To the issue of language I rarely pay enough attention
With both Hindi and English, I have an equal connection
But subtexts hidden in the way language is used may
Have political and social relevance, as I learnt one day…
I was reminded of our colonial legacy
That still influences our behavior unfortunately…
It was a matter inconsequential but it stuck with me
I saw a cooking demonstration of “Indian balloon bread”- which was a simple roti..
I began to think- everything seems to find an English translation
As if words in Indian languages lack sophistication..
Some labels as part of colonial baggage we inherited
Like the word curry, the varieties of which could have merited
A culinary encyclopedia- but we are perceived to be
As people without discerning palates, who eat a smelly curry..
Our pooris, parathas and rotis are flatbreads merely
We try to describe our sweet delicacies as puff pastries, really?
Kheer is rice pudding, chai is qualified as tea
Why don’t we keep original names alive, a reason I don’t see
Maybe some Indian words are tongue-twisters
But yoga-related jargon is enunciated well by hipsters..
I audaciously say we should try to reclaim
Our authenticity by not readily translating names…
We need not carry the baggage of our colonial past
Into the future- but build a new legacy that lasts
As I pen these lines, a final thought pierces through me
Even “India” as a name is a product of colonial hegemony
The land we venerate lost its original name
From citizens of Bharat, somehow Indians we became…
One thought on “Translate Me Not”
It’s a hipster kind of world–count me out.
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