Mohan (मोहन), Rama (रमा) and Anita (अनीता) were discussing something important. Mohan could speak Tamil and English, Rama was proficient in Hindi and English, and Anita could speak Tamil, Hindi and English. Anita was of very helpful nature so in that group of three she spoke Tamil while talking to Mohan and used Hindi while talking to Rama. But was that really helpful or stupid? What do you think?
Consider another example - Krishna worked as an auditor in some company and his job included visiting several locations for audit purpose. He was from Madhya Pradesh and was good in speaking Hindi and English. His subordinate Raul was from Kerala and could speak Kannada, English, Hindi and Malayalam.
Krishna was asked to train his subordinate on auditing so he took Raul with him to Bangalore for the audit. As soon as Krishna introduced Raul to the clients, Raul started talking in Kannada. For the formal discussions it was okay but when Raul continued the business discussions in Kannada, then Krishna had to strongly intervene. Since Krishna was the senior auditor, all agreed to discussing in English and it continued in English from thereon.
But that doesn’t happen always. In general discussions the multilingual people would always benefit but those who know only one or two languages have to wait for their turn as to when their language would come and they get a chance to listen or speak.
Unfortunately, I have been part of such discussions many a times and it does not feel good always. When I start a discussion in English, suddenly the multilingual will jump in with the local language. Everyone loves his language and the discussion will begin in local language. The multilingual will have some pity on those who don’t understand the discussion and act as translator for us at regular intervals. This was when the discussion started in a common language – English.
To know many languages is good but it should not be done to isolate someone or to gain special status or importance in a group by talking in different languages to different people in the same group when all can speak in one common language!
लाभस्तेषां जयस्तेषां कुतस्तेषां पराजयः I येषामिन्दीवरश्यामो हृदयस्थो जनार्दनः II