A few days ago I was on the phone with my friend discussing some TV stuff. We were talking about an episode of 'Fresh Prince of Bell Air' in which Geoffrey reveals his "marathon history." Geoffrey, like most butlers in American television (no, not the Mexican ones), is quite sarcastic and pompous yet quite polished in his language. I asked him then, how come 'Butler English' in India has a 'not so good' repuation - one that connotes imperfection? A quick Google search took me to this article.
A Babu tries to impress his British master with his command of the English language and to him, how he conveys his message is more important than what he says. The emphasis is on verbosity rather than the content, the characteristic feature of Babu English being its stylistic ornamentation. Here is an example: "The extreme stimulus of professional and friendly solicitations has led me to the journey of accomplished advantages to proceed elucidatory and critical comments: wherein no brisking has been thrown apart to introduce prima facie and useful matters to facilitate literary pursuits . If the aimed point be embraced favourably by the public, all in all grateful acknowledgement will ride on the jumping border from the very bottom of my heart"The example also reminded me of this article. I think a lot of Indian bloggers, escpecially the "senior" ones are no less than a Babu. They simply can't get out of the 'I memorized all the word lists in Barron's' mode. There's also a lot of double standards because some are actually good at hiding their pomposity (being consistently bombastic is a virtue). They are so good that they'll even mock other Babus for being a Babu. There's also a tacit agreement (ok, unspoken) among the 'good Babus' to not pull one other. It's amazing how the 'colonial culture' reinvents itself in various forms for various reasons by various people (Sonia Gandhi and her minions not being the least of them). Anyway, the article got me bursting out with laugther again,
The British masters were amused by Butler English as it had its own charm. They were sometimes annoyed when a Butler's English was faultless. For example, Ellis in George Orwell's "Burmese Days" is in conversation with his butler.
Ellis: "How much ice you got left?"
Butler: "Bout twenty pounds, master. Will only last today, I think. I find it very difficult to keep ice cool now."
Ellis: "Don't talk like that, damin you — I find it very difficult! Have you swallowed a dictionary?' Please, master can't keep ice cool! That's how you ought to talk, we shall have to sack this fellow if he gets to talk English too well.