1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 English is great. God bless America. God bless the Queen and her kingdom. What would we do without our imperial masters giving us the great gift that is, the supreme language of human beings. English.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 I was born in Bangladesh. That land was colonized by the East India Company under the British monarchy. So the effect of language can be understood. The standard idea of literacy and the power relations regarding it is based on the typical western idea of knowledge and wisdom. And the power structures are in place to maintain that very well. I myself growing up was in part falling into that notion. Which is why I see the image clearly now that I think about it.  An example may make it easier to understand. In the art and literature and intellectual scene in Bangladesh someone would be considered something to notice if the person is an expert of say for example Joseph Conrad or Samuel Beckett or Oscar Wilde. But not if he or she was an expert on Shahidul Jahir(Bengali writer) or Lalon(Bengali philosopher/lyricist/theorist). And Rabindranath Tagore is big. The most important reason being I think is that he has a stamp from the west known as the Nobel Prize. Don’t get me wrong, I myself am not against this notion. If anything most of what I write or think or talk about are ideas that are strictly eurocentric(mainly postmodern). But what is interesting here is how that difference plays a role in power.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Which really sets me up in this light. English is not what I am against. Or French. Or any colonial language and legacy. I am an avid reader of short stories and poetry and novels written in English. My favorite short fiction writer Lydia Davis is an American(whatever that means!) writer. But I simply want to discuss the paradigm and the set of incidents that had to happen to almost forcefully insert the language English down the throats of the brown bastards from south Asia like me. A lot of the history of language and how we talk about language has been developed through the hegemony of the rulling class. And that involves power and boots being shoven down on people’s faces.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 I came to the states in 2016. And English here plays a totally different role. I’m not gonna get into it as I really haven’t quite gotten an image of how I want to talk about this. But I think I can share a story. My friend Carlos and her sister were growing up in New York City. During elementary school they were bullied in school by kids and even teachers because they didn’t speak English in their household as children. So their parents set up a rule in their household that no one will talk in Spanish. So it’ll be easier for Carlos and his sister to get used to English. His parents were first generation immigrants from Ecuador. And I often think about how it must have been for them to give up their language in their own household so their children wouldn’t have to be bullied or insulted.

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One Response to “English Motherfucker, do you speak it?”

  1.   Aidan M. Mohan said:

    Imran, I deeply admire your outright refusal to write anything that is not written in your voice to the utmost extent.

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