By Prof. Dr. Satish Rohra
Nowadays, whenever and wherever the issue of talking in the Sindhi language is discussed, majority of the Sindhis claim that in spite of trying our level best we are not able to convince our children to talk in Sindhi. We make them understand the importance and inevitability of the language, but they are not ready to listen to us!
On the surface level, it seems their complaints are justifiable. But on the deeper level, it is futile as well as unjust to blame our children.
In fact, today, majority of the parents neither talk to their children in Sindhi nor do they themselves encourage them to talk with others. And it is precisely, for this reason i.e. in order to hide their narrow mindedness towards the language, that they easily lay the blame on their children. Parents, especially the literate parents, hold this belief because they think that by making Sindhi a part and parcel of their lives, their children will lose command over the Hindi and English languages; the(dis) credit of which goes to the English medium schools and the English teachers.
According to the theory of linguistics, a human being acquires his mother tongue in his early years, even without a formal training; and it is the use of his first language (L1) or mother tongue, which facilitates his use of other languages too. Therefore if the parents take an initiative and start talking to their children in Sindhi from a very young age, they will not have to grumble or grudge about it and the children will, on their own, understand the inevitability of the language.
In today’s competitive world, the youth neither has the time nor the inclination to learn a language and since they are preoccupied with their studies and career they neither get proper guidance nor any opportunity.
Therefore parents need to adopt a practical approach. It is not too late yet. Even if parents start talking to their children in Sindhi, form this day onwards, and make amends by even passing this on to their grand children, they can do the greatest favor to our community.
All of us need to remember that our language is not a skill or an art which needs to be learnt formally and then used in our daily routine. Though the fact that teaching Sindhi in schools formally is a life saving device acting like an emergency oxygen cylinder for the society, is also true, but we should not forget that language is a natural phenomena and a child learns it very naturally and easily right from the time he is in his mother’s womb to being fed by her to blabbering in his infant years.
The Sindhi language should be saved and preserved for the future generation not by teaching it in the classrooms but only when a mother starts whispering in her new born baby’s ears while feeding him.