So many things came to my mind today as I took a day off from my daily routine and lay on the floor (my bed heats up like it has hot pads under it!) thinking about a few things that have been running through my mind lately.
‘The Zoya Factor’, a bestseller these days and given top rankings in the fiction book rankings by many a magazine, uses phrases like ” I stared back like a besharam defending my statement’. Whoa! A few hundred years back, it was french that used to add that little glamour or sophistication to a book. I remember staring at the french written in italics in many Agatha Christie’s novels,though could only guess the meaning. The book is full of such usage of hindi words, the words we have grown up hearing and the way we mix and mash the language so much, it has almost become one. But somehow, the very idea of reading such language kills a little something inside me. I dont know why, but when I’ve read Mario Puzo’s books set in Sicily, the heart of Italian mafia full of Italian words, phrases and greetings, or many french authors books laden with french, why does reading an Indian author’s book using blatant street language( more precisely, the mashed up stuff we guys speak) invoke feelings of negativity?
I guess,it has something to do with the fact that as kids we were encouraged to read as much as we could to improve our language and increase our english/hindi vocabulary. I dont think that using street language is a good idea at all.
This wasnt a first time. The last book I read in the vacations ‘Superstar India’ by Shobhaa De, ran on similar language. Street usage, though she used those words but never as a part of the conversation. But, I totally disagree that something of this sort can put India on the global map. On the same note, my wholehearted congratulations to Aravind Adiga. His book is brilliant. I have often told everyone (who cared to listen) to read his book, ‘The White Tiger’way before it won the Booker. Simply brilliant.
Another thing came to my mind was the reservation system. Ok, there have been prolonged debates on this and so much is said against it but the thing which struck me was how much have we started caring about which caste one belongs to. Cmon! the caste system was a black mark on our culture and I am pretty sure our forefathers never wanted the future generations to even know such brutalities existed. But, the first thing we ask is ” Is he SC/ST ? “, if the answer is affirmative “Yaar, his life is set, he’ll get admission anywhere”. Whatever little was trickling down through the ages, our dear goverment has just opened the flood gates for such caste apartheid to begin. Not surprisingly, this time it is the so-called ‘forward caste’ which has been hit.
Im not proud to re-state the now-famous quote:
“India is the only country where people fight to be called backward”.