The miles to go before I sleep...

  • Start teaching science at school and incorporate demo
  • Research, design, implement comprehensive teaching module on science, civic sense
  • Interview social change agents working @ ground level
  • Pilot peer-to-peer teaching programme

Saturday, October 14, 2006

What a Tamilan won't admit to a northie..

Tulip Manohar Hotel, Hyderabad
There was an employees party in our company within weeks of my joining the company. A group of us, all non-Tamil speaking were chatting in Hindi as a few of us waited for our cab to arrive. Another Tamil speaking colleague of mine came over to me with something in mind that clearly bother him. He asked,

"What were you doing before taking up this job?"
"Studying...", I said.
"How did you know Hindi then?" was his immediate reaction.
I said, " I studied Hindi at school and I have a handful of Hindi-speaking friends from my Master's"

Satyam Theatre Complex, Chennai
I was standing in queue to buy tickets for Mask of Zorro II talking with my friend Srivatsan . Two Hindi-speaking guys behind us were hurriedly discussing on deciding a movie.

"Garam Masaala ka ticket miltha hai kya?" said one.
"Patha nahi..age poocho!" said the other.
He patted my shoulder and asked "Bhai saab....Garam Masala ka....um...are they issuing tickets for Garam masala in the counter?"
I scaned the counter for sometime and said "Abhi jo ticket Kharid ke gaya tha, woh wohi tickets kharid raha tha. Tho...shaayad tickets hai" and gave him a smile.
Even as he looked at me as though he just witnessed a day-light murder, the guy in the next queue (with tamilian written all over his face with vibooti) quickly flashed an instinctive surprised look at me before he turned away pretending not to have heard me speak Hindi.

My own close friend says "Hey cool man, you speak such a fluent Hindi though I studied Hindi for longer than you did"

These are just a few of the numerous instances of what tamilians truly feel at the bottom of their heart about Hindi as a language.

A Tamilian envies another Tamilian who can speak fluent Hindi.

A Tamilan has a bad opinion about the Hindi-speaking community. But given a choice (not a compulsion), he is more likely to learn Hindi than not.

These are two facts that no tamilian will admit to during a war-for-self-respect against a hostile hindi-speaking foe.

12 comments:

Prakash Gomathinayagam said...
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Prakash Gomathinayagam said...

>>These are two facts that no tamilian will admit to during a war-for-self-respect against a hostile hindi-speaking foe.

You are neither hostile, and nor we have war-for-self-respect fight, but I don't agree with both of ur self-made-facts :)

Prakash Gomathinayagam said...

Details:
I moved with lot of people who learned Tamil and hindi.

Tamilnadu unlike most of India, had two-language formula not three language (till 2004). English and any other language!. Even tamil is not mandatory.

Given a choice like this, most of the students obviously opt for Tamil, or their mother-tongue ( I have many telugu/hindi/Gujarati friends, who took the respective languages in my school).

I also know some tamil friends who took Hindi instead of Tamil. At that time ( 5-6th Grade), I use to look down at them. I still remember the argument, I had with my friend Murali krishna. Mother tongue vs the national language :).

So it was not envy, but generally the feeling is to look down at tamilians who know Hindi because it is mostly at the expense of not knowing Tamil (remember you can either learn Tamil or Hindi in school b'cos of the 2 language formula ).

It is just like patriotism problem. We look down at people who justify and act for pakistan (supporting Pakistan in cricket match).

So it is not "learning-Hindi" the problem, "Not-learning-Tamil" was the problem. It made them look alien.

Analogy: I love my neighbour. but if I treat my neibour's mom as my mom and not considering my mom at all, Then u will look down at me. Remember you don't hate my neighbour, nor my respect for neighbour's mom, but my attitude!.

Badhri said...

...if you mean what you said and I quote

"So it is not "learning-Hindi" the problem, "Not-learning-Tamil" was the problem. It made them look alien. "

you agree, since you don't like the idea because of compulsion and not choice. (what would you have taken as a 3rd language in a 2 lang. formula?)

Prakash Gomathinayagam said...
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Prakash Gomathinayagam said...

Simply put, I rewrote ur facts as

A General Tamilian does not like another "Tamilian" who can speak fluent Hindi AND says "I don't know how to read/write in Tamil" (Which was the general case back 2004 due to 2-language formula).

A General Tamilan "does not" have a bad opinion about the Hindi-speaking community. I can give you ample examples, it wud become another article :)

I personally, now, don't belong to (1) but (2).

