Saturday, September 12, 2009

The word "Own" in Hindi (or lack of it)

This post here got me to think for a possible Hindi translation of the word "own" as in "I own it". But even after giving it few minutes, I could not come up with anything. And then I started thinking why?

I mean there are expressions which conveys the same, like "ये मेरे बाप का माल है" ("ye mere baap ka maal hai" - This is my father's property) or "ये मेरी जागीर है" ("ye meri zageer hai" - I own it).

But these are considered vulgar expressions not to be used in civil conversation.

And then it struck me.

To some extent, our views of the world find its reflection in the language of the day.

The thinkers, who had sowed the early seeds of languages in India believed in

अयं निजः परोवेति, गणना लघुचेतसाम् ।
उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् ॥
[Ignorant sees the world as "mine" and "yours"]
[For the Learned, the whole world is family]

It was believed that you can get associated with someone (or something) but can never own it. For them, such inconceivable a thought of owning something was, that they might have deliberately omitted any such word from propagating.

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