What’s Correct? Who’s Correct? Who Decides?

I’m just back from a trip to India, which is always a soul-stirring, mind boggling kind of experience. I always return filled with questions, and certain of only one thing–how very little I know about anything that really matters.

In the realm of raising questions that matter, consider this film by student filmmakers Ankita Bhatkhande, Dinesh Kumar Mahapatra, Eleanor Almeida, Jamminlian Vualnam, and Shuaib Shafi. Students, I’m proud to say, of my school friend from the last century, Anjali Monteiro and her partner K.P. Jayasankar. Antar Bhaasha means “inner language.”

The language in question is Marathi but the class and caste divides brought to light in this film exist in many Indian languages. Class and regional differences exist, as we all know, in North America as well. Ask any indigenous person whose parents or grandparents endured a boarding school education. Ask someone from Appalachia about the assumptions commonly made regarding that region’s version of standard American English.

The movie raises all kinds of questions about correctness and privilege. In the end, the children’s voices mash together in a poignant call. What do we do to young minds when we tell them that the language they use is not worth speaking?