Monday, September 8, 2008

Mala-naadu liberation front

[Warning: Language vitriol.]

Door Darshan did it. Some might already have guessed it. Yes, I am talking about the north Indian conspiracy to impose their language upon us Dravidians (the true sons of the soil!). I wasn’t prejudiced to the language you know. Even when I got zeroes in the language at school, I persevered and got even more zeroes…:(

By the time I was in 8th standard, my practical and far-sighted parents wisely allowed me to drop Hindi altogether. After all, there is a limit to which parents can see red in the report card and still abstain from infanticide.

But like most kids my age, I idolized Hindi movies and heroes. Over-the-hill-young-turk Amitabh, muscle-popping-rapist-cum-sister-protector Dharmendra and chocolate-hero Sharukh, they all conspired to teach me Hindi and what’s more I loved the conspiracy.

All the Hindi I ever learnt was at the foot of my 21 inch Idiot Tube. Hindi was thus an inalienable part of my day to day life. With one potential glitch however, I did not know to count after “Dus” (after “dus” it was “bus” for me!)

But along with worshipping Hindi movies and heroes, I also worshipped that supreme Indian sport, Cricket. What turned the tables against the Hindi language was the advent of the day night scheme of the game.

A run-away success in our sun battered subcontinent. It had but one disadvantage. The ending/most interesting part of the game always coincided with news on DD. And not one session mind you, but two bore-you-to-death sessions. One in Hindi and the other in English. Torture like this was enough to make even the most saintly south Indian ask in exasperation "why the hell am I watching news in Hindi when a nail-biting match is going on?"

It is only natural at this point of time that the reader notices a defect in my line of thought. Why is this guy ranting against Hindi news, why not English (foren language!!) news?? Valid q, but you see, I knew how to count in English, not Hindi! So when dear news-reading-auntie announced in Hindi that India’s score was “dou-so-chakees(?)” I would look heaven-ward and ask “what-the-f***ees?!!!”

Of course, you could brush me off for “not cause enough to hate your rashtra baasha”, agreed! But look what DD did right after that. They started doing cricket commentary in Hindi (a crime upon humanity, May heaven open up and strike a thunder bolt on the idiot who came up with this idea!!!). It was pathetic, no barbaric… no I am just lost for words to describe it!

Compared to all that we Indians put up with, Hindi commentary was definitely not the last straw on my strong back. I mean, I had a good mind to join the Tamil Tiger Eelam(M) - (Mallu group!!) and put a bomb right up DD’s backside, but being the non-violent Indian I am, I desisted (not knowing Tamil did not help either!).

But, while it did not break the camels back, a prejudice was born. And the prejudice deepened each time I heard “bastsman ne Shaantar drive kiya hai…seetha filder ke taraf!” (A beautiful shot, right to the fielders hands!!) I always wonder whether Gandhi could have heard this kind of dialogue and still stayed non-violent!

But what finally pushed me into the liberation movement was human contact with north Indians. It happened in Bangalore at my job. While I knew Hindi, I was never a fluent speaker (you can’t talk back to your T.V right?) So, I preferred replying back in English while in conversation with the northies. And that is when the last straw fell.

“You are *expected* to know the national language” says a northie to me. “err… excuse me” I said “did you just say you are “expected” to know Hindi”. “Yes, it is our national language. You are supposed to learn it”. My blood pressure shot right through the roof. The way my eyes bulged and veins stood up, he must have got a general gist of what I thought about the “national language” and “expectations” regarding it.

I controlled myself somehow and asked him “if our national religion was Islam and you were “expected” to follow it, would you?”. Something told me that he wouldn’t take the question in a light manner.

I was right. He went semi ballistic.

“But that is a religion!!! I Would NEVER follow it. Language is not like that. How can you ask questions like that?”
“To me language is as important as religion, if not more. I think being a Malayali and speaking that language defines me more than anything else. So don’t tell me I am “expected” to learn any language!”
“But it is our national language” he says.
“You made it our national language, not us!”
“well, so? Now it is and as long as it is, you have to follow it. I know so many Malayalees who speak the language well, what’s the problem with you? Eh?”

