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
27. South Africa
This nation is very interesting to me, in the sense that great social reactions are taking places there, wherein I can, more or less, visualise the working of my theories in a most intense manner. At the same time, this nation causes me terrible anguish, wherein I sense the senseless destruction of conventions and ways of life, which could have been retained if proper understanding of the undercurrents of social mechanism is made.
I envisage great tragedies in store for this nation, if proper understanding of the themes that I have mentioned is not taken into consideration. Here my posture is not with an arrogance of the omniscient, but of a person who is genuinely distracted by the shallow understanding of events of great historical importance, by persons who should definitely know better.
Before, embarking on this aspect, let me be very frank and admit that if I am a black in that country and I am kept away from many of the social, public positions, just on the basis of my colour, I would be very, very hurt. A natural feeling of antipathy would rise in me. Yet, as a man who has a claim to have understood a little more, on the ways the great computer known as society works, I would also consider whether I would be having a more interesting and liberated time with my black brethren. For, even before the Dutch came and dominated the socio-political scene, the native blacks were there. Did they give any chance of liberation to the other blacks who were living in restricted social conditions?
There is a widely held notion that South Africa was a British ruled nation till a few years back. Many persons of varying educational standards, have told me this, with a rigid level of conviction, that I found it hard to continue any discussion with them anymore.
The chequered history of South Africa for a long time was a history of competition between the British elements there and the Boers (people of Dutch descent). To quote from The British Empire and Commonwealth by George W.Southgate, BA: More than a century earlier, the difference of attitude of Boers and British towards the Africans had been one of the causes of friction between the two white races: the Boers wished to keep them in strict subjection while the British were inclined to a more liberal policy. But though the British elements in South Africa was disposed to recognise the political and legal equality of white men and Cape Coloured Folk, the latter were regarded as socially inferior; moreover, intermarriage of white and Coloured Folk was strongly condemned by both races.
The Boers came to power by political means, after being defeated by the numerically less British in armed contest.
It is possible that the Dutch language does have some level of similarity with the English, in regard to the lack of hierarchy in the language when used by the people to each other. This I am summarising purely from the fact that they are one of the few people who could put up a decent fight and stand up to the British. This instance I am taking from the long drawn contest between the Afrikaners and the British in South Africa. There is no doubt that the Afrikaners did bring in a lot of development to the nation, and to the native population. In this factor, they are much better than the Kings and rulers of India, who literally kept a majority of the population with a lot of social and political disabilities. This is not a story from the distant past. For example, in Kerala, till 1947, the independent Kings of the subcontinent like those of Travancore and Cochin did continue, with a little change under duress, the ancient practice of excluding a great part of the population who were from the lower castes from education, public appointment, right to freedom from bondage etc.
In a continent, which has been riddled with the mess of governance by a lot of creepy characters, South Africa did standout, as a haven of stability and good governance. The black natives were given education, their dressing standards improved, and in the matter of health care also, it was a country with a lot of positive attributes, when one compares it with the neighbouring states.
Yet, the ruling Afrikaners and the Anglicans wanted a private space, where they could function without the presence of the native blacks. In my considered opinion, this really points to a factor of some problem in the language, either of the Blacks, or of the Afrikaners. Since I have suggested that Dutch could be having a lesser amount or even no amount of feudalism, it is possible that the language of the Blacks could be the one, which is having problems. Or it is also possible that both the languages do have some feudal or some other negative aspects?
If the languages of the native Blacks did have crude and disturbing feudal features, then one may not find much fault with the reaction of the Afrikaners to maintain a discrete distance from them.
In this case, I must assert that though I have only mentioned one sort of feudal aspect as a negative attribute in languages, it is possible that there are other factors of similar negativity in languages, which I have not been able to imagine.
This aspect of requiring a private haven is a reality in all places where there is a feudal language, and the chance that the perceived lower or cruder person would barge in without refrain if allowed unlimited access to one areas of movement.
I have seen this issue in India, where if the children from a polished group were exposed to the ruder elements, the latter would immediately use cruder, lower indicant words and terms towards, and about them. This effect instinctively impels the former to go into seclusion from the unpolished elements. This is more felt when young persons who are trained in English, but knows the vernacular comes into close contact with vernacular speaking, elderly women, who may either be from the superior class or from the servant class. If the interaction is sustained without an introduction of superiority of the children, to the elderly women, then they would immediately use the lower indicant words to the younger persons.
