Sunday, January 13, 2013

Speak to Preserve the Language

Can the potential to grow the Life Style be detrimental for the culture and Religious faith? It seems so. It is like a huge tree which can uproot solid structures. It does not stop there. It goes upto the grass root level to do away with one's mother tongue as well.  Though it sounds strange, it is happening . I was watching a short film on You Tube,forwarded by my friend quite recently. It was all about the possibility of Tamils loosing not only the culture but their language consciously.

When the British ruled India, Lord Macaulay was of the opinion to introduce English in the region. He suggested to give the Indians the book,"Robinson Crusoe" which could  teach them Grammar together. They believed that it could be the step to delink the many languages of the states of the country with a common language and replace them with English. Since education is looked as a source for livelihood, it became unavoidable to learn a global language right from Primary schools.

It was chiefly due to the poor standard of education, people began opting for the convents though it was not affordable. Some schools set the platform for spreading the religions of the west simultaneously by asking the students not to wear the cultural dress of the region and disallowing them from speaking the local language. This was the first and most important dent received and people became helpless and succumb to the situation.

The Government did nothing except to organise World Tamil Meet to boast that they are the real protectors of the language. Sanskrit was mercilessly thrown out of the schools only to target a section of the Public. It was called as a"dead language". Who prevented them to have Tamil as a compulsory language of study atleast upto school level? Does the Government realise the fact that thousands of students who come out of schools in Tamilnadu do not know how to read and write the language? What steps have been taken to plug the dangerous trend?

Yes. The danger is at the door steps. Many parents prefer their children to address them as "Dad" and "Mom" instead of "Appa" and "Amma". It starts from there. Slowly the conversation gets switched over to English as they assume that it gives them a better status. They never attempt to teach their children the local language at Homes. The film I referred above beautifully portrays how the tradition and the language is completely lost when you settle abroad.

I do agree that there are many families who train their children at Home both within the country and abroad. At this stage I want to express my disappointment as this is not enough.  While I am happy to note that music and dance are taught mostly by ladies during their stay abroad, I am yet to hear the news that the language is taught from alphabet level to young lads. Can "Tamil Sangams " in other states of the country and abroad spend more time on this?

Since Sanskrit is primarily used for conducting religious worship, a day may come when Tamil may also face the same fate. Since a large part of Tamil Literature is meant for religion, people should show interest to preseve it by encouraging the next generation in that direction. Can n't the children be taught during their vacation? To start with, the parents should shed their notion that it is inferior to speak in local languages. They should change themselves first before trying it with their children. How often the parents take time to tell the next generation about our customs and practices?

Be it Sanskrit or Tamil, you need to tell the next generation what it means and how important it is when you recite a stanza or a Hymn. Blind repetition simply does nothing. During my recent visit to a Temple on a Pradosham day , I was immensely happy to note young students reciting Vedas. When I had a chat with them after the event, I came to know that they learn Veda and Agama for six years. It was my turn to ask questions at them. I asked them to narrate something about "Pradosham". I was shocked to see them blinking. Their teacher was not there. It reflects the quality of training received by the students. My friend went on asking more questions at them. I knew they were taught very little the meaning of what they recite and the significance of the religious events. This is the reason why Sanskrit was neglected  as the teachers thought that one should read "Bhashyam" for learning the meaning of the verses. It may be correct. But you should know atleast the basics of what the vedas/Agamas convey.

You may wonder why this post is written for Tamils in English language. The reason is obvious and narrated in this post itself.

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