Monday, August 3, 2009

Are you ashamed to be a malayalee?



I was at home and my uncle needs me to write CD of sree lalita sahasranaamam. He said he has promised the temple authorities that he would be giving them the CD. I took a replica of the original CD and gave it to my uncle. He said me to have the name written on it in Malayalam. I have never studied in Malayalam nor have attended any Malayalam schools, but I could remember the wordings thought by my mother during the summer vacations from school. I used to read small stories and was able to recognize Malayalam bus and movie boards that helped me a lot after my stay at kerala.

Therefore, this was my first CD work in Malayalam. :D

importance of malayalam

I often came with a question speaking with some malayalees who have been shifted to north India; why do you feel ashamed speaking in Malayalam or are you ashamed to be a malayalee? You may wonder why I came with such a question.

I know many north Indian malayalees who feel ashamed speaking in Malayalam to their children in front of the north Indians. I am proud to say that my Indian Marathi speakers always feel proud at using Marathi wherever they go. If you notice with a mind of a discoverer, you will find that the ratio in percentage of non-kerala Malayalam speakers versus kerala Marathi speakers is 40%:90%.

Malayalees have a good native place and language to be proud. Is it that we do not understand what we owe? To be frank I was born and brought up in North India but I love the place here. If it is called gods own country then its true.

I would like to narrate an incident that I witnessed once. There were two malayalees and a north Indian woman speaking in a group. A child passed by, and asked mother in Malayalam that he needs water. The proud malayalee replied the child in hindi pointing the vessel he should get it from. Later she scolded him for speaking in Malayalam. This shows how respect we have for our mother tongue. Even a mother is not ready to have a child accept malayalam language…or do we have an inferiority complex? Think yourself.

You will be astonished to hear that the young generation cannot speak in Malayalam and the children of north Indian malayalees(properly spelt as inferiorly compelled malayalees) only have the extra capability to write and speak in languages other than Malayalam and they are happy for doing that.

Hey! It is time to understand where you are wrong. You cannot escape your predecessors, neither your culture. Recognize them and understand their importance. It is not late. Therefore, be a "MALAYALEE" and grow your children as MALAYALEES speaking malayalam language.

54 comments:

  1. Well said Abhilash. I'm a proud malayalee.Never ashamed to speak my MOTHER TONGUE even in a crowd.

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  2. Thank you smitha...

    I am proud that you still love your mother tongue and dont feel ashamed to speak in a crowd.

    I expect the same from each and every malayalee who is away from Kerala

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  3. you are right. malayalees suffer from a terriblre inferiority complex.why, only God knows. They have no reason to feel that way

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  4. Re: kochuthresiamma p .j

    I appreciate your concerns and hope we could have the next generation of malayalees behave and beleive like malayalees who are proud speaking malayalam...

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  5. There could be another interpretation of the event you put as an example. The fact that the child spoke in Malayalam to the mother means that they speak Malayalam at home and the child is taught the language. Many of us malayalis, at the same time, are flexible in terms of language, and try to accomodate an outsider. So this mother could be trying to be nice to the north Indian woman and asking the same from her child?

    I guess it is this flexibility that has helped in better education in our state as well.

    Anyways, like you implied, a lot of us are forgetting or never know any Malayalam due to a lot of reasons. The type of parenting, distance from our motherland, nature and interests of the person, etc... My wife has spent almost all of her life until marriage outside Kerala. But she is fluent and proud of her Malayalam.

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  6. Re: Rocksea

    Thanks for the comments and nice to know you are also among other proud malayalees...

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  7. Nice post.

    Often this kind of thing happens with outsiders in a new place, I think.

    I am an American, both my parents are from Hungary. I don't know Hungarian at all. I always felt bad about this, but now I realize why my parents never forced us to learn. It was not because they felt inferior or even did not speak in Hungarian, my dad speaks to my grandma only in Hungarian today, but it was because, as rocksea says, they were adapting to a new culture. They also wanted their kids to integrate into the culture, so they learned English and felt we would prosper better without Hungarian. I think immigrant mindset in US has changed since that time and immigrants believe it's beneficial to learn both English and their native language.

    Also married to a Malayalee, I agree with rocksea on the point of integration. What I mean Kerala's history is one of integration with many kinds of foreigners - a long history of trade and also traveling outside Kerala and India which other ethnic groups in India can not boast about. This gives Kerala a unique culture and Malayalees a different approach to life in general. I find it fascinating how much Malayalees do adjust to other cultures, while still maintaining their own, though the language issue I do see in America. For instance, Tamilians and Hindi speakers take more pains to create classes to teach kids their languages. Malayalees do to, but it's not so widespread.

    Just some thoughts as an outsider looking in. Thanks for bringing up this subject.

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  8. I appreciate your spirit.

    The examples you had shown also realistic.

    Still there is a forced situation to commonly educated Kerala natives is lack of(?) opportunity and hence to migrate.

