Wednesday, May 4, 2016

And Language Should Never Be a Barrier Any More


अब तक यह कैसे संभव रहा की हिंदी में जैसे कुछ लिखा ही नहीं?
सोलह साल? एक और दो नहीं, पुरे सोलह साल हो गए, और हिंदी के प्रयोग की आवष्यकता ही नहीं हुई. सच ऐसा होता है क्या की हिंदी में सोचते हैं, हिन्दी को बोलते हैं, हिंदी को पहनते हैं....
ना हिन्दू को नहीं, हिंदी को, 
परन्तु हिंदी को लिखा नहीं?

अंग्रेजी में बोलना, लिखना, पढ़ना, सब आसानी से होता रहा तो ज़रुरत ही नहीं हुई हिंदी की. फिर? 
फिर, बच्चों को हिंदी बोलते देखने की इच्छा जागी, क्यों ? 

क्योंकि जब अपने जैसे दीखते बच्चे अपने मुहावरो की सुन्दरता को नहीं सराह पाते, जब हमारे जैसे नामों वाले छोटे छोटे चेहरों पर हिंदी तरानों से जुड़े हिंदी के बोल नहीं आ पाते, और जब 'जूठन' शंब्द के लिए इन बच्चों पे कोई शब्द ही नहीं होता---अंग्रेजी में शब्द नहीं है, और हिंदी इन्हे आती नहीं, तब एहसास होता है की हम हिंदी से जानकार माता -पिता के पास एक कितनी सुन्दर धरोहर है, जो हम इन छोटे छोटे अंतर्राष्ट्रीय नागरिकों को दे सकते हैं. 

मेरे पास हिंदी है, और मैं इन्हे हिंदी दूँगी. यदि तुम्हारे पास मराठी है तो तुम उन्हें वो दो. भाषा---जितनी जानेंगे हम, मेरा यह विश्वास है, की हम उतना जान पाएंगे अपनी जड़ों को, और औरों के नज़रियों को, उनकी विचार धारा को. 

मुझे अंग्रेजी में ही अभी कितना सीखना है. मात्र अंग्रेजी के शब्द-कोष को जान लेने से ही मैं कहाँ मेरे अमरीकी साथियों से आसानी से घुल मिल पाई हूँ? इस देश में हूँ, पर इस देश की नहीं हूँ. और यूं बटा हुआ रहना मानो कटा हुआ रहना है. कुछ तड़पन के साथ रहना है.  

कहते हैं सुख और दुःख की एक भाषा है पूरे विश्व में. इतना साधारण नहीं है सत्य। भाषा वो समझ आती है जिसके रहस्यों को जान लिया गया है. मुस्कराहट को खिखिलाने से अलग पहचाना जाए, आँसूओ की नमि को रोने से भिन्न माना जाए. 

एक उम्र निकल जाएगी हमें उन्हें समझने में, 
हम कोशिश कर रहे हैं, वह बस इतना समझ लें!

हिंदी, अंग्रेजी, स्पेनिश, जो भी भाषा जान के, जितने नजरिोयों के संग हम कुछ दूूर चल सकेंगे उतना हम जान पाएंगे की कुछ खोने पे दुःख सबको होता है, कुछ पाने पे ख़ुशी भी स्वाभाविक है.... हर व्यक्ति के लिए....चाहे वह कितना ही भिन्न दीखता हो हम से.  




13 comments:

Wafa said...

Ah, the permanent lament of the immigrant. I personally have given up on this as a battle I cannot win. My parents would have lost this battle too, if we had not moved back to India when I was 7. So I know this feeling first hand & I know it from the point of view of the alienated child, forced to speak a language they are no longer comfortable in, & thinking "fine, if you won't talk to me unless I speak Urdu I just won't talk to you unless I have to." And as you well know, what I speak now is the Mumbai Hindi I learned growing up, not the proper Urdu of my father's family, & I still only talk to my parents in English. Ergo, unwinnable battle.

It saddens me that my kids will never understand Hindi expressions & phrases, or appreciate Urdu poetry or Hindi movies & music. But I see that as the price I paid to raise them in a first world country. They are Americans; they will speak English & perhaps a little Spanish or French or whatever their school teaches them, & enough Arabic to read our holy book. So it goes.

Anonymous said...

well written and a fact... I do think that the Indian kids who do not speak Hindi well, are not able to connect well with non-English speaking grandparents... I live with this fact and I try to talk to my kid about my parents and traditions as much as possible...

Sonal said...

So well said, I always thought is it important or not to teach them my mother language? Because I would try but my husband wouldn't as much or didn't even think it was important enough till he saw my 10 yr old and 7 yr old communicating with their grandparents on their own and not using us as the translators. And continued on the phone...such a small instance but brought a radical change in my husband ti support the growth and learning of the language. Not just for this reason but I want to be able to enjoy the Bollywood movies (without reading the subtitles - a far goal to reach, I know), the emotions, the songs, the music with them. Just like I start tapping my feet with the music I hope will happen to them one day....And I am hopeful it will happen. Point is to not give up...because YOU are the only connection to this language and tradition for them. If you give up what will keep them afloat??

Unknown said...

I personally being slow learner of languages (tried Bangla in Kharagpur), I feel dishonest expecting kids to learn another language that they would be using infrequently. Maybe I should lead by example and learn Spanish with them.

Akash Gupta said...

