Why Malayalam Outclasses Hindi
Columns, Point of View

Why Malayalam Outclasses Hindi

September 24, 2019

By T.J.S. George

Anything touching mother and mother-tongue is not negotiable.  So strong is the sentiment that Amit Shah had to soften his stand.

I am convinced that Malayalam should be declared the national language of India.  Of the many reasons, consider just two.  It is a universal language spoken all over the globe and in outer space; who doesn’t know that when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, he was welcomed by a Malayali chaiwallah.  Secondly, it is the only language in history that has the same spelling left to right and right to left.

Except for this double uniqueness of Malayalam, Salman Soz, the rising star of the Congress party, could have got away with his proposal that Kashmiri be adopted as India’s national language.  He said this would be a step towards massive job creation, a patriotic objective of the Prime Minister.  It would also be an international masterstroke for the BJP which loves international masterstrokes.

Alas, such sound advice fell on deaf ears.  In an international masterstroke of foolishness, the ruling party’s ruling chief called for the recognition of Hindi as the national language.  The supposedly shrewd Amit Shah should have known that such a thing was an impossibility in an India that has 22 official languages, 13 different scripts, 720 dialects and a Constitution that avoids any mention of a “national” language and refers, instead, to two “official” languages, Hindi and English.  His government has a knack of playing with the Constitution.  But Hindi is not Kashmir to play with.  Even a Constitutional diktat will not make Hindi acceptable as national language, because it will violate mathrubhasha sentiments.

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Anything touching mother and mother-tongue is not negotiable.  So strong is the sentiment that Amit Shah had to soften his stand.                                                       Mathrubhasha is not necessarily the language one’s mother speaks.  The language with which we grow up, the language in which we think is in effect our mother-tongue.  That is why vast numbers of new-gen Indians have English as their mother-tongue. In a few years English-speaking new-gen Indians will become the old-gen majority in the country.  This is a natural process because young people learn English to do well in life. Tamil parents settled in Delhi for life may have children who consider Hindi their mother-tongue.  A Kerala man who spent his working life in Hong Kong sent his daughter to a Chinese-medium school.  She grew up speaking Cantonese and English and became completely alien to Malayalam.

Singapore is an example of how phrases mesh with prevailing conditions rather than their literal meanings.  “Mother-tongue” in Singapore means the language a citizen’s ethnic group speaks whether the citizen and his mother speak it or not.  “First language” is the term for English which is effectively the country’s national language.  In Canada, French and English enjoy equality at the federal level.  In tiny Switzerland, German, French and Italian are official languages with equal status.  Mature Democracies behave in mature ways, making everyone feel equal. Dictatorial Democracies behave in dictatorial ways, making some feel more equal than others.

When a man like Amit Shah suggests that Hindi must be made the country’s national language, there is a method in his madness.  He is dividing the people in order to strengthen his hold on power.  Divide and rule is a favourite policy with leaders from the time of the Roman Empire.  The BJP has been at it without any compunction.  Divide people any which way, using religion and language and everything else, so that people who support you can put down people who don’t.

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In the process, religion itself turns into something diabolic.  Devdutt Pattanaik recently had an interesting take on this.  What was the Lakshman Rekha all about? Was it a device to keep Ravana out or was it meant to keep Sita trapped?  His conclusion was: As protection from evil, the Lakshman Rekha represented Hinduism; as a means to keep Sita enslaved, it represented Hindutva.  We can see that Amit Shah’s Lakshman Rekhas have nothing to do with Hinduism and everything to do with Hindutva.

The way out of this imbroglio is to recognise Malayalam as the national language.  No other linguistic culture promotes secularism as robustly as Malayalam does; see the equanimity with which beef is relished by all communities there.  Besides, Malayalam promotes a broadbased outlook, not a one-man focus like Howdy Modi.  It cherishes Kochi, not Houston.  And Malayalees are, as Justice Katju said, the real Indians.  It’s time Amit Shah learnt Malayalam and became a real Indian.

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10 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Why Malayalam Outclasses Hindi”

  1. boregowda says:

    Malayalam – National Language???? Biggest joke of the year -or century – any other brain waves george – if you have any brain ….