    Ability to communicate multi-languages is appreciated. But the fastest technology,knowledge transfer etc can be achieved by adopting a common universal language.

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  9. Re:Jennifer

    Thank you for the comments and thoughts. I think you are right and I appreciate your views.

    We should make sure the new generation do not forget our native languages while they shift to new culture and speak their language. We should be adaptive as well as able to keep and maintain our valuable resources. As it says "OLD IS GOLD"....

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  10. Re: Manoj

    yes you are absolutely right. Lack of availability in terms of work or revenue forced malayalees to shift their living to other counties or states.

    And it is also necessary to adapt to the language and culture that make us help earn our bread but at the same time we should ensure our siblings do not forget what their predessors owe and we are never ashamed of speaking our mother tongue.

    I am pleased to see I was able to convey the idea properly.

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  11. I saw this post yesterday, and was thinking to reply since my views differed. If the lady's child was able to speak Malayalam, I fail to see where this 'inferiority complex' issue even arose in your thoughts?

    I would say she herself, is probably a proud Malayalee. It doesn't take much thought to just let the child learn widely spoken languages like English and Hindi or some foreign tongue. But the child spoke Malayalam. Maybe she felt it was better manners to speak in the language that was common to her surrounding, and so, reprimanded the child.

    I have to laugh at all the see-sawing feelings we have. Just a few months back, I read a post congratulating establishments that chastised two Malayalee nurses for speaking in Malayalam in an environment that was, apparently, unsuitable. And many supported that post. Now, when a lady chooses to teach her child the same rules the establishments want to cement, the verdict on her actions is inferiority complex. MHO.

    Frankly if you visit other southern state forums and blogs, it seems at every point, someone is crying inferiority complex rules their community. The Telugus, the Tamils, the Kannadigas, the Malayalees...and probably, Marathis as well(though I can confirm only for the Southern states).

    I actually feel sorry for that mother:-(

    - Kajan

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  12. Dear Anonymous Kajan,

    I am sorry you understood the story in a different manner.

    The mother scolded the child as he was speaking in malayalam and not in hindi. It was not the case she needs her children to learn all languages but it is the case that she needs her children to speak all languages besides malayalam in front of a north indian. I am not here to criticise any mother.

    This post was to stress on the things people do to show themselves included in others culture. They forget they also have their culture. You will understand the fact when you witness such issues.

    If you need to live in another culture, you need to have their language learnt. That is obvious.
    But here we forget that we also were speaking malayalam. Speaking malayalam to your child or let him speak malayalam is not a sin but you make him understand what his forefathers were and what their culture and language was.

    You can see many grandparents who have witnessed these issues where their grand children cannot speak the language they understand. It appears wrong.

    If you speak to a north Indian in malayalam to make yourself proud then its time to consult a psychiatrist as the person will not understand anything.

    But you can have your children speak with you in malayalam. Is it necessary to feel bad as the child was speaking something alien to the other person with a thought he would tease you or feel wrong at what you were speaking?

    Therefore, I need each of us to understand what we lack and what we should ensure.

    Please excuse if I said something wrong. These were my views as were yours.

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  13. I am a Malayali (studied in malayalam medium) working in Mumbai. My all experience here is just opposite to the srories mentioned here. Here wherever we go, if there are more than one malayali they use to speak in malayalam. Infact I my understanding is that the Malayalis are proud to be Malayali's. They proudly say that they are from Kerala. And logically too there are many things to be proud to be a Keralite. This is what I have observed.

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  14. Re: Riyas V M

    If that is true, then cheers to my Mumbai Malayalees.
    I am proud they maintain their unity.

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  15. Ok this is my honest opinion, and flame me if you want because this is true for many ppl of Kerala background brought up outside India. I think depends on the level of comfort for one person, not the fact they want to put shame to the language. And the parents should not be blamed for that because this is all up to the individual. Because for me, I don't feel the comfort speaking malayalam fully at home as I'm really used to speaking English. I understand malayalam very well, and can speak some malayalam (I grasped to speak while in Kerala) despite being raised in the US for my entire life. But I strongly prefer to speak English. I speak English to my parents though they speak in Malayalam to me, I speak half mallu/half english to my cousins in India, and 100% malayalam to my aunts, uncles and grandparents since they do not know English. Just because I speak English most of the time does NOT mean I think Kerala is a shame. Kerala is a awesome place, I am a definite American, but do keep up my roots. I'm familiar w/ Keralite culture and everything. I don't understand why thinking that not speaking the language means you dislike the culture, because I don't. It's not a bad thing if you kids strongly prefer to speak something else daily, as long as they are familiar w/ their cultural background and know their roots, they are fine. When they have to face speaking to someone who does not their language, then guide them the right way so they can learn without hesitation and actually enjoy. I've seen many malayalee parents force their kids to speak in not a good way, and it causes hesitation and rejection..even sometimes lock horns. Not good to do it in that context. I personally think this is being overcritical.

