An impressionistic history of the
South Asian Subcontinent
VED from VICTORIA INSTITUTIONS
It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!
Vol 1 - An ephemeral glance at feudal languages!
21. How the top layer got soiled
In Malabari, communication at the top layer is quite comfortable. The word for YOU that conveys the highest level of ‘respect’ is NINGAL / INGAL. There is no need to go higher than that. For no one is aware of any word which is higher than that.
However, with the spread of Malayalam, NINGAL / INGAL became quite inadequate when used towards government officials, teachers, to persons who are above-positioned in the work area etc. In fact it became an abusive word or usage when it is used to these persons.
This literally made the social communication codes of Malabar go from bad to worse, at this level.
In the earlier days, when an Indian policeman addresses a citizen with a Injhi (lowest YOU) (in Malappuram it is Ijj), the citizen can address him back with the next level NINGAL. However, when Malayalam arrived this NINGAL became quite unacceptable to the government folks. Two new usages arrived from Malayalam into the Malabar areas. They were Saar and Maadam. Both these usages were above NINGAL.
(These two new usages were also used in words that mean HE, HIM, HIS, SHE, HER, HERS)
When this new communication code arrived, the citizen went to the lower most level and the government official went two layers higher.
Historically, Malabar had another specific difference from Travancore.
Malabar (both North Malabar as well as South Malabar) had been under the English rule during the English colonial days. Public administration had been conducted in the planar language English. When speaking in relative terms, this had created a softening in the communication codes between the government officials and the citizens.
Travancore had never been under the English rule. Until 1947, when it lost its independence, Travancore had remained an independent kingdom. Inside the government machinery, almost everything had been encoded with terrific feudal features.
Caste was also a very prominent identification tag which defined a person’s rights to claim government services. Even though it is true that the higher level officials of the Travancore bureaucracy did strive to improve the situation, they could not do anything that could erase deeply entrenched feudal content in the social communication. The language system nullified all such endeavours.
Ref: 1. Travancore State Manual
Due to this very reason, the lower grade ‘officers’ of the Travancore bureaucracy never had an occasion to experience the soft verbal codes of English in their interaction with the common subjects of the kingdom. This issue continued when they changed into the employees of the Indian state. And the common subject of Travancore became the common citizen of India.
There is much to be mentioned about all this. It shall be done in their appropriate locations.
Now, an attempt shall be made to describe the rabid change that came upon one specific work-environment behaviour.
NOTE 1: There is a requirement to examine the words such as ‘Saar’, ‘Maadam’ etc. in a more profound manner. However, that cannot be done as of now.
NOTE 2: It would be true that the reader of this write-up has studied history, and has much sociological knowledge. However, it is not the aim of this writing to re-paraphrase and broadcast these known things.
The route of this writing is the pathway of redefining all these things from a totally different and newer perspective, and to also to take up items which have never before been placed for profound study and research.
0. Book profile