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Kannada Gottu Nimmage…

This is an argument I have had for sometime now with quite a few people. It’s about the situation not in one state but quite a few in India. People for a long time have asked me why after spending 25 years in Karnataka (Bangalore to be precise) I have not learnt Kannada completely. Yes I agree I haven’t. Well am linguistically challenged and have been in an environment where people around me spoke languages that I spoke so there was never a need to learn another. When I reached college I learnt a bit of Kannada to survive in buses and autos. Yeah I have learnt more over time but can’t speak proficiently yet.

People always said if you’re a Kannadiga by place of birth then you should speak Kannada. Or, since you live in Bangalore then you must speak the language. Now the question I have had for ages – how many people speak Hindi in India (in each state respectively)? Do they realize they live in India and their respective state is a part of India and hence they should speak its language? If it is important to speak the state language, isn’t it more important to speak the national language?

Everyday I speak to at least one person who speaks only Kannada, who never thought about learning Hindi. I struggle to explain myself to this person in the little of Kannada I know. In the end the result is that am not sure that person understood what I was trying to say. Am left hoping the outcome of our conversation will be the required result. How do you explain the minute issues you have with your bike or electronic goods in bits and pieces of Kannada? If you went to Tamil Naidu, they will refuse to understand you in another language. You must and should speak Tamil. It’s not about making an outsider comfortable but about making your own countryman and alien in his/her own country.

In Bangalore sometime years ago (and still on) there was a drive made by a certain group to convert all to Kannada. All hoardings had to be in Kannada, all shop names had to be in Kannada, it was an all Kannada drive. They finally relented but only to the point that you could also have English and other languages but Kannada was a must. You will still see some English hoardings and shop names etc. that are being vandalised by these pro-kannada activists.

Recently there was a drive to have more people watch Kanaka movies. Great idea I would say, so then what do you think you would do to achieve that? More advertisements or promote Kanaka movies. Ahh… but no this wasn’t done. What did happen was all English and Hindi movies release was delayed by 3 or so weeks. This led to hardly any movies showing in these languages. All of this just to get people to promote Kannada.

Now this is not a phenomenon only in the South but across the country. In each state a different language is spoken and any other language is appreciated. Everyone seems to be in this mode (pride maybe a better word) that my language is better and to be protected. Are we not people of the same country, so what if there is a difference in language and culture? Why do we a lot of times first describe ourselves according to our state then our country.

Yes I agree that if you did look across the country there is not language that is common, including Hindi. English yes is quite common but that’s an international language. Do we not need a language that brings us all together? A language that is understood no matter where you go and no matter the language of the state. This would mean every Indian can communicate with the others with a barrier.

Hindi is our national language but also a language that already has its roots. It’s taught in most schools across the country as a second or third language. And if Hindi can link us all, if Hindi can be a link language, then why not? Why this barrier towards Hindi?

Why not open our minds to a unified language, the space and gaps reduce between people when we can communicate. Yes, it’s good to have diversity in people and languages but must we not be united too…

*** All views expressed belong only to ME and no offence is meant to anyone.

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  • Rahul

    same arrogant behavior carried by non kannada speaking people mind you i am not calling you an outsider because i believe you to be a part of my state, my city so why this arrogance i am a kannadiga born and brought up in mumbai so as a natural fact i have friends who speak nothing but marathi and i have friends who speak nothing but english and then similarly there are outsiders who only speak hindi we have to adjust to outsiders then again it wouldnt hurt to learn the local language it would help you in the long run i hope you atleast know how to read kannada come on atleast give some respect to the state the language which made you what you are today