M.Peer Mohamed Sardhar


I recall two incidents ,one recent and the other several years old. Last week I was at Mumbai Airport waiting for my flight to be announced .Seated next to me were an elderly couple who told me they were NRI ‘s settled in the US for over 40 years. They looked at the book I was carrying in my hand--- a book about Innovation . The man said that he worked for one of the most innovative companies in the world. He asked me what I did for a living.

I told him about my workshops on LATERAL THINKING and my pursuits as an author. I also told them that my new book ISMILE PLEASE was to be released anytime. The announcer announced our flight The two NRI’s rushed to join the queue not noticing that I too had followed them. While in the queue the wife told her husband ‘This man says he is an author and a trainer. But he cannot even speak English properly . Look at the way he says ‘Ismile’ instead of ‘smile’. I think he is just a rustic’.

On an earlier occasion I was at Chennai airport when I noticed the dancing star and film director Prabhu Deva sitting across the aisle from me. A woman walked up to him and tried to chat him up but returned disappointed since Deva could not speak English at least not to the level expected by the women .She returned to the seat next to me and with some contempt told me ‘ He is supposed to be a star but he cannot even speak English’.

Now let me clarify the first episode. I have deliberately named my book ‘ ISMILE PLEASE’ this being something that I recall from my school days in Mumbai. The annual group photograph of the class would be taken sometime in March. The school photographer used to try his best to make us smile when he clicked but we pranksters refused to smile. Till he got wind of our prank. Thereafter he used to say ‘Ismile Please’ and we kids accustomed to berating those who did not speak ‘ good ‘ English used to laugh—this was exactly what the photographer wanted !

I named my book ISMILE PLEASE in memory of those eventful and fun photo sessions.

Now I see something similar happening . Last week in the wake of the elections in UP some of my friends raised an interesting question —why did Akhilesh Yadav reply in Hindi to questions posed in English by the Mumbai- Delhi based TV channels ?Some suggested that Akhilesh was at the bottom of it all the kind of ‘rustic’ that many people usually associate with people from UP who are contemptuously referred to as Bhayya, which also happens to be the nickname for Akhilesh.

I have an explanation for this ‘ bizarre’ behavior of Akhilesh. Akhilesh wants to be known and identified as the down to earth grassroots man with whom his people in UP can identify. Is it possible that Rahul’s defeat may at least partially be attributed to his disconnect with the common man in UP?Is it possible that Akhilesh does not want to be co-opted by the Mumbai –Delhi English dominated TV channels ? Is it possible that Rahul’s urban cool dude image worked against him ?

I was deeply affected by recent reports of several Dalit students in the prestigious educational institutions like AIIMS, IIT and IIM committing suicide . The upper caste explanation for this tragic phenomenon is predictable—these quota wallahs get in entirely due to reservations and are thereafter unable and indeed incapable of coping with the exacting academic demands of these ‘ top class institutions’. Now many of us may agree with this but let me tell you something painful .

A major Enquiry conducted into these suicides showed that these dead dalit students were in fact brilliant with an enviable academic record including in the so called tough Entrance exams to these institutions. What made them take their lives according to this Enquiry was the hatred and discrimination they faced at the hands of students and faculty belonging to upper caste, English comfortable people . ‘These guys can’t even speak English’ is the refrain. The response from at least one ‘top’ Institution to this report was predictable –outright denial and even a threat to file a defamation suit !

There are unmistakable signs of major changes in the Indian psyche . There is no space here to list some of them . I invite readers to share their insights.


From India, Coimbatore
Entire Organisational Matters
Associate-: Consulting Firm
Finance Manager


Nice way of explaining one side of coin.................. :)
If its not your article then there is no point of discussing.
If it your article then few points : I would like to mention here-
Life is not all about only seeing the smaller picture, I really felt; your write up is just a biased explanation.
The way you mentioned DALIT in it,proved it;where you could have easily used some other words. Even your headline was just an eye catcher Not even related to the Article.
Could you please be kind enough to explain, what was the point you wanted to raise through this write up.
Was that English?
Or so called exploitation of Dalit ?
or the gap between upper cast or lower cast.
Have you actually been to IIM or Any IIT? (My Brothers are alumnus of these institutes)
And dear a quote for you "If you are telling me a problem not want you want as solution; it means you are complaining"
Ashish paliwal
Wisdom from an idiot : Ashish Paliwal

From India, Delhi

It is not the language alone as said by the author. It is ATTITUDE of the people. English is mandatory in this competitive world for survival. without english, educated lot can't survive. I totally disagree with the POV of the author.

From India, Lucknow

Dear Peer Mohd,

The article shared by you is thought provoking. The English comfortable society considers itself as an elite community and they are walking in the air. As you said, they tent to look down upon the non English speakers. The divide between the upper castes and lower castes also is huge and the upper caste fails to recognize human dignity in the lower caste.

The CM of TN, Jaya always wanted to create an elite group impression by speaking in English and she always wanted to be the only English speaker whenever she was among a group that addressed the media/public. However, this has only boosted her image among the Tamil villagers. When one speaks in English, it gives an impression in the minds of the commoner that the guy is well educated and knowledgeable. And you won't create such an impression if you speak any other foreign language (I mean, a language which is not your mother tongue) such as Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Oriya...... Why? Because English is the language of the White man? Or is that a byproduct of colonialism?

From Oman, Muscat

Dear Peer,
It is nice that you have shared what Mr.Ravi want to say to the people. I personally interacted with Mr.Ravi several times but was unable to meet him whenever I was in chennai. Anyhow he writes correctly like a sharp knife and the society has to accept the same.
Anyhow the discrimination continues till the people change their views and habits and their mindset.
Let us hope for a union india with no caste, creed and religion.
Jai Hind

From India, Secunderabad

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