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 3 - the ramifications
2. The generalisations
The great difference that one experience when speaking in English is that one need not monitor, measure and size up an individual, for initiating a conversation with him. There is no need to split the different individuals into groups consisting of the highest indicant group, the middle level indicant group and the lowest indicant group. One need not worry about another person measuring and judging him or her, for whatever reason. A strange level of mental peace is available in the English society, which no one in a feudal society can even imagine to be possible.
Let us now again use the allegory of a Malayalee family going to stay in an English nation. This can be in three basic forms: One, of a family which is very good in English to the extent of even thinking English, and understanding correctly the exact difference English creates in their aspects.
Second, could be a family that does have a working knowledge of English, but the thinking process is in Malayalam.
Third, could be a family with very negligible knowledge in English.
Of these three groups, one may say with a lot of certainty that the first group would be the rarest.
So, we start with a family that uses Malayalam in their home and English in the working area. Obliviously, there would be a marked conflict in all the values that one practices at home, with what is seen in the outside world.
Let us start with the basics. The Malayalee child would be addressed with a Nee for You, and Avan or Aval for He and She, and all the other indicant words would be in the lowest level. This child would further call all his elders, as Chettan, Chechi, Ammavan, Ammai, Uncle or Aunty etc. even if they were not even remotely related to him. Most of his actions would be of a suppressed type, with copious amount of attempts to show off. Yet, when this child comes into interaction with the local crowd, then these afflictions would slowly disappear.
The same way the family will be using the term Avan, Aval, Oan, Oal etc. with regard to the native English person, who they measure to be of a lower level, whenever they talk about them. By lower level, I mean persons, whose profession in Kerala would merit only lowest indicants. Many persons may fit into this category, like for example drivers, labourers, carpenters, baby sitters, domestic help, students, shop keepers, salesmen, and most other jobs other than government officials, teachers, doctors etc. and so many other professions of the English nation, which for years the citizens there had been doing without any qualms. As mentioned earlier, these are all indicant terms of the lowest level.
It is a fact that the local person would not understand the meaning of the Malayalam usage. Yet, he would be able to sense the degradation that happens to him, from the body language of the persons who are talking in Malayalam. It would give an uneasy feeling to the English person. A feeling which he would find hard to understand, describe or even explain.
Actually, this factor would rarely happen, as mixings would be more on professional levels. Generally, in a professional environment, the majority would be English native-speakers. Others, if any, would be from different international language groups. In this case also, nothing untoward would take place. The virus would not awaken, even though it is present.
Now let us take an illustrative example: Let there be one college lecturer, come from Kerala, teaching in a College, in the English nation. He is very clever, and brilliant, naturally. He speaks brilliant English, and his general attitudes and behaviour are all English, and he presents a very beautiful image of interaction with the students, and the fellow staff. So far, so good. Then one fine morning a new teacher from Kerala also joins the college. He is also good in English. Individually, his behaviour also matches the former man’s.
They meet. They converse in Malayalam. The virus starts ticking. In their conversation, the whole amiable English society gets split and contorted, beyond recognition. Persons who are connected to their society as Dean, Principal, Teachers, Librarians, Students, Office Staff, Office boys, Cleaning staff, etc. all get a new and never before assigned attributes. Some go into the level of Adheham and Avar (highest level of indicant); some go into the level of Ayal (middle level); some go into the level of Avan, Aval, Oan, Oal (lowest level) etc.
It may be understood that in Malayalam, once you assign a particular level to a person, then you mentally prepare a particular manner of behaviour to them. To some, you need to be obsequious, to some formally polite; and to some conspicuously discourteous. The third group should not be taken serious. For, if you do so, it would be understood that you are keeping them as your superior; meaning that you are inferior to them. Now again, the other persons may not really understand what these two persons are talking in Malayalam. Yet, the body language would show. Not only that, they would feel the difference in approach these persons exhibit to the differing classes they have created.
So far, not so good, nor not so bad. Now, both these Malayalees, go roaming to get into more Malayalee circles. Then the virus really has a field day. The whole of Kerala arrives in the English nation, as a non-tangible, yet powerful social software program. More or less, everything discussed in the second part of this book, get enacted here.
Many persons would be Chettan and Chechi, depending either on their age, or professional seniority. They would bring in the native levels of obsequiousness, and all the allied behavioural postures. Naturally, persons, who are addressed by name in Malayalam is either a servant, or a subordinate or a youngster or an inferior. Now, how will this go along with the easy English usage of addressing a person, either formally with a Mr. prefixed or just by his first name in cases of intimacy or of informal friendliness? Again, since the English and Malayalam societies are distinct and socially distant, nothing much of a problem comes.
But the native English speaking society will naturally sense the derogatory sense of communication, from the body language. When the Malayalees start existing in groups, and then tend to reach out to the English societies, then the latter would start distancing themselves from the former. Then the long heard complaint of racial discrimination would come to the fore.
The problem would be worse, when a Malayalee is in senior position. Suddenly he starts getting more Malayalee colleagues, then the native English speakers would suddenly start feeling uncomfortable in the presence of his Malayalee superior. For an uncanny feeling would come that a strange twisting of individuality is going on. The superior would complain that the native English-speaking subordinate is smarting from a feeling of inferiority complex. And it is true. A feeling of inferiority would set in. It may cause deep shock and pain to the English speaker that he should stoop to such base feelings. However he will not be able to help it, or understand it.
Here the reader may kindly bear in mind that the whole system of ‘untouchability’, intolerance, discourtesy and aloofness from each other, unless the other person comes with an attractive attribute, is connected to the indicant word, and maintained by this feudal language. In fact, a single indicant word like Nee, Avan or Aval can, if used with piercing efficiency, shackle not only a single person, but also a whole lot of individuals, bearing a common social address.
Narration: Here it is appropriate that I insert an incident related to me many years ago. One lady, naturally rich by Indian standards, went to visit her son and family residing in England. When she was there, she found one young Indian girl coming to the house everyday in the morning to help in the kitchen. The girl and her son’s family members were communicating in English. She was a student studying for her graduation in some subject and also earning a bit of money by helping out in this house. There was no problem with her as far as the visiting lady was concerned. However when the family sat down to eat, the helping girl also sat down with a mighty nonchalance, which was absolutely shocking for her. For, in her whole lifetime, she had not experienced such impudence, from any servants. Then she found that the girl’s manner of speech was not at all befitting a servant’s, as found in India. For, she was very articulate, as against the servants in India, who don meekness, as an effective pose of discipline. In India, servants sit on the floor to eat, and they have to be dressed shabbily, otherwise it would create havoc on the social scene.
The woman immediately got up from the dining table, and went to her room. When her son came and asked her why she had retired, she said that never had she stooped to sit with servants, and she had no such intentions to do so, in her future life. Till the end of her visit, she had to be served her breakfast in her bedroom.
Now there might be a bit of exaggeration in this narration. However, since it happened some years back, and since I also know of persons from India, who do not understand the niceties of an English social behaviour, I can vouch for the possibility of there being a mighty element of truth in the story. Yet, from an Indian language point of view, there is nothing wrong in what that woman did. In India, nobody can even bear to imagine the consternation, such an eventuality would cause.
Now, the person who came as a domestic help was basically an Indian girl. Now, suppose the girl was a native English girl. Well then, do you think the attitude would have been better? The only difference would be a factor of gloat, to have an English girl to serve. It would give an ample dose of superlative stories of how her son now has English servants. For, if an Indian with English attributes would get disturbed with this behaviour, then the affect on a person who is innately English can easily be imagined.