Saturday, November 6, 2010

ಜಯ ಭಾರತ ಜನನಿಯ ತನುಜಾತೆ

Vandalizing the advertising boards that were in English, senselessly destroying the hoardings that would have cost advertisers lakhs of rupees is how some of the so called pro-Kannada activists decided to celebrate the 54th the grand birthday of Karnataka, also some intellects decided to celebrate the Karnataka day by calling for black-out of non-Kannada movies, all of these mostly rather only in Bangalore!!

Watching these ugly and totally dis-appropriated scenes on TV left me with nothing but outrage, wondering when will we stop this nonsense and start looking within. The barbaric, senseless attention seeking so called Kannada activist have no right to speak for Kannada by causing damages to others hard earned property.

What is the fuss about the language? Karnataka has been the epitome of amalgamation of various cultures and languages; we proudly speak of our diversity. Our tourism campaign is “One state many worlds”, we are one of the few states that has many of its own languages (Kannada, Urdu, Tulu, Konkani, Kodava Takk).

Few years ago I met a Canadian who had visited a shop on MG road, she told me that she was bargaining on the price of a brass idol and in the process discussed with her friend who was with her on the final price they should buy the idol for in French, after more bargain the shop keeper quoted the same price in English. While packing the idol the shop keeper spoke to the two ladies in fluent French leaving them totally stunned. For me this represents the true spirit of Bangalore and the very soul of Karnataka, we as people from Bangalore represent the modern India, the India of opportunities and the true global India.

Bangalore is the ONLY city in the world where a traveler or a citizen can speak most of the Indian and many of the foreign languages and we should never be ashamed of our strength. We should never sabotage our spirit in the name of Kannada, no one owns Kannada we are only the mere representatives of the language and not the language ourselves. Drunken driving can never be the reason to ban cars; we need to look within, we cannot ban the personal choice of communication because it’s not in Kannada.

Today representation of a language is not just in books or literature work it is also in very popular media of movies, internet and music. Where do we stand in this popular media, has one heard the names, dialogs, the lyrics, the content of our Kannada movies and programs!! How do one even related to these atrocious and ridicules usage of Kannada in the most popular media. Why are these Kannada activists not raising their voices on the brutal act on the language in the popular media instead of targeting the boards or malls or offices?

People like Narayana Murhty, Nandan Nilekini have globalised Karnataka; once a lesser heard Bangalore is today the city that gets mentioned by even the President of USA as a city that has changed the face of business worldwide. All this would not have happened if we were not enterprising and were not truly multi-lingual. Today countries with rigidity on language like Russia, China, France etc are moving towards being multilingual, what is the need for us to step back?

My mother tongue is Telgu, I am a Kannadiga by birth, I studied Kannada as my 1st language, my renowned Kannada Mastru Vasudev Ballal also thought me slokas in Sanskrit, encouraged me to take Hindi exams and made me read Shakespeare, beautifully narrated William Wordsworths poems and cracked jokes on me in Telgu. I have always believed that the more languages you know the better it is, language like civilization changes constantly imbibing the goodness of other languages and influencing its greatness on other languages.

Let’s not forget that our state song starts with Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate....we are part of a large country with amazing diversity. Kannada literary works has won the most number of Jnanpith awards, hence let us not make fun of Kannada by these trivial acts of self-proclaimed activism which in fact has no purpose or agenda or even a clear plan to promote the language of Kannada.

As true Kannadigas we should not let our language to be represented by forceful, violent and undignified behavior of the so called self-proclaimed activist. No language is or can be an enemy of the other; it’s our failure to promote Kannada as a language of peace, acceptance and richness and it’s our responsibility to revive the language to its glory in a civilized way. We truly need to introspect on how we can make Kannada a language of ‘Choice’, let us also leave the choice of becoming part of a community and political process by shedding the ‘outsider tag’ and learning to speak Kannada is to the citizens.

If the government is unable to ban these ill-ideology outfits then they should at least crack them down with penalty to every penny they destroy in the name of the language. Forcing anyone to speak any specific language is against the freedom of expression and is against the very roots of our constitution and our democracy.

- Kavitha Reddy