I saw a programme called "Thamizhane Ponguga" on Vijay TV. Aptly titled and telecast on Pongal, a day quintessential for Tamil Nadu. Having been born as a "Thamizhan", it grabbed all my attention. The motive behind the programme: to kindle the "Thamizh" spirit on a day of "Thamizh" festitivities. With the likes of Kanimozhi and Gnani sharing their views on the "Thamizh" spirit.
But a little while into the show, I started to think in a direction opposite to what the show was leading me to believe.
Advocates for Tamil culture for ages have cited one stark example to drive home their point...JAPAN. How many times as Tamils, have we heard the following staement, "Take for example Japan...". True, Japanese have for ages strived on their language. Have defied all 'learn-English' attitudes. Have provided for their entire population who speak nothing but Japanese. Have made the English-speaking world depend on them for many of their needs. Have made the west look up to them for technological advances.
Wait a minute, does this argument make sense? Can Tamil be compared to Japanese and hence can Tamilians be compared to Japanese? Are we comparing apples to apples or are we making the cardinal sin in any intellectual altercation - comparing apples to oranges?
The Japanese language is a national language spoken and understood all over Japan. Tamil is a regional language understood only by the Tamil region. The synonymous equivalent of Japanese would be Hindi, which, inspite of many protests, is understood and spoken by the majority of Indian people.
"Why cannot Tamil be made the national language?" Is that it? I heard you. Here's my answer...In addition to have fallen behind in advancements, we will fall further behind in educating a vast number of people, a new language. If your point is to have educated them from the past, then its not an issue of our generation, but its an issue of generations gone by.
Tamil cultural advocates, including Kanimozhi, should understand that a language should help advancement- culturally, socially and economically - of the people who patronize it. They should help their politically connected family and friends understand that, once you create an economic environment like Japan, where Tamil patrons needn't depend on anyone else for their economic growth, the language will automatically take precedence.
Yes, I love Thamizh and pledge by it...Fine. I cannot go out of the region cause I don't patronise any other language...Fine. I try hell hard to find a job in the region, I get none...Fine. First few days, I stick by my conviction...Fine!! But after a few more days, my hunger crushes my conviction...NOT Fine Anymore!!!
Campaigning for a language is appreciable, but there are more basic issues to look at...like, political genuineness, corruption-free-people-oriented growth, basic economic and social guarantees for the poor and above all of these the common man is more concerned about putting food on the table. By enforcing a language on government run-schools and other public institutions but not enforcing it on economic entities like corporations and financial institutions, these politicians are only creating a further divide. A divide which will keep their long-term goals of staying in power intact, but will lead the economic lower class, clearly in the path of ruin.
So all you advocates, get your basics right. Correct me if I am wrong, but please dont tell me that my point doesn't ring a bell...'coz that shows you are intentionally deaf, just like your politician friends.