Yesterday, I was listening to a TED Talk “The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain”,
I am not going to comment on its theme and topic. I was surprised and bewildered by the opening line of the video that was
When I was nine years old, I went off to summer camp for the first time. And my mother packed me a suitcase full of books, which to me seemed like a perfectly natural thing to do. Because in my family, reading was the primary group activity.
Believe me, it is a real luxury if you can enjoy reading independently at age of nine. Although, this luxury is the fundamental right of every child, but many countries in the world still deny it.I remember when I was thirteen (not nine, means five years older than the orator) years old, I was gifted an Urdu book. I struggled hard to read the book but I could not read more than two pages. In every line, I found words for which I needed dictionary. It was the time when I was still learning the abc of English language. So English books were even more alien to me. This type of painful mental torture can never be conceived by the person who got education in mother tongue.
They say, learn as many language as you can as every new language opens up a new world. But learning any other language perfectly is possible only if you have full command in your mother language. I belong to the generation who even after getting the PhD degree does not have the ability to express fully. My generation has tried to learn foreign languages but could not master the mother tongue. It is the greatest tragedy if a so called educated person can not read/write what he speaks. The feeling is more like that of a person who can watch, hear, taste and touch but unable pen his feeling about any perception.
Although creativity would come out in any language, but it flourishes and attracts the audience more in mother language. I remember my university days where a student was well acknowledged for his beautiful Urdu prose. He even won the prose writing competition held at university. A literary event occurred in the university. He wrote all the script for the event but he could not be selected as stage secretary. The reason was, Urdu not being his mother tongue, his pronunciation was not perfect. So a guy, whose parents hailed from UP India, was given the opportunity. That guy, used the same script as he himself did not have that eloquent expression. The event was covered by a famous private TV channel. At the end of the event, the UPite guy was appreciated by all the poets and audience. The private TV channel offered him the job as well. These days, he is news caster and anchor in a famous TV channel. This is one of the many examples where we oppress, suppress and even mock the talent of so much capable kids just because of their language. Mocking the Pashtoon kids when they struggle to speak Urdu, is so common in Pakistan. It comes under the category of racial discrimination and can be sued in the court.
I have spent the whole life so far in unlearning the language that was in my blood. That futile effort not only made me devoid of expression but also made me feel inferior. I am a Pakistani Punjabi.
[The TED Talk reference]