French First

Jammu instructor becomes the first person in the state to write a book in French. Shveata Chandel looks at the man propagating French language with a difference.

Everyone is bestowed with unique qualities, but there are few who recognize their uniqueness quite early and then work hard to carve a niche for themselves.  
One such person is Arun Sharma, a French language instructor by profession, who has the distinction of being the first person in Jammu and Kashmir to author a French book.

It took around a year for Sharma to write Mon Livre, meaning ‘My Book’. The publication has 84 pages and costs Rs. 99.

Sharma, 27, is currently working as a French language instructor at the University of Jammu, and is teaching two courses—basic French, and advanced French.
Sharma’s bookhelps someone who is learning French to understand the language in an easy manner. The author has included basic elements such as alphabets and accents. He also incorporates the translation of words that one would use in daily life, like clothes, body parts, time, days and months among others.

Arun Sharma has studied French language courses from the Symbiosis Institute of Foreign and Indian Languages (SIFIL), Pune. He also has an MBA in Human Resources from Pune.

“I was interested in French language since my college days as the language attracted me a lot,” says Arun Sharma.

Sharma started a course in French language from Pune in 2002, and since then, there was no looking back. “I completed the course and came to Jammu. Later I thought of spreading this wonderful language even in Jammu and Kashmir. So I started teaching French in the University of Jammu,” he says.

“A year ago, I thought of writing a French book to make learning easy for students. Every language is simple, but it needs to be presented in the simplest form that makes it easy to learn. I have done the same in my book, Mon Livre,” says Sharma.

Sharma is also the president of the only French club of the state, ‘Club de Fran?ais’.

More than 80 French-speaking people became members of this exclusive club that was formed last year.

“The enthusiasm among students to learn the French language could be easily gauged from the fact that a large number of students joined this French language club and are working for the propagation of the language,” says Sharma.

However, he is clear in explaining that propagating the French language in the state is not at all a threat to any other language, including the local languages in the state.

“No one is forced to learn the French language. I respect all languages, but I love French,” Sharma says.

He says that the French language has a great scope in sectors like education, civil aviation, information technology, consulates and United Nations related jobs as well.

Sharma says, “employment is a significant advantage to learning a second language. Bilinguals have access to a wider range of national and international jobs. Thousands of Canadian businesses operate in both French and English. The airlines, import-export companies, and other international businesses require employees with French language skills”.

About 40% of all positions in the Public Service of Canada– nearly 67,000 jobs—are bilingual.

Sharma further says, “Being able to speak French will greatly benefit students when it comes to getting jobs or when it comes for their career. This capability will heighten their market aspect since they are perceived as an international asset”.

Arun Sharma said that a large number of students who have taken his French language courses are teaching at top schools of Jammu where French is included in the syllabus.

Ravijyot Singh, a French learner says, “In a place like Jammu where people do not have enough exposure, learning French was a great experience. French is not only interesting but is also useful for people involved in tourism and various other industries,” she said.

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