Is Bangla becoming an oral language for the expatriate Bengali? Where is the language going - a Bangla writer contemplates.
Bangla is one of the focal languages of ILF Samanvay 2015
Are Indian languages in danger? My normal hypochondriac Bengali self wakes up in this battlefield of bhasha-writers and the writers who write in English (don’t they have bhasha?). In this everlasting melting pot called India, language will probably always be an enigma. I feel more excited: there must be conspiracy going on somewhere! My genetically engraved bidrohi self wakes up with its skinny thighs wrapped in a yellow pyjama, and with furrowed brows look for a theoretical explanation to a gigantic question: is Bangla an endangered species? I still remember my grandmother advising me in an unequivocal tone “ingrejiTashekho”, even as my middle class bhalochhele upbringing with all his coconut oil glory was trying to discover a secret world, in her wrinkled and wheat coloured skin – with the November afternoon light falling on it. A sudden gust of practicality ran away with all the flurry of fantasies.
Photo Credits: Debarshi Sarkar
Now I look at my language. What is going on? Do we think in Bangla? Or, have we learnt ingreji? Are we moving on? I see children using English as their colloquial more and more in my beloved Calcutta. As if Bangla is some kind of an oral tradition, just to be practised at home. Does it cover all?
I feel frightened. Sad. I go out and take a walk. No. Sunset has not changed yet. My friends are still making new films in Bangla, a completely new wave of good filmmakers have come in with their new take. A new generation of singer-composers has arrived. I think of SohiniDasgupta, Anupam Roy and Satyaki Banerjee and many others. Yes my generation is working in Bangla with a thriving impulse. But is there a younger generation to come? I do not know about the future. But today I received an email from a much younger friend of mine who is designing an application for smartphones with 10 digital poetry books in Bangla, to sell it over different digital marketplaces. An infinite number of Webzines are published in Bangla.
The language is changing – and we have new and alternative possibilities.