Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Learning the Language of the Land!

Dear Non-Kannadiga friends in Karnataka,
Happy Kannada Festival to all of you...
With a fair knowledge of what Indian constitution says about an Indian individual's right to stay, work, have an occupation, buy it sell  property in any part of Indian territory, and the right to practice any culture, religion AND CHOOSE TO SPEAK ANY LANGUAGE YOU LIKE...
Let me tell my experience...
I was born in a region  of Karnataka which does not have any border with different language than Kannada.
So, I know Kannada(1) as my mother tongue and the language used around me by most people.
In 5th standard as a part of my Kannada medium school, I began to learn English(2)
In the same way, I began to learn Hindi(3) in 6th standard.
When I was doing my post graduation a friend of mine who was a polyglot inspired me to learn Tamil reading and writing, just for fun, without any immediate need. Later I spent a month in Tiruchengod(TN), as a part of Diploma in the Teaching of English and when I was doing my PhD I stayed in Chennai for some 4 months and worked at Central Institute of Classical Tamil. Thus I learnt Tamil (4) to a fair extent, in these 5 months,  though I did not need it in particular. I communicated with people and professors of English only. In Tiruchengod, I had an opportunity to have friends from all the South Indian states, I still have them. How much I wish I should stay in Kerala for sometime and learn Malayalam to some extent.
During my final year PG, I learnt French(5) for one year, simple because School of Foreign Languages on the same floor as that of English PG centre.
At the same institute, I learnt German(6), for one year, for no different / significant reason.
When I joined ICFAI as soft skills trainer, I had go to Hyderabad and stay there. In my two months of stay there during Faculty Development Programme and Evaluation duty I learnt Telugu (7) to some extent.
When I translated Tagore's Gitanjali, I came in contact with Bengali sounds and friends. I tried identifying Bengali script. So I have a touch with Bengali(8).

With all these instances I'm saying that I learnt those languages which came my way, I never said, I don't know that language (Kannad Gottilla... Style) but I said, I want to learn that language.
I have never felt a particular language is beautiful and the other language very ugly.
Though I've been teaching English and communication skills for two decades, I'm confident enough to say that I can survive with only Kannada language.
I've met people from different states who are managing their lives in Bangalore without even trying to learn Kannada, for more than five years. They even try to teach us their languages.  I've tried learning them!!! In a hotel in JP Nagar Bangalore, the supplier asked me my order in Tamil!!! When I told the owner that they should learn little Kannada, he said I can learn Tamil instead. I wrote his name in Tamil and asked him to write my name in Kannada. He was dumbstruck!
I've met non kannadiga colleagues who said they have come here since kannadigas are not talented enough! Great joke!

Don't learn Kannada to improve our land and language. Don't learn Kannada since it is this land which had given you food and shelter for some years. Don't learn Kannada to please some Kannada groups.
Don't make US feel sorry for not knowing your language!

At the same time I feel happy about those who have genuinely tried using the land's language... They have asked me to teach, they asked for books to learn Kannada, they have attended my classes for two years, they have expressed their wish to borrow and lend good pieces of Literature in our languages. I've communicated with a Malayali tailor from Bangalore who fights for the development of Kannada and speaks in a pure version of Kannada.

Finally, I say if you learn more languages, it is USEFUL to you and never a loss!
If you learn ಕನ್ನಡ too, no damage is going to happen to your brains!

Your views on this are welcome. Thanks if you have read the whole thing I have written!

ಇನ್ನು ಅಚ್ಚ ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರು,
 ಕನಿಷ್ಠ ಪಕ್ಷ ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರೊಂದಿಗೆ ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾತನಾಡಿ... ಯಾರನ್ನೋ ಮೆಚ್ಚಿಸಲು ಯಾವುದೋ ಭಾಷೆಯನ್ನು ಬಳಸಬೇಡಿ...
ಎಲ್ಲರಿಗೂ ಕನ್ನಡ ನಾಡು ನುಡಿ ಹಬ್ಬದ ಸದಾಶಯಗಳು...