Colonized minds: Are we English Pakistanis?

Published: October 31, 2011

My instructor handed me this paper which had Japanese translated in to Urdu - In Pakistan, we would have been given translations in English.

In front of me was the land I was dreaming of – my new home for five months. The aerial view of Tokyo gave me butterflies in my stomach.

I was there to study at the very prestigious Waseda University, but studies were the last thing on my mind. I thought there was much more to the trip than academics and I was proven correct as soon as I landed and was received by a group of university students.

We tried to communicate. I didn’t know Japanese and they didn’t know English (Urdu, was conveniently out of question). They told me I was the first Pakistani they were meeting. That’s when I realized that their perception of me will be the impression they form of Pakistanis in general.

I felt burdened with responsibility. I represented Pakistan.

It only took me the journey from the airport to my dormitory to form my first opinion of the Japanese. They are extremely helpful and kind. Even if they are running late and you stop them to ask directions they will make sure that you can reach your destination.

I could not speak or write Japanese when I arrived and felt handicapped. I could not read anything – street signs, restaurant menus or shop names. Even the English words were written in Katakana, a script Japanese use to write foreign words. I realized that to live in Japan, I would have to polish my Japanese speaking and reading skills. I also felt that my home university should have the Japanese language as an elective so that students could learn Japanese before coming to Japan in future.

Back home, I always propagated the use of our own language (be it Urdu, or one of the provincial or regional languages) but a few days in Tokyo made me a total pro on the subject.

In one of my classes, I met a girl from India, Lucknow. After getting to know I was a ‘Japanese Level 1’ student, she suggested a website which could be of immense help for me. The following is the mail I got from her later that day:

Dear Azeemi,

Here is the link for the Japanese lessons: http://www.nhk.or.jp/lesson/urdu/index.html. If you have a Mac, an iPod or aniTouch, they are also available as podcasts from the iTunes store.

Regards.

The website was in Urdu. She was clearly oblivious of the fact that as far as we have sites in English, we don’t need Urdu ones.

On another day I was extremely touched when in one of my Japanese classes, my instructor gave me a printed paper. It had text in Japanese and Urdu, as seen in the picture. I again wondered if he knew that when we are taught languages in Pakistan, most of the times, its taught in English. Never would I expect a language instructor in Pakistan to hand me anything like the paper he gave me.

Lets compare this scenario with what language/communication difficulties an exchange student to Pakistan might face. None – as long as they know how to speak in English.

One of my friends, an American who has been living in Pakistan for seven years, does not know how to read Urdu. I was shocked when I first discovered this fact. Baffled, I asked:

”Why don’t you know how to read Urdu? Why don’t you learn?”

”Is there a need?” was the question I got in reply.

And although I hate to admit, I had to agree with her. Who needs to learn how to read Urdu? Even the people at the lowest level of the social hierarchy say ‘thank you’ instead of ‘shukria‘, and use numerous English words in daily speech. They feel dominated if you converse in English with them.

If asked to speak in Urdu without employing a single word from English, many students of some elite universities and schools will miserably fail. Even worse is the fact that they will ‘laugh it off’. For them, apparently, speaking in English is related to having a higher self esteem.

How many times have people with fluent English not laughed at someone without the same proficiency level?

How many times have we not seen a person constantly struggling to converse in English?

How many of us have found ourselves talking to foreign visitors (British or American mainly) entirely in English instead of trying to teach them Urdu?

These behaviours denote much more than what we think they do.

They signify the ‘colonization of the mind’ – a concept many writers have talked about, in vain.

The ‘colonization of the mind’ theory was once more proved true by a friend here in Tokyo. I was called an ‘English Pakistani’ once he saw the wall posts on Facebook by my Pakistani friends, all of which were of course in English.

I hated to be called that. I was deeply ashamed that I, a Pakistani patriot, was not recognized for her true identity but had become accustomed to living in a borrowed one – English.

Why are we English Pakistanis?

I want to be a Pakistani. Just a Pakistani. We may know English, as the British may know French, but that shouldn’t make us English Pakistanis just as it doesn’t make the British French British.

