Traveling in the land of evolutionary linguistics, confrontation with the known seem to seep into the zone of the unknown. While morning had begun with a hope that would thwart all encroachments from the land of adultery, evening brings with it the realization that the fault lay in our very basic premise. Indeed, when it is the land of language, it is the rule of adultery. The divisive spirit enthusiastically demarcates one language from the other. However, that we could separately regard each as an individual is a question that remains unresolved for times immemorial. Individuality if I rightly understand is a child of its unique origin. Yet the question here is something that lies even before origin-ality. What is it that we call the aadi? Where is it that we began?
Harping on that thread of an ancient belief that all have sprung from the bowels of that sound which we identify in the chant of ohm, Bhartrhari gives to us the shabda-tattva: the Supreme Essence. That language is a more a thought process than a living reality is much understandable, but that the thought process is itself carried out in individual languages is what leaves me beserk. Before I entangle myself in the loopholes of anchorages, let me try to float back to the land that I hail from.
Madar chod. Rohinton Mistry’s un-italicised un-glossed declaration seemed to have reverberated both the pages of his Family Matters as well as my little enlightened consciousness. Turning to its cover I refurbished my already gathered awareness with the printed affirmation that the book was nominated for the Commonwealth Prizes. That this category clumps together former European colonies is not unknown, but that its writers attempt at an Empire writing back is arguable while sorting out its targeted readers. I wonder how a non-Devanagari descendant would gather the madar-chod-ness(pardon my language) of that particular situation.
Recently hogged Anuja Chauhan’s The Zoya Factor not only had me falling in love with Nikhil Khoda(*wink, wink) but also had me going a-blast with her un-glossed toiings and nanga cricketers. I am given to believe from a very reliable source, that it was with Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy that this Indian word-foolery had found its root to branch out with such lividness, but what makes me even more livid is that the language politics has no longer attempted to keep its adulterous nature under hood and come out with it in the open all undisguised and not at all embarrassed. Yes, just as Hindi is an offshoot of Devanagari, and Bengali hails from the Pali (if I have my facts correct) so are many different ‘individual’ languages just an offshoot of something that has gone extinct in giving birth to a newer generation. David Daiches would rightly bless us with the origins of English at length, but that it has evolved a tumultuous pathway gulping all that comes its way just like a hunger-driven dam-less river, is what threatens its status as an ‘individual’ just like all other languages. But now, the cherry on the cake; with the debate over whether Jai Ho should find its place as the millioneth word of the English dictionary…the Empire writing back seems (indeed) ‘accomplished’.
Long live adultery!! (Oops!! I mean only in the land of languages!!)