In the history of mankind, people have fought for freedom, equality, rights, and whatnot. But a Struggle for language! I don’t think you’ll find another example of this type of struggle.
Look, I’m not gonna explain the whole history, or the importance of today’s date, there are thousands if not millions of resources about the history of this struggle, if you’re interested, you can read them yourself.
At first, I thought I would write this in Bengali, my mother tongue, but I went with English anyway, ‘cause I’m making a point, you’ll understand if you read till the end.
Bangladesh and India, two neighboring countries, once were a single country till, 15th August 1947. Yet a few people’s political agenda divided us, creating a never-ending war between neighbors. In the undivided India, Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal (and a few other smaller regions) were a single entity known as Bengal Presidency (officially, Bengal Province). So in the present day, you’ll find many similarities in culture, language, lifestyle, clothing among West Bengal and Bangladesh.
Most People in Bangladesh and West Bengal use Bengali as their primary language of communication. Somehow, People in Bangladesh haven’t forgotten their roots yet, but people of West Bengal, particularly people of the urban or suburban areas, are almost rejecting Bengali, instead, they’re into English and Hindi now.
I’m not saying that learning or using another language is a bad thing, but straight up denying the mother tongue is atrocious. ‘If you know or speak English, you’re cool but if you use your mother tongue, you’re uncool’ - that is ludicrous. Man, ENGLISH IS JUST A LANGUAGE, for crying out loud; but nooooo… you gotta turn it into a status symbol 😑.
Walk like a duck, quack like a duck, and become a duck! How thoughtful!
In my opinion, this whole language-status-symbol shenanigan is just the result of British colonization. Back then, few of our people thought, if they talk, walk and dress up like the Britishers, they would get better jobs, better treatment from the Brits, making the elite; superior to other common Indians. Britishers were quite successful in making themselves and few of us believe that Indians are primitive savages and they are doing us a favor making us modern via “governing” us.
So, some people of our own became “elite”, thus infecting the mindset of common Indians; now here we are, hundreds of years later still unconsciously beliving in that same ideology.
Well, I’m critiquing them but I’m no better. Though consciously I’m rejecting those ideologies but unconsciously I’m so deep into the rabbit hole, I can’t even see the light. You know, what’s the worst part, I have evolved my speaking language into a shitty mixture of a few languages, English, Bengali, Hindi, and a few words from Spanish, French, and a few other languages.
The truth is, I’m disappointed in my people as well as myself.
~ palash bauri