Neglect of regional language is dangerous
Vijay Darda : A serious incident happened last week. On the first day of the Budget Session of the Maharashtra Legislature, immediately after governor C Vidyasagar Rao’s joint address to both the Houses in English, the Marathi translation of the same should have been read out, but the members kept waiting for 20 minutes in vain. Meanwhile, the Gujarati translation of the speech was on the track. Sensing the seriousness of the situation, the education minister Vinod Tawde immediately went to the control room and started reading the Marathi translation of the speech. Naturally, the Opposition created pandemonium seeking to know why Marathi translation was not ready. The government also considered it a serious issue. Now it is being reported that the officer who was assigned to read the translation could not reach there in time. The government is considering taking action against him.
This incident raises a serious question. The question is whether justice is being done to Marathi language in Maharashtra? Is there any attempt to promote this beautiful and sweet language? Are we particular about teaching our children the best Marathi? Before exploring the answers to these questions, I would like to tell you that there was a great deal of thinking behind the creation of the states on linguistic basis. When the government functions in the regional language, the common man gets connected to it. The common man will be able to understand what his government is doing. The advantage of this is that people are able to convey their thoughts and feelings to the government. That is why the subjects related to the public interests such as agriculture, education, health have been kept in the state list. Almost all the states tried to follow this rule in the initial period, but English-mentality driven government system did not forgo its domination. After globalisation, the impact of English has increased so much that there is a big crisis facing regional languages.
I am not opposed to English at all. Knowledge of English is a must. Hindi is our national language, so the whole country should know good Hindi too, but this does not mean that we start neglecting our regional language. Do we see the dedication to the regional language as seen in states like Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, in Maharashtra too? Marathi was given the status of official language of Maharashtra in 1966. From the point of view of statistics, Marathi occupies 15th place among the most spoken languages in the world. Going by population, Maharashtra is the second largest state in India. The state language of over 11 crore population is Marathi. But I constantly feel that the way Marathi is being attacked is a matter of grave concern.
Though Marathi as a subject is mandatory till 10th standard in Maharashtra, has it ever been analysed that what is the quality of Marathi teaching and its learning by children? Today in many homes, parents want their children to speak English instead of Marathi. Listening to the child speaking in English, they feel proud, but if the child starts speaking Marathi they become upset. Though such people are not insulting their mother tongue, they are according secondary status to it. Especially in the high and middle-upper classes, this problem is high. That is, it can be said that the person who progresses at the economic and social level appears to be linguistically closer to English. Just imagine what will happen after two generations? Then perhaps a lot of people may be speaking Marathi but they will be poor at the level of language. Then they would probably not even be able to read rich Marathi literature.
One thing to note is that development of any language is in accordance with regional culture. The sweet fragrance of that region is embedded in that language. Had it not been so, Sanskrit would have been the only language there. Why did so many other languages developed from Sanskrit? We have to understand that languages are not just the means of communication, but they are our entire heritage of culture. If we do not try to carry forward this legacy our regional language will become even more weak.
One more thing I would like to say is that Marathi language is not related to a person who is born in a Marathi-speaking family alone. Marathi language concerns every person who lives in Maharashtra. I would like to make it clear that if a person is Gujarati, his or her mother tongue would be Gujarati. But if he or she is staying in Maharashtra, his or her state language would be Marathi. It is essential for him or her to learn the state language here. Language is directly linked to bread and butter. If a Rajasthani person lives in Tamil Nadu, he learns Tamil without which his very survival would be at stake. Therefore, I believe that if any person is staying in Maharashtra, he must learn Marathi. I do not support Shiv Sena’s ideology. But I supported them when they launched the agitation to install sign boards in Marathi as well together with English. I believe everyone has the right to go, settle and do job anywhere across the country. But I also feel that the local Marathi people should not be neglected. There is a strong economic aspect to the language too. That is why the Chinese people are fast learning English and Hindi. And here, we are neglecting our own language.
Always keep in mind that the language develops at two levels; one at home and the other in schools. We will have to respect Marathi at home and make best of arrangements in schools for Marathi learning. But unfortunately, the government is not taking any initiative!
