Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Kannada, Kannadiga, Karnataka

Today, is a special day for Kannadigas. This day marks fifty years of Karnataka. Ironically in this fiftieth year, in this state formed to promote Kannada, Kannada finds itself in very miserable situation. Kannada is increasingly being neglected and Kannadiga is facing a big challenge in preserving his identity. But, the reasons for the plight of Kannada as well as the Kannadiga lies in the Kannadiga himself and not anyone else. Unfortunately this realisation has not dawned upon people who can make a difference.

Particularly, a majority of the people(not everyone) among today's Kannada literati, I dare say, should take the major blame for the ills facing Kannada. Whenever they are asked as to what should be done to improve Kannada consciousness among Kannadigas, their one and only answer is to make Kannada the medium of instruction in schools. This response is so inane and lacking in maturity that I, although being a Kannadiga, seriously doubt their ability to produce creative works. In a globalised world of today where good English knowledge has become imperative, making Kannada or for that matter any other regional language the medium of instruction would make children handicapped right from the beginning. Also it does no good to Kannada. Instead, have Kannada as a compulsory language in schools. Not only that, discard the current Kannada textbooks full of same old history lessons and omnipresent Ambedkar stories (the same story about Ambedkar appeared in all the ten years of our schooling) and replace them with textbooks containing chapters that can make students eager to read more of Kannada literature(which , I admit, I haven't done till now but I am determined to change that soon).

Another knee-jerk reaction of these militant kannada activists is to stop theatres from showing other language movies and blame those movies for the sad sate of Kannada movie industry. They are not ready to admit that the Kannada film industry, that once was adorned with men like Rajkumar, Narasimharaju and Balakrishna, is so pathetically lacking in talent that its only resort these days is remaking Telugu and Tamil films with the less than mediocre acting talent available in Kannada cinema today. Despite this, if any good movie is releaased, people have received it well as it was in the case of "Apthamitra" or for that matter "Jogi"(this film had a good story but mediocre cast in my opinion).

Non-kannadigas are also the target of these bellicose self-proclaimed saviours of Kannada. Even in this case it is our fault that we do not market our native language well enough to them. One simple thing you can do to market Kannada to non-Kannadigas is to tell them about BeeChi and Master Hirannayya and give them a peek into the works of these master satirists.

Popularisation of "Kannada Sugama Sangeeta" is another way to promote interest in Kannada.
I haven't read Kannada poems other than those few we had in our schools. But for laymen like us, people like Mysore Ananthswamy have composed music and sung them in the form of "Sugama Sangeeta"(light music). They are not only well composed and pleasant to listen, but they also familiarize us with Kannada poems. If you understand Kannada and you haven't listened to these songs please do listen and enjoy. Thats the least service we can do to Kannada.

And last but not the least, what we all Kannadigas can do is to speak Kannada and do so without feeling apologetic about it. Remember, only we Kannadigas together can save Kannada. Neither the Government nor the bearded-bespectacled men in the Kannda literary world like Anantamurty offer us any hope. The only hope lies in awakening the Kannada consciousness in every Kannadiga in a peaceful, dignifed manner that befits Kannadigas and without antagonising our own countrymen in other states.


swaroop said...

Kannada is losing out. Kannad is gaining.
Boards of buses, shops, street names written in Kannada should be one big step in getting people to learn the language.Yenantya?

Harish said...

[Swaroop]People's lives shouls not be made miserable by havng boards only in Kannada. Boards should contain Kannada names compulsorily but it should also be in English. This is my humble opinion.

Arjun Sharma said...

Board barsodeno barsbodu, aadre nirabhimana annodu namma manassugalinda hogbeku. Harish makes a very good point when he says we should not feel apologetic about speaking in Kannada. Imposing one's language upon others is not a very fine solution, but using it ourselves should not be a problem.

Sandeep said...

Neevu nija helidira, ivre. Naavu modlu Kannada matadbeku.

Pushuka said...

Very well put... I am not a kannadiga but make a conscious effort to learn the language. I'm sure there are many more like me, but the Govt. risks antagonizing them if it continues with its policy of forcing the language down the throats of non-kannadigas.

Harish said...

[pushuka]Thank You.
Yes, the Government or for that matter any organisation will surely antagonise people by forcing a language down people's throats.
And, as always, I was very glad to know that you want to learn Kannada.

jayashree said...

Well written. ond simple solution i problemge enandre maatadodanna interesting matte creative aagi balasbeku. films janrige hattra irodrinda avru key role play maadtaranta nanagannisatte.