Language can tear families apart
New Delhi : Urdu is constantly labelled a dying language, but is it just the lack of state support or is it a lack of inclination to learn the language that's causing its slow death?
Urdu is Ahmar Raza's most cherished inheritance, but sadly it's not something his children have acquired from him.
"My father used to write in Urdu and he has written several books in the language but these children would not be able to read them. I feel so sorry for them because it's such a beautiful language," says he.
His daughter, Abaan Raza, says that in sixth grade, they had an option to choose a third language and she had chosen Russian then.
While Ahmar loves to surround himself with his with his collection of Urdu books, Abaan pefers her own sketches. Ahmar spends his free time with Ghalib. Abaan rocks to Oasis.
Behind Ahmar's disapointment are some grim statistics:
* Only 160 MCD schools out of a total of more than 1000 give the option of studying Urdu as a third language.
* Just three out of 80 colleges in Delhi University offer an honours course in Urdu.
* Only 350 journals and 200 newspapers are published in Urdu across the country.
And behind these sad figures perhaps lies Ahmar's failure to pass on his passion to his daughter.
"It's not that I didn't have the time to teach her. It's just that children should also have the tome and the urge to learn a new language," says he.
Language is supposed to unite, but in this case it divides.
A father and his daughter, each a creative individual, yet both preferring to speak totally different languages.
Says Abaan, "Maybe my father does feel disappointed in me but I can't help it. I just don't have the time."
So what happens when a family ceases to speak the same languages? What happens when the generations are torn asunder by literature that one loves and the other cannot understand?
Ahmar and Aban are not isolated cases. They are examples of many parents and children for whom language means different things.