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DIFFERENT STROKES

Hi! Talk in Hindi ya!

ANINDITA MUKHERJEE

Language barriers do exist in colleges, but they get broken down in the long run



communicate well:Language plays a big role in bonding among students

Despite the growing diffusion within States in India, several preconceived notions about other communities persist. Homegrown prejudices are often reflected in students' behaviour at college.

With colleges becoming increasingly multi-cultural and inviting students from other States as well as other nations, it is interesting to note how students from various communities interact. Though English is the main language of communication, several students told The Hindu EducationPlus that they are more comfortable talking to people in their native tongue, especially when they are away from home.

Aditya Chaudhury, Bangalore Institute of Technology, Basavanagudi: In a college environment, groups are formed primarily based on one's nativity which is established by one's mother tongue. Considering the fact that almost 50 per cent of students in colleges like mine are not natives of the particular State in which they study, this classification provides a sense of security amongst most students so long as they are loyal to their group. This firm loyalty to language-based groups causes a lot of social friction and prevents various cross-culture student bodies from functioning optimally.

Aditya Damodaran, Christ University Institute of Management, Hosur Road: Language does create a large divide among students because sometimes, they tend to stick to people who can speak the same language and hence form their own (linguistic) groups. They even fail to realise the fact that it's rude to talk to another person in a language that the other people around do not recognise. And students who do not know a language well alienate themselves from the other students.

Akanksha Jain, Centre for Management Studies, Palace Road: Most of the students in my college are from a very similar, upper-economic strata background where English is the common language of communication. If not English, most of the students speak in Hindi. Those who don't know Hindi soon pick it up.

The only instance of segregation I can think of is a tiny section of students who are uncomfortable in both English and Hindi, but they too are integrated into the student community over a period of time.

Ganesh Raj, Cambridge Institute of Technology, K.R. Puram: Being the country with the highest diversity in terms of language puts India in a unique position. When people are habituated to talking in a particular language, they are often uncomfortable in situations where they have to communicate with others who talk other languages.

Thus, when adolescents head to college, they find a sort of haven in groups where people speak their native language. Sometimes these groups have a clash of ideas or difference of opinion which causes quarrels and fights.

Prithvi Acharya, M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Mathikere: In engineering colleges, where English fluency cannot be taken for granted, groupism is rampant but more as a result of the language barrier than any form of nepotism. Unfortunately, these groups tend to stick to themselves for the entire period of studies, thereby losing out on the large scope for cross-cultural learning that exists.

Thankfully, though, I have never seen an ugly side to this groupism, and understand that it helps some people from more far-flung corners of the country feel less homesick.

Ruchika Nambiar, Srishti School of Art Design and Technology, Yelahanka: I believe language does create a divide among students. In my experience, this is an issue faced in colleges, where students face a lot more regional diversity when compared to school. The most pronounced divide I have seen is that between English and Hindi.

As unfortunate as it may be, there is always a perceived disconnect between those who speak Hindi and those who speak English and this is invariably translated into a disconnect between the “North” and the “South”. If, within this categorisation, there is any further fragmentation, it's usually due to the presence of pronounced accents.

Shreya Jain, National Law School of India University, Nagarbhavi: I think language, at the very beginning of one's life in college, can cause a distinct divide. It is only natural that in a place full of strangers, one would be inclined to get acquainted with people who are similar to oneself — speaking the same language, coming from the same region, etc. However, I do strongly believe that the initial divide effected by language is only temporary in nature. Gradually, as students interact more with one another, this divide can be easily overcome. It is precisely for this reason that colleges organise many events which envisage interaction among students, so that regional and linguistic divides may be easily annulled.

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