Doribhiryuktaa chaturbhi spatika manimayee makshamalaamda dhaanaa
Hastey nie kena padmam sita mapicha sukam pustakam chapareyna
Bhaasaa kumdendu shanka spatika mani nibhaa bhasamaanaa asamaanaa
Saamey Vagdeevateyam nivasatu vadaney sarvadaa suprasanaa.
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee composed India’s National Song ” BANDE MATARAM “(“Hail to thee,Mother”).’Vande Mataram’ became the mantra(“hymn”) and slogan of people of India in their struggle for independence.In this song, the Land of India is described as ” SU HASINI “, and ” SU MADHURA BHASINI “.’Suhasini’ refers to a person who can speak in a pleasant manner without being rude or offensive and provides a sense of cheer and humor to the listener.’Su madhura bhasini’ 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 had described the importance of speech behavior.
Alpu depudu balku naadambaramu gaanu
Sajjanundu baluku jalla gaanu
Kanchu mrogu natlu Kanakambu mrogunaa
Viswadhabhi Rama venara Vema.
Brass metal can produce a high volume sound as compared to Gold metal but we would only consider Gold to be a precious metal and value its high quality in spite of its lack of ability to generate 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 :
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 talented speakers. Our identity is related to the quality and content of our speech. Speech mannerisms, speech etiquette and speech discipline are an part of the grooming process of the children in our homes.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.
Dr.Martin Luther King,the famous Civil Rights Leader of the United States had wished for that day when his son would not be judged by the color of his skin but by the content of his 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. ” SU MADHURA BHASINI ” 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.
Please also view a related blog post titled ‘Defining Indian Identity – The Pursuit of Pure and Perfect Knowledge’.
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham,
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,
M.B.B.S., Class of April, 1970.