Kanza Azeemi

Kanza Azeemi

An exchange student in Waseda University, Tokyo, studying Liberal Arts and teaching English. She is interested in social development specifically in the education sector.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Modazul

    GREAT ARTICLE. I live in Dubai and I have Arab friends. They are always ALWAYS talking in Arabic!!! Even when I’m around they talk amongst themselves in Arabic!!! Only when they talk to a non Arab they talk in English. They r so proud of themselves. Only Pakistanis and Indians talk in English all the time. They rarely speak in Hindi or Urdu. Sad factRecommend

  • faraz

    When Pakistan got independence, only 4 percent spoke Urdu. And Bengal language movement erupted when Urdu was imposed as national language, the Bengal language movement later morphed into Bengal nationalist movement. People belonging to the rural and semi-urban areas i.e. about 70 % of Pakistan don’t speak Urdu. And unlike Japanese or English, there is no knowledge in Urdu. We don’t have the capacity to translate millions of books from other languages in Urdu. So the only practical option is that students be taught English along with their local language. Its sheer hypocrisy that elites send their children abroad for education, and when it comes to local poor kids, they are suddenly reminded of their so called identity. Urdu medium education is a tool to keep poor people disenfranchised under the garb of culture and identity.Recommend

  • Qasim

    Wawo ! you lady, written this article in favor of Urdu unknowingly that this is an English newspaper. You must have written article in some other Urdu news paper…… And Yes, you,I and We are English Pakistanis of course our Official language English differs us from originated term of Pakistani.. Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli,

    Pakistan National language is Urdu Official lang is English (American) House langs are sindhi, balochis, punjabi, pushto, Hindko, saryaki, Gujrathis, barohis, shina, balthis, gujri
    and then persian and arabic also its like america choo choo ka muraba. we say in hindko
    Sanjha Mansehra…Recommend

  • Suhana

    English is a global language. It has nothing to do with the British. Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/mraliahmad Ali Ahmad

    @faraz:

    I really like to disagree with you but unfortunately, you’re right Recommend

  • Jia

    hats off to you for writing such an interesting article because this is exactly what I’ve experienced and still experiencing from the last 7 years I’ve spent in Belgium.Many of them don’t know English and I don’t know French.And sometimes even if they know English they will never communicate with you in English because they simply don’t like it.All they want from you is to learn their language to live in their land,otherwise just leave! One feels totally handicapped…So that makes us ‘Useless English Pakistanis’ who don’t have any identity of their own! All we know as a nation is to become more westernised to be called ‘Liberal/Modern’ and overall we’re not genuine people,this is what makes us totally ‘FAKE’Recommend

  • Umar Farooq Khawaja

    I wouldn’t say that Urdu medium education is a tool to keep poor people disenfranchised under the garb of culture and identity, but yes, the net effect is the same, despite there not being any intent to achieve this effect.

    Good point raised by faraz.Recommend

  • Bob the Builder

    Pakistan is heterogeneous country,there are many ethnic groups here and many languages are spoken here,Urdu is only the first language of 4-12% of the population.

    Japan on the other hand is a homogeneous nation,they only have one ethnic group,and speak only one language,also Japan was never a British colony or a colony of another country,that’s why they managed to retain their language.

    Pakistan is a Mosaic of Cultures much like Canada,where people retain their traditions,and English is increasingly being used as the ‘Lingua Franca’ here.

    We should embrace our Anglo influence,and accept English as the National language.

    Pakistan can be as powerful as the United States if we accept the fact that we are an ethnically diverse country.

