Translate Me Not

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

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