Sunday, Jan 10, 2021 07:45 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Jan 10, 2021 02:02 [IST]

Oh, She Speaks Hindi !

KAMAL BARUAH

It was the gold and red hues of autumn in Srinagar. The flowering of Saffron and the reddening of the leaves of Chinar wear a glowing look. The trees are dropping their leaves as they go into a winter rest and those changes in natures were coinciding with my last few days of my combatant years as I was planning for premature retirement at the end of the year. With few lakhs of retirement benefits and a little help from pension, the future of a solder is always uncertain. Our only daughter was yet to start a school then. She missed her play school too for my VRS. Soldier retires from an early age. Their early retirements are often full of gloom and despair. We returned home from the hills begs and baggage amid speculation that a new job would be blessed us soon.
Back home in Guwahati, it was time for admission to Kindergarten. Guardians are over conscious of the gossip about the past admission experience.  We amazed most of the parents sending their little one for tuition when sits are limited for admission at prestigious convent. We had no option but to send our four years toddler to Burni Ma’m. The D-day had finally come after a few coaching for unlocking her potential to maximize performance. Wonder how a school authority can examine one child, when they can’t even speak other than their mother language. She did not attend any formal learning in any school as the valley was disturbed by violence. Surprisingly the school conducts in English only. We were little worried when sisters took them to the examination hall. There was one hour of heart stopping experience for that mother’s prayer to God for to do well.
She came out without her drawing box.  Her only reply was simple and straightforward. She used someone’s box for some drawing but without color. My wife felt very disappointed but there was nothing left then other than for awaiting the result. Those days were not like today’s e-world.  The results were sent through post only. It was prior to a holiday so we rushed to the GPO in the evening. The letters had just arrived as the postmen opened the big mail bag. There were a thousand of letters spread across the floor. We jumped over and kept searching for light moving in the dark one after another envelope. Readers might call us crazy. That is what life experiencing our daughters’ first schooling. We didn’t stop searching and hoping against all hopes. Interestingly everyone got the result but few with a lucky one.
And there was another crossbar left. We were called for an interview. From the outset, we were enquired our profile by board sisters. The principal gave her a story book that she thought our daughter would find amusing and later she was asked few questions. We were very upset from the remarks of the Principal “Oh she speaks Hindi !” But we were mesmerized from her next line “O speak again, bright angel! For you are, as glorious to this day of today’s interview, that is over our head.
I was wondering how our daughter picked up Hindi linguistics faster with higher efficiency and understanding than us. While we talked in Assamese and English at the Interview but she replied in fluent Hindi. We were shocked how she chose a different taste of her language. The principal replied with a genuine concern. Children’s brains function is designed to have maximum absorption and they begin to pick up the new linguistics as a matter of hearing it used regularly. They pick up languages by using association not from a mother tongue always. And she was given admission at St Mary’s.
The significance of learning a language is never difficult in teenage years. And Hindi is no different either. Thereby New Education Policy 2020 recommends three-language formula as a medium of instruction in school. World Hindi Day is celebrated on 10 December since 2006 to promote Hindi language at the global stage, whereas, National Hindi Divas is observed across the country to mark adaptation of Hindi written in Devanagari script as the Official Language of the Union by the Constituent Assembly on September 14, 1949. Hindi is derived from Sanskrit. It is among the four most spoken languages with the mother tongue of around 258 million people across the world. I can make myself understood in Hindi, but I’m not fluent. But children learn things by playing and speak fluently too. Today I realized why Hindi is so important whilst an English convent bowed down to a kindergarten’s call at an interview.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi