March of the Evil Empires!
English versus the feudal languages!!
VED from VICTORIA INSTITUTIONS
First drafted in 1989. First online edition around 2000
It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!
Part 2 - Delineation of a feudal language nation
3. The general social affects
Now if one notices Indian children, and how they communicate with the elders, one can notice a sort of frivolous childishness in their demeanour. At the same time, children from English nations can be noticed to communicate with a different demeanour and pose, which is very much mature, and developed. If an Indian child who communicates in the vernacular were to behave in the same pose, it would immediately be judged as impertinence and too bold, or as over smartness and frowned upon. It can cause severe unease and antipathy in others.
It may be noticed that English children address elders with a Mr. or Mrs. or Miss. prefixed to their names. No Indian child schooled in the vernacular would dare to do it unless given extreme training to do it. He or she would not be able to imagine such boldness on his or her part. Such a small thing, which in the English world, the least of persons can do without much demur or comment, would become a Herculean task for the Indian. Herein would lie, the difference between India and English nations.
What is a simple thing for the English child is a Herculean task for the Indian adult, who lives in India. One can easily see the ease with which the English youngsters could become officers in the East India Company Army* and parade the Indian soldiers who were possibly much older than them.
However this theme also requires a bit of inspection. For, in the feudal set-up, young children did boss over very elder adults of the lower castes, with effortless ease. But not in the English way. They used the local feudal language as a powerful tool of subjugation. This is still a fact of life in feudal areas in India even now, wherein one may find the usage of the lower indicants for adults of the lower castes by the individuals of the higher castes of all levels of age. Yet, it would not evoke any sense of rebellion in the lower castes, other than just more discipline. What could create disturbance to the society is if the lower caste adult were to use the lower indicants for the children of the higher castes.
Mr., Mrs.& Mrs.
In English, one uses the name of a person to address him, with either a prefix of Mr., Mrs. or Miss. if the relation is on a formal basis. This prefix is removed once the relation reaches a level of informal interaction. However in the Indian languages, the name of a person is not to be used in such a natural manner. What one may judge as trivial issues in English, in a feudal language tend to place a person in rigid addressing positions, which one cannot do otherwise without causing severe disturbance.
For example, if one is of younger age, or lesser social or financial position, or is a subordinate, or is dependant in terms of finance, or of getting a business order; in all these situations, one has to come down in stature and use relevant suffixes to the addressed person’s name. In certain cases, it is just a practice of pretence. Especially when doing business. In such cases, one dons a subordinate attire, use all sorts of self-demeaning stances, and use the best words of homage to achieve the results. Yet, in such cases, the other man is tolerated in one’s society only till the end of his or her utility as a source of business benefit. Generally, there is a factor of deception in these relations.
Younger persons also need to use the term Elder Brother or Elder Sister to the elder persons. Once such a hierarchical relation is established, there are two choices for the elder or senior person in the relation. Either he can start using the lowest indicant terms to the junior individual, which is more intimate, but at the same time more demeaning, or he can use the secondary level of indicants, which is more formal. In a way, the society understands the choice utilised in a number of ways. One, if he uses the lowest indicant words, he can be understood as more mentally strong, more commanding, and more effective; for in this relationship he has achieved a certain level of subjugating the other individual. Or he may also be understood as lacking in civil manners, less refined and more crude. In fact, an undercurrent of understanding in the vernacular is that if one is polite, refined and cultured, one is less effective, less socially strong, and lacking in managerial qualities. The cultured behaviour is an effeminate quality. However, do not understand that females are any less crude.
In husband-wife relations also, the relationship exists with a vector quality. That is, there is a factor of direction. From the husband’s direction, the words to the wife are all of the lower indicant, intimate form. From the wife towards the husband, it is all terms of deep respect and reverence. In south Indian languages, the husband’s name is suffixed with terms of Elder Brother, like Chettan, Annan etc.
Before the coming of the British, even though many persons of varying races, nationalities, and culture did come to the geographical area we now identify as Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, and did rule varying geographical areas here, none did bring in such a profound change as the British. What they brought in was not just the railways, the postal system, the tarred roads, the rule of law, the security on the long travel routes*, modern standards in dressing, the modern education, liberalisation of women, the civil administrative system, equality before the law, the concept of democracy, the opening of recruitment to public services to the common citizen, abolition of Sati*, the ignoring of the power of the caste system etc.; but also another fantastic thing that the Indian could never conceptualise or visualise in their wildest of daydreaming.
And that was English. For the first time in known history, the common citizen was given a communication software, whereby he could contemplate on the highest and the lowest individual in the nation with the same level of freedom and sense of dignity. This was a social software program that was in complete contrast and the very antithesis of all understanding the society had for a long, long time. This must have caused a lot of genuine misery and grievance for a lot of persons, including the British. The cumulative effect of this new software was and is very complicated. It would require a lot of time and space to delve on the various finer effects of this momentous eventuality.
NOTE added on the 22nd of May 2016: Read my book: What is different about pristine-ENGLISH?
In a stagnant social order, where people did not move much from their home base, the society was fixed by the language in a rigid hierarchy. The higher castes, and other people of dignity, could and should address and refer to all persons in the lower hierarchy with the words of the lower indicants. There was no problem. The problem arises only when an upstart, who could not bear the stifling regimentation and wanted to use his intellect to the best of his abilities, and also above his social standing, was born. But then, rarely could he do anything about it. For everyone around him including those above his social level, those on his social level and those below him would place him in such a narrow social space, and that too dictated by the limited space allowed by the language, that he won’t be able to manoeuvre himself out.
Even the children of the higher castes could address everyone below them in social standing by the lower indicants. But with the coming of the British and their hasty return before fully deleting the original language program, has left India with a lot of mutually antagonistic social software programs.
