June 07, 2008

I become multilingual

From a report titled "Now, only Marathi in BMC" (Hindustan Times, June 7 2008):

"Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Phatak has decided to stick to a state government resolution of 1966, stating all official communication should be in Marathi. ... For those who don't understand Marathi, 'It is simple, the script is the same as Hindi,' Phatak said." [Emphasis added]

Good news, then! Thanks to Commissioner Jairaj Phatak, I have realized that I understand Konkani, Marathi, Nepali, and Sanskrit, all of which have the same script as Hindi.

Also thanks to Commissioner Jairaj Phatak, I have realized that I also understand Spanish, French, Turkish, Irish, Gaelic, Welsh, Italian, Polish, German, Latin, Czech, Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Flemish, Afrikaans, Malagasy and several more, all of which have the same script as English.

9 comments:

Sidhusaaheb said...

Smashing logic! Kudos and feathers to Mr. Phatak!

:D

Indian Home Maker said...

MSEB Bills are in English, but all instructions and details are in Marathi.
Today there was some notice outside an ATM, in Marathi.I saw people look and crib. What was the point of putting the notice when nobody understood it?
We need to keep sane and resist the urge to retaliate with similar logic.

km said...

I wish I hadn't spent all that money learning Klingon...

AMOK said...

Given this large choice of (simply!) equivalent languages, why does Mr. Phatak insist on choosing Marathi? Laws can be changed. He could have a different equivalent language for each day of week, month and so on. Choosing Marathi alone seems like eating rice everyday while ignoring all other (simply) equivalent grains. He should partake more freely of his range, he should be a free-ranging Mr. Phatak.

Rabin said...

With all these language issues I think all businesses should start having symbols rather than words....though I think proctologists of the world would have a problem with this idea :)

Anonymous said...

polyglot!

kuffir said...

phatak's logic aside, i think it's a good idea that official communication of the government in maharashtra should be in marathi.

Anonymous said...

Kuffir, Isn't Government of Maharashtra part of India? Why should it not have it's official business in Hindi.
Why do we have to be Maharashtrians first and Indians later?

If Hindi is our national language, why should I have to learn any other language to get by in my country?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Thank you, anon above me.

Though actually I think it's fine that the GoM does its official business in Marathi -- the majority of the people who form the government are likely to be Marathi speakers, after all -- there's another aspect to this.

What is the purpose of an official public communication by a government? Seems to me, to be understood by the greatest number of people governed by that government, who pay taxes to keep that government running.

Looked at that way, I think it only makes sense for such communication to be available in more than one language. OK, not in every language spoken among the governed, but at least in the top two?