Guest Post : Open a Book…Together #writebravely

the bespectacled mother

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6‘ and this is my post for Day 6 in response to the prompt – ‘Feature a guest.’

For my guest post, I am thankful to Sunaina Bhatia who agreed to do this post for me at a short notice. Sunaina Bhatia is an avid reader and a talented blogger who blogs at ‘When I stopped to smell a rose’ and ‘Mere desh ki mitti’She is a good friend, I have found courtesy the world of blogging, and both of us share the same passion and commitment for raising readers. You have read about my reading journey with Dhruv quite a lot. Today, Sunaina will be taking you along her reading journey with her 2 children.

If you think raising a single child as a reader is a challenge, then Sunaina is an inspiration for all of us because…

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Language and Culture


Indian Bloggers

 

When I first came to US and made friends with Indians from different states, what struck me was that they all knew Hindi. Whether a person was from Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, or any other state, they could understand Hindi and their own native language well. I was probably the only exception, coming from Haryana. I knew just two languages – Hindi and English. So, when my friends would try to explain some native word to me, it would often happen that the true meaning was lost in translation. Because for some words, there was no exact equivalent in Hindi or English. I would often muse on the nature of language – it was a window to that world in which it was spoken. It was a reflection of the culture to which it belonged. And a knowledge of a different language meant that you became more familiar with its culture too. Most of the people make efforts to teach their kids their native language here. And interestingly, the Gujarati community is so widespread and present here, that many websites (school/business) have options to translate their page in English, Spanish or Gujarati. Isn’t it amazing?!!!

Hindi is the official language of India but is not the national language. The primary reason for that is the presence of a multiple of other languages in India. Imposition of one language over the other is not a fair thing especially when all other languages are part of our nation too. Monopoly of one language can ruin the diversity that our nation advocates. It would be akin to making the rainbow only one color, and thereby destroying its very identity.

I agree that to understand one’s culture and traditions, language is the key player. To be able to communicate in one’s mother tongue, to be able to understand and exchange thoughts and ideas through the language of our ancestors is a sign that we are carrying forward the legacy bestowed to us. It is good to know your roots. And that is the reason I insist that my kids learn Hindi. But that’s because Hindi is my mother-tongue. My friends teach their kids the language they speak, because that is part of their tradition, their culture. To say that they don’t speak Hindi and are therefore in some way neglecting our Indian culture would be wrong. All languages have their own place and significance in the history and culture of our country. Together they define what India is. Hindi as well as non-Hindi speakers have a place of equal importance and an over-emphasis on one can be detrimental to the very essence of the others. So for me, a healthy interchange of ideas, a harmonious unison of cultures and traditions that define us is a must. No monopolization or tyranny of just one language – I stand for diversity. People in power often misuse things in the name of culture when they accuse innocent people of neglecting or slighting traditions. What they are doing in effect is creating a wall that will isolate, that will segregate, that will exclude. For any culture to progress, exclusion is not the key.

प्रान्त अलग

भाषाएँ अनगिनत

अपनी भाषा तुम पर क्यों थोपूं

चलो विचार कुछ ऐसे रखें

तुम सीखो कुछ

मैं सीखूँ कुछ

अस्तित्त्व तुम्हारा कभी न बिगड़े

और मेरी भी पहचान न बदले

रंग भरें तस्वीर में ऐसे

जैसे नील गगन में सजता

सतरंगी वो इंद्रधनुष

प्रगति होगी तभी मित्र

जब जड़ें उखाड़ें नहीं किसी की

और नींव को अपनी दृढ़ रखें

तुम सीखो कुछ

मैं सीखूँ कुछ

भाषाएँ संवाद करें

स्वर-संगत संगीत सजे

 

Written for IndiSpire Edition 159

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

HomegoingHomegoing by Yaa Gyasi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

How do you think did I get this scar? Yaw, one of the character in the novel asks his students. The latter come up with various replies. They are all speculating and when they are done, they ask their teacher Yaw for a finite answer. Yaw replies, ” I was only a baby. All I know is what I’ve heard.” This is perhaps one of the most important motif of the novel. What we hear or what is passed on to us is a matter of half-truth…..like the half-caste who stands neither here nor there. Yaa Gyasi’s novel is a sweeping saga of family history through generations. At times, one tends to get lost in the maze of trees that stand tall in the story – opposing pillars that are part of the same soil but that are drifted apart by powerful forces of greed, racism and prejudice. The story of two sisters Effia and Esi give way to multiple currents of thoughts. Like a river that runs into different directions, separating at some point from its own water, and then perhaps meeting at some other point, the saga too takes us to distant locations. But the stone, the symbol of the past, the connecting link goes along too – as a token or a reminder. It is the memory-keeper.

