The Language of Profit

(Image used for illustrative purpose only)

No doubt that language forms an integral part of any region’s cultural identity and heritage. Languages have helped humans to evolve. We are at the top of food chain because we can speak, write and read. Humans have also used languages as a tool to capture social, economic or political superiority. Wars have been fought and conflicts continue over languages or their forceful imposition on a section of society.

And we have hypocrites among us too. I have a friend who wakes up out of his social-media slumber each time a discussion erupts on the threat to imposing another language in the region ‘back home’. The fact is that he is not quite adept in the local language of the region where he stays. He has made it big in life using English. His language of thought is English, the language most spoken at home is English, his children go to English-medium schools, etc. Such hypocrisy comes out of our knowledge that the language of profit is English in India. The term ‘profit’ is used in its widest possible meaning here. Economic, Political, Social, Intellectual, etc.

The language of profit overrides many other considerations. Many times, it even overrides the language of love. In India, the mother tongue is never English but all of us know that the language of socio-economic growth is largely English. As an employee, it is often noticed that the speed of climbing corporate ladder is directly proportional to the fluency in English language. It becomes a matter of self-confidence too.

In different parts of world, languages have contributed differently, though, to the growth of the society. Brazil has over 200 local languages but speaks Portuguese. Argentina and Mexico, similarly, speak Spanish. They are growing too. India, with hundreds of languages and thousands of dialects is growing too. Contrarily, there are severe conflicts in Arab world despite a common language. China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, etc. preserved their languages at home but grew by offering the quality and quantity that the world wanted. These are exceptional examples of the language of profit explained well in local languages and cultural ethos!

English is, largely, the language of profit in the world today. Chinese is picking up too. Back home, Hindi is our best chance. A country that would soon become world’s largest economy again, needs a language that can be exported. A language that can become the language of profit to the world. We have taught the world the importance of peace and co-existence. It is time we teach them a language too. For an Indian, the language strategy should be simple. Teach Hindi and learn Chinese. Who knows, tomorrow’s languages of profit could be three: English, Hindi and Chinese.

India can continue to love Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Assamese, Oriya, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, Punjabi, Kashmiri and all other native languages.