DOES KNOWING ENGLISH MAKE US INHERENTLY ELITIST

Well first I know how hypocritical this is because I am writing the post in English, but I seriously don’t know how to write in Hindi on a laptop, besides this is meant to provoke the thoughts of those who are well endowed with the English language skills. Now we were studying the various schools of history and there they taught us what is the Elitist school of history. For those who, like me, don’t know what it is, well this is what I understood, means when the history is told only from the perspective of the elite that this the ones who were influential enough to get their names etched in history. But now a days, as I came to know, elitist is also used for those people who consider themselves, maybe unconsciously, a notch higher than others maybe for the simple reason that they can speak better English or have see more English movies or are into the English music legends like John Lennon, Eric Clapton etc and for some reason have an accent which you can neither trace to the British nor to the Americans and it is definitely not Indian. I might refer to people as ‘they’ which might feel like I am  talking about my batch mates, but I mean it in a general sense.

Now, why did I get to thinking this? The thing is that I may watch a English movies and listen to a few English songs here and there but still my preferred style of music is Indian folk, Indian folk fusion, Indian Classical and well if the lyrics and music are good enough maybe even Bollywood songs. My room mates play their Led Zeppelin songs at full blast of their speakers and I am supposed to, well no offence meant, bear the monstrosity. But the other day I came in with my laptop, with a soft Hindi Bollywood melody playing on it and voila! I was to either shut the song or sit outside the room, MY VERY OWN ROOM!!! You can’t sit with people you call your friends because eventually when the conversation turns towards music, you are sitting with an expression on your face that gives it away very nicely, that you have no idea what is going on. When you talk about what you listen to, as in if they are polite enough to ask, they will just nod and then somebody will bring in Dream Theater and the whole point is just lost. Sometimes I feel that are such people even capable of appreciating the beauty of India’s indigenous music that does not actually come from Coke Studio, which again to me is an elitist version of folk songs. Though I agree some are really beautiful, but I can bet that those ones have deviated only slightly from their original form, because the music comes from the narrow roads that take you to the very heart of the country, etched deep into the traditions and the culture.

Talking about English movies, I do enjoy James Bond, no wait, I am helplessly in love with James Bond (especially Pierce Brosnan) and also like watching Harrison Ford movies and the others. But not having watched Dead Poet’s society was a sin that I had committed that probably could not be absolved in this life, at least this is the reaction I got. When I asked people have you seen Swades, Chak De! India or to put in perspective, 3 Idiots, everyone looked down on me because I actually enjoyed these movies. Not only this, our college has this thing of finding excellent and meaningful movies from all over the globe and then showing it to us. So, they day they showed Dead Poet’s society, the entire hall was jam-packed. The next week they showed us this Kannada movie about caste-ism in India from an example in Karnataka, the story being penned by an internationally acclaimed author who wrote in Kannada. Any guesses as to what happened, the hall had a few people, half of them probably had nothing to do. It is many of these movies that go to the Cannes Festival and the other fashionable screening of movies, yet do we know anything about them.

Slumdog Millionaire won 8 Oscars hence every Indian talks about the movie with pride, but how many of us have seen Paheli (translated to English: the puzzle) that was nominated to the Oscars, was shortlisted but just couldn’t make the final cut. When the Oscars are to be awarded, in India the program airs at 6:30 in the morning, you will find people actually getting up to see them even though they actually happen around the time school student are writing their exams. I agree such fervor is also raised for Filmfare, but probably because it awards the populist cinema. Have we ever seen this excitement for The National Awards, which are actually given away by the President of India. People usually give the argument that we don’t watch Indian award functions because they are rigged and have a lot of unnecessary dance and song performances, at least this is what I feel. But the national awards cannot be rigged, even in the dreams of a madman and there is a total of what 2 or 3 performances. But no, we don’t even know when they are given away.

In my family, I was supposed to be the elitist because I don’t enjoy Salman Khan and Akshay  Kumar movies and only deigned to go to the theater if a Shahrukh Khan movie had released. But now coming to college I want to tell them that the deal they got with me was much better. 😀