Learn Kannada, Get Rich!
So, learning Kannada has been made mandatory if you want to work in Bangalore. Within a year from now, every non-Kannadiga (aka expatriate, alien) living in Karnataka has to clear the Std. VII Kannada exam.
The rationale provided behind this, by MLC ‘Mukhyamantri’ Chandu, head of the Kannada Development Authority (KDA), is this:
“With several IT companies and MNCs coming to Karnataka, lakhs of non-Kannadigas have settled in the state. If they could live with the land, water, air and other resources of the land, they should also understand the culture, history and language of the land.
Wasn’t that just cute? He buried language between culture, history and land; making it seem like a patriotic issue. So, you’re not Indian enough if you don’t pass the Std. VII local language exam. Over 35% of the 52 million people (2001 census) living in Karnataka are not frikking Kannadiga enough for the KDA.
This is not about culture, language or history. It was enough that we were made to memorise the innumerable volcanoes, rivers, mountain ranges and other spectacular geographical features of India, along with the mighty rulers who ruled different parts of India during different periods of time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for history. But one thing I’m not a fan of ? Forcing people to do things.
It’s unfair to make an adult drop everything he’s doing and learn a language. And I think I speak for most North Indians when I say this: South Indian languages look, sound and feel the same ! They’re just squiggly ants going around in random paths.
Many people (mostly Kannadigas) have commented : “Get a grip. It’s just a Std. VII exam”. But wait, it’s not that simple. I believe children are some of the quickest learners around - especially at picking up languages. So, in one year, an adult (who’s also working full-time), has to match the Kannada skills of a kid who’s been learning it for over 12 years? You’ve got to be kidding me.
Also, can you imagine the excruciating pain of being forced to learn a new language? Don’t get me wrong but I’m better off knowing just Hindi and English. Another form of commentary on this story that has been disturbing, “Oooh you go and learn French and Spanish. But when we ask you to learn Kannada you’re cribbing. You anti-Indian hypocrites. Go Die.” Wait, first of all - I might want to learn French. Second of all , you can’t force me to learn something I don’t want to - especially squigglies!
Also, what about people with learning disabilities? Will they be forced to clear the examination within a year, or will they be given more time? What about SC/ST - do they have a quota ? What about foreigners who reside in Bangalore ? What about old people? Implementing a legislation like this brings so much fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) along with it. Why are these people trying so hard to save Kannada, and trying to save it from what? Extinction? As someone noted on Twitter, “Let Kannada find its (own) saviors.”. We had enough of moral and cultural policing. We’re now entering a new phase - one with linguistic policing.
To wrap it up, let’s take a moment, sit back and think, what is this piece of legislation going to achieve? 10 years down the line we’re going to have a bunch of people who know half-baked Kannada.
Learn to think beyond the IITs, IIMs and IIPMs! Learn Kannada, go to Silicon Valley of India and Get Rich or Die Tryin’!