Contamination of language

'Contamination' is a fate no language can avoid. It has happened to all our ancestral languages like Latin, Nordic and Persian, transforming them into new languages we are more familiar with today. The process of mixing of two languages - often the colonial with the local - led to the creation of a number of new languages that not only helped people understand each other, but evolved new generations of poets and writers who claimed their loyalty to the newly-formed language. In the subcontinent, Urdu and Hindi are the basic examples of languages which were formed through interrelations with many conquerors.

Yet, what worries me is that we must know where to stop. Contamination has proved to be useful and even inevitable in any language, but we must also take a step or two towards preservation. I will take Urdu as the classic case in this regard. Unfortunately, the language which is the result of great dynasties who flourished in India, receives a rather step-motherly treatment today. The government has not done anything for the promotion or even preservation of Urdu on a scale which may be called commendable.

As such, the burden lies with ourselves to give back languages like Urdu their dignity, instead of using them to compose 'item' songs. You could point a finger at me and say: If you are so hung up about Urdu, why are you writing this in English? The reasons are two. One, like it or not, English is the language of the masses. Two, there is no established Blogger in Urdu.

I would particularly call out to the young Indians whose mother tongue is Urdu, to reach out to their roots by at least picking up an Urdu book for a change or conversing with their fellows in the language. For those with kids, why don't they apprise them of their mother tongue before sending them off to French or Spanish classes? Why hasn't any qualified Indian developed an Urdu literature website? Speaking of which, how many notable Urdu websites have been developed by Indians?

I would not be off-mark if I said that language is a the root of a person's culture. To explore other cultures, you need to be aware of your own. To take my own example, I was brought up and educated in the Middle East. In the Indian schools there (at least seven years ago) students could choose only one second language - Hindi, Urdu, Bengali or Malayalam. I had to choose Hindi, being my national language. However, my father had the insight to send me for private Urdu tutions, for which I am eternally grateful to him. I must say that I have always felt easier to express myself in English, but when I started reading some Urdu books and poetry, I was suprised at the beauty of the words.

In fact, I would say even English is suffering from severe contamination today. Hinglish is just one of its results. I am not against this new and convenient language, but I personally think it should be restricted to informal conversations (even blogs, if need be). I know that many will disagree on the grounds that it is a language of expression for certain people, but as I said, it is really up to the teaching fraternity and older generation to inculcate a sense of language and respect for it among the emerging generation.
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Aamir Khan said...

Your article reflects the true picture. It is but obvious that Urdu is dying, or rather more staunchly is killed.

Your observation of this fact is quite appreciated. I hope this would make us Urdu blooded people think and reinstall the language in our homes atleast.

Aaditya said...

the contamination is a world wide phenomenon: american eng corrupting the queens english, german et al.. Living in a globalized world has its fallouts..

M.D.S.PRABU said...

the large hue and cry is certainly valid. However it is helpless as not many r concerned. I remember reading an article in a newspaper which had the comments" In few days school teachers in England will ask how many students can speak an dwrite good english?". This article was written by an Englishman himself.

M.D.S.PRABU said...


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