Culture has rightly been defined as the adaptation of ways of living built up by a group of human beings over the years and transmitted from one generation to another. Needless to mention that the social, cultural, and natural environment of local speakers influence the structures and development of the language of those speakers who by compulsion or due to some other reasons have shifted to some other lingual regions. The displacement, in addition to creating certain vital cultural glitches and obscurities, adversely affects the language that the ‘diaspora’ originally possessed.
Around 1990, Kashmiri Pandits who migrated from Kashmir and are of my age, can understand Kashmiri and even talk and converse in this language. I for one, can even read and write in this language. But, unfortunately my children cannot because they were born and brought up in an entirely different lingo-cultural environment. Though they might understand the meaning of some of the Kashmiri sentences/words, they find it difficult to speak them out.
As a matter of fact, a language thrives on the bulk of its native speakers and promising environment one has around. I spent most of my time in Hindi-speaking state like Rajasthan. Children, too, were born and brought up there only. My two daughters grew up speaking fluent Hindi amidst the Hindi oriented/dominated atmosphere around them. The younger one, who is now in the Maldives, always stood first in the Hindi debate-competitions during her college days.
I have experienced that whenever I went to Jammu/Kashmir to meet my people/ relatives etc. I would start speaking Kashmiri so fluently, while as when I was in South, I would start speaking English confidently and when I was back again to Rajasthan, I reverted to Hindi.
Its, perhaps, the environment and cultural situation that prompts, enriches, influences and stimulates one’s attitude and proficiency towards the language he chooses to speak in and the language-expanse he opts to live in.
Dr. Shiben Krishen Raina
Currently in Ajman (UAE)
Member, Hindi Salahkar Samiti,
Ministry of Law & Justice (Govt. of India)
Senior Fellow, Ministry of Culture (Govt. of India)
Dr. Raina's mini bio can be read here: