Talking about blasphemy in English, over dessert

Polite dinner conversation is light, fun and always in English. Got nothing to say? No worries - just use an accent!

Rita Skeeter January 16, 2011
If you wish to have a peaceful meal always avoid broaching subjects like the blasphemy laws at the dinner table. Be extra careful if steak has been served where sharp knives are at hand. In fact it is best to remain perfectly silent until dessert is served. Once knives are replaced by small, curved silver spoons you can go ahead and exercise your freedom of speech as per your kind pleasure. (You may want to ensure your body guard is around though.)

If you truly wish to remain a dominant member of the dinner-table chatter, always speak in English. Remember:

1. Use good vocabulary and correct grammar.

2. Keep the mood mellow and the discussion light-hearted.

3. Your winsome English accent must carry cute, syrupy little nothings.

4. Say heart-winning things about your country and its affairs.

5. Say that we must all become patriotic and must brace together to bring good to Pakistan.

Laud the sacrifices of your forefathers, Jinnah’s dream and the need to shirk away our slavish inclinations towards the West. Say all that. But say it in English - if possible in a graceful English accent.

Why English?

The last ignominy you want to impose upon yourself is the disgrace that results from the lack of proficiency in English. Therefore, in the very early minutes of any social encounter, you must cut at the root of any fatal suppositions of the like. Communicate in crisp, accented English.

If you work in a marketing/sales/ public relations capacity, remember to begin all your phone-calls and meetings with well-structured, impressive English sentences (rehearsed if needed). The benefits will manifest themselves in the happy figures of your company’s balance sheet and your boss’s frequent chai-samosa invitations. As an added bonus, your own desirability and social capital will soon witness the charms of the multiplier effect (the blessings of which have been quite forgotten by your economy.) I recently met a retired State Bank employee at a family gathering who illuminated me thus:
“Look, beta, no matter what you do, remember that your focus should never waver from perfecting your English. The use of this language has immense power. It can make or break your life. It can win you a better job, or a promotion within the current one.”

Smart people don't speak Urdu

The best way to cover up for a lack of wisdom is perhaps the use of impressive English. Regardless of whether your jabber means much or not, you are sure to qualify for a substantial level of consequence. If you happen to be handicapped by weak English, fret not. You can more or less accrue the same benefits by speaking poorly in Urdu.

Pay meticulous attention while messing up your ‘sheen qaafs’ and pretend to not understand any Urdu proverbs and shairs. In all certainty, your weak Urdu will be considered tantamount to strong English skills. You will appear educated, progressive and liberal.

Blame the British!

I say we’re not quite to blame. Well at least not entirely. The Gora Sahib disparaged Urdu and Persian. He regarded whole libraries of sub continental literary texts to be peanuts in face of English texts, and proceeded to enforce English as the national language.

The Indians adopted English as the language of prestige and power. The development did not just dismantle Indian identity in terms of culture; once the Indian began to speak English, he began to think in English. His opinions, morals, principles, and tastes were laced by his readings of English texts, which mostly extolled everything English and belittled everything Indian. Thus began a wave of a contagious inferiority complex that would go on to plague generations to come.

Urdu is not for cool people

It is disgusting to notice that the susceptibility prevails. It is considered a matter of great honor to expose ones knowledge of Greek tragedy and Shakespearean sonnets but there is  no emphasis on excellent works of Patras Bukhari and Ashfaq Ahmad. Mumtaz Mufti and Qurratul-Ain Haider are ruthlessly ignored while Edgar Allan Poe and Oscar Wilde are introduced as authors that absolutely must be read if one is to acquire a sound basis of intellect.

Rs5 for using the word "yaar"

The last nail in the coffin was the practice of penalising children for speaking Urdu in school.

Do our educationists realize that alienating children from Urdu does little to enlighten them?


Ahad Siddiqui | 13 years ago | Reply :)
Grace | 13 years ago | Reply Urdu is as foreign as English to many people in Pakistan. At least with English you can get a job abd better yourself with education. With Urdu you are very limited but you can hear a Bollywood song. Big deal. The sooner we adopt English the better! You are even writing your article in English which shows you understand this reality.
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