    P.S I believe Urdu is a great language and it should preserved,but to expect every Pakistani to speak Urdu is unfair,also English is as much as our language as Urdu is.Recommend

  • Jay

    Hi – nice article! I felt the same way when I was in Tokyo early this year for a couple of months – a bit lost. Of course, I wasnt there to study, and that reduces the interaction levels even further (you learn languages a lot easier as a student because you interact with the native speakers much more and need to know their language if you want to make friends. In a business setting everyone is willing to adjust and find the lowest common denominator – which is always English). But the reason for this post is (1) to tell you that we – Indians, Pakistanis have far greater cultural diversity even amongst ourselves than Arabs, Japanese, Chinese etc. So English plays to role of bringing us closer to one another. If you forced people in the South of India to speak in Hindi, Bangalore would be a pretty lousy place. Same goes for Karachi and Lahore I am sure. (2) Do not look at English as a foreign language – there are more English speakers on the sub-continent than in Europe! We make our own rules, and just as you mentioned that one finds it difficult to speak in perfect Urdu, I am sure its the same with English as well. Don’t ignore your own languages (I speak a few – Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, apart from French), but do not deny the positive impact that English has on our lives – in the context of the sub-continent. All the best!Recommend

  • http://awaaragard.wordpress.com/ Lala Jie

    Well… I like your idea. do have a look at my Urdu blog. We have hundreds of Pakistanis blogging in English … I do not know whom they are talking to … because most of Pakistanis cannot understand them.

    http://awaaragard.wordpress.com/Recommend

  • Nero

    Well, Urdu is not THE LANGUAGE of Pakistan. Most Pakistanis have a mother tongue other than Urdu. Urdu is a colonial language for Pakistanis.The reason why Japanese or French, etc speak their own languages is that they are ethnic states defined by common language and culture. India and Pakistan are not ethnic states. There is no single language that is the mother tongue of majority of people. Therefore, we speak a link language that links us to each other (in the country) and also with the outside world.Recommend

  • Cynical

    I pray for Japan and it’s people.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Complex subject with no easy answer. @faraz’s comment is an excellent attempt.Recommend

  • Bangladeshi

    It is definetely a great article but i would disagree with the writer in that, that the problem is not colonial mindset but it is inferiority complex that S.asians and mostly Pakis & Bangladeshis suffer from. The sad truth is that muslim in general suffer from this curse. Take BD for example, we fought for the language movement in 1952 but now all the exams in both PV & Public Universities are in english and this is because there is no other choice as kids are made to learn ENG rather than orthodox bengali and this gives us poor vocabulary on our mother tongue. I call those people hypocrities who cry for the language in FEB21 but rant in their version of ENG throughout the whole year even if they don’t know what they are saying. I think muslims should respect their own mother tongue which is actually a gift from Allah(swt) and I think making fun of people who can’t speak a ENG equals to being a arrogant and ignorant sinner.Recommend

  • Ram Bharose Singh

    In India, English is link language as only about 40% have Hindi as mother-tongue. And even the 40 % who supposedly speak Hindi can be divided into Haryanvi, Rajasthani, Marwari, Mewari, Khari Boli, Purbia, Maithili, Bundeli, Chhatisgarhi, etc. For other 60% of Indians, whose mother-tongue is not Hindi, they are required to study (read/write) Hindi in High School (except in Tamil Nadu). And everyone has to learn some English also. For Indians there is no shame in not knowing Hindi. English language not only provides a better medium to communicate with other Indians but also enables them to communicate internationally.Recommend

  • Ali Shah

    I disagree with the writer. It is very natural for Pakistanis to be this way, and I dont blame them. I think most people miss out a few very important points on this matter. 1) Pakistan was a british colony; japan wasn’t. 2) Pakistan is an ideological state, as opposed to a nationalistic state. Hence, many ethnicities co-exist, so English being most popular, added with the british history, english is natural. 3) Urdu is mother tongue to only 8% of Pakistanis; others know it only because of school, as is the case with english. Therefore, a sindhi speaker and a pashto speaker, if educated, are better at english than in urdu, since they have to deal a lot more with english, than urdu. 4) no offence to punjabis, but all ethnic groups of pakistan speak in thier provincial/local language with each other, except punjabis (although this is the case in cities only). Two stranger punjabis meet and speak in urdu; two stranger sindhis meet and speak in sindhi. There appears to be an inferiority complex in punjabis as well. 5) If punjab was a country, where everyone spoke punjabi, as would be the case with sindhi/balochi, the language would have been much stronger.Recommend

  • Haider

    As someone else said English is the global language, so I see no reason to be ‘ashamed’ to speak it.

