Friday, March 3, 2017

Language and Culture

There is an umbilical relationship between language and culture.  Language is one of the most visible or tangible expressions of culture.  That’s why the language of the dominant culture gains ascendancy in the world. 

English is the world’s lingua franca today because of two reasons primarily.  One, it was the language of the dominant coloniser.  Wherever the coloniser went, his language too went.  If the French had more colonies than Great Britain, French would have been today’s global language.  Two, the dominance of Western culture, particularly science and technology which revolutionised the 20th century world.

In 21st century, people seem to be getting sated with technology.  Science was never a common man’s cup of tea, let alone a more invigorating drink.  The 21st century is facing a vacuum because of the lack of that invigorating drink, the kind that spiritual gurus spoke about time and again.  India has a chance to fill the vacuum. 

If India can fill the vacuum, its language will become a dominant language of the world. 

But does India have anything wonderful to offer to the world?  Our Prime Minister tried to highlight yoga.  But yoga is nothing new.  Perhaps we should learn to introduce it in a new bottle. We have multi-talented gurus like Baba Ramdev who excel in spirituality, business and politics simultaneously.  Maybe, these New Age gurus are the future of India.

Are they?  One simple truth is that nobody can fool too many people for a very long period.  There are already dozens of cases of mala fide practices against Ramdev.  Nothing about him seems to be genuine.  In politics, he sought to survive by breeding hatred among people.  Thus he was no better than the ordinary run of politicians.  He is no better than the ordinary businessman either, it seems, as far as ethics is concerned.  What’s left is his spirituality.  Will anyone trust it once his fraudulence looms so large in the other areas?

I think why India fails to make any mark in the global arena is precisely because of the fraudulence that runs deep in our veins.  Fraudulence seems to be an integral part of our culture.  Even if God comes personally and grants us everything we want, we will still find ways of swindling others. 

This is the reason why India lags behind in spite of the infinite potential it has.  Hence its predominant language, Hindi, is not likely to make any mark in the global amphitheatre. 

The rise in the number of religious cults and practices is an indication of what the world is questing after.  There are a lot of Indian gurus raking in the moolah too marketing spirituality.  But like the Chinese products which flooded the markets by virtue of being cheap, Indian spirituality too floundered.  Cheap things are destined to die soon.

PS. Written for Indiblogger Edition 159: #culturetradition


  1. आपके विचार अत्यंत रोचक एवं विचारणीय हैं , आपका आभार व्यक्त करता हूँ। "एकलव्य"

  2. Sir,
    Agreed, there are "dozens of cases of mala fide practices against Ramdev", but most of them are yet to be proven true. They seem to be highlighted by an Indian, foreign funded political party which is rapidly losing its public base, and hence the desperation to malign Ramdev.

    I agree that "Fraudulence" runs deep in our veins and we must take some action to correct it. It seems the future is not that grim. A lot of people's mentality has changed recently, and people are trying to inculcate integrity in their daily lives. That’s a good sign.

    Thank you for sharing.


The Artist Makes his Funeral Pyre

Fiction Once upon a time, not so very long ago, there was a kingdom.   The King was very particular about law and order, discipl...