Letters from the Bangla alphabet surrounding a page from the Bangla primer Borno Porichoy.
Letters from the Bangla alphabet surround a page from Borno Porichoy, produced in 1855 by the educationist Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar. It is the primer that most Bengalis learn Bangla from.

Your mother tongue is therapy

On preserving the taste of your mother language on your tongue.

Tanmoy Goswami
Happy International Mother Language Day
Hello there. Three announcements before you read today's edition.

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I am great at English. And I am... a little ashamed of it.

I first noticed the shame a few years ago, at a conference on promoting Indic languages on the English-dominated internet. One of the speakers, Kaushal Inamdar, a noted Marathi musician, told us how a private radio station in Mumbai, the capital of the state of Maharashtra where Marathi is the local tongue, would refuse to play Marathi songs as part of its "official policy". Their justification: Marathi was "downmarket".

In response, Inamdar went on to compose and produce the "biggest Marathi song ever", featuring 450 singers and recorded using the best technology. The song created enough buzz that the station simply could not ignore it. And that's how in February 2010, the Marathi Abhiman Geet became the first Marathi song to hit the private FM airwaves in Mumbai.

Inamdar's story reminded me of something I had long forgotten: Language is a deeply emotional subject for me (as I suspect it is for you, though you too may have forgotten that). I used to live and dream in my mother tongue Bangla, and even took part in Inamdar-esque language advocacy when I was younger.

But that sentiment has withered as I've gone about building a career exclusively around English. Today, I am great at English – only English – and I am... a little ashamed of it.

How do you say "I love my mother tongue" in your mother tongue? Send me an email, and I'll share the love in the next edition.

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