The other day while scrolling through Facebook mindlessly, I came across the profile of a seemingly popular girl who had posted the screenshot of her conversation with a guy. While the guy was trying his best to convince her to date him, he was falling short of proper grammar. The girl, to make up for his lack of wit, responded to him with ‘Atleast learn ENGLISH!!’. And the conversation was done. That post got over 650 likes on Facebook, and all the fellow Facebook friends were fawning over her ‘witty’ response. Which, by the way, was blunt and far from witty. But Facebook has the potential to make the most bovine of contents go viral, so I’m not surprised.
Now I have nothing personal against this girl because I have done this too, at some point of time in the past, when I thought, knowing a little bit of English was enough to belittle anyone who was weak at it. I’m ashamed to have done it. No, just being marginally better at English doesn’t automatically make me cool, does not give you and me the license to be brash about it and rub it off as a subtle status symbol . That makes us unthoughtful douche-bags!
What do we know about the other person to mock him on the basis of poor grammar? We’re privileged enough to go to an English medium school, alright. We ought to be thankful about it and not bully people who perhaps, didn’t have the same privileges or couldn’t grasp the language well up to the workable standards. Heck, India is still struggling to provide basic education to most of it’s citizen but here we are, mocking people based on one language, irrespective of what he/she might be proficient at. Not everyone is crazy about English language,y’know? I personally know people who are extremely talented in other fields of art, music, mathematics, computer, history, aeronautics but are weak in English. Does that give me the right to think that I’m superior to them? Hell, no!
The linguistic bigotry isn’t just limited to the dating scene. I’m sure you’d have made fun of your professors for pronouncing a word wrong, or cringed a little when your parents couldn’t be fluent in English in front of your friends. Do you see what just one language is doing to our ego?
Nobody cares about Hindi or the regional languages anymore. I mean, I have horrible hindi grammar, but people call me ‘cute’ for the weirdass way I talk in hindi. Wonder what would’ve happened if suddenly Mathematics or Physics became the benchmark of social status instead of English? Where would you hide then, smarty pants?
I hate to sound like the ancient turtle of wisdom but I’m trying to make you aware of what you might subconsciously be a part of. It’s easy to just follow the ‘atleast learn english’ clan because all the cool kids around you are part of it. But, knowledge is supposed to make you humble, not an arrogant schmuck. Also, in all lighthearted-ness if a North Indian dude can attempt to melt Bengali hearts with a broken ‘Ami tumake bhalobachi’ and ‘machbhaat’ then why do the same people get furious with a broken ‘hey pls friendsip me’ ?