Changing culture through language.

Changing culture through language is more about ‘choice of words and strength of character’, than the dialect.

Language is more about ‘choice of words and strength of character’, than the dialect.

It was a casual discussion over ‘afternoon’ tea in ‘Faculty Room’ @Disha Edupoint, which gradually lead to realization of how our language affects our family, organisation, students, colleagues and most importantly, ourselves. I would like to start with the story/incident Rakesh, my colleague shared(on WhatsApp Group) with all of us by EOD. It goes like this, Two children climb over a tree while playing in the park. Their mothers rush to the place while a sudden breeze causes the tree branches to rustle. One of the women, cries out loud to her son, “Hey, you may fall down!”. While other woman chose to stay calm and said loudly to her son, ” Hold the branch firmly. Stay strong and be careful.”. The story continues with one of the children falling down and narrator trying to make a point… I will end the story right here. Because the point I want to make (and my belief) here will not change if the outcome is altered with other child or both of them falling down.

Is it just about the language or is it about the culture? ( We mistake our rituals for the culture? I am not talking about rituals). Our culture finds its way into how we talk and grows its roots stronger and deeper. The ones who realise this makes use of it to sell more and grow rich. Very few try it to change the ‘culture’ for collective good. But if we together make a conscious effort to uplift the standards of our thinking, we might boost our chance of better and brighter tomorrow. (Don’t rush to visualise overrated and dramatised outcomes.)

Let’s introspect our language and our ‘true culture’ by re-living some of our past experiences… and thinking, what amendments can we make if similar things happen again…

1) In the face of some unfortunate incident, what do we think first? We find someone to blame! Many a times, strangely, the one who suffers is at the receiving end of instant criticism. A person fails in business or any new venture. We rush to prove how we knew it from the start and try to convince how he shouldn’t have tried it in first place.

Why do certain linguistic/religious communities fail in business? Because, their culture and language have made them so.

We are culturally full of shit, naturally good at counting the faults and pathetically suck at nurturing good things. You will agree if you observe with keen ears and eyes. But if you observe long enough, you will realise how this language one hears, alters his culture. The young turk, who used to advocate the culture of possibilities, fall prey to the culture of ‘suffocation by loud exhibition of how caring we are’.

Let’s learn to forgive. Let’s learn to utter encouraging words. Let’s learn to accept that failures with smile. Let’s learn taking second, third, fourth…..chance, equipped with prior learnings.

2) How do we handle our success or failure? Do we accomodate our competitors in our celebration of victory? Do we appreciate others overcoming our own defeat? Do we realise that undermining fellow colleagues is not a way to raising ourselves?

Honest and clear exchange of ideas/views without breaking the communication channel is key to ‘winning culture’ at home and at office. Let’s be open to radical ideas. Let’s be open to positive criticism. Let’s help others win. Because, when your team rises, you (or your fellow) may rise even higher. Win-win for all.

Let’s learn to play non-zero sum game !

3) How can we stop discrimination based on the occupation? We need to realise, we need someone to do that job too which we consider lowest. Instead of judging the occupation and one who is doing it, how can we improve the working conditions and dignity in it? That is the question we need to ask and answer. Here, let me share an image I came across few days back.

Study and score good or else we will send you to keep herds !(अभ्यास कर. नापास झालास तर ढोरं राखाले जा.) This is the typical threat given to school going children in our neighborhood. Is keeping the herd so low of a livelihood? Now I find, even jobless guys are not ready to keep the herd causing decline in number of cows, buffaloes and resulting in downsizing of local milk industry.

Language and culture grows together. It can either help us or slap us hard. Depends on how careful we are when it is shaping up.

I can go on adding examples, but I think they are not important now. I trust your thinking and reasoning ability. The question is how can we develope our language and vocabulary (irrespective of our dilect), which will shape winning culture around us.

I am trying, not make any conclusive remark. The ball is in court of thoughtful readers. (Comment your views to push the thought forward and Share to more readers if you can connect.)