“Gujarati thai, Gujarati koi, bole nahi barabar;
Bhasha ni mithash nahi koi... la la la, bhasha ni mithash nahi koi
jane bole kagdo kabar.”
This song by Gujarati poet Late Avinash Vyas is the best for explaining my words in this post. Translating for Non Gujarati’s... A Gujarati doesn’t speak his own mother tongue properly in spite of being a Gujarati. The language is very sweet though people speak it like Crows and Myna’s.
This is the translation for the above two lines which I have quoted; moreover he also wrote further that the Ahmedabadi Nagar Bhramins( I am one) speak Gujarati very slowly and behave well groomed, but it might come across as humorous to others(and it does). The people from Surat interchange the letters “sa” and “ha” which might even change the meaning of the words. The Kachchhi and Kathiyawadi slangs of Gujarati also differ and thus we all come together and ruin the beautiful gem of a language- Gujarati. This song was written long back, and year after year the Gujarati language is going through the same predicament. I am sure that most Gujarati's of my generation too didn’t understand the meaning of the above two lines without explanation (I also didn’t, had to ask mom), though they must have felt very happy on reading that I am translating only for Non Gujarati’s. :) If we are all proud to be Gujaratis and feel glad when we often associate ourselves that way with Mahatma Gandhi, Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many, many such names, why don’t we take pride while speaking Gujarati? Well, I am not going to address only Gujarati’s today, but I want to share a few things about Gujarati language and also the other languages of Gujarat with everyone.
Gujarati’s are very open-minded and modern according to me. Of all the other people I have seen in India, they are very quick to adapt to changes and welcome the new norms faster. But you know the flip-side to this? They often forget their own culture. We even dance on Punjabi music in weddings. Something similar has happened to our language. We don’t have Gujarati compulsory in some schools here, while the other States are stricter when it comes to their languages. This is sad, and I am ashamed to admit that even I can’t speak Gujarati without using English words in between. I take the blame despite the fact that I studied throughout in English medium and blah blah blah...
I have heard this many a times that I need to concentrate on my mother tongue from family and friends; but the ultimate eye opener was an event I recently attended, the Gujarat Literature Festival. This event wasn’t only about Gujarati, but also all the other languages in Gujarat. As there are thousands of different tribes and communities of people in Gujarat, there are thousands of languages as well. Approximately 10 languages become extinct every year, which is alarming. This literature festival was about different authors and people associated with literature speaking about their work and style; but that was quickly followed by an interactive session with the audience where people can ask all the questions they want to their favourite authors. This interactive environment where all can communicate threw light on the fact that Gujarati’s are indeed passionate about literature. They asked questions fervently and with great gusto to the authors. Although majority of people don’t read. They might read small articles, newspapers or social media posts, but the good old novels are left vying for the readers they deserve.
They had invited Shri Rajmohan Gandhi (the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi) for the inaugural event. It was an interaction with the audience and Mr. Abhijat Joshi was also invited to speak about the scripts he has written for Hindi movies. It was a three day festival and there were some workshops like Screenplay Writing and Art of watching films. There was an interesting session on how literature influences the other forms of art like music, sculpting, painting, dancing and photography. It was stressed upon that different mediums are important to convey different messages to different sects and groups of people. The social media platforms might not have authentic information so one should always be tactful while reading messages on Facebook and Whatsapp. Literature is the best form of expression and it is also a great way to reach out to a lot of people. Check out the website http://gujlitfest.com/.
While other forms of art don’t give you the time to ponder over what is expressed due to time constraints, one can take time to understand the literature and even think in between your reading sessions. This is the best way to get inspired. While a movie lasts for two or three hours, a painting or photography exhibition is put up only for a certain period of time for the people to see, a book is your best friend... you can take as long as you want to finish it, make your own notes and ponder over as long as you want.