Language- commodity or identity?

In my Hindi generic lectures in college, the teacher teaches us that an individual meets together to make a group, mostly ethnic, the ethnic groups together form a community, establishing its rules and regulations, and many communities join together to form a society. One such society is a nation. So, if we derive, one individual is what makes a nation or in other terms, an individual is the smallest unit of a society such as a nation.

 

Unfortunately, due to unequal distribution of the resources in the world, two major sections of society have emerged- the majority and the minority. Now, there remains a constant rife for resources in these sections. Though the affluent of the majority eat up all the cream, not all possess and portray such behaviour, but being the member of the community, the people not practicing such ideologies too get stereotyped. The idea of community and marginalisation have also been taken up by Toni Morrison, in his novel, Beloved.

 

Be it Russia or India, their is a struggle for the protection of the ethnic minority languages. In India, this struggle is evident since the independence era. Many states were created on the basis of language. Their has been a constant rife for the identification of the ethnic languages of ethnic groups, which have, at times,  taken the form of a rebellion and have resulted in the formation of opposing ethnic language groups as well as states. Odisha was separated from Bengal and Bihar, Telangana was separated from Andhra Pradesh, Madras presidency split up into Madras state (present-day Tamil Nadu), Andhra, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, and Assam, which constituted Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram, got separated from Bengal and later segregated into further three more states.

The most recent struggle for the identification of language can be witnessed in Russia. There is a campaign of #StopLanguageGenocide, which asserts the identification and prevention of all the minority languages of the Russian Federation. The problem of Russia and India are similar also because both are vast countries, housing various cultures and therefore, innumerous languages, all asserting their identity. But, if we notice carefully, these nations become distinct and beautiful due to these factors majorly. Remove these factors, and these nations would lose a major part of their basic essence.

Even the conflict between Tamils and Sinhalese in Sri Lanka was based on the basis of language conflict and the demand of the tamils to form an  independent state of Tamil Eelam in the north and east of Sri Lanka for Tamil people. Sri Lankan author, Shyam Selvdurai even based his novel ‘Funny Boy’ in this pretext. Therefore, the struggle for language and identity is a concern spread worldwide. 

All of this happens since we associate language as a major part of our identity. Though, since our childhood, we are taught about the various types of languages that are a means to communicate and it developed the human civilisation. There are three types of languages- verbal, written, body language- all are mediums of communication. But, as we understand it further deeply, they not only communicate messages but also our identity, behaviour, and cultural and social background. Therefore, while language is a commodity to generate communication, it is also a reflection and factor of our identity.

If we consider all languages and cultures beautiful and not force ours upon others, then I believe, the root to such struggles would be eradicated. Also, since a nation is also held together by the a factor such as language and unity of citizens, once we start adopting to other languages and cultures, the nation would become a beautiful hybrid of all cultures, each residing with peace, brotherhood and harmony. Our identity as a human is much more important and should be considered first and foremost. We need to save humanity above all. Love yourself and adopt and accept others while practicing your own cultural values. 

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