In this article we discuss the varied responses from our readers to our article last week about the Case of Two Financial Journalists . We were really surprised with the volume and variety of responses. We thank the readers for both reading the article and taking the time to respond to it.
Sanskrut Grammar and Literature
We are very happy to see the love and respect shown by readers to Sanskrut. Many readers showed proficiency in Sanskrut Grammar as well as Sanskrut literature. Sanskrut is the one unifying bond for all of India today as it has been over the centuries and millenia.
We believe that English will end up being de facto business language of India within the next decade or so and that Sanskrut will have to be the spiritual, historical and literary soul of India. The regional Indian languages will become richer and stronger as well. This has been so through out Indian history. The land records, the business transactions were done and recorded in local languages. But the language binding India remained Sanskrut.
It will become incumbent on India to modify English to suit the needs of Indians. That is how it should be and we think that is how it will be. This is why we take pains to make sure that Sanskrut and regional Indian words are pronounced and spelled correctly in English.
This is not an easy task given the diversity of Indian languages and scripts. But it needs to be undertaken. It also requires that basic Sanskrut be taught to each Indian child in early school. This does not have to be complicated grammar but simple verses that enable each child to speak at least some part of the child’s heritage.
Our opinion is that ability to speak Sanskrut will remove some of the ingrained differences between castes in India. One of the old proverbs says”Janmata Jayate Shudra: Samskarat Dwij Uchyate” Or “everyone is born Shudra, it is with Samskar that one becomes twice-born (Brahman)“. When everyone learns to speak basic Sanskrut, a huge barrier will be removed from Indian society.
Regional & Language Differences within India
Many responses we received suggested a tension or animosity between South Indians and North Indians. This is natural to a degree. No one will or should allow any one part or any one Indian language to dominate others. Each language in India has its own great history. Indian history shows that each region of India became dominant at some time and contributed to India’s greatness.
But the drive to differentiate one’s region can get too extended at times. We saw some of this tendency in many responses. These responses accused us of taking the Hindi perspective. That would be difficult because Hindi is not our primary language. We actually learned it after coming to the United States. One of our friends in America was a British-educated Muslim who could speak in perfectly clipped Oxford English and in perfectly nawabi style of Lucknow Urdu. He did more to teach us Hindi than any of our school and college teachers.
Today’s Indian society shows an increasing propensity for internal strife. You see people of one Indian state hurl invectives at people of another state; you see insults hurled at each other by people from different castes. Yet, the same people get soft, silent and submissive towards people from other countries, especially Americans and Europeans. This is how every foreign entity was able to annex and rule over India. The last one to do that was a private English company that annexed India by encouraging each small ruler to fight against his neighbour in a step-by-step, state-by-state fashion.
Today, the politicians of India are practicing the same divide and rule approach to build their own private and party empires.
Sprawl in Modern India
You see urban sprawl in virtually every city in India. In south Mumbai, you still see sensible planned neighborhoods with wide roads. But the Mumbai suburbs have been built in a random, haphazard manner. The result is urban sprawl. This is also true of many other cities across India.
This sprawl is now spreading to well established Indian Institutions. You see formerly strong institutions breaking down under the relentless pressure of regional, language and caste differences. This pressure leads to the “anything goes” approach to avoid any row.
We see the same sprawl emerging in Indian English. Sixty three years have elapsed after Indian independence but there is no national institutional effort to standardize the Indian version of English. Instead, a language sprawl is growing in Indian English and pretty soon, one group of Indians might not be able to understand the English of another group.
We saw a part of all this in responses to us. Our goal is and was simple. It was to explain to Americans, especially to American media, how to pronounce Indian names, at least names of great emotional and religious significance to all Indians. For this purpose, we chose the original Sanskrut or Indo-European pronunciation.
To those who complain that European-Americans cannot pronounce your names, we suggest patience. Break up your name into phonetic components and explain the syntax to them. Americans have a horror of mispronouncing names of others. It is up to you to show them how to pronounce yours. patiently, skillfully and firmly.
Every name in America can be mispronounced because English does not have a phonetic script. Take for example a name like Scarborough, a national anchor with MSNBC. How would we pronounce it if we had never heard it before? Since we know the word “rough”, our initial guess would be to pronounce “Scarbo” phonetically and then add the word “rough” or Scarbo-rough. The MSNBC Anchor would not be pleased to hear this pronunciation and he would be quick to correct us. Once we were taught that his name is phonetically spelled as “Scar-ba-ro”, we were able to pronounce it. It is the same with your name.
The spelling of French words is often very different from the pronunciation. Yet, Americans have learned to pronounce French names. Today, Americans tend to feel uneducated or rude when they mispronounce French names. Why? Because the French correct people when they mispronounce French names and they have created a image of haute culture around the French language.
In our humble opinion, Sanskrut poetry, literature, and philosophy is India’s greatest gift to the world. It is up to every Indian to take pride in it and to teach it to any one who wishes to learn.
Today, Americans are engaged in the greatest literary publishing project in modern history – translation of over 100 Sanskrut literary books into English. The last time such a major project was undertaken was in the 5th century by China’s Tang Dynasty . Learn about this great American project and tell your European-American friends about it.
Our appeal to readers is to drop the Micro or regional issues and focus on the Macro, the introduction of Sanskrut to the average American. If we do that, respect for us, our traditions and our names will be the natural result.
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