Using expletives and obscene expressions as a filler in every sentence is a typical Delhi problem. And this practice cuts across genders, classes and castes. Someone who spends time in Delhi metro, DTC buses, on the streets and pavements, South Delhi’s upscale markets, must have experienced this phenomenon.
Though I was free to discuss any issue pertaining to Delhi— smog, scarcity of water or the killer traffic on city roads here, I opt for a concern that has become so embedded that we have stopped paying heed to it.
Whenever there is a traffic jam, people can be seen uttering abusive words. The ‘f’ word has unknowingly found a fitting place in our discourse in conditions of awe, shock and disgrace. And there are many such words that have found a secure place in our exchange of ideas.
Gone are the days when fights would break out on someone’s using an expletive, and today, even greeting a friend or discussing office events is incomplete without abusive fillers; and they term it as warmth of the relation.
And when these abusive words flow uninterruptedly during conversations, seldom do people care about the place, be it an office premise in financial heart of city, the Central Delhi. They don’t even care about the people standing or sitting nearby, be it a male or a female, an adolescent or an elderly.
I wondered why no one can think of a Bhagavad Gita to be composed in today’s India. The answer isn’t too tricky to locate. Our dialect has matured, not for good, but for obscenity and vulgarity. Songs that become an instant-hit in this city are laced with words that no one could have ever thought would intertwine so deeply and firmly in our day-to-day lives. The charisma of ancient and medieval India cannot be put to life again, at a time when humbleness has escaped our conversations. Sadly, no more are the days of Ghalib and Bidel Dehlavi.
Indeed, no act can outlaw these words from our conversations, for freedom of expression is enshrined in our Constitution. Sensitising students in schools and colleges, and reminiscing and evoking our past glory in language, poetry and literature can perhaps save us from collapse.