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  16. I am a proud malayali who loves to speak in mother tongue in any part of the world...
    one thing i would like to tell north indian malaylaees[or mallus as they call themselves].A south Indian is always a south indian even if goes and settles in north and speaks in hindi...They will call u 'madrassi' only... Then why do u want to imitate them and surrender before them in the case of language and culture...

    LEARN TO BE WHAT YOU ARE...MANASILAAYO 'MALLUS' inu..?

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  17. RE: Anonymous

    Thank you for the feedback. I really appreciate your response and your attitude towards the society.

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  18. I agree with Anonymous who is US born and brought up. I feel the same too as I am also US born. I think if you were brought up elsewhere, especially after the 1st generation, you are very accustomed to that reigion and its culture and getting used to another culture is a bit difficult if you did not grow up in that country where it's easy to be accustomed to the culture. I too speak English as I feel comfortable speaking since using it most of the time, but know a wee ounce malayalam as well, not much. Language is a communication tool which is good to have, but just because you don't use it often, or don't know it does not mean you have NO respect for your ethnic background. I love Kerala..it's a beautiful place and simply amazing to visit. I have family too, and converse in Manglish making it easier to understand each other where I learn something new in the malayalam language and they learn something new in the English language LOL. But outside of Kerala, I use only English as I just feel very comfortable with English and every one I know knows English, it's just my preference to use it since I am very much accustomed to it. It no way means I think Kerala is a shame or I hate the malayalam language, it is 100% not. Every malayalee is different in this planet, and we all have our own identity. We have different opinions, we have different views..etc. No one person is the same. We may try to follow our dreams and hopes, but that does not mean our roots will be detached from our personal identities. I hope you understand.

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  19. Re: Alisha

    Boss!! I never meant criticising the people who dont know malayalam but as you said it is always fine to speak the language people around you understand. Speaking english is not an issue but feeling bad for speaking malayalam is really an issue.

    I think we should value our asset and never underestimate it. Thats my point.

    Thanks for the sincere comments Alisha. As I said these are the opinions from a single person(me) and you guys can always correct and comment on it.

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  20. I understand what you mean now. I'm sorry I misinterpreted :(. I agree with you, thinking that speaking the language would bring shame and gives a bad meaning is complete nonsense, it's like saying the entire region is a shame. Preference is one thing, but thinking that to speak Malayalam is a bad thing is another..fully agree with you on that. Namalde Malayalam shame onu tharilla :). See :)

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  21. Re: Alisha

    Thank you boss!! for the comments.

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  22. Speaking your mother tongue is a good thing !!
    Practicing your culture a great and noble thought .
    But then you should not do intercommunity marriges
    and thrust your culture and language on other people .

    3 people Standing in a group where 2 people know malyali and other doesnt ,
    when you start speaking in your language you are not practicing your culture you are practicing isolation , groupism .
    You are showing your bad manners and lack of ability to integrate with other people .

    I am married to a malyali , i do not practice my own culture and language and had said before marrige i didnt want my children to be steoretype kids .

    Yet my malyali wife will make a point to speak to the kid in malyali in front of me so that i dont understand anything ,
    Its basically an attempt to isolate people .
    People with such mentality are not practicing culture or language , they are creating hatred and isolation .

    If you are one of these types think 2 times you are only creating hatred for the entire community by your individual actions .

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  23. Re: Anonymous

    I hope you misunderstood the theme. I never meant using a language with which all are comfortable is wrong.

    The main aim is to focus that no language is inferior. If you speak malayalam with your child in the house then he has a tendency to speak with you in the same language outside. You can respond to your childs thoughts in any language he understand but... is it really great to tell your child not to speak a language in front of others because you feel ashamed.

    Thats where we have to understand that no language is inferior. Use the appropriate language where necessary.

    I hope you understand the concept.

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  24. In addition to the hesitation to speak in Malayalam, many malayalees staying in other states, particularly ones with posh image such as Bangalore, Mumbai etc, disclaim their malayalee origin and shamelessly say they are from Bangalore or Mumbai when asked of their background. This happens even when the conversation takes place in kerala when these mallus are on vacation. On 5 different ocassions in Muscat (Oman) I observed this behaviour. In one ocassion, the malayee couple born and raised in Kerala has spent only 4 years in their adulthood in Bangalore, and yet in Muscat they claimed to be from Bangalore. However, in each ocassion I prodded by asking more questions on their background and in all cases I only succeeded in annoying them rather than making them admit their malayalee identity. Definitely, this smacks of inferiority complex

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  25. To echo the opinions of others who have commented on your post, the mother's reaction might have been prompted by a respect for the other non-Malayalees in the group. I can't stand people who talk in their native language when there is someone else in the group there who doesn't understand that language. I think it is improper behavior.

