Importance of the Mother Tongue

I lodged a service request with LG India toll free number for an air-conditioner. Yesterday, I chose English as preferred language. I gave the guy 5 on 5 on the satisfaction feedback. He tried pretty well (I gave him 100%) for his communication, though he was obviously speaking from a memorised script. English obviously wasn’t his first language. But I go by the standard of communication and not grammar. I felt however, that there is an unconscious obsession with English. At first I thought of switching to Hindi with this guy, but he stuck with his English, probably as a standard of his Training and Service. It is not his first language, definitely not his natural language.

Today I had to call LG again. This time I selected Hindi (out of Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and English, in that order). I gave the girl 5 on 5 this time, too. This girl, too, was speaking from the script in pure Hindi (unlike the Hindustani we are used to speaking most of the time). However, I felt that the communication this time was much more fluid.

Earlier on when I returned to India, the autorikshaw guys in Mumbai would start speaking to me in Hindi. I would insist on Marathi, unless the driver was a non-Marathi-speaker. Initially I used to struggle with both Hindi and Marathi, though I am proficient in both. After nine years, I have begun to realise that English doesn’t flow as smoothly as it used to then. I will not forget English, but I have to make a conscious effort to speak in English in a multiliungual culture.

I feel that we should use the mother tongue (those in India know better what I mean) over Hindi, and Hindi over English.

Though I realise that English is an important language, it is not the only language. Thanks to the British for giving us English, but I think we Indians have given it undue importance. Other languages should not be undermined by English. There have been benefits of the British system of Education, but there are flaws too.

A language should be spoken with proper grammar. However, it is the Communication that matters. For that, I feel, the natural language is the best, not an adopted one.

p.s. I have also been a student of German.

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