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In Bhatt's "A Different History," why do the "unborn grandchildren grow to love that...

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thelyphron | eNoter

Posted May 19, 2013 at 7:03 PM via web

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In Bhatt's "A Different History," why do the "unborn grandchildren grow to love that strange language?"

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 19, 2013 at 11:34 PM (Answer #1)

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In Bhatt's poem, the concluding idea is where its heart lies.  In the first stanza, there is an indepth exploration of the role of indigenous identity in constructing reality.  The presence of the Goddess Saraswati helps to illuminate a language that is closer to the authentic birth and narrative of Hindustan. Yet, in the second stanza, one sees how linguistic notions of the truth have become permanently altered by temporal control.  The British imposition of English throughout India is something that Bhatt sees as embodying a "different history."  The lexical patterns of Saraswati have become supplanted by the "oppressor's tongue."  

It is here where the "different history" is most evident.   The "different history" involves in being able to replace indigenous linguistic expression with an imposition of a different form. In the poem's conclusion, history will no longer be told in an indigenous manner, but rather through the "unborn grandchildren" who will end up appropriating the language of the oppressor.  The primary difference in telling history is that the older generation that understands indigenous expression and linguistic exploration is gone, in what Bhatt describes as a "soul that has been cropped with a long scythe."  The result of this is a new generation that only knows a foreign language in being able to describe their narrative.  For Bhatt, "the unborn grandchildren grow to love" a language not their own, thereby guaranteeing a "different history" to be revealed.

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