Paranoia and pluralism in the language


Paranoia and pluralism in the language

GN Devy


Posted 05.11.21, 00:19 AM

The history of the English word “text” is closely linked to the history of the word “textile”. They both originate from early Latin, “text” meaning “weaving”. Each word has its incomparable texture. It can only be stretched to a certain extent. Stretching it beyond that limit makes the word either ineffective or downright ridiculous. For example, the Hindi currency, ‘notebandi‘, is sufficient to describe’ demonetization ‘. But in music, where also “notes” and “notation” are of paramount importance, the use of “”notebandi‘to indicate the fall of certain notes can lead to an unintentional paradox, because’bandaged‘can also be the format of a composition. The term, ‘jashan‘, like any other word in any language, has a rich fabric of its own. Metaphorically speaking, it was woven in ancient times by bringing together threads from Indo-Aryan, Indo-Iranian, and Indo-European languages. ‘Jashan‘is not only phonetically similar to’ joyous’ in English, but also semantically almost identical, as they have a common historical texture. Several other words in English beginning with the letter ‘j’ have nuances of meaning which ‘jashan‘ Express. Take, for example, the loud conversation in ‘jabber’, the bright colors of lace in ‘jabot’, the social intimacy in ‘joviality’, the rejoicing in ‘jamboree’, the lively dance, ‘jig’ or ‘joy of living‘pulled by English from French. The linguistic fabric that made ‘jasn‘, Where ‘yasn‘in Sanskrit, or’jasan‘, its derivative in Hindi, has also made many words in Old Persian, Latin, and many modern European languages ​​mean joy. In different cultures and at different times, they were married to different grammars and different rules of morphology, sometimes transforming “j” into “y”, “s” into “sh”, etc.

Recently, the fabric of the word, joy, has come in a new twist; and a terrifying anger arose. The case was, as any school grammar book will tell us, the possessive case with the use of the conjunctive “of”. ‘Jashn‘was joined by’e‘, the Persian case marker, to an Urdu word. The current fashion in political discourse is to describe it as a “mlechha‘(pollutant), threatening the social fabric of India. In languages, every compound word, sandhi, is either a cross-border union or a love story in the same language. If the compound words do not result in the ghar-wapasi meaning, they come to be regarded as love-jihad. The Bhagvad Gita describes anger as the beginning of disturbance: ‘krodhat bhavati sammoha, sammohat smruti-vibhramah‘-‘ anger breeds illusion, illusion corrupts memory ‘. In accordance with this observation, we forgot that the word ‘wapasi‘comes from another language. The bitter truth is that ‘jalebis‘,’halwa‘ and even ‘barfi‘, relish this Diwali, are fathered by Arab ancestors. Are we pressured to regard the purity of the language as part of our national identity? If so, we fear that our 75th birthday ‘azadi‘won’t be considered pure freedom unless you call it svatantrya; and the shaheeds – martyrs – who sacrificed their lives will not be considered sufficiently patriotic if you call them ‘bahadur‘. The time is not very far away when we will be asked to call Azad Hind Fauj of Subhas Bose, the Swatantra Bharat Sena. New India cannot tolerate a term rooted in Proto-Iranian ‘azata“- free – although many words in the Rig Veda itself come from the Avestan.

Since its inception, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh excessively enjoys using words taken from Sanskrit. Given that its creators came from Brahmin circles in Maharashtra obsessed with purity of language, this was somewhat natural. Besides, he had swallowed, lock and barrel, the vision of India’s past proposed by William Jones and other indologists. This view held that India, before the 11th century, was all glory and had succumbed to constant decline since the 11th century. Naturally, according to this view, all that was in Sanskrit became flawless knowledge and all that came in the post-Sanskrit era as a degradation of the “pure” heritage of India. Having once accepted this view of the past, the RSS did not revisit or question the simplistic view of the past. However, the cases of attacks on linguistic mixing during the era of the National Democratic Alliance go far beyond simplistic devotion to Sanskrit. One of the advanced branches of language study is used to detect mental health disorders. Seen in this light, the hypersensitive response of the Hindutva lumpen in terms originating in Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish, Urdu and Pakhto indicate a disturbing trend. The technical term used by psychology for this is paranoia. This is a person or group who doubts the loyalty and trustworthiness of others, hesitates to share information with others fearing to be against them, holds a grudge, reads the meaning hidden in documents. otherwise innocent words, is constantly beset by moods of mistrust without reason, is hostile, stubborn and argumentative, and tends to develop negative stereotypes of those from other cultural contexts. In this disease, the imaginary fear of persecution worsens the hostile response as a cover for the refusal to undertake a situation analysis and solve problems. When everyone in business worries about the economic decline induced by the loss of social harmony, when minorities and marginalized communities feel insecure and threatened, when unemployment and food insecurity increase, overestimated linguistic sensitivity and a hostile response to it indicates the pathology of a disorder. It is not one of the Hindutvathe peculiarities of; it is a much more worrying trend. The quizzical slogans of some branded advertisements and the scathing attacks on them can appear to most of us as bizarre interludes, deserving of no serious attention. However, if the regime slips into paranoia, without the will to engage in situation analysis or attempt to solve real problems, it will affect the lives of millions of people. If he continues to believe that communal friendship can be disrupted for gains in every state election, the losses to the country, its people, its economy and its future may far outweigh the insignificant electoral gains of ‘one party, whether they want to talk about “joy” in Sanskrit, Urdu, Tamil or any other language under the sun.

GN Devy is President, The People’s Linguistic Survey of India


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