    Having said that, I must agree with your observation that a majority of Malayalees especially those outside Kerala are embarrassed to speak to their kids in Malayalam. They "onlly waand to toak in Engleesh" to their kids. Little do these parents realize that speaking multiple languages greatly enhances the congnitive abilities of their children. Many Malayalees I've come across take pride in saying that their children don't know Malayalam. Even if the kids make an attempt to speak Malayalam, the parents or other adults tend to make fun of their grammar or incorrect pronunciations.

    A proud Malayalee myself, fluent in Malayalam and 3 other South Indian languages, I find it very interesting that such a malady seems to afflict only Malayalees. I agree with the previous poster "John Moshi" in this regard about wanting hid one's Malayalee origin.

    What is it that causes Malayalees especially those outside Kerala to suppress passing on Malayalam to their kids? Is it because they no longer identify with Malayalees? Is it as frivolous as not wanting their children to be "branded" with the anecdotal Malayalam accent when they speak English or other languages? Or is it because these parents who were most likely born in Kerala, think that their kids identifying themselves with Kerala could be detrimental to their future success?

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  26. Re: Pranayama

    Thanks for the comments MR. K Jacob Samuel. I am privilaged to receive comments from a person whose articles have been published in several newspapers and books.

    I think people are afraid of speaking malayalam in northern India due to their insecurity or their inferiority complex. They are afraid of the laughs people would pass hearing their language.

    Hope they will understand someday that their children when back to Kerala will not be able to speak to their own family members.

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  27. "Hope they will understand someday that their children when back to Kerala will not be able to speak to their own family members."

    I strongly disagree...sorry. The kids are not incapable of speaking to family in their mother tongue, but they tend to learn to speak w/ family in their mother tongue. Even if parents don't teach them their mother tongue, they somehow can learn themselves. Alot of people I know learned the mother toungue on their own w/o any guidance due to exposure of the region where it is most often spoken. My son was born and brought up in UK until of age of 4. He only spoke English to everyone, and we would speak to him in English and at times (not often) malayalam. We did not force him to speak malayalam b/c we don't want him to be uncomfortable and awkward. We moved back to Kerala shortly before he turned 5. Once we moved, he started speaking fluent malayalam within a month! We got him to understand that his ammachi and appachen don't know and cannot learn English, and they only know malayalam, and day by day he grasped, and speaks like a true Keralite now. It's really shameful that some people are pitying those who don't know the mother tongue because those people do know their culture really well thorugh other things. Many of my friends' kids in the UK don't know malayalam or have very little knowledge, but their know the culture well through other things (festivals, food, program activities...etc). Malayalam is good, but it is not something that should be forced upon..understand? There should be no shame in speaking in your own tongue, but everyone is entitled to speak whatever language they are comfortable with, be it their mother tongue or English. Everyone is different and may learn the language at their own time...no reason to pity other people..only thing that matters is they are good and well behaved.

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  28. Re: Ajith

    Dear Friend Ajith,

    I hope you did not read the complete article and did not understand what I mean to convey. Neither you have gone through the comments and the clarity on them.

    I value your opinion and I am happy to know your child speaks malayalam, however you do not have to feel it personal as I havent comented on people who dont know malayalam. Rather it is a comment on them who know it but feel ashamed watching their children speak it in front of others.

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  29. Face it, a child of a Malayalee, who has lived outside Kerala, will never be a Malayalee, Period. Get used to it and stop whining.

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  30. I agree it's wrong if you forbid/punish your kids for speaking another language. But what's your opinion on those who don't know the language at all? Should they be shamed or not? I don't think they should, I mean if they know their culture through other things (food festivals, etc..), there won't be too much of a burden, at least I don't think. I understand malayalam well, and I can speak some, but I don't use it alot or hardly use it..only when it's absolutely needed to converse to those who don't know English at all. I speak English all the time b/c I'm very comfortable with it..should I be shamed for it? I was never born and brought up in India, and I feel I have a love/hate relationship with this culture because I was hounded to be only a Keralite, which can't really happen if you are brought up outside Kerala and that you follow up on societal influences. I don't know..if my kids gain an interest about the language, I'd be more than happy to teach them about it and have them get a feel (introduce them to words, phrases..etc) but I surely won't force them in anyway. I'm not too Indian, but not too American as well, I guess i'm a blend, know the customs and values of both really well, don't follow everything seen the culture strictly. Know what I mean. I know it's not relating to what you are referring to, but I kind of want to know your feedback on this. Would appreciate if you do :)

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  31. Re: Ann

    Dear Ann,

    Thank you for the comments.
    I think people do not have to be ashamed if they dont know a language. They have to be ashamed if they know their language but feel inferior to express it outside.

    If you are a malayalee but not residing in Kerala, you should atleast have some knowledge to speak it when necessary. Learning things is alwaws good and making use of them at the right place is also necessary.

    Ann... I am not a person too experienced to comment on such things but regarding the use of language by the people who are outside their homeland and who plan to visit it someday... is a point of discussion. People whether in homeland or outside should never forget the culture their ancestors come from and the language they used. You can learn it when you feel comfortable so that you can pass the culture and its belongings to your kids.

