Pangu the bank; a take on language issues

21 Jan

We have a very peaceful situation in India were diverse cultures, languages,people exist in a single country. We are proud of that when in a debate. For, in a debate you have to put maxima of positives of whatever you are defending. In other circumstances, we tend, we become natural human beings with hard feelings.Comparisons come up, questions of superiority and sub-ordinance are argued. Then somewhere in between if we lose the heat of argument and take it on a light note, cool the ambience with a laughter, then one round of fight is considered to be over.

State bank of India is the biggest bank, they say so. They are proud of it.But it is just due to government employees and government transactions that it is big. But a fact is fact. When we come to localisation of names, SBI follows any other in places especially Tamil Nadu. Here it is the ‘Pangu‘ (when written in Tamil, it can be read as pangu), which intelligent Tamil script decoders will read as Bank. The crazy part is that the Tamil people constantly preach that other south Indian languages exist because of Tamil. Tamil is the oldest, holiest……… (add as many adjectives and objectives as you please) language. If needed it could be enforced to make use of the Tamil word for Bank, but that did not happen. And we guys, include Tamils were laughing at why the SBI calendar was reading ‘Pangu’. We laughed non stop for 5 minutes. Really seriously, funny. An orthodox Tamilian not withstanding even his language-mate ( people who speak the same language!?)  taking part in criticism sprang up. He said, “Tamilians speak the perfect English unlike other guys, especially Keralites. Tamil is the oldest language which is mother of all. The Kings of Kerala were Tamilians originally. Lord Ayyapa is Tamil, malayalees see Tamil movies, In many districts Tamilians are majority, Some of it must definitely be merged with Tamil Nadu, if not the whole of Kerala. ”

The next sentence I genuinely thought he would say “Even English originated from Tamil” (Already the Chinese link is established ! (Boddhidharman and the movie 7am Arivu ?!)

The Tamil guy on our side is proper Tamil unlike the other guy, a Chennaite, he said that he faced problems when speaking English because he has been trained in tamil. ‘ Ba’ and ‘Pa’ are same, there are three ‘la’ :- la, lla, and la (actually ‘zha’ as in Thamizh).

When the Pangu business was over we pondered over why any language should have the script to represent all humanly produce-able sounds.  If we take a refined language as Sanskrit , we cannot write Italy and read it as italy (were ‘ta’ stands out as hurdle), ‘zha’ was introduced in Hindi, but Northern guys of India struggle to pronounce. Considering all that we came to a logical conclusion that Malayalam has representation for almost all sounds, except ‘za’ as in zamindar, or zamzam the holy water.

For a language there are other considerations like it should have words to express emotions and things. English scores here. But there are multiple standards, American , British, Jamaican and what not!. Tanglish (refer Kolaveri) is another branch of  united English (the language).  Importing all the words avaliable in the world and having a script that is easily readable, that is specific sound for specific letter with no duplication or ambiguity, a language becomes better and adaptable. But putting a standard on it is like saying my english is better than yours because of so and so certification.

An hindi guy was studying technical subjects from a hindi book and I was surprised and shocked to see words like ‘padipath’ which means circuit. I had difficulty in dealing with this guy who wanted me to put everything in hindi, and excused himself that he couldn’t grasp english properly. This same guy was telling me later that in South India the usage of English in writing is wrong and he dwelled into the subtleties of the situation were ta, tha represented different sound when written in English and presented to a Southerner or Northerner. I tried to convince him that it is better to know the rule of land and then apply as required. Also, the old comedy story came to mind which I shared with him. I didn’t want to hurt specific Northerners so I omitted the name of states and said “When British ruled India thepeople had to sing the British anthem which begins as ‘God, Save the Queen”. When some ventured on and sung, it became ‘Shave the king’ instead and the other lot said ‘Same Same'(Actually they meant Shame). Listening to all these insults, the British left India and India became independent”.

The ultimate objective of any language is to facilitate communication. Those who fight over languages are tribal and barbarian. Those who see also see that there are people who use sign language and communicate and be happy and sad, the same as others do. Do you laugh at  them because their language was recently developed? because it looks odd to look at their actions? , like some old chaplin movie without any dialogue?

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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Uncategorized


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