By Prof. Dr. Satish Rohra
The two opposites 'advance' and 'retreat' are not dis-similar in meaning. It is because of the natural design and shape of the feet that whenever we try to walk in a natural state, we tend to go forward and therefore in other words when we talk of going back, we are, in the real sense, walking forward - the only difference being that of a change in direction. In fact, what we do is that after walking for long, we stop at a particular place, change our direction, take a turn backwards and again walk forward. That is why, on the surface level we might seem going back or taking an about turn, but in the real sense, it is a step ahead.
Let us look at the Sindhi language on the basis of this idea. In the olden days, all the members of the family used to talk in Sindhi and also ask their children to do so. Children, on the other hand, used to respond to their parents as well as others in the family in the Sindhi language.
Gradually, parents started using the Hindi language with others around them, for social reasons. The children also started following their footsteps, which made the elders take the help of many other languages also viz. Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Telgu both outside and at home. Then, they took another step ahead and strated using the English language in their daily conversation and their children again followed them religiously. Consequently, the less educated followed the highly educated ones and the rural masses followed the urban crowd. We advanced and marched forward and then stopped. Our Children followd us, not to stop where we were standing, but to get ahead of us and finally reach a place, which showed the sign of 'NO SINDHI'
Due to this, we have been put in a dilemma and being under serious threat, are screeching and calling them back, saying, "Please, come back. Don't go ahead. There's a danger to your identity there. Come back. Don't go ahead."
But while doing so, we tend to forget the natural disposition of man and the formation of his body, wherein his feet will take him only to the road lying ahead. That is, precisely what we are supposed to do-not go back or retreat, but change our direction and walk ahead. If we change our direction, take a U turn and start walking ahead, our children too will follow us on that path.
On my visit to America, a few months back, while having dinner with a Sindhi family, I asked the couple in Sindhi that why do they talk to their children in Hindi, and why not in their mother tongue? And that how will Hindi be of any use to them in America? The husband felt happy and with pride he looked at his wife saying to her in Hindi "Look, what dada has to say? Why don't you start talking to our children in Sindhi?" At which I urged, "Let both of you first start talking to each other in Sindhi and then ask your children to do so!"
It can be clearly stated that we want and demand from our children to come back, but are not ourselves ready to change our direction and walk forward. The need of the hour, today, is a sudden and prompt change in the direction and then treading the path ahead let that be known as 'going back' by onlookers!!