    May god bless you and your family.

    Regards,
    Abhi

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  32. Another American born with opinions..and yes I will give it all because I'm tough when it comes to topics like these.

    Pointed at Ann...just b/c you don't excel at a language perfectly, or hardly use it does not make you less of a malayalee or anything or means your hate your culture, I think that's how you are feeling. If you know your culture through other things, your fine..language is only ONE thing! I speak English mostly and can understand malayalam..but I cherish the culture. However there are freakin idiots who believe in superiority and love to trash talk ppl down. I wish they would get a belt whooping. Speak whatever you are comfortable in where you can be understood, and at least attempt to speak when you really have to, and honestly when you attempt, you tend to grasp and get better at it:) That's how I grapsed to speak some malayalam phrases. Now I can communicate in the basics w/ my grandparents and more effectively too :) Anyway, I feel like I have to defend because ppl act like you are worthless b/c you don't know another language! Ridiculous! Language is only ONE thing that ties you to your culture, just because you don't know/speak it, does not mean you will lose the culture..if you know the culture through other things, such as food, lifestyle, celebrations, traditions..etc..all those will also tie you in w/ your culture..not just language! Just being exposed to any of those aspects will help you realize what your background is, your ancestors..etc. Not just the language! But it is good to become familiar with the language even if you don't speak, meaning you should know how it sounds like, or at least understand it.

    @Abhilash..I see where you are coming from, and I agree, if the child wants to speak malayalam, he should have the right to speak it no matter who he is speaking in front of. Everyone has the right to use whatever language they feel really comfortable in..it is not a insult or anything..it's only a means of expression. So what if he is speaking in malayalam, his mother will understand him anyway! It's not a shame to speak ANY language in front of others who may not know the language. This is so so ridiculous to think you are insulting North Indians by speaking malayalam! What the heck! Who came up with this idea and what kind of people do we have in this world?? I spoke English to my parents when in India..am I insulting people who don't know English? NO! I'm sorry, but we have a bunch of stuck people and backstabbing people in this world. You live to what you feel comfortable with..people who tend to be stupid are the ones who are extremely critical..I wish karma would bite them bad..so fed up w/ ppl's ridiculous views :(

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  33. Re: Maryam

    Thank you for the comments.
    I agree with your opinion and hope people will understand this some day or the other.

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  34. I agree w/ you Abhilash and Maryam. I was born and brought up in Kerala and moved to Delhi after I graduated from college. I can speak malayalam and English really well. I speak in English to North Indians because I cannot speak/understand Hindi well really despite living in Delhi for more than 6 years now, but use malayalam the rest of the time. I still speak malayalam in front of the public crowd because that was the language I grew up with and extremely comfortable with. Have no shame when speak in front of North Indian people when I talk to another malayalee and the North Indians never felt offended by it either. As you both said, I don't understand why you would feel bad about this..and I agree, you are entitled to speak what language you are comfortable with. For me it's malayalam as it's my first language and language I was heavily exposed to while growing up (did schooling in Kerala all my life till college and everyone in Kerala obviously speaks it), while someone brought up aboard may mainly use English or another language as it's what they were exposed to (same reasons). Unfortunately some ppl don't realize this.

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  35. Re: Anoushka

    Thank you for the comments. I agree with your opinion and I am proud to hear that you still respect your language and dont feel it inferior.

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  36. "People whether in homeland or outside should never forget the culture their ancestors come from and the language they used. You can learn it when you feel comfortable so that you can pass the culture and its belongings to your kids."

    THIS HAS HIT THE JACKPOT. YES YES YES!!! YOU ARE RIGHT!! I agree completely! However, language is not the only thing that will tie you into your culture and make you never forget about it, it's only one aspect and there are many others as well..the food, traditions, festivities dress sense..etc also help you learn about malayalee culture. So yes, if you don't know the language, no reason to feel shame if you know your culture through any other way. There are people I know where I am that know don't speak malayalam at all, but they sure do keep the culture extremely well and always follow the traditions and everything..even after they all married they never let it die out and exposed their kids to it. The important factor is not about knowing the language (which is good to have, but not an big issue if you are not familiar and is ok if you don't know) but the fact that YOU ARE AWARE OF YOUR ETHNICITY AND ROOTS. Language is one thing that will help you know, but it's not the only aspect..anything from the food, customs..etc will help you tie into. Just following or exposing to one aspect, just ONE will help you learn your culture really well..trust me. So at Ann, you speak whatever you are comfortable with..it's totally fine, you seem to know your culture regardless, just make sure you never forget it about ever though and keep the malayalee identity in mind always.

    I like how you brought this up Abhilash..very interesting. And I agree w/ you on this. I moved to US from Kottayam after marriage (wife got job as nurse in US), and I have seen a few who portrayed the same example you mentioned above about the mother and child. It's ridiculous to even do such a thing.

