During English Premier League season, a simple scroll down my Facebook homepage used to give me a vivid idea about the outcomes of the matches along with my friends' perspectives on them. However this year, these informative statuses were overshadowed by angry statuses of fans demanding to know what in the world they are supposed to deduce from “a ballebaaz” striker.
Most people would agree that India completely overshadows the “South Asian” identity. I know I'm not the only one who is assumed to be “Indian” at first glance by our non-South Asian friends. But when Jay Chaikin suddenly sounds like Ajay Devgan, you know a line has been crossed.
“I don't want Abhishek Bachchan's thoughts on a Champions League match,” says Rumman, a traumatised football fan, who knows that the commentary of a match is half the fun. Proper match commentators give you insightful analysis of the game. Not only do they explain the action taking place on the field, they also put in tactical opinions on specifics such as the player's form, the team's strategy and so forth. That being replaced by “kya behterin goal thaa Ashley Young ka!” on a day that Ashley Young didn't even play (I kid you not), is outrageous.
“I have to stream matches online and given the internet speed, it's not a pleasant experience,” says another disgruntled fan, Zahin Juvi.
For those of you who had hoped your kids would be learning amazing factoids about science if you left them in front of the National Geographic may be surprised to find your child calling out to “titliyaa”(butterflies) and “chamgidaar”(bats), now the NatGeo's being dubbed in Hindi as well.
“I remember how my sister and I would sit for hours in front of the television watching Cartoon Network and as a result, we would end up speaking like the cartoon characters. I have to say, the only reason I did well in English is because I would be glued to the television for hours and all the shows I watched were in English,” says Sadman Rahman, a student of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities now.
But now if you allow your child to be glued to the TV for hours, all you'll end up with is a whole lot of knowledge about Hindi phrases and a very strong Indian accent. In a country like Bangladesh, where most people are not well versed in English, we should focus on making English more accessible rather than mark it out as an alien language. While English is a prerequisite to being part of today's globalised world, Hindi can be something that an interested person learns in his/her own time.
The point is to keep the shows as they are originally. And if dubbing is to be made acceptable, I'd rather have the dubbing done in my own mother-tongue. “Kyuki Saas Bhi Kaabhi Bahu Thi” has done enough damage.
I am not a doomsdayer, but the situation at hand makes me sure that before we know it, the children will be running around making references to the Hindi/French/Korean versions of our favourite catch phrases, and slowly this entire country will be buzzing with foreign accents, like a modern day Tower of Babel. Oh someone stop this madness, please.