The mutes and the mutants

Recently our Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi Jee tweeted,

जापान में एक वैज्ञानिक ने मुझे गर्व से कहा, “हमारी तरक्की का राज है कि हम विज्ञान, चिकित्सा व इंजीनियरींग अपनी भाषा में ही पढ़ते हैं. वाह”

(A scientist in Japan proudly told me, “The reason for our success is that we study science, medicine and engineering in our language. Wow!)

Surely Japanese would have narrated in English, but Satyarthi Jee (who otherwise tweets in English) made it a point to put it in devnagari script. Among celebrities, I usually follow Miss funny bone, one of my childhood crush.

If heart-throb Twinkle Khanna would have tweeted, I would have hardly cared but this man is a grounded social activist. And ofcourse people like Gandhi and Bhartendu Harishchandra told this long back.

What’s the thing about studying science in Hindi or Tamil? Would it really make a difference?

I studied science completely in english, and did pretty well. But, the language I am most comfortable in my village or small city or even big city milieu is Hindi. I did well in science, because my language was pretty okay too.

One of my hard-core villager friend could never do science in English. He kept edging me in Mathematics, but never in Physics. Man scored 99% in maths almost always, but 40-50% in science. Because maths didn’t have language. Ofcourse, I sailed to become a superspecialist doctor and he runs a small medicine shop in his village.

In one of my recent village visits, I bumped into him. We had a tea at his shabby country medicine shop. His adolescent kid asked something about, how the fan works? I told him about some ‘motor’ which makes it turn in chaste hindi. But, he kept propping one question after another and I laughed off. How would I remember so much of physics?

Then, my friend took charge. He began from simple concepts and flowed all the way till ‘फूरियर परिवर्तन’ (fourier transformation). He was drawing sinusoidal waves, using calculus. It was all like ‘the beautiful mind’. We both quit physics at same time, with him trailing way behind my marks. But, here is the genius explaining ‘भौतिकी’ (physics), rotting in a village shop!!

I practice medicine completely in Norsk in Norway. So the germans and americans who have migrated in this beautiful country. And, Norway has best health system in world as per stats.

Let’s see which sentence from medicine is easier to understand for hindi-speaking people,

Flexor digitorum profundus contracts the medial four interphalangeal joints of hand.”

Flexor digitorum profundus हाथ की चार उंगलियों के जोड़ों को खींचता है.”

I think many more would have excelled in medicine, if they just have used the language they speak.

We all have become mutants, and many have become mutes.

6 thoughts on “The mutes and the mutants

  1. I wanted to say wow but now I’m typing, adbhut. Maine is vishay par kabhi dhyan nahi dia kyunki main bhi English medium me hi padhi aur aaj bhi kaam par angrezi ka hi istemaal karti Hun.
    Many meritorious students from our country could not progress as much as they could just because of the language and sadly, Indians uses English to measure success of an individual. Fabulous thought and post!

  2. “Hard-core villager friend”. 😀
    It is a lamentable fact that English is the benchmark of your so-called upward social mobility and class. I personally love Hindi, the more chaste it is, the better I feel.
    And yes, the closing lines were amazing -mutants and mutes.
    Great post again.

  3. Baat bahut sahi kahi apne…aj bhi gaon k bachhe maths me shehri bachho se tej dekhen hain maine..agar sab hi subject hindi me hote to yakinan kai aur diggaj naam “technology” k duniya me bharitiye hote.

  4. You know what the root cause of this mutation in my honest opinion is? Neither the Dollar, nor the Pound. Its the diversity of our society. I still remember an educated auto driver in Bengaluru candidly telling me during one of those brain (read traffic) jamming debate sessions- “ओंदे भाषे सालल्ला सार! (One language is never enough)”. In resignation to my argument I politely told the Grandmaster- “Right होगी!” Therefore over the years, instead of reaching a concensus, we have deviced a complex theory colloquially referred to as- “ना तेरी, ना मेरी, जय हो अंग्रेज़ियत की!” पहले तो ये तय करना होगा कि हमारी भाषा है क्या? फिर तरक्की का राज़ भी मिल जायेगा। Perhaps Vama would agree.

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