    Fluency in English = Better job prospects.

    Also, Japan’s case is completely different. It was never colonized and is an incredibly developed and self-sufficient country, but we Pakistanis need English.Recommend

  • The Japani

    Dear Kanza,

    I have been in Japan for the past four years, if you have problems communicating I can help you with some learning material which might help you go through these times.

    I understand what you are going through since it was the same for me when I first came here. Let me know if you need any help, it will feel good helping out another fellow Pakistani in this strange countryRecommend

  • zalim singh

    @ Kanza Azzemi, what is wrong with english. I am a Indian. I can speak four languages. But prefer english. It does not mean I do not like Hindi, telugu, Kannad etc. English should be compulsary for every kid from LKG onwards in India and Pakistan. Urdu and Hindi etc will be learnt automatically. It is mother tounge.Recommend

  • hassan

    Happy to note that you are the first Pakistani the Japanese are meeting.

    So, to be a good ambassador of Pakistan, you should start doing moderate Tableeghi work among your classmates, along with the girl from Lucknow. I am sure she is Muslim too.

    You should also distribute books like ‘Science in Islam’, ‘Rights of women in Islam’, ‘Miracles of Islam’, ‘Islam means Peace’ etc. Since most people have misconceptions about Islam, as a Pakistani, you have a duty to spread the beautiful message.

    You can also talk about Pakistan’s unique geographical advantage and our ancient civilization. May Allah Guide You !Recommend

  • Muhammad Zeb

    Dear Kanza,

    First of all, I would like to say, I appreciate your new love for Urdu. You started to feel this way after having a short trip to Japan. Have you ever felt the same while living or getting your education in Pakistan? I guess the answer would be “No”. It, then, follows from your answer that Learning and Speaking English is justified in the context of Pakistan. You are now looking the events in the context of your experience in Japan. Replace Japan with some other country like America, Canada, England or Australia, would the latter produce the same feeling your are currently having? The answer, I hope, is again a big “No”. The number of Pakistanis living in these countries is far greater than living and visiting Japan. They would definitely vote in favor of English. I would conclude against your arguments/feelings and would just say that do not feel sorry for what you or the rest of Pakistan has been doing so far as things would seem right or wrong depending on the context you are having. A short trip to Japan, at least, does not justify getting well educated in Urdu for the whole country. Recommend

  • Ali Jafri

    Iqbal once said, “Eik Walvala-e Noe Diya Diloen Koe Mei Nay
    Lahore say Bukhara Ta Khak-e Samar Qand
    Magar Eie Khuda Uss Sar Zameen Pay Tuwalad Kee Mei Nay
    Jiss Kay Loag Hei Ghulamee Pay Raza Mand ……. ”

    English has become imperative in this global village; however, not a genuine need of Pakistani.

    Indians or Pakistanis Ghulamee keee bad tareen missaaal qaim kar rahay hein, and they will not prosper until or unless they excel in their native language(s).

    Urdu is the language in which we should dream — PERIOD!Recommend

  • Imran

    good now join jang groupRecommend

  • Mm

    such an important topic you shed light on. this is something you experience when not in Pakistan. I live in Canada which is officially a multicultural society and here no matter how fluent you are in English everyone prefers to talk in their mother tongue in their own social circle except Pakistanis (and Indians to some extent). Even the kids who are born and raised here know how to read and speak their native languages.. Recommend

  • Salman Sheikh

    Urdu is the English of Pakistan and India for most of the people in the subcontinent understand it but most of them cannot speak. As you have all noticed that Bollywood Movies and Songs have dialogues and lyrics in Urdu (Indians calls it Hindi). So Urdu is alive and adapting global changes from other languages in it.Recommend

  • myja

    There is a more derogatory term used by the native english speaking or europeans for people like us which is “coconuts’ or ‘bananas’ referring to the fact that we are brown outside and White inside….so thats the fact of life we have to sleep with it.Recommend