Prakash Gomathinayagam said...

My third fact related to your article.

A general X-Language guy envies another X-language guy who can speak Y-language fluently ( and also knows X-language well ).

I envy you!

pls don't add false propogandas to already existing mess. Many non- tamilnadu people thinks the way u have written the article. it is a false propoganda !!!! esp ur second point. sad to c, it is from u.

Can you show a single article from a non-tamil from tamilnadu, who says like what you say ?

Hamsa said...

u know what? The irritation stems form inadequacy.
Yes. The thing is the tamilian is capable of learning more but isnt allowed to. Atleast by a section of the politicians. Theoretical Hindi does not teach u vernacular hindi. I guess it might be equal to learning french and going to speak french in France. Take my word for it. It was horrible.

So. Our Tamilian goes to Bombay and is laughed at for his south indian Tandhi.

Comes back. Votes for DMK and settles down. A generation of Hindi speaker is quenched after him.

And when I went to Delhi regarding a conference whatever questionS I asked were answered in Hindi which really is!!! EGO.

The Hindi speaking majority is not doing itself a good turn by all these small points.

But I have a few really cool friends who take the pain of talking in English when I am around.

At the bottom of it, it requires only understanding to cross linguistic barriers.

Anjali Kumar said...

Please speak for yourself and not for others...

Maybe you and your friends have some sort of insecurity about being Tamil.. That's really sad.. Maybe you want to use that product.. fair and handsome..

I am absolutely happy with my status of not being able to speak Hindi living in Chennai right now. Well maybe it will be a prob if I went North but right now I revel in the fact that i can contribute to being one of the many Tamilians who don't need to know Hindi to become patriotic or aquire some sense of 'cool' or whatever. In fact I'd like to distance myself as much as possible from people who seem so parochial and crude..

Badhri said...
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Badhri said...

First of all, thanks to have cared to give your opinions.

> Please speak for yourself and not for other..

I have quoted what others spoke and I have expressed my observations. To counter them is your right.

> Maybe you and your friends have some sort of insecurity about being Tamil

Would you care to explain how you arrived at this conclusion? Why would you think that someone who can speak in another language is insecure about his own mother tongue.

I am sure you have communicated in Eng. to your friend who knows Tamil very well. Would you agree if I say you are insecure about Tamil? At least I have spoken in Hindi *not* to a Tamil speaking guy.

> Tamilians who don't need to know Hindi to become patriotic.

Awh! The all too familiar "Learn Hindi if you are a patriot". I see this dumb argument from a Hindi-s1peaker has hurt you too. I know how it feels as I have gone through it myself. Sorry ma'm, I never suggested that. For that matter I never even suggested that you learn Hindi. Its all upto you.

To clarify my stand, I have seen people use Hindi in TN as a tool to be "cool". I can see how you see me. While I don't really care about how you judge me, I know I use any language with purpose. (I am sure I can write my blogs in a much more stylish flow, but who am I trying to impress?!).

I have ruffled feathers with Hindi-speakers too. I have fought hard for Tamilians' opinion too. Interestingly no Tamilian in those times told me "Don't speak for others"!

At the end of it all I do believe that

1. Egoists and loose-talkers who are responsible for all the hindi-tamil divide are on both the sides.
2. Tamil people accept Hindi as a useful language even when they (which includes me) have an ego problem with Hindi-speakers. How else would you explain the crowd in Prachar Sabha in Mambalam?

Should Hindi be compulsory?
It should be offered in all the schools, but the choice (=democracy) should be left to students. Besides, where is the question of making it compulsory, if the govt. doesn't have the wherewithal to find one Hindi teacher for every school? I hate politicians. (Tamil and otherwise alike)

Sathish said...

It is wrong that, Tamilian don't mingle with Hindi speaking people. I can speak Tamil, Hindi. But the fact is when I had been working in Delhi, I have been replied only in Hindi even though I was asking in English to an English speaking guy. I don't blame him. But I don't understand why people come to Tamil Nadu and complaining about if they have same treatment.

More over recently I tried to talk with New York Indian consultate over phone, they said to speak ONLY in Hindi, not even English. It is very annoying to listen this.As as Tamilian I say this is compulsion. Otherwise I know so many my friends know read/write Hindi. We never have any problem in speaking Hindi when we meet Hindi friends or go Hindi speaking places. Same time we expect same from them also. Cause Hindi is not a ONLY National lanaguage.