... and I am inundated with text messages on my cellphone, instant messages on chatware, eMail, eCards, snail-mailed cards, print ads, and billboards screaming out EID greetings. Yechhhh! I hate it! No, I am not referring to the Festival, but to what has happened to the spellings and usage of our words over years.
Some of you old enough to recall the period may remember that the Brits - and this may offer a clue to why it rhymes with Twits - decided to spell all our words any which way they wanted. Part of the arrogance of being rulers, I guess. Some clown among them started to call the festival "Id" and that became the de facto English spelling. Greeting cards, on both sides of the line of partition, until the late 50s, predominantly used this spelling, and, in India, many continue to do so, as a quick googling of "Id Festival" will show. The Hindu has a story today titled KALAM, MANMOHAN GREET PEOPLE ON ID.
Around 1947, some people decided that independence meant all old things had to be changed ... and added another D to the word. "Idd Mubarak" was soon seen on many cards and banners, as it still is. (Yes. You can google that, too). Eid, the more common (though equally painful and incorrect) form really seems to have caught on like a blaze after the UAE and Saudi Arabia opened up job markets and many people from India and Pakistan used the opportunity to establish new links with imaginary roots. Some day I'll write about that, too.
The correct form, IMNSHO, should simply be Eed. Here are 2 arguments:
1. Which form (among Id, Idd, Eid or Eed, ) will help a person, used to any Western language, pronounce the actual word more correctly?
2. If Seen + Aen + Yay + Daal = Saeed (please picture this in Urdu) then dropping Sa (Seen) would leave Eed. As a corollary, adding Seen to Aen-Yay-Daal would turn Eed to Sa+eed or Saeed
(I am certainly glad that the festival is not as commonly referred to as Eidé Saeid as it used to be.)
Since our contact with the Middle-East ... and our concerted efforts to move away from the cultural heritage of pre-partition India, seen as much in our text books as in the increasingly guttural sounds some of our newsreaders and comperes produce, our language and culture have slowly been undergoing changes that are often unnecessary, if not ludicrous: Ramzan has become Ramadan ... and will soon become Ramadhan (which, to be fair, is closer to the original than Ramadan).
I am told that this is so because that is the correct Arabic pronunciation. OK ... but the word had become part of Urdu, na? So why this going back? Does just pronouncing a few words in the original Arabic form make us holier?
Will we, in the immortal phrase coined by P G Wodehouse, go totus porcus and change Majeed Lahori's delightful character Ramzani's name to Ramadani. Will our 'dameer' allow this? I'll emigrate, I swear, if Farida Khanum ever sings Aaj Jaanay Ki 'Did' Naa Karo ...
Jokes aside, there are real reasons to worry. For example, when the parents of an unmarried girl are told that her 'mard' requires immediate treatment, they may kill her on the spot, withut understanding that the Doctor was a rather religious man and used the word correctly!
Another offshoot of this mindset, even more difficult to argue against because the supporting arguments from the other side emotively invoke Islam, is the insistence of a growing number of people that the correct form is Allah Hafiz ... and, that Khuda Hafiz must be done away with. Can't both forms co-exist, as they have done for years? At the end of my last flight from Islamabad to Karachi, I responded to a steward's Allah Hafiz with an instinctive Khuda Hafiz (entirely due to my almost 65-year-old habit). I was informed, in an unmistakable Liverpudlian accent, by a young person - sporting a beard that reminded me of an Edward Lear drawing - that this is a 'minor küfr'...
Unable to argue with Aalims Offline (Why do they always tend to be bigger built than I am?), and desperately wanting to be on the Right Side of something in my life, I am currently considering a petition to alter the offending line in our National Anthem to read " ... Saayaé Allahé Züljalaal". Letters of support may be emailed to me.
Duaaé Maghfirat for Hadrat Hafeez Jullandhari, who wrote the now sinful Anthem (and, as a concession to the minorities and immigrants, included "ka", the only non-Faarsi or non-Arabi word in it) may be offered in private, since his current address is not known.
Legend has it that Noel Coward, having been tortured all evening by an American visitor's constant pronunciation of Schedule ... "Skejule", as opposed to the British "Shedule" ... just could not take it any longer. He walked up to the visitor and said: I think, Sir, you are full of Schitt!
Labels: Activism, Events, Pakistan, Personal, Rant, Religion, Urdu, Yooñhee