Sunday, August 28, 2005

Something I posted on Caferati
Do we need to be better than the originals?

A well reasoned article that is long overdue. Max you expounded on the theme well enough. We Indians want to be one better than the originals. Marxism maybe dead in the world but we can still find the last vestiges of hardcore Marxism in Bengal and Kerala. No, these are not just some old and faltering diehards but hatta katta people who elect Marxist governments.

Nirad C Chaudhari wrote and lived like a pucca Englishman in England. But he was sneered upon by the Britons. Our own Rushdie with his Indianisms like "killofy" found a lot of supporters among Britons. That he wrote,"to be born again, first you have to die. 'ho ji! ho ji! to land upon the bosomy earth, first one needs to fly. tat-taa! taka-thun!" (I don't know the exact origin of these words, so please explain) and was accepted is proof that Britons love it when we are ourselves and do not speak in a hoity-toity stiff upperlip fashion when we speak or write to them.

I write in English though my mother tongue is Malayalam and I speak Hindi with my friends. I studied in an English medium school which had Malayalam and Marathi as optional languages. So I read and write English, Malayalam, Hindi and Marathi.

But I am drawn to the English language as a magnet because of the immense literature available in it. I am reasonably well read in English but not in Malayalam, Hindi or Marathi. English no longer belongs to England, it is a universal language. We may say, "Come here na," the Chinese may say, "Come here, la," and many international speakers may pepper their English with their own ethnicisms.

I was bewildered when I heard Afrikaans (the mixture of English and, I think, Dutch) spoken in South Africa. I could understand a few words but most was greek to me. But, given the chance to speak to a Africaans-speaking PYT I can make myself understood;-)

Max, in the article on "Good Writing" I had reasoned that we being Indian Writers in English should evolve a language that can evolve and enrich the English language as we know it now. That's what I thought would happen after the huge success of Rushdie and Arundhati Roy. But sadly it is not happening. We seem to be regressing back to old days when we were content with being mere clerks of the British Empire.

Note: I am using an invention patented by our own Peter Griffin here. (-:We are still doing that with our call centers and business process outsourcing companies which train our youth to be just that — clerks. Why even one company is named "e-clerk.":-) (-: Peter I hope you won't sue me for infringing your patent. Go to his page to see what a "smiley bracket" means:-)

In this context also read a posting on my blog.

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