Published:  02:45 AM, 13 March 2018

Use and abuse of Bengali vocabulary

Use and abuse of Bengali vocabulary

Humans are the only species in the world that can communicate with each other in a true language, although many other species can exchange information by sounds or movements of some kind. It is revealed in the Holy Quran that "He hatch taught him utterance" -Sura Ar-Rahman. A language is a system of sounds which human beings use to communicate with one another. There are 3000 different languages spoken by 23000 million or so people in the world. One half of all the people in the world today speak only 15 of these languages.

The United Nations have so far recognized only six languages as its official language. They are: English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, and Chinese. Efforts are being made for recognition of Bengali as one of the official languages of the U.N. Bengali language, spoken by 300 million people in the world with its vast treasure are eligible for recognition as one of the official languages of the UN; although in the meantime, giving due recognition to our historic Language Movement of 1952, the UNESCO has declared 21 February as the International Mother language Day which is observed across the world with due fervor.

It is needless to emphasize that Bengali is the only language in the world for the due recognition of which many precious lives had to be sacrificed by spilling bloods in the street on 21 February, 1952. Sacrifices of costly Bengali bloods in Bengali Language Movement in 1952 and its aftermath inculcated the process of shaping an independent Bangladesh again at the cost of 3 million beleaguered sons and daughters of this soil.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's historical address on 7 March 1971 was the driving force and a de facto declaration of independence which spearheaded the formal declaration of independence in the early hour of 26 March 1971. It is heartening to note that Bangabandhu's 7 March address has been adopted as precious document of heritage by the UNESCO in November 2017.

Far from being a connoisseur of Bengali language and its linguistic beauty and grace, at this point, I must state that with the glorious history of long 2000 years, Bengali language and literature stands with its head held high as one of the finest languages in the jargon of world language and literature.

Bengali language and literature has not only produced a Nobel Laureate like Rabindranath Tagore to our glory and pride but equally produced such stalwarts like Kazi Nazrul Islam, Bangkim Chandra Chattapodhya, Sharat Chandra Chattapoddhaya, Michael Modushudan Dutta, Jiban Annanda Das, Jashimuddin, Shamsur Rahman and many more to name of their likes who took the Bengali language and literature to the greater height of adulation in the domain of world literature and languages.

Unlike many other languages Bengali vocabulary are enriched with different syllables of the same words denoting different meaning while in use depending on different circumstances. As for example for denoting English word 'he' there are two categories of Bengali words like 'Shey' and 'Teeni'. 'Shey' is used in case of persons staying in the lower and middle tier in the society while 'teeni' is used to refer persons standing in the upper tier of the society.

Likewise, synonymous to English word 'you', there are three type of addresses such as 'tui' 'tumi' and 'Aapni'. 'Tui' and 'Tumi' are generally addressed fondly to relatively either younger persons in the family or socially staying in the lower tier, while 'aapni' is reserved for elderly or honorable persons both in family and for rest of other persons in the society.

In the recent days friendly boys and girls of the same ages are found to address 'tui' instead of 'tumi' while exchanging words with each other. The same practices are often visible in television drama serials these days to feature and visualize more closeness and fondness between two characters.

What is more disturbing and disgusting in the television talk shows, reporting both in print and electronic media is that on occasions murderers, militants and criminals; who are being caught red handed in committing despicable crimes and charged accordingly are often addressed as 'teeni' or 'uni' placing him undeservingly at the upper tier of address.

Criminals, militants and murderers are in no way to be placed and addressed with honor and respects. They are to be duly assigned to their place with hatred in the maximum lower position like 'shey' even while referring their names in the public discourse.

These murderers and psychopathic killers are reduced to only monsters in human shape and are not to be treated as human beings by any measures. They have certainly had psychological and also metabolically transformed or degenerated to become monster before committing such loathsome and detestable crimes like murders in cold blood.

Since they do not remain as human beings, they are not eligible for human rights either. I wonder if they even deserve a trial for their odious conduct which is applicable to those only who fall in the category of humans. These elements of devils in human shape are to be weeded out from the soil in order to augment the growth of healthy and mentally sound human being in the country.

All the devils that killed academics, writers, poets, artists, bloggers and free thinkers in the recent pasts I did not see a human face in them. In my intuitive eyes I see only the face of monsters in them. To my horror, I saw an image of blood sucking deadly vampire in the face of Faizur lying shattered on the ground, after given a wholesale beating, who spilled costly blood of Professor Dr. Muhammad Jafar Iqbal recently in an attempt to murder a costly man of his stature.

Again to my great anguish and disappointment I heard some talk show guests tacitly abusing Bengali word 'teeni' and 'Cheleti' with empathy while referring to Faizur---  the vampire in human shape instead of choosing an appropriate Bengali word for him as 'nikristo jeeb' as I reason.

Bengali word 'Shaheb' is usually attached after the names of honorable persons. It is distressing to note that in the television talk show program, some talk show enthusiasts attach the word 'shaheb' after the name of socially degraded and hated persons like war criminals. Some of them consciously abuse the word 'Shaheb' by attaching the same after the hated names of Nizami, Mujahidi and Sayeedi as 'Nizami Shaheb' 'Mujahedi Shaheb', 'Sayeedi Shaheb' and some more of their likes who have either already gone to gallows through the due process of law or on their way walk to gallows for their crimes against humanity in 1971.

It is like putting a garland of pearls around the neck of monkey. Television talk show guests are usually chosen considering their high academic and social background, to enlighten the viewers with their ideas and opinions. With an apology and showing due respect to genuine talk show enthusiasts of high esteem it is disgusting to note on occasion that some talk show night birds deliberately attach 'shaheb' after the names of war criminals and let such dirt be consumed by the viewers with aversion and bitter taste in presence of an anchor who is supposed to present the show to the viewers in modesty to a palatable taste of the viewers.

Is it that these segments of talk show guests are either exceedingly 'polite' to exhibit their uncalled for decency in choosing words or morbidly bear in the back of their mind a sense of empathy for those undeserving and fallen persons? Regrettably these segments of talk show guests are often loathfully exposed to feel shy to utter the accepted phrase 'Bangabandhu' and instead audaciously utter 'Sheikh Mujib' while referring to the name of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in course of discussion.

It is needless to emphasize that Bengali language offers multiple choices of words in its vocabulary for right and appropriate use while delivering. Abuse of words undoubtedly paints smear on the vast and beautiful canvas of Bengali language. Print and electronic media bear greater responsibility to make sure that Bengali words are not abused while delivering to the readers and viewers. The charm and grandeur of language lies with the appropriate use of words with right delivery and diction in the given circumstances.

Abuse of Bengali words including anglicizing Bangla hotchpotch regularly spewed and aired by the FM radio networks undoubtedly tends to sicken the language and take the language to the road to slowly dying down in the long run. Respectable linguists and literary icons of the country may kindly give due vent over the issue with serious notes and ask the government to take strong measures before charm and appeal of the Bengali language diminishes to the lowest level in the abyss of utter degradation.

The writer is a former civil servant

Leave Your Comments

Latest News

More From OP-ED

Go to Home Page »

Site Index The Asian Age