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  37. "People whether in homeland or outside should never forget the culture their ancestors come from and the language they used. You can learn it when you feel comfortable so that you can pass the culture and its belongings to your kids."

    THIS HAS HIT THE JACKPOT. YES YES YES!!! YOU ARE RIGHT!! I agree completely! However, language is not the only thing that will tie you into your culture and make you never forget about it, it's only one aspect and there are many others as well..the food, traditions, festivities dress sense..etc also help you learn about malayalee culture. So yes, if you don't know the language, no reason to feel shame if you know your culture through any other way. There are people I know where I am that know don't speak malayalam at all, but they sure do keep the culture extremely well and always follow the traditions and everything..even after they all married they never let it die out and exposed their kids to it. The important factor is not about knowing the language (which is good to have, but not an big issue if you are not familiar and is ok if you don't know) but the fact that YOU ARE AWARE OF YOUR ETHNICITY AND ROOTS. Language is one thing that will help you know, but it's not the only aspect..anything from the food, customs..etc will help you tie into. Just following or exposing to one aspect, just ONE will help you learn your culture really well..trust me. So at Ann, you speak whatever you are comfortable with..it's totally fine, you seem to know your culture regardless, just make sure you never forget it about ever though and keep the malayalee identity in mind always.

    I like how you brought this up Abhilash..very interesting. And I agree w/ you on this. I moved to US from Kottayam after marriage (wife got job as nurse in US), and I have seen a few who portrayed the same example you mentioned above about the mother and child. It's ridiculous to even do such a thing.

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  38. "People whether in homeland or outside should never forget the culture their ancestors come from and the language they used. You can learn it when you feel comfortable so that you can pass the culture and its belongings to your kids."

    THIS HAS HIT THE JACKPOT. YES YES YES!!! YOU ARE RIGHT!! I agree completely! However, language is not the only thing that will tie you into your culture and make you never forget about it, it's only one aspect and there are many others as well..the food, traditions, festivities dress sense..etc also help you learn about malayalee culture. So yes, if you don't know the language, no reason to feel shame if you know your culture through any other way. There are people I know where I am that know don't speak malayalam at all, but they sure do keep the culture extremely well and always follow the traditions and everything..even after they all married they never let it die out and exposed their kids to it. The important factor is not about knowing the language (which is good to have, but not an big issue if you are not familiar and is ok if you don't know) but the fact that YOU ARE AWARE OF YOUR ETHNICITY AND ROOTS. Language is one thing that will help you know, but it's not the only aspect..anything from the food, customs..etc will help you tie into. Just following or exposing to one aspect, just ONE will help you learn your culture really well..trust me. So at Ann, you speak whatever you are comfortable with..it's totally fine, you seem to know your culture regardless, just make sure you never forget it about ever though and keep the malayalee identity in mind always.

    I like how you brought this up Abhilash..very interesting. And I agree w/ you on this. I moved to US from Kottayam after marriage (wife got job as nurse in US), and I have seen a few who portrayed the same example you mentioned above about the mother and child. It's ridiculous to even do such a thing.

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  39. I speak Malayalam...at home to my parents, brother and to our relatives and friends...I once had a bad experience of going out for a dinner with a close Malayalee friend when I stayed in north India a couple of years back. This person asked me to speak in Hindi to him as we were sitting in north India...well funny as it was (I didn't know that he had an inferiority complex then) and even though I am fluent in Malayam, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil and English...I choose to remain quite. I never spoke to him in Malayalam again, unfortunately choosing to speak only in English.

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  40. Your post seems contradictory to me...

    The reason why I think the lady scolded her child for speaking malayalam was probably because she felt it was disrespectful to speak a language that another may not understand at all, not that she was ashamed. Because I know a few who did that..they don't want to make the person feel awkward. I don't think it has to do with inferiority complex, besides, the child DID SPEAK MALAYALAM, so you can't really say the child won't know malayalam when he had spoken it to his mother! Plus it's not like the mother is telling her child to never speak malayalam ever in his life, just that when non-malayalees or non-Indians, it's preferably to use a language they understand :). Hope it's clear. Btw..where are you from..since you said you were not particulary from Kerala?

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  41. @Anonymous - Thanks for sharing your views.

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  42. All I have to say is wrong deduction, although I agree with the general idea of not being ashamed of your heritage.

    There was a North Indian in that group, so what that mother did was right. It is impolite to talk in your mother-tongue if someone who does not understand your language in the group.

    The kid spoke in malayalam, that clearly shows that he speaks malayalam at home and if his parents were so ashamed of malayalam, they wouldnt have taught him that in the first place.

    I live in karnataka and do not understand any kannada.. but still my colleagues talk in kannada even when I am around, completely neglecting me, which I do not consider polite.. I consider their behavior very rude... So, I am speaking from my own experience... I have heard many of my other friends lament about the same thing.

    You should be proud of your heritage and culture but not at the risk of alienating others...