This guy was getting on my nerves!! No wonder rakshasas (our forefathers as per Karunanidhi) murdered these guys in cold blood.

Thus after much deliberation I have decided to create the nth secession movement of India. This one is for the independence of Keralasthan…hey! Wait! “sthan” is a north Indian word. Independence for Kerala-nadu it is! Wait again! “Keral” is also a Sanskrit word…argh! Ok, ok, I want independence for Mala-nadu.

With these thoughts in mind, I waived an auto rickshaw. Time was of the essence, I had to reach back home and start planning future bombings, arson, loot, rape, murder, what not!
The auto rickshaw stopped in front of me and I asked.
Madiwala Jaayega kya?


stillwaters said...

This I can sooo relate to! Hindi was a nightmare in school. Especially the Hindi essays you had to do in Xth. My hindi teacher recommended that I watch more hindi movies to pick up the language!!! :D ( was nice to spend hours in front of the tube and tell your parents that your teacher told u to!) I never really understood the use of gender for objects tho!!
At office, my colleagues keep trying to get me to speak in Hindi but I dont budge. Coz they know n I know I will make fool of myself. So my unpolished hindi is reserved for the auto wallahs! :)

nikhil said...

malanade dravida munneetta sanghadana "ki JAI" :)

Reflections said...

hehe good post....I thk most of us picked up our hindi from the hindi movies 7 serials.
This also reminds me of how a girl in my class(6th std i thk) had trouble remembering the nos. in hindi & somebody taught her the madhuri dixit hit no."Ek do teen" & she learn the number 1 to 13 in record 10 mins:-D
“bastsman ne Shaantar drive kiya hai…seetha filder ke taraf!”
Seriously, they still say this atleast 50 times(atleast once every over) in 1 match:-D

N!$#@N^# said...

aby nice post ...

well hindi is imposed to us by the government ... and Christianity or Hinduism or any other religion is "imposed" when we are born in the family .. most of our conduct is already predefined…
there is no end to the impositions and they start before we are born : and the funniest part is we never had a choice to even choose our names ..heheheh what do you say about that ?

and mallunadu would be good fun it would be dringking, sleeping, eating good food, and chumma therapara nadakls…. After all mallus are not supposed to work in malluland…

Badal said...

Too Good Blog.
Post More!


Abraham said...

Stillwaters: Teacher recommending T.V. Hmm.. you must have had a good child hood...:D

Nikhil: "ki jai" too good!

reflections: yeah, Hindi commentary is really the pits...:(

nishu: good thoughts!! yes "choice" is a rather funny thing isint it. And even when we choose it will be "modulated" by the society/situations around us. yeah, mallu nadu will be full time fun place to be...

badal: thank you!

Badal said...

You are welcome buddy!

Nihkil and Me are laughing like anything while reading your blogs.

silverine said...

"You are *expected* to know the national language"

I hear that once again, I swear it will be their last words!!! I thought this issue was settled forever. They are aware that this subject is best avoided in the South! Looks like some new Neanderthal! Too touchy a subject so I stop here or I will have to use some colorful Hindi words... yeah...those I know well, though never learned the stupid language well enough to tell them "Eff Off" in their own lingo!

p.s I have some very good Northie friends. It is a stupid minority I guess who act this way.

mathew said...

tumko hindi pata nahi??...kabardaar...oye mera hindi khoob swadishtu hein or hum spashthu hindi mein baat karta hein hum....aayo njeenichu...innyum patilla....

well apart from the jokes..I can very well verse in hindi but ofcoz when i come across language bigots, I do make sure give a taste of their own medicine whenever I get a chance..If others "expect" us to know a language which we dont speak, then we expect them to learn our language too..that would be one ROTFL time...

