DUB Speak

Elitism in English: Why can’t Hindi be as “cool” as English?

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The British have left our country but have left their superiority behind. Should we see regional language speakers as any lesser than us?
English language is considered to be essential for us in educational institutions, jobs and even all around the world. It holds importance and is one of the most spoken language all over the world. But does this mean it is better than other languages? Why is the ability to speak in English seen to exceptional? Why are English TV shows and poetry cooler than that regional ones?
While the importance of English as a language is indisputable, what becomes wrong is seeing English as superior and other languages as inferior, these feelings of inferiority thereby get associated even to the person speaking in that language. For instance, a friend of mine was trying to describe how the crowd in her college was and said, “The crowd is good and all, like people can speak proper English”. This is just an instance of how people, including yours truly, are guilty of using this skill as a metric to judge many people we come across.
Vidhi Arora of Kamala Nehru College commented, “In my opinion, the dominance of English language not only creates a class divide, but also harms the indigenous cultures and traditions, i.e. that aren’t “cool” enough because of the language they are performed in. People are disincentivised from the anything native : folk art, old story telling or even the Indian celebrated authors like Rabindranath Tagore and Premchand are sidelined because of the language that they were written in”.
A few weeks back I went to Zakir Hussain College for a Parliamentary Debate. A part of that event was a performance by a few shayars. Their performance got no applause and no recognition, to break this palpable awkwardness they made jokes and said “Slam poetry ka zamaana aa gaya hai, ab yeh shayariya kaha pasand aayegi”. The world has become a place where shayari, Sufi nights , ghazals and poetry in Urdu or Hindi no longer are appreciated.
It has become evident how this hierarchy is created by the virtue of speaking a language.

Opinions of people, their potential, the general idea of what is “cool enough” is based on this simple, but unfair idea. These ‘sophisticated’ spaces, where the elite are allowed to exist. Let us look at the flip side of this. In the film often in India cinema this beautiful foreigner is a character (Lara from Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani) speaks broken Hindi and is still seen as “cute” and adorable.

Devanshi Khatter provides a unique point of view, “I feel the reason activities like shayaris or dohas, something that us even taught to us in school, is getting faded away and being overshadowed by slam poetry is because of the fascination western culture and huge influence of social media. I also feel slam poetry in essence is more relatable in today’s day and age in contrast to dogas which becomes rather “too deep” or “philosophical” for one to understand”.
These regional languages that one has should be kept close to oneself, they define us. While the British have left, what has not left us are their standards of beauty or intelligence. Understand how we can link this idea to different languages now dying down all over the world.

Instead of being embarrassed of speaking our own language we should feel pride in it. While we can talk English, our inner emotions will always remain in our own tongues. Famous Bollywood dialogues, the cuss words we use on our friends, old 90s Hindi music can never be placed at a lower pedestal or be replaced with any other thing.

Image Credits: The Whiteboard
Shivani Dadhwal
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