Thursday, April 26, 2012

Watan, motherland

In the original Arabic, “watan” merely means ‘country’; to refer to ‘your country’, you used the word “watani”. But by the time the word entered the colloquial Indian lexicon, after being used in a song by a popular Bollywood playback singer, it acquired a whole new identity- it came to mean ‘motherland’. Strangely too, for a word that is essentially Islamic in origin, it acquired patriotic overtones of the kind Hindu fundamentalists love to exploit. 
“Watan” is now almost a call to action. Sadly, the only time people really think of it is when the national team wins in cricket.
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There are words, and there are words. Some words can be easily translated, others need to be described.  In April, I’ll attempt to capture the Soul of 26 'Indian' words in a  drabble of exactly 100 words.

3 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Natasha - That word is so very loaded with meaning isn't it? And it is a shame that love for one's home and homeland can be twisted and turned to suit fanatics' purposes.

Chuck said...

I will be sad when my new language learning ends in a couple days. I have enjoyed this month Rayna.

Jeremy Bates said...

Hmm, very informative. Yeah, India is big on cricket thanks to the British.

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