Isn’t education great?

I don’t think there is a language more moralising than hindi, especially when it comes out of Narendra Modis mouth, or my fifth standard hindi teacher, the poor lady could never sell her language to us. I have always wondered, did hindi borrow the comma, the question mark etcetera from english? Ah, and commas, if only I knew where they went, too bad I never needed to learn to pass my exams in english. If people think english is just a language, just a tool, they are terribly wrong, it divides people and societies, prevents country men from understanding each other, in my school we had the manchester- united worshiping- chilli- pepper- singing- not- knowing- where -the- comma goes -can’t -write- a- piece -of- writing-to-save-their-lives- but- don’t- need -to- to- pass -the- exams group, and the other group, unable to speak to English, or specifically the slangy spoken english, speaking in their minds a much more sophisticated language, that unfortunately didn’t travel as much historically, crushed by the dominance of this job-giving language. “words are the planks on which we traverse the abyss of our minds” said the french author. How do I know why Indian men and women behave this way or that if I don’t know what they are reading as children? What do they find funny? How can I connect if all I feel is guilty about not having read enough Shakespeare to understand 17th century britain? It took me to come to a country that resolutely does not speak english to understand what it is to live in one language, from end of the spectrum to the other, where a language represents centuries of thought about how people live, behave with each other. When these moralizing idiots come at me, I don’t know where they are coming from, and what they grew up on, unfortunately I grew up on the slimy froth that America spat at me through my childhood, spread thin over endless hours of senseless television, and it continues, making me wish I could one day go there to master the twang of their lazy accents, to colleges where “real” education happens, oh what power it is to make someone do something without forcing them, all this which has nothing to do with being Indian, and which reinforces the cultural hegemony sold in the perfumed garb of “open-ness”, “liberal-ness” an “modern-ness”, Oh! if only I could go to United states and be in New York City! Oh! then I can come back and criticise a country I do not understand in a language they do not understand. Isn’t education great?

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