Why the Gujarati Language Is About Much More Than Communication

On why losing your mother tongue is like losing your culture and legacy, according to poet Tushar Shukla and positive journalist Ramesh Tanna. The eminent writers discuss how the language has helped them grow in their life and vocation, at The Culture Talk.

Ramesh Tanna, Tushar Shukla, The Culture Talk
(L to R) Tushar Shukla and Ramesh Tanna

While Gujaratis are famous around the world for their formidable business skills, according to positive journalist Ramesh Tanna, “If they start becoming disconnected from their mother tongue, they might lose the potential to do commerce with as much braveness.” Tanna believes that the Gujarati language is intimately tied with the native population’s personality and lifestyle. Poet Tushar Shukla added a cautionary note, however, “People who ask you not to learn English are stupid. One should learn as many languages as possible, but not at the cost of your mother tongue.”

At The Culture Talk organised by gujaraticulture.org at ScrapYard Theatre on May 25, Ramesh Tanna and Tushar Shukla spoke about how the Gujarati language has helped them grow in life and vocation. It was an evening full of chuckles for the audience as both the literature cognoscenti humorously discussed the condition of Gujarati literature today.

Senior Gujarati columnist and correspondent Ramesh Tanna has written more than 7000 positive stories so far. He connects Gujaratis in Australia with news from Gujarat by serving as editor at the international Gujarati news platform gujaratconnection-raa.com. Describing the personalities of Gujaratis, he said, “Our land possesses the calm and non-violent nature of Bapu, as well as the tenacity and bold personality of Sardar. We can’t afford to lose our roots and forget the Vishvajati Gujarati.”

Shukla described how the art of choosing the right words while writing or speaking has become his life’s work. A poet, former All India Radio personnel, and author of more than 30 books, he emphasised on the dialectic aspect of the language, “People from big cities might not be able to differentiate this well, but when one hears a person from Saurashtra speak Gujarati, although the words are exactly similar to the common Gujarati language, their parlance narrates his address.”

This was the third episode of The Culture Talk. Previous events have been graced by pundits from the creative industry like actor Subhash Brahmbhatt, humourist Jeetendra Thakkar, writer Rajendra Patel, literature personality Krishnakant Unadkat and artist Chaula Doshi.

Right till the conclusion of the evening’s discourse, every audience member had his chest swelling with pride. Giving power to the citizens, the two speakers of the evening turned them into exponents of Gujarati culture and language, through their rousing words.

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