• Thursday, Aug 13, 2020
  • Last Update : 05:58 pm

Decolonizing Bangla slang

  • Published at 10:58 pm November 9th, 2019
Quashiq Q Mukherjee at DLF 2019
Cultural personality Shibu Kumer Shil and controversial film-maker Qaushiq Q Mukherjee in the session titled Altu Faltu, in Dhaka Lit Fest on Friday | Rajib Dhar

The approach of decolonizing the Bangla language by adding slang to it has been present overwhelmingly in all of Q’s movies. Even his remarkable cult film Gandu is generally regarded as obscene, chiefly for that reason

“We all are Gandus, you can carry on,” someone from the audience mumbled as the Gandu director Qaushiq Mukherjee, better known by his stage name Q, used every slang in, and outside of the Bangla dictionary on Saturday during his Dhaka Lit Fest session titled Altu Faltu

Q discussed reinventing the local slang through art and literature and how the closed society here cold shoulders such language, contextualizing it in a post-modern approach. Every attempt he made to decolonize Bangla Slang was applauded by the audience either with nods or with huge laughter.

The film-maker said that the standardization of the Bangla language initiated by the veteran writers like Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, and Rabindranath Tagore in the colonial period still suppresses the dialect of the lower caste. Mixing slang expression in sentences at the time was termed as Guruchandali which signifies the class discrimination of the society, he added.

The approach of decolonizing the Bangla language by adding slang to it has been present overwhelmingly in all of Q’s movies. Even his remarkable cult film Gandu is generally regarded as obscene, chiefly for that reason.

He said that the standard of language coined by Tagore compels us to obey the aristocratic hierarchy of the society. This should not be welcome anymore in this post-modern era.

Cultural personality Shibu Kumer Shil, the moderator of the session, brought in the example of the recent road safety movement in Dhaka, where high school students used slang in their slogans to protest. He said that the tendency of using slang had also existed in the works of eminent writer Akhteruzzaman Elias, and artist Quamrul Hassan. Q argued that the way Manik, and Elias incorporated the slang in their art and literature, respectively, was merely a passive form of inclusion.

This rebellious Indian director termed his position on slang as the “war of language,” and pointed out the necessity of including slang actively to make an impact on the society.

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