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!
22. Government workers and ordinary workers
The last two posts were aimed at giving a hint on how the changes that came upon the language codes affected the behaviour of the commercial vehicle employees of Malabar.
The clamorous behaviour which had traditionally been there in the private bus employees of Travancore are now an everyday event in Malabar. The bus employees desperate try to gather back their despoiled human dignity by various nefarious means including that of rude shouting, terrorising voices, verbally hammering the passengers who are getting down from the bus, hitting on the body of the bus to create a distressing din, using ear-piercing horns without any adequate reason &c. .
However, there is a wider background for all this.
To understand this very candidly, simply compare the private bus employees with the KSRTC (govt.-owned) bus employees. When speaking in a generalised manner, it may be said that they do not usually display the above-mentioned ‘Upstartedness’ behaviours. Especially those who have received job permanency in the KSRTC.
As per the language codes, their stature of dignity is different. They do not have private owners who address and degrade them as ‘Injhi’ / ‘Nee’ (lowest YOU), or refer to them as ‘avan’ (lowest He/Him). (It is true that they do have supervisors and managers above them.) The very definition that they are government-employees does influence the language codes. It creates huge changes in the codes.
If they taunt and tease the common citizen with provocative words, and they retort back with a ‘Nee’ or ‘Injhi’, it would be considered as addressing a government official with a ‘Nee’. That is something that the government will not allow. There is actually a very specific historical development quite connected to this.
That shall be related later.
It would be a very extraordinary event if a police constable were to address a KSRTC driver with an ‘eda’ or Nee / Injhi. Or refer to them as ‘Avan’ or ‘Oan’.
At the same time, it would also be a very extraordinary event if a policeman does not address a private bus driver with an ‘eda’ or Nee/Injhi, or does not refer to him as an Avan / Oan.
If a verbal fight starts between the KSRTC and private bus employees on the road, the way the policemen deal with the two different groups of persons would be very candidly different, in most cases. This is so because the language codes accorded to the different groups would be different.
If the bus employees have a verbal argument with the passengers, then also there is a marked difference between how the passengers deal with KSRTC and private bus employees. To the government-bus employees, there would be a marked softening of tones and more ‘respect’ in the verbal codes. To the private bus employees, there would be no limit to discourtesy and degrading words.
To the private bus-employees, in many occasions, the short route to get back or get possession of some kind of human dignity would be to practise the above-mentioned loud and boisterous, rude behaviours. In many cases, they would have no other platform to stand on to proclaim their stature of equal dignity in the nation.
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