    I am proud to have grown up in a place which teaches respect and tolerance towards others and other cultures.. The fact that I speak malayalam is of little significance.

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  43. Re: Anjali

    Thank you very much for the sincere comments. The mother scolded the child later the day as he used Malayalam in front of the neighbor. I know the family closely and it wasn't a scolding for the child to correct his sense of understanding as to what language he should use. Children should be free to speak to their parents irrespective of what language they use and they were not dong any long conversations for the neighbor to feel bored.

    I understand there are Malayalees who respect their language but see the majority. There are people who always speak Hindi even at home. They when in Kerala cant even speak to their grandparents. This post is about those people.

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  44. Mmmm, well I was born and brought up in Mumbai, and I speak Hindi/English at home all the time. I can speak enough Malayalam for my grandfather and other eldery who only knows broken English/Hindi, or none at all. But that surely does not mean I am "ashamed" to be a Malayalee just because I don't speak Malayalam at home, those are the languages that I feel most comfortable with, not the fact that I find something bad about speaking malayalam. Since I was brought up elsewhere and since my parents lived outside Kerala for a long time, we are have mixed values of North Indian/South Indian/Western. We live a western lifestyle and are pretty open minded, but still eat our typical "chor and meen", celebrate Onam, watch Malaylam movies etc. Do the same with North Indian/Western. When you mean we must grow our children as Malayalees, what do you exactly mean? That we should force them to the typical Malayalee? Don't think that can happen elsewhere outside Kerala, and it's now changing within Kerala too. I agree we should encourage our children to embrace their roots and such. My parents did it out of love and affection that made us want to be close to our roots, and they know not to go beyond certain boundaries where we will resent it. Our ways of thinking are bit a different from those in Kerala (we're not against mixed marriage and put in too much expectations..etc), but I don't think it will make us any less. As for those you complain that may appear to shun their roots, maybe there's a reason to that..who knows.

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  45. My Dear Abhi,
    I loved the way you responded to the comments and I am proud to say that, BEING A MALAYALEE, eventhough after being born and brought up in Mumbai..........I know to speak, read and write malayalam.
    I'm proud of being a malayalee, but I feel more proud when people like you come out with such true incidents.......like the way you are....

    -Priyanka

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  46. Hi Priyanka,

    Thank you for the comments.

    I am happy to read that you are good at understanding, writing and speaking Malayalam. You being proud as a malayalee make me feel proud too.

    It is imperative that we should respect our culture, language and religion as we respect others and that was the theme behind the article.

    Best regards,
    Abhilash

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  47. Hi,
    Nice to see someone vociferously stating all the facts that I too have felt. Good job Abhilash. I too have met many so called 'mallus' who hide their roots!!! One thing that people forget is that the basis for unity is language (in all the states of our country).It binds us, makes us feel one...ask any 'mallu' who has lived outside Kerala. If we keep trying to integrate with the rest of India by demeaning our roots then that day is not far off when our language will become extinct. I think 'mallus' are ashamed of their accent more than anything else. Bt all the people from different states have their own accent. They are not ashamed of their roots. We need to realise that those who are ashamed of their mother tongue will actually be looked down upon by people from other states/cultures. Also, here's a doubt- is the word'mallus' not to be used . Is it derogatory???

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    Replies
    1. Mallu is a type of monkey for gosais.

      Delete
  48. Hi Friend,

    Thank you for your sincere thoughts. I am happy that you expressed your views on this topic.

    Regarding your question "is the word 'mallus' not to be used. Is it derogatory???"

    I will not comment on your right to use the word mallu. It does not signify any wrong intention or object. I would suggest referring ‘malayalee’ as it implies more native than mallu. But it is same as calling someone Shekhar and Shekharan, the one you feel comfortable and modern is normally used.

    Try searching ‘Mallu’ in google and then ‘malayalee’; analyze the results.

    Best regards,
    Abhilash

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  49. Personally, I do NOT think, that it is out of shame that a Malayalee prefers to speak Marathi while among Marathi friends ( or any other language). I prefer to believe it is out of respect that a Malayalee does so. I believe, it is impolite to speak in a language while we are among people who do not understand Malayalam. While a Malayalee may be seen to be more familiar with other languages, it is quite rare to find people from other states speaking Malayalam. I work in Saudi Arabia and while in the company of other nationalities, prefer to speak in English. This does not mean that I dislike Malayalam or my Kerala culture. I am born a Malayalee and will always be one, irrespective of what language I speak.

