Whether you accept or not but I believe it would be no wrong to say that most of us including you and me and the generation we belong to, feel ashamed and embarrassed to speak our mother language in public places. The obsession for learning and speaking English language in our society is increasing at a very rapid pace making it a compulsion for others to follow the trend, so they don't feel ashamed, uncomfortable and uneasy while conversing with the existing speakers to maintain their esteem and save their ego. A person unable to speak the foreign language in a group of English knowing is assumed to be unwise and stupid. We are giving birth to a society where intelligence of a person is limited to a Language that he is not native to, that is totally imprudent to conjecture. What we need to understand is that there is no concept of one language being inferior or superior to other. Language doesn't reflect ones class or status he or she belongs to but it is only a medium of mutual understanding and communication between people.
A month back while travelling in a bus I was startled on hearing a female voice critiquing and mocking on women talking in Kashmiri. I can’t inculpate her or anyone around with such behavior because it is the way they perceive their mother tongue by observing the world around. What we see is what we learn and what we learn decides our future and if this perception towards our ethos will not change, future Kashmir will be in a never ending vexation of finding their identity. Changing our thoughts and outlook towards our native language can save our cultural identity and only then it is logically possible to secure and find Kashmir on the future map.
Renunciation of cultural ethos for superfluous pleasing is not only an irrational judgement but an act of pseudo insincerity towards the land we are born in. I don't encourage airing defiance for learning English because an ironic reality is that, without English there is almost no probability of you reading this because we are unknowingly so influenced by this language that we don't consider reading in any other. Of course it is a kind of great appreciation that almost every one of us can write in English but is there anyone around able to write in his or her own? Almost impossible to find in our generation and yes exceptions can't be forsaken and that exceptional minority really needs respect for keeping a tradition, a culture and an identity alive in them. Kashmiri Language is our identity that elucidate us from the rest but unfortunately our identity is dying an unnoticed death and this will be an irreparable future loss for our community. Being a crackerjack of a foreign language is highly laudable but giving it an indispensable status demeaning our own is no way a politic presumption.
Except where the formal protocol doesn’t allow the use of language other than a prescribed one, feel gratifying to speak your mother language. We are born to it and it’s our moral liability to speak it and speak it with pride.
“Put an end to this baseless theory
Or a time will come with a story
That once upon a time there was Kashmiri
That moment would be very scary
So feel proud to be a Kashmiri
Bury this thought in a hurry
And remember our language is Kashmiri”
- The writer is a student at Islamia College of Science and Commerce and can be reached at email@example.com.