Language In India.

The image on the left is the cover of a book that explains a fascinating phenomenon and I hope that some of my interested readers will read it to understand why I find it so.

My employer during most of my working career was an English company and all communication was in English. All our customers spoke local languages and were also most uncomfortable with English. Among the many innovations that I had brought in during my career as a Manager was to let reports from field personnel be simple and mostly statistical in nature with the narrative kept in minimum because most of the salesforce were not comfortable with English either. I even encouraged the reports being written in local languages if important enough, so that the content could be conveyed accurately. We had to use translators to understand and take action but, that was a small price to pay for effectiveness.

India is a country with 122 major languages and 1599 other languages. However, figures from other sources vary, primarily due to differences in definition of the terms “language” and “dialect”.  Barring the Hindi belt the all the other states, have different languages as their official languages and most schools teach in the local language.

English has a unique place in India thanks to our colonial days and higher education particularly in Engineering and Medicine has been in English.  Many students struggle with this arrangement as they have to learn English in addition to their other subjects.

Under the circumstances, I found this news item fascinating and unlike our snobs welcome this development. I hope that the rest of the country follows suit.

Hinglish is actually a local name for the combination of Hindi and English. You can also have Tamlish for Tamil and English, Maratish for Marathi and English and so on and so forth. Purists usually are appalled at the usage but I for one encourage it as the idea is to communicate effectively and not be snobbish about the correct use of language.

Among other things, I find it quite interesting as to how American English and English English are different and also the various accents around the world when speaking in English.

Language is fascinating.  Here is another instance to lighten my readers up.  This is a sign board for the office of a Law Firm.

The lawyers do not seem to mind. I suppose that the clients understand what the sign says. Only snobs will find find fault with it.

So What If You Aren’t Shahrukh, You Can Still Be An Ass!


Indians are obsessed with fairness.  And like all generalisations, this one too finds its echo in the North South divide of the country with the Northern citizens considering all South of the Vindyas citizens as dark and somehow to be inferior.  Not where one is fair or unfair, but where one is lighter in complexion.  It used to be a feminine thing with matrimonial advertisements either proclaiming the fairness of the bride to be seeking a groom or the groom to be specifying his preference for a fair damsel.  But now it has become a Unisex thing with India’s top film star Shah Rukh Khan plugging for a miracle cream for men to enhance the man’s fairness.

I have personally never bothered about either worrying about my complexion or the complexion of the lady of current interest. I am what the Northerner will call dark and so was my late wife. That did not stop us from having a grand life together and I know a lot of others too in similar situations as well as one dark and one fair combinations, who too have had normal lives.

So, it does grate me to see both girls and boys trying to change what is normal and I have often expressed my reservation about these whiteners in private to whoever will listen.

So, when in a peculiarly local situation I had to intervene in a matter concerning a youth’s obsession and complex I was looking for an article that I had read many years ago, and as it often happens to me, I found a reference to it in a periodical today which has come in very handy. And, what a title!