Issues Of Immigrants Accent And Language Cultural Studies Essay

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Sadiq is a young Muslim who had gone through certain circumstances because of his accent and language during and after migration. Basically, his family was belonged to Bihar, a state of India. At the time of partition in 1947, his family had to leave his ancestral land and moved to east-Pakistan. In east-Pakistan, majority people spoke Bengali language whereas; his family was like most of Bihar Muslim who spoke Urdu language, due to that they were not liked by other people and were known as "Stranded Pakistani".

In the war of 1971, the Biharis sided with West-Pakistan but they lost the war and had to withdraw from east-Pakistan (Bangladesh). The Bengalis abandoned their properties and forced them to move in camps. Sadiq's family too had gone through this situation but he and his family managed to flee to Pakistan in 1971.

In Bangladesh, Urdu-speaker such as Biharis were living symbols of Pakistani domination. In Pakistan, their Bihari-accented Urdu marked them as unwelcome refugees, the mohajirs. One of Sadiq's early memories is of his family being outsider because they were Urdu-speakers in east-Pakistan. However, his outsider status did not change after migrating to west-Pakistan. When he started schooling in Karachi, his peers were always made fun of him and his Bihari accent. Being called "Bihari" become a daily insult for him. He remembers running home crying after being teased as "Bihari". His language and accent had a devastating effect on him. He started to avoid socializing and internalize the belief that his family is inferior while the speakers of unaccented Urdu were superior. He thought that as a Bihari it seems to be no place for them, unwelcome and abused both in east and west-Pakistan.

Soon Sadiq transformed himself into a speaker of unaccented Urdu who was same as everyone else in Karachi. As a matter of fact this accented Urdu is a mixture of Punjabi, Pashto, Balochi and Sindhi. But Sadiq's family couldn't manage to acquire this new language which was removed from the Urdu spoken in India, where they lived and grown up. To hide his Bihari identity, Sadiq avoided introduce his family to others and kept a distance from them.

Sadiq discovered an effective way to gain respect in society by learning not only unaccented Urdu but also English language. So he joined English medium school. He idolized his teachers there, who spoke English fluently. He liked them and thought that they were educated and real human and those who could not speak English seemed less than human to him. By his hard work, Sadiq got his Master's degree in English Literature and English Linguistics and with that he got escaped from his Bihari identity. Now he always speaks in English and pretends to be in live with it. Finally he got that lost respect which was denied in his childhood.

Despite getting all the achievement, he still has a fear that the trace of his Bihari accent might suddenly surface in his speech and everybody would call him a fraud. He never tells anyone that he born in east-Pakistan and does every effort to keep his children away from Bihari community. He has left many good people behind whom he admired so nobody would expose him as Bihari. He still thinks that despite of bloodshed and lost at the time of partition, why Pakistan still promotes monoligulism in multilingulism Pakistan? Another question bothers him that can people do nothing rather than leaving their own language and accent?

The said story was narrated to me by my Faculty and I mentioned here accordingly.

In context of the said story it has been identified that the consequence of migrating people in term of accent and language affect the social life of that people. The mentioned writing will elaborate it further.


This is a story of a young Muslim man, who spent his early years in east-Pakistan which is now known as Bangladesh and had to migrate after the war of 1971 to west-Pakistan which now known as Pakistan. After migration, he and faced many problems like socio-cultural and psychological impacts and its causes due to their accent and language and acquiring the new language which I mentioned and analyzed in the following passage.

In this story, first I identified the impacts of migration due to accent and language on the young man. Those are lingual, socio-cultural and psychological impact. Language is the issue which cannot be avoided especially in immigrants. Unlike other immigrants, who were Bengali speakers, he and his family were used to speak Bihari-accented Urdu whereas, in Pakistan, people used to speak unaccented Urdu which is a mixture of Punjabi, Pashto, Balochi and Sindhi. Due this discrimination, people of Pakistan treated them as an unwelcome refugee and stigmatized them as Bihari or Mohajirs. According to Eric Paulsen (2006)," It is commonly estimated that there are some 240,000 to 500,000 Urdu-speakers- popularly known as "stranded Pakistanis" or "Biharis" - who are normally considered as existing in a situation of statelessness in Bangladesh." In psychological perspective, Manuel Carballo and Aditi Nerukar (2001) stated, "Language also plays an important role in mental health, and barriers to good communication compound feelings of isolation and being "unwanted."" The Psychological impact of accent on Sadiq was that he started to believe that he and his family were inferior and unaccented-Urdu speakers were superior. He avoided socializing and started hide his family's identity. So that nobody could say him or insult him.

Because of these impacts, some of the people try to adapt new social and psychosocial environments and some don't try. Manuel Carballo and Aditi Nerukar (2001) stated, "Migration means breaking with family, friends, and established social networks, departing from traditional routines, value systems, and accepted ways of behaving and having to adapt to new social and psychosocial environments." Same as Sadiq did, he transformed himself into unaccented Urdu as well as English speaker, but he hid his actual identity that who he is, because in his childhood, he was stigmatized and insulted several times by people. He still has a fear that someday might his accent come on surface and everybody would call him fraud. He does not even want his family to mingle with his actual community and avoids telling that he born in east-Pakistan.

Another aspect which I analyzed in this story is that the young man thinks that Pakistan promotes only monolinguals in multilguistic state. Because whatever he suffered due to his accent and language, it couldn't be done to him if the government was supportive towards his community at the time of partition. As well as cultural conflicts was also there. Like I mentioned before that people of Karachi were used to speak un-accented Urdu and the Biharis were used to speak accented Urdu. Due to that the people of Karachi were allowing them to adjust in their city. Still they don't like the Biharis to be around in their city or even in their state.

Because of minor difference in languages accent, a person faces many problems when he migrates from his motherland to another land such as socio-cultural, psychological impacts etc. He must have to acquire the new environment to live in his new home if the people don't accept them due to his accent and language. As a member of the society, I recommend that every immigrant has a right to use his accent in an independent country. We should accept them with their identity rather than insulting them or stigmatizing them. Help them to accommodate in their new home land by developing mutual trust. Government should take steps to give them their actual identity and support to establish them in the country.