Protecting language: Bangladesh high court order
This is apropos of news item, ‘Bangladesh court outlaws ‘Banglish’, published on 17 February. As per the report, Bangladesh high court has ordered radio and TV presenters and anchor persons not to use words which are foreign to Bengali language. This order came as an effort to protect Bengali language in the backdrop of widespread distortion of the language with usage of English. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not limited to Bangladesh but is present in all the third world countries. In our region, we see it in the form of Urduish, Hindish, Punjablish and so on.
It is true that with the advent of technological and media advancement, of which the English is the major torch bearer, even the non-English speaking developed countries are not immune to an imminent danger to their own languages. I don’t think that mere a court order can make much difference; it’s an attitude issue. People speaking English or heavily mixing it with their own language feel better off than others. I don’t think it’s a superiority complex (though they think it that way) but a sign of weakness.
Unless we accord our mother tongue or national language a bread earning status, court order will remain just a piece of paper. Civil society, media, educationists, intellectuals, nationalists should close ranks and exert pressure on their respective governments to take up the cause to save the ones country’ language, and that’s possible by making it the official language of the country in all respects.
Otherwise, our languages will not be able to resist the West’ technological and media attack which is forcing people to even think in foreign languages. Once we stop thinking in our own language, we stop producing genuine literature and arts. Even this may impact our political directions as well. Bangladesh’ court order should be taken as a wakeup call.
Jubail, Saudi Arabia
Link: (retrieved on 21st February, 2012)