Language perhaps is the most important skill that a person learns in his life. This art is learnt from the time when a person begins his life journey. Sometimes I wonder how a child is able to learn something so complex so easily. Maybe its another proof of mother nature’s benevolence on us-human beings. Everything that happens subsequently in a person’s life depends on how his perceptions colour his reasoning and how he articulates his thoughts.
Out of all the languages that a person learns, the influence of his mother tongue is the strongest. He considers his mother tongue as his own language. It gives him an identity, a sense of belonging with the world outside. It gives him a sense of security. He feels that he is living in a world which is similar to him in certain aspects. It gives him the ability to understand matters that concern him and also a certain amount of say in the things that happen around him. This feeling of security that he gets from his own language is perhaps the reason why he tries to protect it so zealously.
Today we see a lot of debate concerning the supremacy of one language over the other or even one culture over the other. This is especially true as far as our own nation is concerned because people speak so many different languages over here. According to the net, the figure is 35.
Sometimes I wonder whether there is anything to be so proud of as far as your own language is concerned. After all, it is not something that you are alone capable of doing. Every person in this world has his own language and can communicate as well in it as you can in your own. So is there anything special that you are doing? I don’t think so. Then also we hear tirades regarding the superiority of one language on the other and so on. Its almost impossible to guess what yardstick these people use to measure two languages.
Maybe the yardstick is their fear. When people talk of one language being better than the other, most of the time it is their fear that drives them. Nobody likes to see the world around him change. People measure their victories and defeats, gains and losses with the society they live in. When they sense a change in that society or cultural establishment, they do not know what to do. A certain kind of fear grips them and they become insecure about their future. It is this insecurity that drives them to do things that they would not have done otherwise as rational human beings. All this vandalism that happens in the name of language or culture is a result of this fear. Instead of being a matter of pride, the language seems to me more as a refuge from the unpredictable future.
However change is the only thing that never changes in this world. It is inevitable. So, I feel we need to learn better ways to cope up with our fears. We also need to be much more open to change and be optimistic regarding our future. The only way to move forward in the times that are is to learn how to manage change and to adapt ourselves to it as best as possible. This is also true as far as language is concerned. The faster we learn to cultivate a garden in our mind rather than a single flower, the better it will be for us. Maybe then we will be in a better position to appreciate the beauty of language and take pride in it.