Sa Aking Mga Kabata / To My Fellow Children
ni Jose P. Rizal
Ito ang kauna-unahang tula na isinulat ng ating pambansang bayaning si Dr. Jose Rizal.Sa edad 8, isinulat niya ito sa katutubong wika at pinamagatang “SA AKING MGA KABATA”.
Kapagka ang baya’y sadyang umiibig
Sa kanyang salitang kaloob ng langit,
Sanglang kalayaan nasa ring masapit
Katulad ng ibong nasa himpapawid.
Pagka’t ang salita’y isang kahatulan
Sa bayan, sa nayo’t mga kaharian,
At ang isang tao’y katulad, kabagay
Ng alin mang likha noong kalayaan.
Ang hindi magmahal sa kanyang salita
Mahigit sa hayop at malansang isda,
Kaya ang marapat pagyamaning kusa
Na tulad sa inang tunay na nagpala.
Ang wikang Tagalog tulad din sa Latin
Sa Ingles, Kastila at salitang anghel,
Sapagka’t ang Poong maalam tumingin
Ang siyang naggawad, nagbigay sa atin.
Ang salita nati’y huwad din sa iba
Na may alfabeto at sariling letra,
Na kaya nawala’y dinatnan ng sigwa
Ang lunday sa lawa noong dakong una.
(Nagsalin sa Filipino di kilala.)
To My Fellow Children
translated by Fank C. Laubach
Whenever eople of a country truly love
The language which by heav’n they were taught to use
That country also surely liberty pursue
As does the bird which soars to freer space above.
For language is the final judge and referee
Upon the people in the land where it holds sway;
In truth our human race resembles in this way
The other living beings born in liberty.
Whoever knows not how to love his native tongue
Is worse than any best or evil smelling fish.
To make our language richer ought to be our wish
The same as any mother loves to feed her young.
Tagalog and the Latin language are the same
And English and Castilian and the angels’ tongue;
And God, whose watchful care o’er all is flung,
Has given us His blessing in the speech we claim,
Our mother tongue, like all the highest that we know
Had alphabet and letters of its very own;
But these were lost — by furious waves were overthrown
Like bancas in the stormy sea, long years ago.
Interpretation of the poem, “Sa Aking mga Kabata”
The first stanza speaks that Rizal wants us to love our own language and it is a gift from above that was given onto us to be grateful of. It is a blessing that like any other nationalities we were gifted of. We are aware that Rizal was motivated to write this poem during the time of Spanish supremacy because we were under their colony. He addresses us to love our language for it is our step towards liberty. As Rizal correlated it to a bird that can freely fly up in the sky, it has a will to fly wherever it wants to go and whatever it wants to do. But if this bird is in a howl like us, Filipinos, who cannot stand for what we believe is right, we will never experience independence.
The next stanza implies that a nation that loves a God-given language also loves freedom. “For language is the final judge and reference upon the people in the land where it holds and sway.” A Filipino who loves his native tongue will definitely fight for his freedom seemingly like a bird “lumilipad nang pagkataas-taas para sa mas malawak na liliparan”, a person who preserves the marks of its liberty, as man preserve his independence. Language is not merely a communication tool but as an expression of one’s identity, of one’s individual and social consciousness. Without a common identity, there could be no real sense of nationhood. Love and use of one’s native tongues was one of the badges of a true patriot.
In the succeeding stanza, Rizal compared the person who doesn’t love his native tongue from a putrid fish. Just like a fish which originally lives in water, stinks every time it goes out of its place. Like some of the Filipinos that we could observe, we could see that when they have reached a foreign country and adapted the foreign language and culture, they tend to forget their own. And as they have adapted that culture, they will be so haughty to despise and scorn their own fellowmen. They hide and cover their identity for being a Filipino even though it’s very discernible. They just make themselves look foolish and shameful. And with the last two lines from the third stanza, Rizal addressed to us that our own language must be cherished and should not be forgotten because it’s a very valuable possession of our own country.
Fascination when we discovered that Rizal was just an eight-year-old lad when he wrote this poem. At a very young age and a boy who grew up speaking several languages, it is very inspiring to hear someone say these lyrics with such great nationalism with great love of his own tongue. Reflecting our past, we saw ourselves unconsciously patronizing foreign languages. We wanted to be those whites who have slang tongues. Where have our native tongues has gone? We were gaining colonial mentality without our awareness. The bad news is, we allow it to happen. And what Rizal was trying to resound is that even our very own Filipino is also a language to be respected and valued. It is also a language likewise with the angels and with the others. There should be no hierarchy that the Filipino is the least. For rejecting it is like denying ourselves of who we really are.
Finally, the last stanza implies that we, just like the other nations existing, have its own exceptional characteristics that we can be greatly proud of, those distinct qualities of being a Filipino such that the blood itself that runs through your veins, the culture, and your innate YOU is a certified Filipino that you can never obliterate. Sad to say, the cornerstones established by our forefathers to come up with a better country is now into annihilation…Annihilation caused by the influx of challenges doomed to spoil what we have.