The Language Of Power!
It’s quite obvious that we can’t trace some languages, if language census takes place after a gap of 10 years. It is because language is a dynamic entity…… it emerges and also withers away. The recent language census has revealed that the rich Persian language is slowly heading for extinction in India. As per the 2001 language census, Persian is a Non-Scheduled language in the South Asian country. Languages – which are not included in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, and are not accorded official status and also not used for official or administrative purposes (but used by more than 10,000 people) – find their places in the list of Non-Scheduled languages.
Nearly 11, 688 people in India used Persian in 2001. However, the number decreased in the next 10 years. According to a professor of linguistics, extinction of a certain language means the abolition of knowledge practices and culture through that particular language. In other words, when a language becomes extinct, areas of its application, too, become limited. And it happened with the Indian version of Rumi and Omar Khayyám’s language.
The lifespan of a language depends on its users. The importance of Persian language – the official language of the Mughal Empire – was immense in each and every level of the Indian society in the 18th century. It had a strong influence on local languages, like Urdu, Hindi, Bengali etc. Later, English replaced Persian as the official language in India. Those, who used to consider Persian as the language of ruling class before the arrival of Britons in the country, started learning English in the 1860s. As a result, the importance of Persian also changed and finally, the UNESCO declared the language as an endangered one. However, Persian is still enjoying the status of official language in Iran and some other West and Central Asian countries.
Political power has always controlled languages throughout the globe. The ruling class usually informs users of different languages about its own choice and preference. That’s why Hindi has become indispensable in the northern part of India and the languages of powerless people, like Kumayuni or Bundelkhandi, struggle to survive. Of course, there are few exceptions. The Language Movement had become a political movement in erstwhile East Pakistan that ultimately forced the Urdu-speaking rulers to leave the country and gave birth to Bangladesh. The Bengali-speaking people of East Pakistan had advocated the recognition of the Bengali as an official language of the then-Dominion of Pakistan. And the Urdu-speaking rulers had to pay the price for their attempt to murder the local language.
The people experience the advantages and disadvantages of using a language in their everyday life. If they are unfamiliar with a language or feel that its grammar and spellings are complicated, then the language becomes alienated. Sanskrit, the mother of almost all the Indian languages, dies slowly because of this.
Ultimately, realities determine the fate of all languages and the realities are largely controlled by power! Persian is no exception….
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