Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The August English

People who have been reading this blog regularly know by now that my blog titles are far more interesting than my posts themselves :-) This time, its no different. I thought of the title, did a little jig in my mind that went something like 'Smart title Parth, keep it up' followed by a few grins.

Now that I have indeed given a title, why not write something related to it? About what you say? Of course, our August English, the royals, our past mai-baaps, and the world's current fascination. Prince Charles is getting married to Camilla Parker Bowles. Now that's a love story. Prince has fairy-tale wedding, prince sires two sons, prince loses interest in princess, prince has an affair, princess has multiple affairs, princess dies in car crash, prince is widowered, prince wins public sympathy, prince defies mom's wishes, prince fixes a date to get married, prince postpones wedding because the Pope dies, prince should be collecting the souvenirs from the cancelled wedding because people are rushing to do so, prince will eventually wed tomorrow.

That's a Bollywood potboiler right there (in fact the upcoming movie 'Ada - Will Kill U' is loosely based on this theory). My problem however is with the relevance of the completely irrelevant monarchy in the current world. What have they done to deserve this importance? What purpose do they serve other than sit on prime real estate property and confer obselete titles like KBE and OBE? (I'd take Obi-Wan over Obe-Wan anyday). The media hype always surrounds them. Wonder what craze are the media feeding? Is it true that ordinary people need royalty to look up to?

What I find worse is the attitude of Indians towards them. They want to thank them for having ruled us, for having taught us English(Let me know what you think, I have seen people my age say the above on more than one occassion). Thank them? Why not thank them for looting trillions of dollars worth of riches systematically over the years? With that logic, shouldn't we be cursing those who drove them away?

The new monarchy are the people among us who make it big by virtue of their work and intelligence. The Bill Gates and Ambanis of the world. The Tendulkars and the Woods. The house of Saxons or Windsors or whatever they are called should be relegated to the back pages once and for all.

Enough venting for the day. Saw the disastrous 'Ring 2' over the weekend. Do not spend your money on it. On the bright side, I saw 'My Brother Nikhil'. A well made movie with tons of holes in the script. Still, the handling of the topic of an AIDS patient in Goa in the 80s is very good. Here's my music recommendation for the day : Lekin The brilliance of the Mangeshkars and Gulzar on full display. The national awards were well-deserved.


Vinay said...

Hey, you are my identical opinion twin (hangover effect of watching too much friends - The One in Vegas, this one from).
About being an English speaking nation... what percentage of people speak English in India? Take China, their biggest disadvantage being English, yet they are making better progress than us. And its matter of time before they get equally proficient in English as a few educated people in India are. If not for British, we could have had enough money to learn English ourselves. Hell, why learn English, we could have had world learn Hindi to keep up with us. Though the only thing I wonder, who would have played Sardar to unite the whole of India into one big nation. Any thoughts?
Monarchs... How much media coverage did Mother Teresa get for her good work (which could have inspired a lot other Mother Teresas) as compared to the people's Princess Diana's charities, and that which she made from what she din't even earn. Well, service is what Mother Teresa does every day, while Princess Diana was going out of her way to do those charities. Definitely needs media attention.

Good topic you brought up Parth :-)

sd said...

Hi Parth,

Have been thinking about Brits myself lately - check ut on my blog!

On the issue of English , this is my opinion:
1. An act however useful, done with malevolent intention not deserve any credit. They taught us English and built rairoads - to rule and plunder us!
2. As you pointed out - with all the money they took out of us...we would be some where else.
3. As Vinay points out, english is not necssaryly need for success and growth. Finally, something that Sardar did for getting india - well who knows what ud have happed if the brits did not come. May be we could be United states of India...

phucker said...

Wowsers, interesting points made in the comments, all of which I totally disagree with. It has inspired a blant from my end (Blant = blog + rant - I was never able to just blog).

First off, parth, your posts ARE as interesting as your titles, but yes, your titles are especially good - ever considered Advertising for a profession?

Second, the Brit Monarchy is absolutely irrelevant, but the fact is that they are respeced by the Brits for being a little less loony than the other monarchs, for the rest please go to my post. Vinay/SD a United States of South Asia has already been proposed. Look it up on my blog.

RTD2 said...

First, your entries are as interesting as your titles, so don't sweat it! Second, I haven't come across anyone who wants to thank the British for anything they did to or for India..as a rule, we are quite a blase lot, so I don't think we care really, unfortunately! Third, the British monarchy as an institution has survived through the years due to some value it brings to society. It's part of the British identity, and the Queen has more than just a few castles..the PM reports to her on a weekly basis, she has veto powers, etc.etc. Agreed, it is not the most essential institution, but it's not as useless as we believe it to be. Fourth, I know you didn't say anything about the English language, but I agree with Tarun (see his post) that without it we wouldn't be progressing as beautifully as we are currently. Fifth, sorry for taking up so much space :)

Ragini said...

Something I would like to say about the English language. I disagree that we would not have made as much progress if not for the language. Look at China. Plus we Indians are very hung up about English. It is still associated for some vague reason with class and aristocracy. People who go to regional language medium schools are still called "vernies" with utter disdain and looked down upon. We are perhaps among the culturally richest lands but also the fastest to disown it when it comes to aping the west. It si conveniently called adapting. I am ashamed today that i cannot read and write in my own mother tongue. And more because I never made the effort. Look at the Eurpoean countries. They are all getting along fine by teaching and reading and writing in their own tongues. The worst thing that the Brits ever did to us was steal our sense of pride for our own language.

But we are taking our revenge arent we. At London Heathrow airport I saw signs in Punjabi !! :-)

Geetanjali said...

The Brits in their attempt to teach us English merely wanted to create a class of Babus who'd lick thier asses and do the dirty work for them...end result? We are still annoyingly grateful to them for installing a mind-set that is still wagging it's tail in front of them! As someone else said, Europe is surviving just fine without English - since it is a gloabl language, we'd have picked it up eventually but not at the cost of the subservience that we are still apparently subject to!

Btw this obssession with the Royal Family really sucks - like if it aint bad enough that BBC talks about, French newspapers talk about it, NDTV talks about, Zoom the Indian Gossip channel talks about and even Pune Times talks about it! Gah!

phucker said...

Geetanjali, the Railraods, and English are both responsible for the DOWNFALL of the British. The railroads helped to unite the country in a way which was previously hard to do, and second, it was when Indians started to learn english that they started becoming aware of what was going on in the Empire, the world. Studying English and going to England to study also led a particularly shrewd and controversial gujju lawyer with funny glasses to start a revolution. He would not been half as good at it if he had not left his home country. He knew his enemy, and knew how to talk to them. This is why we should ALWAYS speak English - in order to know our enemy and prevent a re-colonisation (which of course will not occur in any blatant way)

sagar said...

Hey Parth,

Visiting your blog after a while and the title of this one caught my attention! I was thinking about this too. Do we really need Monarchy in today's society? As you said, I don't know who the people are who worship them and why.

Another thing that has kept me wondering is death of Pope John Paul II. Indeed it is sad, but the media coverage for the even was overwhelming. Just wondering -- in the name of religion one can amass wealth, gather people and make them kill each other. And you use the same religion to teach peace and love. What a hipocrisy! Oh.. ok I digressed as if it was my own blog ;)