Most Pakistanis have been brought up speaking national language Urdu and English. Instead of communicating in Urdu, many of us lapse into English during everyday discussion. Even people who do not speak English very well try their best to sneak in a sentence or two, considering it important for their acceptance in the ‘cooler’ group.
We wonder where the trend started, but unknowingly, unconsciously, somehow or the other we all get sucked into the trap. It was not until a few years ago while on a college trip to Turkey that I realized the misgivings of our innocent jabber.
A group of Pakistani students went abroad and stopped at a shop for lunch. After lunch the waiter came with bill and asked Pakistani students:
“Where are you from?”
The waiter looked surprised, and then asked students whether they had been brought up in England. Pakistani students answered in the negative, telling him how Pakistan was where we all had grown up and spent out lives. The waiter genuinely looked confused now. Finally waiter blurted out:
‘Then why don’t you speak in the Pakistani language?’
And then the waiter went on to explain how millions of people of different nationalities from across the globe visit here as tourist. And when French visit here, they speak French. When the Chinese visit, they speak Chinese. Similarly everyone in this country speak local language. Waiter also claimed that he was very proud of his language and culture and failed to understand how someone would not speak the language of their country and choose instead a foreign tongue.
The group of Pakistani students was all at a loss of an answer. They had never thought of it that way. It was just something that we took up because of society. Even when people speak in Urdu, they tend to include a lot of English words in their sentences. Why is that? Is it because we are not proud of our national language?
Are we not proud of our native language?