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  50. English words murdered by Keralites (Malayalees) and other Indians:

    kangaroo (the worst offended word, Malayalees/Indians pronounce as “kanGAROO” instead of “KANgroo”)

    mixed, fixed (pronounced as 'miksed', 'fiksed' instead of 'miksd', 'fiksd')

    bear, pear, wear (pronounced as ‘biyar’, ‘piyar’, 'wiyer' instead of ‘beye’, ‘peye’, 'weye')

    beer (pronounced as "biiir" instead of "biye")

    auto (pronounced as "aaato" instead of "otto")

    Queen (prounounced as “kyuun” instead of “kween”)

    form (pronounced as ‘farum’ instead of “fom”)

    biennale (pronounced as “binale” instead of “bienale”)

    place names – Ohio, Seattle, Utah (pronounced as “ohiyo, seetl, ootha” instead of “ohayo, siyatl, yuta”)

    Tortoise (pronounced as ‘tortois’ instead of “totis” )

    turtle (pronounced as ‘turrrtil’ instead of “tutl” )

    Mascot Hotel (pronounced as “muskut HOtel” instead of “MAScot hoTEL”)

    heart (pronounced as ‘hurrt’ instead of “haat”)

    bass (pronounced as ‘baas’ instead of “beis”)

    twitter (pronounced as “tyooter” instead of “twiter”)

    birthday (pronounced as “birthaday” instead of “buthdei”)

    garage (pronounced as “garej” instead of “gaRAZH/gaRAJ”)

    chassis (pronounced as “chasis” instead of “shasi”)

    divorce (pronounced as "daiverse" instead of "divors")

    February (pronounced as “fibruari” instead of “februari”)

    one (pronounced as "onn" instead of "wun")

    pizza (pronounced as "pisa" instead of "pitza")

    our (pronounced as "avar" instead of "aue")

    flour (pronounced as "flower" instead of "flaue")

    alarm (prounced as "alarum" instead of "alaam")

    volume (books) (pronounced as "vaalyoom' instead of "volyum")

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  51. Ok Abhi. This is an interesting thread. I am not Malayalee but am a third generation South Indian who was born and raised in North India aka New Delhi. Delhi of yore was filled with Punjabis. The Delhi my grandmother knew was filled with Punjabis who were proud to be Hindustanis. They had cutlure, they related to the south Indian cutlure and festivals because they understood the parallel festivities in the way North Indians celebrated the same Hindu festivals By the time I was born, Delhi shifted. The Multanis (displaced from Pakistan) and some others became the core. They are/were ignorant, cultureless and cheats. It was all about how to make a buck by cheating another! And these were the ones whose children/grandchildren grew up calling South Indians all kinds of names - even to the extent of return to your Madras (none of us were from madras). Regardless, they made you feel inferior. They called out to you - Inga vaa, Anga po! OR some even said see those Bengalis. Such was their ignorance. Schools were filled with children of these noveau-hook-or-by-crook-rich-with-no-education Northies' kids! Their parents used thumb prints, could not even write in Hindi. But they wore lipstick and made sure they bought expensive sofa sets with their black money from their business (let me tell you most of them did this). The ones who may have also been Govt of India employees, had side businesses in their wife's name and then the black money would pour in huge amounts ANyway, I digress. In Delhi, major hospitals IMPORTED Malayalee nurses, who left poor homes to earn and send money to. I loved the under-dog and fought hard for them even as a child. As my parents did not stop me, I took this to be okay and would speak up for anyone Northies teased. Remember I was 3rd gen in North India, yet!!! this is how it was/is. Today the population of southeys in the North is not from Bank or govt jobs alone. So the world has changed...but a bit only. Northeys think they are superior! And it is sad! We are not ONE India. And the embarrassment of some parents when their child speaks in their language is because they feel inferior though they love their state and culture enough to speak it at home.I am now in the US. I have no fear of speaking any language. The Gujaratis follow like the Latinos/Spanish and speak in Gujarati to everyone (hilarious at times). I proudly speak my language AND Hindi, Gujarati and Spanish along with impeccable English. People respect that! Yes, we need to take pride but we need to also be brave enough to stand up for stupidity that tries to make us feel inferior! My children learned south Indian classical music to the chagrin of my own cousins who emulate being North Indian. (when in Rome be Roman attitude). I think my kids are enriched with both cultures!

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  52. @LifeStudent - Thanks for the comment. It was indeed interesting. I accept your comments and agree to your view. Keep in touch.

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  53. Well said ! Actually i'm chinese and my mother language is chinese, but when i studied in college with lot of malayali and i learnt malayalam from them. Now i can speak malayalam, not so good, can understand what people speaking in malayalam and can read a bit. But the problem is people always doubt on me, whenever they saw my comment in malayalam, they will surprised and asked me whether i'm malayali, when i told them i 'm not, then second question again : Nee engane malayalam padichu ?? I'm tired to explain. Some of my friends told me that they are proud of me because i know their mother language and i can speak to malayali friends.
    My malayalam not so good, pakshe enikku malayalam kurachu ariyam. :) I love Kerala, love culture.
    Now i celebrate Onam, Vishu & etc with all my malayali friends in singapore.

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Thank you for your valuable comments. I do respect your opinions.

All the posts are about my life with a pinch of comment on social activities and new discoveries happening around us.

The purpose is to impart knowledge and welcome comments for correction on views, since these are from a single spectator.

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