  • Zaki Shah

    @muhammad zeb
    i totally disagree with you! i guess you have never been to a foreign. Replace Japan with Spain, France, Germany, China or even Iran or Afghanistan. The writer’s view is absolutely corrent and relevant. Recommend

  • Fahad

    Good Work kanza … Liked your view point !!!Recommend

  • Sikandar Ali

    Quite optimistically written piece of articulation..
    Miss Azeemi- Bystanding the fact, that we havent yet came out of double yoke imposed by English masters a few decades back, still suffering from deep rooted intimidation of their supermacy, which is making us inject their given rules and regulations as our cultural norms...
    It is
    nt only language we are bothering on, there are many more things which are descriminating us against our own civilization and dragging us to a drastic difference from our own working masses.. As a matter of fact, contrarily of India, fortunately or Mis-fortunately would say Pakistan is quite rich in Customs and cultures. We have tribal,libral and religious forces on this ground and they have formed a sensitive and sometime complex mechanism of dealing with the affairs.. In most of the Areas of Pakistan, people are following Grand tribal systems, dealing their everyday affairs through a band of feudals or sardars, on other hand some religious people want Sharia to be implimented while some are wanting to remain libral and free in their norms ettiquates... As a Psychological theology NoOne is wrong, every group should have been grantled freedom of thought for an extent, and should flourishment their idealogy to let their nominated parliamnet work upon, Because Law should be raise from people not from some other world...
    Now what
    s happening in Pakistan is quite dejecting, while we 1st of all are declearing a foreign language as our official Language, even our courts are understanding and speaking only English, which means if Any of common pakistani is needing Justice, he must have achived such status in Spoken English.. Our prestigious intitutes through our Armed forced to Parliaments are attentive enough toward supermacy of Alien Demi-Lords..
    Infact what we are doing in this country is quite obvious, which is we are not seeming to be ready to judge our ground deeds and demands, “Simply pakistan should have been implimented it`s own set of Culture and civilization”… Recommend

  • Baba ji

    My dear friends it is imperative, for our nation, to learn English for progress in the modern world … please dont be fooled by lame excuses that Japanese, German and French progressed without learning English ….Recommend

  • Laila

    You delight me with your words, Miss Azeemi. Recommend

  • Yasir Dewan Bhutta

    hum sub uss jaga rehh rahay hain jahan parents bachoun ko urdu aur punjabi bolnay pae dantataay hain, angraizi bolnay aur rehnay pae log fakher aur elite mehsoos kartay hain :)Recommend

  • Abid

    I like the views of the writer. The term ‘colonized mindset’ she used is aslo very much appropriate for us. Its not ‘Inferiority complex’ as suggested by a commentator named ‘bangladeshi’.

    . Recommend

  • asf

    asdfadsfadsfRecommend

  • yasir Dewan Bhutta

    yeah kinddaaa right. but this article was kind of related to attitudes in elite class and elite university like ours LUMS or Nust etc.
    In middle, lower middle class that doesn’t send or can’t afford to send their children to lgs, kgs or beaconhouse; urdu or other local languages is what they teach and communicate in.
    Its only when your economic class changes to elite or you are already in that circle, you start seeing and adopting this attitude. Basically speaking english or adopting the lifestyle and attitudes being discussed are considered as the dividing lines between elite and so called middle/lower class.
    Yeahhh right, attitudes need to reconsidered.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli,

    @ Ali Jafri,
    Very well said it ,…Iqbal ka jawab nahi..Recommend

  • Raja Islam

    I don’t see a problem with several educated individuals being well versed in the English language. The mother tongue of the majority of Pakistanis is not Urdu and in fact it is only 3-5% of the population that is technically Urdu speaking. I believe that English should be emphasized in a greater way so that under privileged children can compete fairly and not be part of a second tier in terms of education.Recommend

