The power of character
It is through character that we develop qualities like persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit, self-confidence, thoroughness, self-organisation, and deliberation, all of which are necessary for achieving our life’s goals. But building character is not easy; it can only be developed by a process of encountering and overcoming challenges. Today many children from affluent families, whose childhood and teenage are financed and regulated by their parents, miss the chance of experiencing real failure; they don’t know how to struggle against adversity and so they are unable to build their character.
Children from poor backgrounds, face no dearth of challenges. They are plagued with shortage of food, medical care; in many cases, the early days of their life is spent in dysfunctional schools and neighbourhoods. They have little outside support to help them in turning these omnipresent obstacles into character-enhancing triumphs. In most cases, they fail to overcome the myriad problems in their life and there is nothing to break their fall as they sink deeper and deeper into the nadir of adversity. Both the extremes of childhood are bad for character building.
However, most middle class people do not face the kind of challenges that the affluent and the poor people face. If there are challenges, the middle class background offers some opportunities for overcoming them. When it comes to dealing with crisis, people respond in different ways. Some of us might want to impulsively go with our gut feeling, while others may want to talk things over with their friends, colleagues, or families. Whatever be the path that you have chosen to deal with any crisis, the decisions you take and their outcomes will form the basis of your character.
There can come in life situations, where you have to take tough ethical decisions. An ethical decision is something that will have you taking a stand between two options, one that you know to be right and the second, which according to your own sense of morality, can be wrong. A defining moment can be the one where you will have to make the momentous decision, your self-interest might be at stake in a big way and you would have to choose between two or more ideals. Even the best of people can make errors of judgement. It is your character that will enable you to make the ethical choice, which might also be in your long-term interests.
It is the nature of life to continuously test us through new challenges. Whether you will live up to your personal ideals or only pay them lip service while dealing with these challenges will depend on your sense of character.
While browsing the Internet you often come across content that you would like to store for later review, but if you use the “Save As” option that most browsers come with, you are likely to end up with an unwieldy collection of files or more content than you needed, depending on the browser and method used to save the page. Even if it is just a paragraph that you want to print, you might end up downloading lot of unnecessary images and other data.
If you are using Google Chrome, you can have access to a number of extensions that will allow you to edit the pages before saving or printing and do much else.
This extension can prove to be incredibly handy if you tend to save lot of pages from the web. Once you install the extension, you will have the Cleansave icon in the list of menu items on Google Chrome. An editor capable of changing font size, removing images and adding notes will appear as soon as you click on the Cleansave icon. You can even use the tool to delete images and paragraphs. Once you have the material ready in a format that is as per your requirements you can save it as PDF, email it or send it to Google Docs or Dropbox.
CleanPrint, another extension for Google Chrome, enables you to save paper, ink and money when printing from the web. You can use it to edit content before saving articles to Print, PDF, Google Docs, Google Drive or Dropbox. After you install this extension, you will find a new icon placed in the address bar of your browser. In order to use CleanPrint, all you need to do is activate the extension on the desired page by clicking on the icon. All the options to remove images, reduce or increase font size, and utilise less printer ink are present in the extension’s interface.
Musing over Indian English: Hard Going or Plain Sailing? – Part II
As discussed in the last part, English is used for many purposes and its ascendancy is increasing. Today, we will try to deal with the question, ‘what kind of English we are using and how far it is intelligible/acceptable?’
Before dealing with the question we must understand that India is a land of great diversity. Kerala is as different from Tamil Nadu as France is from Britain. Yet, we move on, in part thanks to Hindi and English, precisely Hinglish. Over the last few centuries, English has acquired a unique flavour of its own. We often find that any good English dictionary is inadequate or incorrect when dealing with certain words or phrases that have changed in the Indian context e.g. badshah, jawan, utsav, sangam, etc. In such context, people like to call it ‘Indian English’; sometimes proudly and sometimes sarcastically. The impact of India’s indigenous languages can be seen on Indian English. There are number of words from Hindi, Sanskrit and other Indian languages used in Indian English.
Indian English is a catch-all phrase for the usage or vocabulary that is characteristic of a specific group of people and their indigenous languages. However, it suffers from some grammatical errors. Some view all the colloquial usages and the errors together as Indian English. But it is not considered ‘correct’ by government institutions. However, it is observed that the grammar of second foreign language is influenced by the mother tongue. So the need is to make Indian English more intelligible to the world at large.
Indian English needs to rectify on various levels. The wrong use of tenses and precisely progressive tense in stative verbs e.g. ‘I am liking it very much’, instead of ‘I like it very much’ being used by the Indian speakers. The wrong use in noun number and determiners e.g. ‘she performs many charities’, instead of ‘she gives away a lot in charity’ is practiced. The incorrect tag questions e.g. ‘they did it, no? / He is here, isn’t it? / She closed the door, did she?’, instead of ‘they did it, didn’t they? / He is here, isn’t he? / She closed the door, didn’t she?’ is popular or incorrectly used.
You may find that the use of typical rhyming double-words e.g. let’s go out for some ice-cream-vice-cream. Instead of, let us go out for some ice-cream (ice-cream and stuff). Overuse of adverbs such as ‘actually/ obviously/generally/seriously’ etc is used e.g. ‘Seriously, she is a good person’, instead of ‘she is a good person’. We tent to use the words but or only as intensifiers e.g. ‘I was just joking but.’ or ‘It was she only who baked this cake.’ Use of the word ‘ki’ (from Hindi) to mean, loosely, that, as an example in ‘What I mean is ki we should adopt this plan instead’ is used repeatedly.
Though many may perceive the accent, terminology, and conversational style as ‘funny’, in reality it is just different English that cannot simply be equated with either American or British English. Indians are familiar with both types of English, but Indian English has acquired its own character in a country which is a melting pot of various cultures, people, and traditions. It is observed that the words for animals, plants and trees, geographical names etc are used in English from indigenous languages. The process of nativisation of English is owing to the impact of local languages as well as to the cultural environment and communicative needs. But, this maybe viewed positively as it safeguards social, cultural and religious identities of the people.
Language is a means of communicating thoughts and so long as it is able to perform this prime function, it stands vindicated, whatever the purists may say. But still we must try to build your own Indian English Dictionary to enjoy the equal status with British and American English.
Please do post your views on ‘what do you think about Indian English/ Indlish?’
(The writer is a Assistant Prof. in Late BRD Arts and Commerce Mahila Mahavidyalya, Nasik, Maharashtra. Email: [email protected])