Before I conclude
According to a UNESCO report, India is at number one in disappearance of languages. Nearly 300 of the country’s 500 languages and dialects have become completely extinct. Nearly 2,500 of the world’s total 6,000 languages are listed as endangered languages. There are 199 languages or dialects which are understood and spoken by only 10 people and nearly 178 are such which are understood and spoken by only 50 people. This means, these languages and dialects will become extinct with these people.
Why is our banking system so weak?
Vijay Darda : People are reading and sharing a post on social media these days with great interest. This post is in the form of a letter to Nirav Modi. The letter goes something like this:
Be happy wherever you are and keep prospering without worrying about the debt. The bankers will recover that debt from us in small amounts of Rs. 50s and Rs. 100s. We are repaying Mallya’s debt right now and will repay yours too after that. We are all accustomed to all this. We sometimes feel that we earn only to repay the bank loans of rich and famous like you; maybe we were born for this reason only. But don’t you worry even a bit, we all countrymen will emerge patriots by repaying every penny of the money embezzled by you!
This social media post may sound sarcastic but it is a fact. The scams and frauds that are committed in banks have to be compensated (read repaid) by the common man of this country. Simply put, the money which the banks have belong to the common man. You get interest at a fixed rate against the money you keep in the bank. But when you take a loan from the same bank, you have to repay the same at a higher rate of interest. This difference in the rate of interest is the profit of the bank which is run on this profit.
If the bank earns more profit, it is expected to pay interest at a higher rate on the deposit amount. But this is not happening because the bigwigs have defalcated money of the bank. The banks are convinced that this money is out of bounds for them. According to the figures available till September 2017, the amount of NPA stands at a staggering Rs. 7.34 lakh crore. Talking of NPA, the government would earlier put it at Rs. 1 lakh crore or at the most Rs. 2 lakh crore. But the accounting system which the then governor of Reserve Bank of India Raghuram Rajan introduced made the situation all the more clear. The dead debt is much more than the amount which is being revealed today. Big corporate and business houses have gulped down the money of the banks. While someone has gulped down Rs. 2 lakh crore, some others have swallowed Rs. 1 lakh crore or Rs. 50,000 crore. The diamond industry and developers have embezzled largest amount of money of the banks. There are many people who are enjoying a lavish lifestyle at the cost of the banks. They own private jets and have arranged for luxury abroad. In reality, scamsters bigger than the likes of Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, are hiding abroad. Mallya, Modis and Choksi were exposed and action was initiated against them as they have been enjoying a lavish lifestyle. But what about those who have not been caught yet. Who will nail them? You would be surprised to know that in case of dead debt India is fifth in the world.
The question is how can the bank be so nonchalant after giving such a huge amount in loan? Banks sit quietly because they are involved too. If a farmer fails to repay even three installments of his hypothecated tractor, the same is seized. The recovery agent sent by the bank humiliates the farmer. The bank does not even think how that farmer would do farming and repay the loan when his tractor itself is confiscated?
Though the government talks of bringing about transformation for the poor, small traders and small industries, it is extremely difficult for the small and medium enterprises to get small business loans from the banks. Simply put, these banks literally kill entrepreneurship.
As far as the scam is concerned, people in the banking system conspire and connive with the scamsters. Had no one connived, would Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi, Nirav Modi or Mehul Choksi have succeeded in their nefarious designs and fled the country? How would the common man believe that the officers concerned in the government knew nothing! It is even more serious if they were really not aware that someone is fiddling with the country economy. If the Punjab National Bank scam started in 2011, why was it not detected for so many years?
Quite surprisingly, the very initiative to make the banking system completely safe has not been taken yet. The system will be termed safe only when someone trying to deceive the bank is caught at once! If the present situation prevails, it will become even more dangerous. While some people will flee abroad after committing frauds, the country’s economy will be ruined. Therefore, instead of blaming each other, those in the government should catch these scamsters and make sure that no scam occurs in future. Also, there is a need to make the banking board more powerful.
Before I conclude
The news from Bastar area in Chhattisgarh that a woman donated body of her young son to the medical college as she had no money to carry the mortal remains back to her village and perform the last rites, has disturbed me. How tragic! What kind of development is this which does not care for the poor! Not only the government but the entire society should think about this. Our real battle surely should be against poverty.