  • Arim

    My friends from Jordan, who are studying in our class as foreign candidates, converse in Arabic. When once I asked them that why they talk to each other in Arabic even when we are around them or when we are group-studying. They said that it is a disgrace to speak to an Arab in language other than Arab.Recommend

  • Amjad

    @Arim: If you are so easily impressed by the worlds of Arabs, try instead to see their deeds. Very soon you will understand why Arabs are so disliked in Western nations. Whatever display of false pride you may have seen in an Arab matters little when they are ridiculed for their behaviour in the West. I live in the US and I can tell you that Arabs are the most disliked Muslim people followed by Iranians. Pakistanis by contrast have one great advanatage, we speak English comfortably in a modern world where English is the only lingua franca of importance. Why should we adopt more Urdu which is only useful to watch Urdu/ Hindi movies when most Pakistanis are born speaking one of the many native languages of the nation like Pashtu, Punjabi, Baluchi or Sindi. Urdu has limited importance. I say we should use our advantage to communicate in English and make all schools English medium in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Khan

    @Azeemi:
    I think its time we stop arguing about this language phenomenon … We needed Urdu because we have different ethnic and lingual groups and thus Urdu seemed a better choice so every one could speak and understand each other but the world has moved on .. We know live in a global village .. where one need a language on bigger level that is understood and spoken by majority of the population thus one should emphasize on learning English.
    Besides I don’t get your point of saying English Pakistani? Its same as mixing religion with government. Language is medium of communication not a sole source of identity. My mother tongue is Pashto that doesn’t make me Pashto Pakistani.
    BTW we can see the influence of Japan from your dp lol.
    @Arim:
    But it was rude and against the manners to speak in a language in front of you that you didn’t understand. Recommend

  • Foha

    Even though this blog has a point but apparently the blogger conveyed it still using English.Recommend

  • -ive man

    In Lahore that should be Punjabi.. Roamanized of course

    http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/11/judging-foul-language/Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    @Arim
    Every body in the world is proud of there roots and language but only india and pakistan peoples are the one only who proud to speak in English what a slave mind they got shooo
    and by the way i agreed what u said and second thing in European union every country
    have diffrent lang and proud to speak in there lang french, german, greek, turk, spainish
    and by the i dont shame to talk in my mother tongue Hinko front of any one…
    and arabs are proud and they should be they got great lang and lang of prophet Mohammad peace be upon him and his family.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    One time one saudi in Medina e Nabi asked me how many lang u guys have in pakistan
    they says Bakistan in arabic because there is no P in arabic i said to him six or seven
    he told me u khumar hindis……..Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    Colonized mind from arayn to Mughals to english to black english minds slaves….Recommend

  • Dr.jobless

    Nothing wrong with being an English Pakistani, eh?
    Better then being an out and out urdu-medium. Recommend

  • Sindhi Pakistani..

    Everybody is haveing so much to say, as its very controversial issue we are comming accross. As a civilizational factor language counts alot in each and every society arround the globe and possesses its own value regarding the socio-cultural aspects..
    What so ever we would be concieving English,either a tool or grace or defamation for ourselves of making us slaves, it isnt anything just a code of conduct, haveing importance because alot of research work and modesty has been done in this language. Once same circumstances had been enrolling with Arabic,Persian and Hebrew..Must say language doesnt create slaves or kings.. It proceeds if we speakers give it an importance and make it prestigious enough by our deeds and Morals….Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    @ Dr Jobless;
    Being english medium and still jobless being shame shame,.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    @ Sndi Pakistani,
    So what about other countries they doing research in there own lang are they not aware of
    this or just being racist on lang or may be our Ali garh Shurfah dont want it.Recommend

  • Haider

    @ Ali Tanoli:

    I think you might want to improve your English first. Recommend

  • Dr.jobless

    LOL.. Thankyou Haider.