  2. Sunil says:

    George defended every murder committed by Communists in kerala.. especially if the victim is a Hindu! He is in close contacts with communists and evangelists in Kerala many of them are pedophiles and murderers! So, it is just and extension of his loyalty

  3. Sunil says:

    George defended every murder committed by Communists in kerala.. especially if the victim is a Hindu! He is in close contacts with communists and evangelists in Kerala many of them are pedophiles and murderers! So, it is just and extension of his loyalty

  4. boregowda says:

    He was supposed to exit India along with khans soon after Modi’s win – have they quit India?

  5. strangeworld says:

    Gowdare, you do not see the underlying argument. That shows your gross ignorance. George was pointing out the richness of Malayalam, and as a non-Malayalam speaker, but has some knowledge of it, I agree. Malayalam , is an ancient language unlike Hindi, which was derived from Urdu, at best a couple of centuries old. Hindi is such a poor language in terms of its richness, and perhaps best suited for songs in Hindi movies!! Gowdru like Deva Gowda is ignorant and cannot grasp the nuances of arguments!!
    @Sunil. Typical Indian nonsensical argument ,poor grasp of what is presented and which I come across even outside India! Grow up.

  6. boregowda says:

    Every language has its own inner beauty and richness not just Malayalam. India is rich in culture because of its diversity. The nation is grappling with the issue of a link language and as the majority of people able to communicate in Hindi it fits the bill. Malayalam like other south Indian languages does not fit that requirement. It is time you get out of your shell and travel around in India and learn.

  7. Samir says:

    See this IDIOTC argument
    “The way out of this imbroglio is to recognise Malayalam as the national language. No other linguistic culture promotes secularism as robustly as Malayalam does; see the equanimity with which beef is relished by all communities there. ”
    So eating beef is secularism and because everybody eat beat, their spoken language must be national language ! That means 90 percent of Indians are not secular by religion or choice!
    Another gem pres4nred by George was, when Armstrong landed on moon, a Malayall Chai wala received him! GEORGE, PLEASE REQUSEST THAT LUNAR MALAYALEE CHAIWALA TO RETRIEVE VIKRAM and Save Chadrayaan mission?
    There is a proverb in Kannada , which says, when the husband hates his wife, he will find stones even in buttermilk! GEORGE and some like him hate BJP and out their to criticize whatever good or bad they do!
    Nobody is saying, Hindi will be replacing Kannada or English. In fact if you happen to live in Kerala or Tamilnadu for 2 years, you realize learning the local language becomes essential for survival I have sent people living in Karnataka for 15 years still not learning kannada, manage with Hindi . So, Kannada people have no issues with Hindi, only politicians have issues!

  8. Suresh Rao says:

    Hindi is not derived from Urdu, as one of your readers has quoted.
    In fact, Urdu is derived from Persian, Arabic and Hindi.
    The Urdu script has been taken from Arabic language.

  9. boregowda says:

    You are right, Hindi is derived from Sanskrit and khariboli. As one of the reader has pointed out, it is very popular language in Bangalore and easy to learn – thanks to Bollywood movies and songs.

  10. Strangeworld says:

    @Suresh. Look , you have not heard Arabic spoken, and when you hear , you will not be able to link it with Hindi. Simply talking theoretical nonsense will not help. Hindi and Urdu are cousins, and Hindi gets more from Urdu than from Persian -which you have not heard spoken, by the way. Listen to Hindi spoken by Nehru and Hindi Spoken by Vajpayee. What is the difference in terms of usage and accents? I know Sanskrit and Prakrit-the colloquial Sanskrit,as was said. But, to link Hindis origin to Prakrit and Arabic etc..is a very difficult effort indeed.
    @Boregowda. Malayalam is derived from Sanskrit, more so than any other South Indian or Indian language. Count the number of Sanskrit words spoken in a short Malayalam dialogue and compare them say with equally short dialogue in Kannada. You will see the difference.
    Hindi uses Sanskrit script-Devanagari script and people are fooled by thinking about its direct link to Sanskrit.
    @Samir Your observation has no focus. Just examine the 3 language formula Modi government wants, and think about who benefits most. Currently ,learning English helps nationally and internationally, which most North Indians do not like as they are never proficient in English-spoken or written. I moved out of India and hence, have no axe to grind in respect of any political leader or party. George ‘s argument is about the richness of a language. You cannot question English in this respect or Malayalam or even Kannada. Hindi has a dubious reputation in this regard.

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