One reason for almost no activity on this blog is a dilemma I am facing. There are lots of things that I would like to write about but somehow they do not seem to fit in this blog. Sometimes they are quite technical, sometimes quite out of context for many.
Anyway while I resolve the dilemma, here are some tidbits.
1. Saga of the intelligent kids and languages
In the beginning, whenever I used to come across kids here, somehow they always felt quite mature and, for lack of better word, "intelligent" to me and I wondered why. The hypothesis that they are actually in some ways different from our kids back home was too dumb to entertain. Then why? The way they would talk, the kind of things they would say all seemed too good for their ages. Then one day, it occurred to me. A major reason for that feeling was that they were speaking in English ! I was really amazed at the kind of prejudices we have and how they come into play even when we are not really aware of them ! In India, English speaking is considered such a prestigious skill to have, specially by the parents of small children. They would be so proud when their little one learns his/her first English rhyme or learns to answer basic questions in English. Now, I think that learning a new language is one of the best things that one can do but the kind of value that we have come to assign to English in particular and the way it is projected back on the capabilities of a child is not very healthy. I hope as parents, we would be more careful in this regard.
This also reminds of a sad story that I came to know some months back. Apparently one of my nephews goes to a school where they start teaching English from the beginning and Hindi, only from standard one ! I was shocked to hear that and guess what ! The school is situated in the heart of Hindi belt, in the capital of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow ! I really hope something can be done to bring those idiots back on track.
And while we are at it, one of my niece, actually used to speak in 4 different languages around a year back. She could speak Hindi, English, Kannada and Tamil. Of course the abilities were pretty basic. This was the effect of coming in contact with a Kannada cook and a Tamil aaya in day creche. Now in the absence of any constant input, she has started to loose that ability slowly. The best thing was that she could keep all the 4 separate.
2. Why do we discriminate?
This observation came from Eakta while talking about racial discrimination in US and caste discrimination in India. She noted that in US, the African-Americans look so different from others, they are dark skinned and so one can see why somebody would think about discriminating against them. Not that the discrimination would be justified in any way but one can see why it might have originated. On the contrary, in India we discriminate even when all of us look so much like each other and there are hardly any differences in skin colors. Something to think about ! One hint is that while race discrimination started as discrimination, caste discrimination didn't.
One thing to know about this is that some idiots in India who claim to be dalit activists have tried to project the Indian caste problem in the terms of skin color and races. Their claim is that higher castes are of Aryan origin and lower castes are the natives of India. Caste system was the invading Aryans' way of oppressing the natives. Now I wonder if they know that it is scientifically proven fact that most of the Indians belong to same race and that the Aryan invasion theory is highly debunked now. But they go on nonetheless ! I am not giving any links to them since I don't want to give them any more exposure through my blog atleast !