An example: The lowest indicant word for You in Malayalam is Nee. It was the word used by the higher castes to the lower caste persons of all age. Generally, in these so-called liberal days, most persons do not like to be addressed by this term by strangers, even though it is the common word used when a level of intimacy or subordination is established. It is generally used for persons of the servant class. At the same time, it is also the common word used for communicating with children. This word has a social force of suppressing the individual socially. Once this word is used in communication, in the sense of subjugation, then that person would feel the subjugation socially with all others sensing his subordinated social and communication level. This word naturally comes with a package of other words of the same indicant level.
The most immediate effect on the person’s personality would be that he is mentally subordinated in a manner not understandable and conceivable in English. It is a sort of impotency of mental capability which diminishes one’s major social mobility (other than from a distinctly lower level). This man then unconsciously starts to program his mind to achieve his ends from a pose of obsequious servility. The word honour as understood in English, has very little meaning and sense to this man. His whole sense of honour is related to rising up to the higher indicant level. Everyone who is on the higher indicant level is an honourable man, and everyone of his own indicant level or below, are plainly dishonourable men, whatever their other qualities of intellect or refinement may be.
Effects on the young
At another level, this is seen in the behaviour of youngsters. In feudal Indian languages, youngsters are inferior. The problem is that there are so many kinds of inferiors, in India. Some are based on caste, some on the basis of their type of jobs, some on the basis of their type of business, some on the basis of their associations and companions, some on the basis of their intellectual level, some on the basis of their physical strength, some on the basis of the strength of their voice, some on the basis of their age etc.
Once a reputation of inferiority is socially established, then the various kinds of lower indicant verbal use come and assault them. However in this regard, there may be not much difference in the psychological effect it imparts. For, the same effect that a servant has to bear will be felt by one who is inferior in age. And it hurts, mentally.
So to assure that they are not treated as such, the youngsters desperately resort to various techniques. An air of pretended seriousness, sometimes rudeness, an air of affected intellectualism, snarling voice etc. is some of the modus operandi used. But then these are also the techniques, the vast sections of the populace also utilise for similar ends.
For a youngster, a youthful look may not a good thing in this regard. So, an effort is made to exhibit a grownup face, by either putting on a serious or stony face, or to grow a moustache and / or a beard. As such, one may see a lot of persons resorting to growing moustaches and beards. The anticipated end-result is more respect from the society.
Policemen also generally display hideous moustaches. (Actually, this has more to do with the parental and slave master attitude of the police). A cherubic or the baby smooth face would be a severe disadvantage in a feudal language environment.
So generally, the feudal languages insist that our behaviour should be crude and our looks rough, to be seen as mature and macho to achieve respect with words. But here again, I must emphasise that this is so because of the general heterogonous nature of the society.
Stunting of Physical Features
The long-term effects of this mental software program are wide and varied with wide ramifications. One of the major long-term effects is an eventual stunting of the physical features. The facial features also changes to adjust to the mental software program. Facial expression also changes to suit the same. In fact, this difference is very much discernible if two Indian children, one brought up in an English atmosphere, and the other in an Indian language atmosphere is observed with intelligent diligence. And again, among the children who have been brought up in an Indian Language atmosphere, those children who have borne more sting of the feudal language, like those children coming from the lower social strata, or from very restrictive and stifling family or living atmosphere would exhibit more effect of this language.
Each indicant word makes a definite affect on the mind, features, and muscles that control emotion and facial expression. For, example, the lowest indicant word for You, in Malayalam Nee would give a very severe negative effect, and the highest indicant word would give an entirely different affect on the mind. It is the long-term cumulative effect of this infliction that causes the adjusting of facial features, and even physical growth, in individuals living in a feudal language environment.
Again, a few more aspect of this affect must be made clear. One is that Hindi, and other related languages do not have as much sting, as the South Indian languages. Actually, persons from South India, once they live in the north and become conversant in Hindi, find it easier to communicate with others of their own language in Hindi, as there are less prohibitive communication codes in Hindi. This is especially so, when persons from Malayalam background go to the North.
Now coming back to the word Nee (You-lowest indicant). Many Malayalee individuals, who are in senior social positions, do not like their children to be addressed as Nee by the servant class. (For, the factor of who and of what level, is using the lower indicant words also have a great bearing on the mental and social affect that comes about.) At the same time, some of the individuals in the servant class do find it awkward to address the children of their masters with the lowest indicant Nee. These persons instead take recourse to such words as Kunje, Mone etc., which literally mean child, whenever they have to use the word You.
Each word, of higher or lower indicant level, has a personality of its own, which is very infectious. This is an infection, which is very visible socially. Once a person is infected by the negative indicants, others of the senior indicant level maintain a very conscious, and at the same time very imperceptible, arrangement to see that he or she is kept in his or her own social position. The idea I am trying to convey here is a bit complicated. It may be understood without much of my immediate efforts in due course, as this theme blossoms out in the coming pages.
Many times, when one is using Malayalam, after being very good in English, one feels that Malayalam is not a language for communication, but rather a languages for restricting communication. The same goes for most feudal languages. As such, one may, with some level of justification, say that these are communication software programs embedded with viruses. These viruses do get activated at certain point in time, when the program reaches a certain pre-programmed level of communication with a predefined level of group of persons.
Malayalam is a language that has come under very strange compulsions, whereby the whole society functions in a slightly crazy manner, even though it would be too presumptuous to say that the individuals involved are in any way crazy. It is actually a matter of sane persons making the best of a very bad bargain. Individuals with sound intellect function and perform by allowing their physique to be twisted by the sick social communication program codes, into grotesque postures to attune themselves to the requirements of the software program.