Another significant strand of the story is that the narrative of slavery is not one-sided in the novel. There are moments when victim and perpetrator meet, and become accomplices in crime. This re-emphasizes the fact that history is only a story – the dominant one is that which is spoken by those in power. It will only be partially true. Much of it will be a fabrication or a cover-up. When Marjorie writes her poem, it pinpoints to this very complicity –

We, two, wade.

The waters seem different

but are same.

Our same. Sister skin.

Who knew? Not me. Not you.

Those interested in understanding history as fiction, history as mere stories whose truths ought to be interrogated will find Homegoing a compelling read.

View all my reviews

Blind Men and the Elephant


Indian Bloggers

 

 

There is an old story about an elephant and the blind men who touch it at different places to ‘perceive’ what it is. Each blind man comes up with his own ‘interpretation’ of what he touches and claims it as ‘absolute’ truth. They argue from their own stand-points unwilling as well as incapable of understanding the other ‘versions’ of the same ‘reality’. 

हाथी है या कोई दीवार
दांत हैं ये या कोई तलवार
आँखों और बिन आँखों वाले
सच्चाई कर रहे टटोल

आधा सच और आधा झूठ
आधी छाँव और आधी धूप
ये भी संभव वो भी संभव
सत्य-असत्य के बहुत हैं रूप

सीमीत दृष्टिकोण हैं लेकिन
दम्भ हमारा अपरिमित

That is what we are – a conglomeration of subjective realities, perceived truths and restricted understandings. We fight for what we ‘think’ is the only absolute reality because at some point, it is impossible for us to step over and reach beyond that point.

There is a very interesting incident in the candid and touching memoir titled An Unquiet Mind  by  Kay Redfield Jamison. The memoir chronicles the author’s struggles with manic-depressive illness. During the time-period when she is fine, she gives therapy to a blind man. After many sessions, she starts getting the feeling of what it is to be blind. She feels that she ‘understands’ it completely. One day, he asks him to come to his tutorial session in the blind reading room. Jamison reaches the place and realizes “with horror that the room was almost totally dark. It was dead silent, no lights were on, and yet there was half a dozen students bending over their books or listening intently to the audiotapes…”. It was “one of those moments when you realize that you haven’t understood anything at all, that you have had no real comprehension of the other person’s world.”

Can we go beyond our own subjectiveness to make sense of the world in ways that might be incompatible or even contrary to our previously held notions? I think it might be possible but very difficult. For we are better off in our comfort-zones. We do not want to give ourselves an uneasy moment.

That is why ‘reality’ and ‘truth’ will remain matters of contention and debate. We will always see the elephant in parts, because we are all blind in one way or the other.

 Linking to #Indispire153

#ContestAlert by funkaar.in – Deadline approaching…

Hey Bloggers

The deadline for the #Contest being held by funkaar.in is approaching. The prompts are based on #Music. Please pitch in your entries by December 25th, 2016.

The deadline has been extended….It is Jan 20th, 2017 now.

It is a verified contest. And best entries will win the assured vouchers.

To see the details and submit your posts, click on the following link

Funkaar #MusicDilSe Contest

 

funkaar-contest-image

Aao ree suhaagan naari mangal gaao ree

Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

This article is written by Arunkumar Deshmukhh, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a contributor to this blog. This article is meant to be posted in atulsongaday.me. If this article appears in sites like lyricstrans.com and ibollywoodsongs.com etc then it is piracy of the copyright content of atulsongaday.me and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

Today I had originally lined up another song from the early 50s, to continue with my discussions on the melodies of the decade, which I called ” Melody Yatra of the 50s ” sometime back. However, I changed my mind and considering the oncoming Deepavali, I am discussing a beautiful song ( both to listen and see) from the film ” RAM RAJYA “-43.

Ramrajya 43 was an offering of Prakash pictures of Bhatt brothers. In 1942, they had made film “Bharat Milap” and the pair of Prem Adeeb and Shobhana…

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Blogging Contest for all Bloggers – Amazon Vouchers to Win…!

Ronald Reagan said, ” Life is one grand sweet song, so start the music.” Many have compared life with music. The highs and lows of life are like the ascending and descending notes of a melody. Happy or sad, peppy or poignant, when the notes unite, they create a harmony. The result is the songs we sing, the life we live.

I am sharing the link below for an exciting blogging contest being held at Funkaar.in. The theme of the challenge is related to music quotes given as prompts. Bloggers who write the winning entry will win Amazon vouchers.  

For details of the contest, please click on the following link – www.funkaar.in/contest.html

#MusicDilSe Singing Contest by www.funkaar.in

Good luck to everyone who will participate….!

Do spread the word….!!

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