Actually, there is an instinctive and spontaneous understanding of this fine issue, that generally, polished English-speaking persons of younger age, keep away from persons who they perceive as prone to taking them to the lower indicant group.
In the case of South Africa, I would say that if there is a feudal content in any language in currency over there, then the whole issue of apartheid boils down to a case of the quality of the software program codes in those languages.
I cannot go beyond this without having any idea if what I have contended, about the languages in vogue over there, is true. Yet, a comparison with USA would be apt. In spite of the Blacks having being slaves over there, they did not face the problem of apartheid, as was legally installed in South Africa. One can imagine the quandary of the White, British descended American’s in the USA. As a group of persons coming from a refined nation, they had to accept a group of persons who were entirely and also terribly different from them in many aspects. I have seen Indians talking about the problems of the blacks. Yet in the innermost of their hearts, I have seen that they would not tolerate a man from a slightly lesser social level to come near them nor will they allow them to have the same social address as theirs.
In spite of all claims to the contrary, I would say that the Blacks in United States of America are in an enviable position when compared to so many millions of other socially-disabled persons all around the world, including India.
However why is it so? The answer is that the language of both the Whites as well as the Blacks speak in the USA is English, with all its finer aspects in fully enabled form. If the language of USA was some language like Hindi, Chinese, Malayalam etc. I deeply wonder what would have been the condition of the Blacks. However, the understanding also exists that USA is USA only because it is made up of English. When I see films like To Sir With Love*; Men of Honor*; Crimson Tide* etc. where Blacks are showcased as with shining qualities of personal integrity, I discern the glimmer of the British traditions and training, that they came to inherit not just through many strange historical incidences, events and personages, but mainly through the medium of the English language, wherein all these factors lie embedded. And from not any heritage or psychological legacy of any feudal language or feudal language nation. Actually, the liberation that the Blacks could get in the English countries was the main motivating factor that led to their liberation and freedom in many other countries, including European.
Talking of films, one may remember the film, Titanic, where, in the moment when disaster looms large, the ancient British Maritime, unwritten, convention of Women and Children First is played out with remarkable serenity.
Coming back to South Africa, what do we behold in its future? It is possible that one of the major causalities, of the taking over of power by the majority population, is the Afrikaner language. In its stead, the local feudal languages would have entered into the vacuum. If that has happened, then it is a straight route to disaster for the nation. For, whatever I have mentioned about India, (i.e. the real India that does not come into the limelight), would be reflected in the future of South Africa. A nation, with severe social problems, which go on increasing exponentially. Yet an empty-headed feeling by the supremely disabled sections that the nation is improving, would also be there.
One of the real tests that I can use is to seek if the charismatic leadership of the Black liberation movement is from any feudal background. If it is so, then the whole movement one identifies with the freedom struggle of the Blacks would actually have been a campaign to get back the power to the native social forces that have ravished Africa for centuries. Their inner agenda would be to play what they call a game of power play.
Even if they don’t belong to the ancient feudal classes, if the language is feudal, then they are the new feudal class. If they are aiming for a classless society, then their best bet is to forgo of all the appendages of their feudal languages, and go in for complete English, as maintained by the British.
It may be understood that an organisation, which runs with the same level of informal interaction as in English, can go spoilt if two senior-most persons are from the feudal language software, and they talk to each other in that language and maintain the hierarchical relationship in that language. Another situation that can spoil the organisation is when a junior-most employee comes from this feudal language background and seeks to redesign the hierarchy of the organisation according to his language software codes. The mental tension that then gets activated in each interaction can really lead to a sense of urgency in the minds of all personnel to seek refuge in a secure and immutable feudal position.
Bring in English. Otherwise, every system of administration would go to the dogs in a few years time, and everyone, including the native population, would suffer. I do not know how good the health system in South Africa is, yet when terrible diseases like the AIDS looms large on the African horizon, giving the reins of administration to a group of feudal language-speaking persons, would be, more or less, suicidal.