KOLKATA: This week, February 21st, was the United Nations International Mother Language Day. A historically powerful tool of ethnic identity, its scalable relevance in today’s times is under interesting scrutiny.
As many know, this day marks the bloody revolution (1952) by the natives of East Pakistan to recognize Bengali as an official language. In 1956, the Pakistani government gave in, but the momentum of the movement eventually led to his 1971 independence. The forceful imposition of Urdu became a discernible proxy for West Pakistan’s oppression, including Sheikh Mujibur’s denial of his power over Rehman.
But the focus of my thoughts is clearly India, a richly diversified country that thrives on a pleasing cocktail of integration and individuality. Recent data suggests that local roots are becoming increasingly valuable to those immersed in the mainstream that connect them to content, conversation, cuisine, and pop culture. Those geographically trapped in small demographic bastions seek English and Hindi as points of socioeconomic relief, emulating the patterns of the colonial era.
In educated India, however, dual identities are becoming increasingly comfortable. A “global” look related to work, education and engagement (digital and physical) is what drives our mainstream systems to adopt. This is necessary for economic self-development, and the evolution of BPO is a perfect example of how citizens are being pitchforked into a world full of unfamiliar accents in every sense of the word. Flexible by nature, we’ve made it through this transition well and shined brightly during the multicultural stage.
At the same time, our love for authentic identities is growing rather rapidly. Grandparental edicts no longer mandate fasting and festival observance, especially when rituals are freed from intergenerational compulsion. Embracing the culture ingrained in fashion, we find our own way of celebrating and observing our intuitive and organic origins. What certainly helps is the gentle propeller of the film and his current OTT that serves as a bridge between generations.
As such, Diwali is now becoming more and more appropriate not only as a private fam jam, but increasingly as a fashion demonstration, with Trump’s trading rituals transformed into full-blown drinking.Durga Puja is celebrated around the world. and even second-generation immigrants enjoy the atmospheric ceremonies, loving food and elegant music. By the way, this doesn’t have to be Bengali anymore, but any source that acts as a revelry agent. Karva Chauth is a pop culture case study. The seemingly archaic act is now a modern symbol of the bond between husband and wife.
In this quest for true identity, religion plays an important role, but it should be noted that it is not exhaustive. Christmas, Eid and Diwali are now truly inclusive, often through the comforting pipes of the dining table. Thanks to the food blogging culture, traditions are easiest served on platters, and now Indians around the world enjoy the incredible variety of culinary precedents. You may be fascinated by
There are other important aspects of authentic identity that are timeless and cherished and pursued by everyone. Movies and content are becoming more and more realistic, always entertaining, and more and more contemporary. Elements like the great Indian wedding now permeate across class and means, but Holi is one of them. Because of its liveliness, it is celebrated throughout the diaspora as a carnival of pure play without religious context. Music is also a great glue, and classical training is a highly desirable way to celebrate its timeless roots. It is often
In this formulation of ethnic identity, the role of mother tongue is becoming less and less important, both operationally and symbolically. Children who grow up in cosmopolitan areas, whether in metro-centric India or abroad, are well equipped with local values but are not necessarily fluent in their parents’ language. , Gurgaon and Mumbai, I witnessed enthusiastic Bengalis with very rudimentary conversational skills vigorously participating in Durga Pujas. Patterns replicated across communities where traditions can be timeless while language can be very flexible.
When it comes to higher consumption, especially literature, the rise of the translation economy is a strong indicator of this pattern. Geetan Jalishree’s Booker Prize-winning “Sand Graves” won currency when translated into English, and it is significant that the award was split with translator Daisy for his Rockwell. While the authenticity of Indian roots lies in context and narration, language is no longer the necessary richness: Across races, consumption of native-language literature is on the decline, and the best forms of amplification are often Here is his OTT series.
Importantly, however, this does not come at the expense of preserving authentic identities that have spontaneously evolved and co-created with civic sensitivities over decades. It’s not as important as the spirit of engagement. That’s certainly the more important question. Indeed, the decoupling of language and culture has boosted the sustainability of the latter. transmission loss is limited and the level of inclusion is high.
In the near future, native languages will function on two diametrically opposed levels. As a simple form of basic domestic and social discourse as an expandable niche in literary and related content consumption. The latter rely heavily on such exploration traditions and move forward from that starting point. It won’t work.
For Indians, on the other hand, authentic identities have taken hold, both at home and on the go. Rishi Sunak will be a catalyst and the US decision to recognize Diwali will further consolidate the diaspora. As I mentioned earlier, technology, creativity, and culture have all blended beautifully, and the domestic momentum is well established.
Perhaps one day the United Nations will consider establishing a World Authentic Identity Day to celebrate ethnicity without borders. Prolificity in the native language is likely to be an obstacle to this larger purpose and must be treated with respect, but with due caution.