Accents of Leaders

What happened to South Asia’s leaders. The last one to have a decent accent in the English language was Benazir Bhutto. Bandaranaike, Nehru & Jinnah sound like Princes (via Anan).

In other sad news (this is a very old article from 2013) the last Mughal heiress lives in a Calcutta slum. How the Great have fallen..

And the last tragic news of the day, “Karachi becoming a killing field for new born girls.”

A few people found a baby at the door step of a mosque in Karachi and they handed the baby over to the prayer leader. The cleric decried that this is an illegitimate baby therefore he should be stoned. Resultantly the baby was stoned to death. I tried to register a case against the cleric but nothing happened”, narrated Kazmi.

0

16 Replies to “Accents of Leaders”

  1. Independence leaders like Jinnah, Nehru and Gandhi lived in Britain, worked with Englishmen when they were young. The present generation of south Asians ( I mean even those above 60) learnt English from those who have never met a native speaker of English and they would have learnt English from those whose first language was not English. The south Asian leaders owe nobody to speak pukka sahib English or even any English , all they owe to their countries is efficient governance which gives justice and economic progress to everybody

    0
    1. The curse of South Asia, you dont speak proper English you are a nobody. Its changing.

      south Asian leaders owe nobody to speak pukka sahib English or even any English , all they owe to their countries is efficient governance which gives justice and economic progress to everybody

      Fantastic comment

      0
    2. My parents learned English from missionary schools in Pakistani Punjab (which were considered the best schools to send your children). “The Convent of Jesus and Mary” for girls and “Saint Anthony’s” for boys. I am talking about the 1950s and 1960s. My father went to the West for grad school in his 20s. My mother followed him after they were married.

      This is not just the story of one family but of many Pakistani families from a particular social background. India is full of families like this as well. These are the people that Jhumpa Lahiri used to write about.

      0
      1. My parents learned English from missionary schools in Pakistani Punjab (which were considered the best schools to send your children). “The Convent of Jesus and Mary” for girls and “Saint Anthony’s” for boys.

        Pretty much the same in Sri Lanka. In the south the elite schools were the Church of England (Anglican) schools, S. Thomas, Trinity and Royal (Brit govt) for guys and Ladies College and Bishops for the girls.

        In the north/Jaffna it was the American Mission (Methodist) schools.

        I am talking about the 1950s and 1960s.
        I started school in the 1960’s. 3rd generation in the same school from both mother and fathers sides. Ceylon was completely under British rule by 1817and the “English Schools” started in the 1830’s or so.

        0
      2. Pre-1947 , this social strata – i.e. English medium strata – used to be 2-3% of the population. Till 20 years back it was about 15% maximum. Nowadays the floodgates have opened – even rural children want to send their children to English medium schools. The quality of English they learn – less said the better.

        0
        1. English serves as a path to better employment. It is only natural that people would want that for their children.

          0
    3. 100% nailed it, V.C.

      Particularly → all they owe to their countries is efficient governance which gives justice and economic progress to everybody.

      Add to that when you democratize some piece of knowledge [e.g. foreign language], it’s bound to show regional inflections. Is that an argument against democracy, then?

      Besides, English is a colourful language precisely because it has so many regional variations, including places very far away from England [e.g. Jamaica]. If you restrict it’s parameters, it will lose a lot of it’s vibrancy and certainly it’s influence.

      0
  2. Perfect Brit/American accent probably means you have lost touch with the average person in the country. Maybe can get the common touch with right advisors and an effort to understand the wants of the average person.

    Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (note Dias) could barely speak Sinhala when he came back from Oxford (I think first Oxford Union secretary from Asia). SWRD managed to learn to speak Sinhala (not read and write). Into the bargain, SWRD was a descendant of a South Indian temple priest named Nila Perumal.

    That said SWRD espoused the Sinhalese cause, mobilized the Sinhalese middle class thru a Buddhist Priest Buddharakita Thero (a whisky drinking, womanizer). When SWRD wanted moderation after election (BC pact) he paid the price. SWRD was assassinated by a Buddhist monk.

    Anyway, surprised that AnAn and Kabir did not comment on the music video post. Too “black” and doesn’t fit the Indo Aryan narrative.?
    At least a comment about the Siddis.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S._W._R._D._Bandaranaike

    0
    1. I did not notice your music video post. I am very busy preparing for a music program that I have to give in two days now. It has nothing to do with it being “too black”. Though frankly the kind of music I am mainly interested in is Hindustani (North Indian) Music. That or Western Classical Music.

      I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that even my book reviews tend to get very little traction here (which is why I have created a new blog). BP seems to mostly be about India vs. Pakistan and Hindus vs. Muslims, which is what generates clicks. Partition, Jinnah, Nehru, Indira, Islam–those topics are sure to go viral.

      0
      1. BP seems to mostly be about India vs. Pakistan and Hindus vs. Muslims, which is what generates clicks. Partition, Jinnah, Nehru, Indira, Islam–those topics are sure to go viral.

        Yes noticed that and does get a bit tiring. Sepia Mutiny had a better response to mix of topics.

        Incidentally do you know of Ananda Coomaraswamy
        was a Ceylonese Tamil philosopher and Metaphysicist, as well as a pioneering historian and philosopher of Indian art, particularly art history and symbolism, and an early interpreter of Indian culture to the West.[1] In particular, he is described as “the groundbreaking theorist who was largely responsible for introducing ancient Indian art to the West

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ananda_Coomaraswamy

        0
        1. I had not heard of Coomaraswamy. Will read the Wikipedia article when I get some time.

          I know next to nothing about Sri Lanka. Only read two novels which were set there–“Anil’s Ghost” by Michael Ondaatje and “The Legend of Pradeep Mathew” by Shehan Karunatilika. There are so many novels set in India (Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, A. Roy) and so many set in Pakistan (Kamila Shamsie, Mohsin Hamid, etc) that I never find time to read South Asian Literature set in the (sorry to say) more marginal countries.

          I did do a book review of Tahmima Anam’s “The Golden Age” which is about Bangladesh in 1971. It is somewhere on BP (posted it only a few days back).

          0
    1. “They barely believe in what they speak” Most probably their listeners also don’t believe what they say consciously , but they get a subconscious kick out of listening to them.

      0
  3. English is one of the official languages of the Pakistani government. All government memos etc are written in English.

    English is also the official language of our legal system. The “colonial hangover” persists.

    0
    1. How easy is Nastaliq script to adopt to typing and word processing? This is one factor in determining the language for official communication and record keeping. Thanks.

      0
      1. Software exists to allow people to type in Urdu. I don’t think that is the issue.

        The larger issue is that for 70 years the Civil Service and the Government have gotten used to working in English. It is going to be very difficult to change that culture.

        If script were the issue, Iran would not conduct all government business in Farsi. It’s just that the Persian people were never colonized, so they don’t have the hangups that South Asians do.

        0

Comments are closed.