‘Bro, You Don’t Look Bihari. You Don’t Have An Accent. You Speak English Well!’

Posted by Nikhil Anand in Culture-Vulture
August 14, 2017

Am I proud of my mother tongue? The answer is probably NO. A big NO. Why? Because I don’t have any! Technically, I do have one but till the time I got to know about that, I already had formed my own language and an accent as a bonus.

But I never realized it would become my biggest nightmare.

Let me tell you a fact – I am from Bihar and before your mind screams out loud, “Eeee Lagawe Lu Lipstick!”, you must know, I am not Bhojpuri. Apart from five well-known languages of Bihar, there is one more language which I ideally should speak – Bazzika.  But it’s a shame I don’t speak either.

You must have assumed that this guy supports Mr. Prime Minister’s Hindi Bachao Movement and only speaks Hindi. You are wrong again. I do support and respect that movement from my core of the heart, even though I feel that is unnecessary, but I am not a proud Hindi speaker as well.

Wha language do I speak then? Well, it is bit complicated.

I speak a mixture of different languages which have a deep and primary influence of Hindi including Bengali, Gujarati, Delhi-based-Hindi, Bumbaiyya Hindi, Kannada Hindi and a regional language of Bihar.

Sounds impossible, right? But this is true, as true as our existence.

So why the nightmare?

If you call a Bihari a Bihari, it is assumed that they will get angry. I was or should I say, I am one of those who wanted to be called Bihari.

Three years ago, I landed in Delhi for my graduation in mass communication. During my college orientation, when I told my seniors I am from Bihar, they gave me a shocked reaction, as if I am from Mars. Nobody believed me.

Their excuses were stupid: “Bro! You don’t look like a Bihari. You don’t have an accent like them. You speak English well!” 

It couldn’t have been worse, but soon I became a part of inside jokes, where my friends used to introduce me to other fellows and let them guess, where I belonged to. After their false guesses like – Jat (Haryana), Punjabi (Delhi), and so on… my friends used to shock them by the surprising answer – Bihari.

These incidents took me back to my memories of school time, when I faced similar issues. For a short period of time, I was suffering from an identity crisis. It took me a while to overcome it. You see, I belong to a gigantic joint family. Like almost every family of Bihar, my family members used to live in different cities.

There were a lot of kids.  During every vacation, or as per comforts, we used to meet. Now there is a thing called showing off or flaunting your uniqueness. When we were kids, even thought we belonged to the same family, we used to flaunt our linguistic diversity among others. I never got a chance to go out of Bihar but I got to hear different languages. More people, more languages, and sub-consciously, my brain started syncing them together to form a new and a different language.

And this is why I don’t have any mother tongue.  And why should I be proud of any language when it can lead to a war?

Language is a medium of communication; it should not become a barrier.