Uhh! Really, are we asking that question? Many urban Indians, includes me, have really reached that level where we Think in English, Write in English, even DREAM in English! Does that leave anything? Then why even bother teaching the mother tongue to kids! Well I would say, wait till that one morning when your child wakes up and believes that YOUR mother-tongue is really the language of the maids, the drivers, the bhajiwalas and the doodhwalas – the so called “less literate or illiterate” people in the country.
That one line speaks volumes. It’s a huge inference that children are taking. Goes without saying, children take NO pride in their national language or mother tongue. They think English is superior and it doesn’t stop there. They equate that to culture. So pride in their culture takes a hit, pride in their nationality takes a hit. And what happens when elderly grandparents visit? They may not know English or at best speak broken English. For the simple fact that English was not the language of the nation a generation back. But children immediately conclude that grandparents don’t have enough education. Things get trickier when distant relatives come visiting, say from a smaller town. They may be more modestly dressed in a traditional sari to start with. Then if they speak in their mother tongue, how do you explain to your kids? Remember kids learn much more by observing than listening.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that children place them somewhere alongside that line where the bhajiwala stands, maybe just a few notches higher.
Do we want our mother tongue to be known as the language of the maids and drivers? Is that the pride we want them to have in their nation? The answer is clear! Need I say more?
What’s the application one may argue? Well let me tell you there is not just one. Mother tongue is the language of creativity. No matter which language you speak, your best expression comes out only and only in your own mother tongue. Goes without saying, it’s the easiest language to learn because you as a parent speak it all the time at home. It’s the most natural way of communication. You connect way better with your customs and traditions when spoken in your own native language. And ofcourse there is the fun of switching over to your own language when you want to have a private talk in public. That last one is a fun and good motivator for young children!!
What are your views?