Monday, January 28, 2008

The Ghastly Murder Of The Riotous Mr. English

Mr. English had a long and colourful history. His origins lay in England and his ancestry could be traced right up to the Queen, so much so that on his good days he would be referred to as the Queen's English.

Mr. English was very well travelled and there was not a country in the world that he hadn't visited or his presence was not felt in. More often than not, he travelled under the auspices of the Queen herself. He had many cousins, albeit poor country ones, in countries like Scotland, Ireland, Australia and the US, whose only claim to fame was their connection with Mr. English.

Unfortunately, with his extensive travelling, Mr. English's reputation and personality underwent a major change. In places like Latin America and India, which were not directly related to him, Mr. English picked up more than just a smattering of the local languages. This went on for so long and was encouraged by everyone around that soon Mr. English became a mere shadow of his former self. Worse still, when he went back to England as this changed man, he influenced everybody around there as well. And so it came to be that words like curry were inducted in the prestigious Oxford dictionary.

Mr. English in his former glory and original self was officially dead, transformed forever, with only his memory and a few loyal fans, mostly some old-school professors and writers, staying intact. Mr. English did not go alone. He took a large part of the populace and future generations with him. The public had overthrown the old elitist regime of Mr. English, like they had done in the French Revolution, and had twisted Mr. English's teachings and preachings to suit their own ethnic populist needs and beliefs.

While I was in school, my mother always told me to hang out with the brainy kids, the ones who got the marks, so that it would rub off on me as well. My current company comprises people who take special glee in replaying The Ghastly Murder of the Riotous Mr. English at every opportunity they get. Considering that, in order to be understood, I need to speak in very simple English and incorporate a lot of Hindi, my previously high standard of English is getting eroded everyday. I am becoming more and more populist and mass.

I think it is time for me to retire into solitude, engaging myself in activities of reading, writing and personal development, emerging now and then to scorn the masses and have them gaze admiringly and appreciatively at my efforts to keep the memory of Mr. English alive and kicking.

Mr. English is dead! Long live Mr. English!

1 comment:

UnApologetic Confessions said...

Hi... It has been ages that I read your blog and must say you have been 'rag picking' a lot.
"Mr. English is dead. Long live Mr. English!!"
I really feel language is dynamic and very much related to the economy of the world. When Mr. English would have been first introduced to the masses of Latin America or India, the flavour and purpose was not to educate us but in turn to ensure that we speak Mr. English's tongue. When you try to dismantle the very foundation of one's life-language there obviously be an antipathy to the 'colonising' lingo. Over a period of time when Mr. English quits residing in that locale albeit after infesting the entire system of operations with his language, what is left over in the nation are pseudo experts of his language. This results in a metamorphosis of the language which over a period of time owing to globalisation makes its way into the elite dictionaries of Mr. English. Well my friend I really can go on but for a more interesting read on your issue you can read the following if it may interest you:
Franz Fanon's "Black Skin, White Mask" ; Ngugi wa Thiongo's " Decolonising the Mind" ; "The Empire writes Back"...
For a better interesting read you can also try WOle Soyinka's "The Palm Wine Drinkard" (Yes, the name is deliberate)
Oh!! It is also ironical that your next entry is on Neruda, who wrote in Spanish, not the native language of Chile, but the colonisers lingo and then we read it in English!!!
Thanks to Mr. English again here!!!