Bangla language is going through a phase. The phase is not of natural evolution, rather transformation due to pollution. This pollution should have been stopped by society and its so called intellectuals, but as many social issues the medicine is prescribed by our activist courts. I salute them one more time. Many good things can come from the recent ruling given it is utilized properly. If anyone looks at the media i.e. electronic or print media and the streets of Dhaka you will see two things stand out. One is the use of a mixed language- replacing established, well used Bangla words with unnecessary English and most annoyingly sometimes with Hindi words; and the other is deliberately using a distorted Bangla. The first one is actually a mutant evolution. At one point our White and Brown masters praised those Bengalis who could speak a little bit of English. That praise became admiration in our neo-middle-upper middle class when their kids could speak a few words in wrong pronunciation. That became a sign of street smartness in a short period hence we see all these “cool” RJs, VJs, media personals using a mixed language to show their progressive and smartness. This trend is also observed in our newly grown “corporate youth” with the use of alcohol!!! If you see some ABCD is working somewhere and using this language and in 5-6 years you want to be there too-you will start following his footsteps. So the average age of the use of this mixed language is now in the teens. I wouldn’t have any problem if this was spread from citizen to citizen of the land. But when the media is using their medium to spread this, I definitely have some problem with that. There has to be a regulatory body to stop the use of mixed language. Now who needs to be stopped is the question. If in an interview, I’m the interviewer or host-it’s the editorial responsibility to make sure I’m not using any mixed language. If the interviewee (I don’t know if there’s a word in existence) is using mixed language-we can’t prohibit or sensor him but can give guests a prior guideline of what is expected. I’m sure in a few years we’ll see a change in our youth’s trend too.
Second is the use of distorted Bangla in deliberate attempt. There are two things we misunderstand. One is intentionally distort a perfectly pronounceable Bangla word and the other, local dialects. Many people from many parts of the country come to Dhaka and with them bring their local dialects. If all of them start to use proper Bangla there will be different pronunciations. That doesn’t mean we’ll start distorting Bangla in every denomination possible to reflect that diversity of dialects. The word “Jachchi” can be heard “Jassi”, “Jaitasi”, “Jaitesi”, “Jaitachi” and so forth. This can’t be stopped and no one should introduce a pronunciation police on the street (we already have WAY too much policing of no use), but the use of these on everything from literature to television drama to cinema is actually results in loose of the articulate beauty of Bangla. Many argue this is how we talk, so no problem using this in creative mediums. The problem is those who promote this casual form of language in television drama, don’t use it when they write “internationally acclaimed” novels. Also this can be acceptable for a character for portrayal purpose- but cannot and should not be portrayed as the new standard. But this is what we see today. For that, even in formal settings many youth can’t speak or pronounce words in proper Bangla. This is not only sad but also an insult to the rich history of the language. Now, the question is should we sensor the serials that use language like this? I think that would be too much of reactionary effect, but there has to be a proper guideline of in which programs you can and absolutely cannot use casual or distorted Bangla. Also it’s the responsibility of producers, writers and actors to uphold the standard. Those who will oppose this measure should be considered of having serious lacking in creativity or ability. We definitely want to see more Selim Al-dins immerge rather than more “Married and Bachelor” makers.
I think it’s hard to explain why this new trend bothers me and many. We take immense pride with our language, not only because of the verity and richness of our literature and music but also because of the history of her emergence. The rise of Bangla and the emotion of our nationalism came hand in hand. Most of us know Bangladesh through Bangla language. We realize the country and self pride through the drama, the literatures, the poetry, debate programs we saw, heard and took part. To distort that language in the name of trend is to compromise our nationalism and self pride. Some might be ready to do it, but most of us are not 🙂