Defining Indian Identity – The Tradition of Speech Etiquette

Goddess Sarasvati is known as the Goddess of Speech or Vag Devi and She symbolizes the importance of Speech Etiquette and Speech Discipline.
Mother India, or Bharat Mata is defined by Her Speech which is Sweet, Elegant, Pleasant, and gives pleasure and Happiness to all Her listeners.
India’s National Song, popularly known as ‘VANDE MATARAM’ was composed by Shri. Bankim Chandra Chatterjee/Chattopadhyay. It describes India’s Speech Tradition.

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee composed India’s  National Song BANDE MATARAM (“Hail to Thee, Mother”). “Vande Mataram” became the Mantra and slogan of people of India in their struggle for independence.

Defining Indian Identity. The Tradition of Speech Etiquette.
Defining Indian Identity. The Tradition of Speech Etiquette.

In the Song Vande Mataram, the Land of India is described as Suhasini, and Sumadhura Bhashini .Suhasini refers to a person who can speak in a pleasant manner without being rude or offensive and provide a sense of cheer and humor to the listener. Sumadhura Bhashini refers to a person who speaks good and sweet words which gives a sense of pleasure to the listener.  

Speech is the oral, audible expression of human language while talking. Man became characteristically human when he learned to speak. All human Culture and its propagation appears to depend on some form of language to serve as the vehicle for teaching, persuasion and tradition.Speech is a very important aspect of human personality. Culture plays a significant role in the development of speech behavior. Particularly, in the Indian society, there are social expectations in the use of speech, speech mannerisms and in the observation of speech etiquette.The manner of speech is predictive of human behavior. Indians are expected to speak softly, in a sweet and pleasant manner. A loud-mouthed person is generally viewed as disrespectful, disobedient and disruptive. In the following poem, the famous Telugu Poet Vemana describes the importance of speech behavior. 

Telugu Poet, ‘SARVAJNA’, Yogi Vemana had described the importance of Speech Etiquette in a few simple sentences.

Sri Kumaragiri Vema Reddy is popularly known as Vemana, Yogi Vemana (Telugu: వేమన) was a telugu poet. C.P. Brown, known for his research on Vemana, estimates the year of birth to be the year 1652 based on some of his verses. Vemana was the third and youngest son of Gaddam Vema, then the king of Kondaveedu in Andhra Pradesh.

Defining Indian Identity. The Tradition of Speech Etiquette.

Brass can produce high volume sound as compared to Gold but we consider Gold to be a precious metal and value its high quality in spite of its lack of ability to generate a loud sound. People who are mean-spirited and low in virtue speak in tones that reflects a sense of arrogance and self-importance. People of high virtue and good character would speak in a gentle and pleasant manner that reflects a sense of humility and the listeners would be pleased by listening to the words spoken. While speaking, the pitch and the volume of the sound is less important and we need to focus on the contents of our speech. 

Speech Etiquette and Indian Culture:  

Defining Indian Identity. The Tradition of Speech Etiquette.

Indian Culture describes “Saraswati” as the Goddess of Speech or “VAK”. She is known as VAG DEVI. Indians worship her to obtain fluency and to become eloquent speakers. Our identity is related to the quality and content of our speech. Speech mannerisms, speech etiquette and speech discipline are parts of the grooming process of the children in our homes. In fact, the Indian Tradition of Learning begins only after imparting the importance of Speech Etiquette in the learning Process. Children are generally counseled to use some restraint in their speech. There are several words and phrases that identify an Indian speaker according to their speech quality and content.The phrase ‘Su Bhasini’ directs us to use good and pleasing words. The phrase ‘Mita Bhasini’ directs us to speak to the point using only a few appropriate words. The phrase ‘Manjula Vani’ directs us to speak in a beautiful and elegant manner. Our traditional greeting “NAMASKAR” represents our devotion to showing respect and displaying an attitude of obedience in our public conduct. We can only meet this Cultural expectation by using a manner of speech which would convey the qualities of respect and obedience.  

Defining Indian Identity. The Tradition of Speech Etiquette.

Dr.Martin Luther King, the famous Civil Rights Leader of the United States wished for that day when his sons would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Similarly, a person’s identity should not be assumed by the person’s physical attributes but by his attitude and behavior. As an Indian, I wish to be identified not by the color of my skin. ‘Sumadhura Bhashini’ is the Cultural standard of our speech behavior. If you care enough, listen to me, my speech would reveal to you the country of my origin.  

Defining Indian Identity. The Tradition of Speech Etiquette.

Please also view a related blog post titled ‘Defining Indian Identity – The Pursuit of Pure and Perfect Knowledge’.

Defining Indian Identity. The Tradition of Speech Etiquette. The Light reflects the traditions of Speech Etiquette.

Published by WholeDude

Whole Man - Whole Theory: I intentionally combined the words Whole and Dude to describe the Unity of Body, Mind, and Soul to establish the singularity called Man.

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  1. A great Blog site ! Keep it up!
    Actually, Hinduism is not just a religion. It is a Philosophy. It is art of living and meant for all human beings without any any boundaries for caste, color or creed. It has very deep roots. The knowledge which is learnt from “The Bhagwat Geeta” or “The Purans” has been narrated directly from the God Himself. It is bound to be truth and truth only.

    All Hindu traditions have “inherited spiritual Knowledge” and remind us that we all are His creation and being His true son, obedient son, must try to be like our FATHER. We must copy what our FATHER does. He loves and cares for all, we must love and care for all, He is “Sat Chit Anand”, we should be so powerful to make others feel “Sat Chit Anand”. All virtues which decscribe Him, must be reflected in us, in our behavior. Whatever is offered to Him as worship, must be part and parcel of our daily life And whatever is not acceptable to him, must have no place in our daily life. It is so simple ! Can’t we just copy ! You don’t need to study big scriptures and the Mantras. Even the illiterate, rich and poor, young and old all have equal rights to seek His Blessings. Don’t exert yourself, don’t strain your mind for what is to be done and how it is to be done. Just sit before the Father, report Him daily like a true son, ask for His blessings where you find difficult. He will guide you. Eventually, you may not even need to utter any word, just sit before Him. If you sit before the Sun, you are bound to feel the warmth. If you sit near the sea-shore, you are bound to get the cool breeze. Similarly, if you sit before Him sincerely, you are bound to feel “Sat Chit Anand”. You will enjoy life like a Prince ! Just Report Him faithfully. If your reporting is true and the Contact is firm and regular, the maximum amount of “Current – His Energy” will be drawn since His resources are infinite !
    Worship of idols actually gives the same soothing effect. Chanting Payers religiously is in the same spirits. Different recipes are suggested for different intellectual levels and taste. For “Vanars” who have forgotten how to fly and cross oceans, it is too simple to talk to Him directly, face to face, any time ! He is available, always, everywhere, anytime, just call Him, feel His presence all around !


  2. Thanks for your kind appreciation.During my Service,I was fortunate to meet and work with a cross spectrum of Indian people drawn from a multitude of villages that adorn our Land and I am conveying my understanding of Culture in terms of my living experience in India.I shall write about FATHER-SON relationship and then you would notice that I am describing ideas and thoughts that originated in our Land.


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