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4 Jun 2017

Not only language but all regional culture, religion and practices are under dominion of bigger ones

Sumendra Tamang, KalimNews, Kalimpong, 4 June 2017: I get the fact that Hindi hegemony has always been there in India. And I also have deep concerns regarding it. I have also seen Hindi Bhasha being propagated by the patriots of Hindu Rashtra. 
We have seen that in the most "Bharatiya" spaces knowing or talking in Hindi is an absolute mandate for being "Indian". 
I know we have a fight against Hindu fundamentalism and saffron tyranny in these contemporary times and politics. We have been talking of anti fundamentalist left unity as well to counter force the rise of Sanghis and it's fascist inclinations and ideology.
But, we have to understand the fact that Hindi is not the only dominant language in this diversely heterogeneous land of "India". Especially, if I speak of West Bengal, it alone consists of so many different communities and tribes whose mother tongue is not Bengali. If we speak of North Bengal, we have Sadri/adivasi, Nepali and many more including Bhutia, Lepcha, Sherpa, Bihari, Marwadi, Bodo, Toto, Baya Bengali (Koch) etc.
We have so many tribal population there each with their respective grammar and vocabulary. So the compulsion of Bengali using the state apparatus and machinery is yet another blow to the marginalized section of West Bengal. Making it optional would be the rule of the law but making it compulsory means it's a forceful, unwanted (atleast in North Bengal), coercive, dominant act of state regulation. It's a kind of linguistic imperialism which aims at real imperialism. Its a cultural hegemony aimed at completely destroying the aspirations of people living in these areas.
If the state says otherwise why didn't it make other regional languages as optional (Bengali was optional in many schools before) and why did it make Bengali as a compulsory mandate. In my previous post about this linguistic imperialism I have mentioned other hegemonic practices and languages (and along with it culture, politics, religion, custom, choice) making an entry in the said regions. And yes even that is a thing to talk about. But why specifically I choose to write against Bengali being the compulsory language is because the aspirations, social demands, the demand of separation from Bengal has been long enough (more than 100 years) to make people feel that they are caged and imprisoned in this state of absolute discrimination. 
Be it identity or the right to self determination, Bengal has always seen Darjeeling Duars to be their "absolute jewel" and by any means possible (bloodshed, state tyranny, state sponsored violence) they have tried to keep it under their control thereby playing deaf ear to the aspirations and demands of the people living there.
The Bengali ruling class knows that by imposing Bengali into the syllabus as the compulsory language, it can at last create "the paranoia of similarity", since we are in all the ways different from the mainstream Bengali culture and tradition. It also aims at completely destroying the traditional regional cultures by this mode of cultural intervention. Why impose things that the people don't want.? Well that is why it's a political attack on the sentiments of lakh of people living there .
So you see, for Bengali ruling class Hindi might be the dominant language propaganda but for us Bengali and Hindi, both are the dominant forces of cultural intervention and hegemonic "action of power display". And to this many are saying that the fight against Hindu fundamentalism (and hence against Hindi imperialism) is the principal/ primary struggle and that we should forget about the secondary struggle (which is Bengali imperialism) in order to tackle the Sanghis's dream of a Hindu Rashtra. Well to this epistemological rationale I say "Bazina".
We can never justify oppression to eradicate oppression. You see our narrative is different from the ruling class Bengali narrative. We think that Bengali and Hindi both are primary contradictions here for us. We have been discriminated, shackled, abused, looked down upon by both these cultures of linguistic imperialism. So the bigger fight for us against Hindu fundamentalism is the fight against both these primary tools / apparatus of cultural hegemony that is both (Hindi and Bengali) linguistic imperialism. This is a political attack meant for cultural catatonia. Resistance is the only way.
Respect existence or expect resistance.
Sumendra Tamang, JNU, Delhi.

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