I personally being slow learner of languages (tried Bangla in Kharagpur), I feel dishonest expecting kids to learn another language that they would be using infrequently. Maybe I should lead by example and learn Spanish with them.

eAnjali said...

Thanks for reading and commenting Woof. Indeed it is not going to be easy nor will it be fun for kids to learn a language which they won't use as much. However, completely giving up on this won't help either. We can try to make it fun for them, as much as we can. Thanks to the vast amount of multimedia at our disposal today, this is definitely doable. For example, Hindi itself can be picked a lot through age appropriate Hindi films, and even songs for that matter. The goal is to achieve a sense of connection with that vast culture and vaster still(!!) land which they will never inhabit but which will forever be a part of who they are.
And last I spoke with you, both your Hindi and Urdu were mashallah khoobsurat!

eAnjali said...

SONAL, you make a valid point, and I love your personal story. Indeed we forget how smart the human kids are. When forced into situations where they have to communicate their views, regardless of the language they succeed. Be it with grandparents or with helpers in India, even my kids can somehow immediately adapt to the language of the land, and it is this adaptability that we need to keep pushing for them to pick a new language or even a new sport etc. I totally agree YOU, as in WE, are the only connection to the language and tradition. Thanks for reading, and logging here.

eAnjali said...

AKASH, first slow or fast, learning a new language can never be easy, especially for adults. You were trying to learn Bangla in college, as was I, and that is a very busy time in our lives....too much going on, too many exams to pass, too many emotional roller coasters etc, and quite possible then that language would not come easily. However, kids have way too fluid brains, way too much readiness to sponge it up than adults, and thus it is even more imperative that we at least create an environment for them to speak/think/read in another language, and what better language for this than our mother tongues. I know of enough families who have held ground to the rule that only a particular language at particular time/day or some such. I don't agree that it is dishonest to ask our kids to pick our language, since no one was as invested in us learning Bangla, as we are in our kids learning mother tongues!

I definitely like your idea of learning Spanish with them. The Suzuki method of music emphasises this same thing, that a kid can learn new things much faster and better if an adult close to the kid, starts to learn it with him/her too. So Happy learning to all of us!

eAnjali said...

Anonymous/TG: great point about the disconnect between American born desi kids and their non-english speaking grand parents. I like your approach to peace with it, and yet constantly educating the kid about our stories and traditions. Stories, especially personal ones, are a great way for kids to be led into the culture they never experience first-hand. We tell our kids a lot about our childhoods too. Hopefully it helps them understand us better too. Thanks for reading/commenting here.

V said...

Well written N! I def think it's good for kids growing up in US to learn Hindi, but sometimes I myself question how useful it'll be to them since most of India speaks English. Hindi is not a unifying language even in India. Growing up in the south most of my Hindi is from a book or movies. My husband and I don't speak the same south Indian language and English is the preferred language even by us at home :)

-V

eAnjali said...

V--very well put indeed. India has so much diversity that truly Hindi is not a unifying language. However, as you yourself said, even when you are from South India with a mother tongue different than Hindi, through movies and books, you picked up enough Hindi to start enjoying the movies in Hindi. And we will all agree that Bollywood, if not Hindi directly, is certainly a great connector in India! Jokes apart, I think, both you and I agree, that being multi-lingual is a great way to understand more parts of the world, and if a parent has a language to teach then definitely that's a home advantage worth exploiting for the kids! Thanks for reading/logging in here.

Priya Mann said...

I feel your emotions as you write, and quite ironically we are so used to reading up stuff in English that I did take thrice the time to go through it. I think every generation will lose some gain some in the choices of location we make. An Indian mother living in India who doesn't ever see herself/ kids make it to the west, would want her child to forget hindi/typically Indian contexts and align more to the western way of life. So progress to many over there means dropping their heavily loaded Indian-ness and become more global. With us, making a choice to be in the western world, we would like them to have reverse journeys and no harm.
But I do remember my times and how much I struggled with hindi in my 10th and was so happy to say goodbye to it thereafter. My fondness for it built gradually in my late twenties when I wanted to understand Ghalib, Khayyam, Nusret and many others. This new found love made me walk the road less traveled towards relearning the language once again, out of my free will and liking. You are right in wanting to speak it with them and giving them a choice of knowing that there exists a whole world, that is waiting to be explored and experienced. When my father chose to leave his father's home not wanting to become a farmer; a part of what my grand father wanted to carry forward might have died. And the process continues. I feel there is beauty in losing some, gaining some and then sometimes coming back full circle and rediscovering it in your own way, in your own time and of your own free will. These journeys' of free will sometimes bring us back more passionately and soulfully to pick up from where one left. I know a few second generation indian americans who are farmers in India and also masters in Indian religious scriptures; while there parents are still leading American lives in America.

eAnjali said...

@Priya Mann: Thanks for taking us through a beautiful journey of self discovery. You are so correct in writing that nothing comes better to us than when self motivated. I guess the desires of parents like us are not to get our kids taking a road back to India, but in seeing that they always feel rooted to something. Needless to say that universal values of basic ethics will take them far, and keep them grounded, but I truly believe that the flair for life, the spice of living lies in the cultural nuances, be it the achars from India, or the mariachi music from Mexico, or the creole food of the American South. In that aspect, since the parents of our kids do have a home advantage in Hindi (or Marathi or Tamil or...) why not use that to make it learning while living.
Last, but not the least, here is cheers to multi-lingualism for all times!
I hope they too get to enjoy Rumy, and Ghalib sometime from a true calling .....and I think it will be a very fine way to be!