Why learn Gujarati?
This is a question that is asked by many of our new generation of children. The answer is normally “I don’t want to learn Gujarati, but my parents force me to.” Nowadays, as children get older, they manage to persuade their parents that they do not need these additional activities and parents accept their children’s views. Excuses such as, “I have too much homework from school so I cannot commit time for learning Gujarati” are common. The result is that student numbers have started to decline from a peak of 500+ children supported by 60+ teachers. So why should children come to GujaratiSchool and learn Gujarati?
Firstly, Gujarati is our “matru bhaasha,” our mother tongue. It is the language of our ancestors; it is part of our identity. What use is it in the UK? It may not be much use in the UK, but when our children go back home to Kutch, how else will they communicate with their grandparents and relatives? Not knowing Gujarati will act as a communication barrier in their native land as they grow older. They will become more and more distant from their roots.
Secondly, many of the key shastras are written in, or translated first into Gujarati, such as the Shikshapatri, the Vachnamrut and the Satsangi Jeevan. Whilst English translations may exist, the true meaning becomes diluted in translation.
Thirdly, linguistic skills used in learning Gujarati are similar to linguistic skills in learning any language, whether it is English, German, French and Spanish. These skills are useful in many areas of personal development and communication.
Finally, learning Gujarati at the school teaches you other skills beyond a language. Many former students appreciate the fact that they have been doing exams from the age of 7, and thereby have an advantage in exam preparation and exam techniques. Similarly, self-confidence is something that is instilled in our students, for example whilst reading in front of the whole class and public speaking.
If your child said tomorrow, “I do not want to go to English School”, most parents will not accept this and will persuade or force their child to go to school. The same mind set should be applied to attending Gujarati School. By no means is the expectation to forsake our British-Indian identity; the goal is to embrace our roots, origins and culture whilst balancing these with the British way of life. Our mother tongue is central in this equation. Bring your child to GujaratiSchool and continue to cultivate our culture. Do not let the opportunity arise for our beautiful culture to become diluted.