    Ali Tanoli.. Dude, if being english-medium can secure you a job, the firangis must be having some hell of a time there, no?
    And i’d be disrespecting myself by telling you why i’m not working. That’s so not your problem. Avoid personal attacks and stick, STICK to the topic. Recommend

  • malik

    This is what I practise:

    1.) To communicate ideas and to talk with colleagues : English
    2.) To speak with intimate ones : Urdu
    3.) For abusing someone: PunjabiRecommend

  • huss

    heard of AKB48 yet?

    if not, you will :)Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    I think when syed ahmed khan of Arlgarh adopted english may be he was thinking that all
    the jobs are hindus getting away and indian muslims were far behind from official jobs &
    after partition in pakistan those english speakers aligarhis made us slave the way they were
    hindus slaves in beck home…Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    @Dr Jobless,
    Doctor sahab what happend to u first u start it this war and now blaming me for? and please i have deep heart respect for u may god help u and solve your problems amin.Recommend

  • Noorulain Azeemi

    Kanza baji i really appreciate your article.This is really true that we Pakistanis are no more Pakistanis.I am very proud to be a Pakistani.You have written your article on a very nice topic and the article is also very sophisticated.”BEST OF LUCK FOR YOUR STUDIES”.W’ll miss you allot on bakra eid and we miss you on every event.Love you and take care of your self.Recommend

  • rex minor

    Why do pakistanis make everything complicated? You have urdu as a lingua franca in Pakistan and in europe we have english as a lingua franca, particularly in commerce, since;

    a, anglo saxons are usualy not very good at learning languages,

    b) most Europeans learn in school atleast one other language besides their own..

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Off the point

    My mother tongue is Hindi but I have been exposed to a lot of Urdu from the media. It’s so beautiful and even more sweet on the ears than Bengali. It is definitely the language of romance (even though i don’t understand most of it). Speaking in fluent english might give you confidence and a good job but to express your deepest feelings i feel there is no language as beautiful as urdu. Recommend

  • Off the point

    @hassan: Just out of curiosity, what makes you “sure” that girl from Lucknow (mentioned in the article) is a Muslim? I have never heard such a generalization about my city before. Lucknow is a multicultural city, it has equal number of hindus and muslims and also other minorities like christians and many immigrant communities. It is as diverse and upcoming as rest of India. Hence for your information it is not dominated any one community only but a melting pot of many cultures.Recommend

  • dcomp

    first the lady should know about where you are born and it’s history….Germany,japan,china etc, who use vernacular language for their academics,research….all of them had their own tools(industries) and means to survive when they become independent entities, where as India and other south Asian countries does not have that liberty….let’s take India, it has 30 official languages,most of the south India doesn’t know Hindi and they don’t have to….same applies for entire south Asia….on comments section somebody said Arabs speaking Arabic…let me enlighten you, when humankind finds an alternative for oil you would be surprised to see how many Arabs can actually speak English… Recommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    Good article. I wholeheartedly agree to your analysis. Not only this, but if you happen to say Salam to someone, you oftentimes get the cold reply “hi” or “hello” which is offensive. I remember having some Russian delegates who came to my work place and as I said “hello” to the man, he replied “asalamoalikum”. This was really embarrassing and thought-provoking.
    However, not many would agree with you as they have grown up to see their moms talking to chowkidaars, dukandaars and waiters in (wrong) English. The “beta shake hand karlo aunty se” mindset prevails and would continue to do so. Recommend

  • Lobster

    Learning English is one thing, considering Urdu speaking person inferior is another. We must learn English but communicate in our language if its not necessary. Recommend

  • Sajida

    Students could learn English and native language.
    One should keep in mind that major countries (US/UK) where English is spoken is spoken are on road to permanent decline. The reason is that both with be led by the minority populations who are in schools that are so bad, they cannot graduate high school let alone go further. This means their income potential is extremely limited.
    In America’s case time to change is before the future dominant population starts school, which is a few years time since the babies are already in the cradle right now. Time has basically run out;as there is no way America make nationwide changes to reverse this problem. Once the children start school the dye is cast.Here s a lesson for developing countries,:you must keep up with changing demographics; or else you will become its victim.Recommend

  • Dante

    Ahhhh I just love Japan. I wish I can visit it sometime in my lifetime.Recommend