Anooja said...

nice post Abe
even i remember the DD news.. and the hindi commentry.. the word i used to hate the most was '' ballaebaz''... god it almost sounds like some theri :D

Remembered college on reading ur post. In MCC where i studied, in the hindi department there is a professor (the lone one in the hindi dpt). He just had to teach 2 classes a day.. the first years and the second. He thought all his students should know to read hindi like pachavellam. He used to embarass us,the average hindi readers (those who studied in KV were the only ones who could read well), stand up in class and read the text..and when we fumbed.. he used to make a student from kKV read the same text and say..'' Bait ja, Hindi eisae padthae hai,ghar jakae practice karo ''He is from UP and always wanted us - in correspondence - to write- HOD, at the side of his name (him being the only guy, professor / peon / all in all.. in the hindi dpt, used to be a big joke). Now i cant imagine, how we tolerated him. Reading ur post, suddenly remembered this guy...

Abraham said...

badal: Nikhil has told me about you reading ma blog... I am flattered to know that you guys find it funny!

silverline: Yeah, totally correct. I have so many northie friends. Its only a minority that talk like this.

mathew: what you said made me remember an interview with raj thackeray by a TOI correspondent(named mathew?) anyways he was mallu. At the end of the interview raj thackeray pointed out disdainfully that the correspondent did not even know Hindi. The next question to him was in malayalam!

anooja: Yeah ballebaz is one thing that can drive me nuts!! the whole Hindi commentary thing is a disgrace in such a plural society as ours. God knows, maybe it is your professor who is doing the commentary on T.V...:D

Renu said...

I might me the unwelcome visitor on ur blog, came thru nancy:), unwelcome because i am a north Indian:)
We cant have 20 languages as our national, so they had to choose one and thats it.I am ashamed to say that today evensome north indians are not very well versed with Hindi, as English has completely tken over. When we can learn english because we need it, so can we other languages also.
we are in a multilingual society, but we are fellow countrymen/women.
I take all the languages as just the languages, and feel more for the people of my country, for me evryone is like a family,For me Hindi is my language but never more imortant than my fellow countrymen whether malyali,bengali,tamil anyone. they are more imprtant for me, their feelings matter to me.That is the reason I am writing here.we must have unity in diversity.dDifferent spices always make th dish more delicious. I lived in bengal, so i can understan bengali and i am learning tamil now. I always try to imbibe the best from every culture and i have met some of the nicest people outside north.I always keep my mind open without any bias, our film industry is a very good example how the boundaries can be vanished and of a mixed culture-RGV,Mohanlal,Kamal hasan, rajnikant,aiswarya,sonali all of them.

Abraham Menacherry said...

Renu: You are most welcome at my site! Please do not take the post as "anti-north-indianism" or whatever.

The point I was trying to make out is that south indians just hate it when people say we are "expected" to learn Hindi. North Indians should be sensitive to that. Fact is, we cant do without Hindi either.

For the record, only a handful of jerks have actually said such dialogues to me. It is not a general statement at all!

And yes, I still hate Hindi commentary and think it is the vilest form of language imposition...:( I mean you have no other option but to listen to that rot.

Primitive Lyric said...

Hilarious post!!
At the risk of triggering off more angry outbursts, and other schemes of bombing and looting, I must make a confession! My husband and I are mallus who speak Hindi at home (cowers!! Peace?)!:D

Deepu said...

Abraham Menacherry said...

Primitive Lyric: You are short listed for extermination!!

deepu: blocked..:( but I will view it from outside!

Jaggies said...

too good. I have been reading a few of your blogs. The Kate vinslet affair is still my fav blog :)

Vinod V said...

Hilarious post..!

However, this is some related GK which is not so common:
India does not have the concept of a single "national language". The Indian Constitution does not recognize Hindi as the national language of India. Instead, "official languages" are recognized for individual states. Article 343 of the Indian Constitution recognises Hindi in Devanāgarī script as the official language of the Union Government. The states have their own official languages, depending on their linguistic demographics. The Constitution also allows for the continuation of use of the English language for official purposes. The Constitution of India (as of now)recognises 22 languages, spoken in different parts the country.

shyamchand said...

love it sweetheart... the last one, esp.. And hope you remember the majestic Hindi words we had posted on to the watchman, at a hotel near Majestic... :P hahahaha...