Esperanto @ Pune – India
Globalization and equality are the key words of this millennium. Trade, fashion, food, cinema, culture, even prejudice are effected by globalization. The concept of equality has permeated in every field – human rights, right to vote, gender, religion etc. Why not linguistic equality? Technology is bringing people across the globe much closer than ever and it is the need of the hour to open our hearts, express our needs and understand one other. We need an easy and an expressive language to better communicate and not restrict ourselves to the linguistic monopoly of few languages.
Natural languages have evolved over time enriched by cultures, traditions and customs of the people using the languages. They have their own complexities and exceptions in usage. In 1786 Sir William Jones discovered that Sanskrit bears great resemblances with many European languages and called it an Indo-European language which is the largest language family whose speakers account for nearly 42% of the world’s population (3.2 billion). After nearly a century Dr L. L. Zamenhof, a Polish-Jewish ophthalmologist designed a language named Esperanto in 1887. The world had never seen such an easy language. In 1894, L. N. Tolstoy commented – “It is so easy that when six years ago, I received an Esperanto grammar, a dictionary and some articles written in this language I could, after not more than two hours study , if not write, then at least read freely in this language”. Many other eminent personalities like Meillet, Nitti, Sinclair, Maxim Gorky, Romain Rolland, Max Muller, Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Mao Tse-tung, J. B. Tito and others spoke highly about Esperanto.
Esperanto is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. Dr Zamenhof published the first book about it with a goal to create an easy and flexible language that would serve as a universal second language to foster peace and international understanding. Dr Zamenhof’s original title for the language was simply the international language (lingvo internacia), but early speakers grew fond of the name Esperanto and began to use it as the name for the language in 1889; the name quickly gained prominence and it has been used as an official name ever since.
Esperanto adopted the Roman alphabet after making some minor changes. Root words were picked up from Indo-European languages, words are written as it is spelt. While pronouncing words, the accent always falls on the penultimate vowel. Esperanto words are mostly derived by stringing together roots, grammatical endings, and at times prefixes and suffixes. This process is regular, so that people can create new words as they speak and be understood. Introduction of such affixes lessens the labour of learning many words, as a result of which the Esperanto dictionary is almost one tenth of any other language dictionary. It is totally logical, has no exception and has no room for ambiguity.
In 1954, the UNESCO General Conference passed a resolution after recognizing the achievements of Esperanto and its matching aims and ideals. UNESCO urged its member states to celebrate the centenary of Esperanto (1987) by suitable arrangements, declarations, issuing of special postal stamp etc.
Various text books to learn Esperanto are readily available. Notable amongst those published in India are ‘Lets Learn Esperanto’ by Dr. P. V. Ranganaykulu and ‘Esperanto at Ease’ by Mr Syam Sundar Pal. One of the largest Esperanto libraries of the world is in London comprising of over 33,000 items. A large number of these literary works are either original or translations. Many masterpieces from all national literatures have been translated into Esperanto viz important works of Homer, Sophocles, Vergil, Dante, Shakespeare, Byron, Dickens, Hugo, Voltaire, Goethe, Tagore, Vivekananda, etc. The Bible, Bhagvat Gita and Koran have already been translated into Esperanto. Malsata Ŝtono de Tagore (translated from Bengali by Mr Syam Sundar Pal) was staged at the 67th World Esperanto Congress held in Antwerp, Belgium in 1982.
With about 251,000 articles, Esperanto Wikipedia is the 32nd-largest Wikipedia, as measured by the number of articles, and is the largest Wikipedia in a constructed language. ‘Lernu!’ is one of the most popular on-line learning platforms for Esperanto and currently has 274,800 registered users, who are able to view the site’s interface in their choice of 21 languages. As of July 2018 the language learning platform Duolingo – a free Esperanto course has over 1.36 million learners. Besides this, one can find many articles and websites describing about the Esperanto and you can learn Esperanto language free of cost across world.
The Universala Esperanto-Asocio (UEA) coordinates the Esperanto movement throughout the world and almost since its inception organizes annual Esperanto Congresses in different cities across the world which is attended by hundreds of Esperantists.
Esperanto was introduced to India almost after it was initiated, but an organized movement began when the Federacio Esperanto de Barato (FEB) organised the First Indian Esperanto Congress in 1982 at Vijaywada and subsequently its branches were established in Kolkata, Lucknow, Bangalore, and Pune.
In Pune too, numerous Esperanto classes have been held over the years by Dr Abdul Salam, one of the founder members of FEB. The basic 10-Lesson Esperanto course was organized at Raah – Literacy & Cultural Centre which is located in Lulla Nagar, Pune concluded on 14th October 2018. This introductory course is being conducted by Mr Nischad Salam and Mr Naga Siva Kumar Kotha, e guided and supported by Mr Syam Sundar Pal. It aims at providing a functional understanding and basic conversational skills. A new batch started from 21st October 2018 onwards from 2:30 pm to 3:45 pm every Sunday.
Please do visit to know more about Federacio Esperanto de Barato (Federation Esperanto of India) and its activities: www.baratejo.wordpress.com