Javed Akhtar surely made a point when spoke about the idiosyncratic coexistence in our subcontinent of vernacular and English-medium schools. The linguistic and cultural difference was an existential fact for the ‘migrant’ families – if you can call the ‘other’ linguistic groups living within a particular linguistic state/region in that vein, like those of mine – a fact that was not that vigorously rubbed in the immediate post-Independence period. We were totally cut off from the cultural roots of our native place, although there was an effort recreate that ambiance (quite unsuccessfully) in a limited way within the of the family, the school and the temple. The linguistic minority status added to the complexity of hybrid education handed down to my generation.We were not very proficient neither in Tamil, English, Hindi or Marathi for that matter, although were learning all these languages.
So, I can relate to the undesirable consequences as also some benefits of that system of educating the young minds. The travails of migrant linguistic minorities a dormant issue earlier,,has in recent years gained much steam with the refurbished ‘sons of the soil’ theory and linguistic identity.
I can also relate to the ‘indignity of circumstances that threads through many of Ray’s movies (wherein he proactively constructed some of his filmic personae as macabre chimeras of the traditional and modern) and is in some sense symptomatic of an insecure society of hierarchies and feudal traditions being dragged foot-first into modern times’.
I can relate to the strength of dignity in the midst of undignified circumstances…
I can relate to the Asad Zaidi’s remark ‘the organic intelligentsia – that much mythicised Gramscian construct – is yet to find its feet and its genius….