnt my mother tongue is an alie language !

The sheer pleasure of learning up a language will soak up all debates !

Vanathi said...

Check this article balaji...http://mist-dewdrop.blogspot.com/2006/12/people-come-into-your-life-for-reason.html

Cyberkitty said...

English is the best for India, since no other language is spoken by a majority. Hindi is spoken only by 32% of people, that too in different dialects.

Puneet said...

english is becoming the world common language but then if we consider in india only..
it is divided broadly in two..
hindi and non-hindi..
its good if our constitution should making emphasis of one common language...

Marutham said...

:D Echoose me- ingey dhaan irukeengala SIR??
Long time.......

Kutty papa- semma cute!! :)

Anonymous said...

kids are very inquisitive and very spontaneous.

ambi said...

//our future generations (than their kith and kin only) to learn more languages in Tamil Nadu rather sticking to only one language.
well said. long time no see. sorry ejamaan! :)

your kid is sooo cute. :) thanks for sharing the snaps.

Kavi said...

Happy new year Balaji !

kiraN said...

2007 The Year with best

Do you know the specialty of this NEW YEAR?????

It starts with MONDAY and ends also on MONDAY


This year has got highest number of SUNDAYS and SATURDAYS

Enjoy the least working year in your life


simplemissie said...

ur daughter's very pretty. Happy new year to you and your family!!!

Traveling Soldier said...

Nice thoughts...Desire to learn a common indian language is felt more when we are away from india. One should ask why? Why isnt that feeling coming to us when we are in india? Are we complacent to just be a home-bird and so short sighted not to learn one other language? On a completely different, what makes India great is the cultural difference it offers. Concenterating on one indian language will probably accelerate the cultural erasion that is already taking place in India.

Sundar Narayanan said...

Balaji Sir, wish you and your family a wonderful 2007


Barbienan said...

I think hindi must be made mandatory as just to communicate in that when we indians are outside India. And as well along with english and hindi our government should as well introduce one european lang that would be the best..once u r in euroipe german or french is sold everywhere..Hmm i am fighting my way with Hungarian :-)

Raji said...

wishing you and your family a very ahppy, peaceful and prosperous 2007

ambi said...

next post pls. Happy New year balaji sir! :)

Balaji S Rajan said...


Not only you. Many of us are ignorant about this as long as we live in TN state. But youngsters of nowadays have understood this and have started to learn more languages.


Yes... a long break. and this one is a very long break... Lots of personal problems and it takes time to solve each one.


I have vague remembrance of Muhammad bin Tuqlak. LOL that is a good one.


Yes... Malaysia is good in that. I have met few malaysians here and have heard about the system over there.

Om said...


Read this blog about the language issue !

Balaji S Rajan said...


Your blog seems to be interesting. I shall read more. I just read one post.

R Venkatachalam said...

I have been living in North India for the past 20 years. I can understand your feeling for communicating with your fellow Indians in our local language. But accepting Hindi as an official link language is not in the interest of other Indian Languages. Even though oral communication in Hindi is easy, written communication is difficult. The local languages of all states, which have accepted Hindi whole heartedly, have suffered miserably. You know the number of films produced every year in Marathi, Gujarathi, Punjabi, Oriya are in single digits.