– Would you hold social media and conventional mainstream education system responsible for the lack of awareness about the endangered languages of Maharashtra?
Globalization is one of the big reasons for endangerment of local languages. After globalization I would say it is the influence of English which has deprived regional languages of its status. As a result of development and employment in urban areas, people are getting exposed to new languages constantly. All media outlets are reaching out to every household in India in mainstream languages which is again a huge concern for the languages which are at the verge of endangerment.
For instance, if you look at (the location of) Chandgad, you will find every household watching more and more of Hindi-oriented channels which previously did not exist, therefore the exposure towards Hindi has increased the danger of neglecting regional languages. Newspapers also play a very important role, and people get influenced by the widely spoken language.
– What could be the possible solution to a linguistic collapse like the one we are seeing in Maharashtra?
Nothing can really be a solution as changes in language are inevitable but we have to make sure the languages close to our culture and history are protected. They are valuable gifts and if they die, our culture dies. We will deviate from what our culture used to be about 200 years ago. These have been keenly encrypted and have to be preserved carefully. The need of the hour is the documentation of the languages which have a potential risk of endangerment.
– What would be your advice to this generation which is not regarding this as a potential cultural problem?
The present generation is plunging into various fields of work, by adopting new educational techniques, and these educational fields are so broad that 10 years down the line every profession will become a sector of specialization rather than a mainstream job, be it acting or journalism or even arts. It is always good to develop but it is never advisable to leave one’s culture behind.
– When did you feel the need to contribute in the survey of endangered languages of Maharashtra?
Dr. Ganesh from Gujarat in my circle started a survey on people’s languages and then one day, I got a call from Mr. Arun Jakhade enquiring about languages in my locality which are on the verge of extinction. I admitted that there were quite a few, and so I started working on them.
– It has been an honour to have you with us at HLF. Would you like to say something with regard to the organization of a festival like this?
HLF has organized a huge programme and this in a way promotes the languages, culture, and art of a specific location and spreads awareness about necessary topics like endangered languages of Maharashtra. The society, when exposed to events like this, will be more responsive to address such problems and if that happens, it will be a huge accomplishment.