Hindi Imposition in Karnataka

(How Indian Government is Choking off Kannada Language in Karnataka)

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, March 2015 (ID. 2015-03-01); Updated 2017-03-01
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1. Opposition to Governor's Speech in Hindi
2. Our Commentary
3. The Big Picture

1. Opposition to Governor's Speech in Hindi

Karnataka State Governor Mr. Vajbhai Vala made his Indian Republic Day speech in Hindi on January 26, 2015. He addressed the Joint Session of Karnataka Legislature in Hindi on February 2, 2015 [Tehelka.com (a widely read Indian news web site); February 4, 2015]. The reason given was that he was not so fluent in English (but he does know English) and did not know the state official language Kannada. His mother tongue is Gujarati (not Hindi). 

Although there was some "protesting murmurs" from some Karnataka politicians, not a single member of the Karnataka state legislature (MLA - Member of Legislative Assembly) boycotted the governor's speech. 

Former Chairman of the Legislative Council, Veeranna Mathikati believed that governor's Hindi address was an indirect imposition of the Hindi on Karnataka. K Shivalinge Gowda, MLA said that not more than 10 per cent of the legislators may understand Hindi well. The state government said that Hindi, English and Kannada versions of the Governor’s speech would be provided to all the members of the legislature. [Deccan Herald; January 29, 2015]

Assembly Speaker Kagodu Thimappa seemed to justify the Hindi speech saying that the choice of language was the prerogative of the governor... the Constitution has given him the right to deliver address in any language which is recognized [Deccan Herald January 29, 2015].

There were some vocal protests from a small number of pro-Kannada groups. Several activists of the Kannada Rakshana Vedike protested at the assembly gate. President of the Kannada Rakshana Vedike, Narayana Gowda, said that “the hindi speeches seem like a part of a larger conspiracy to impose Hindi in the state through Raj Bhavan (governor's office)” [Tehelka.com; February 4, 2015] .

AN UPDATE: Hindi domination continues. This is the scenario two years later.
Governor Vajubhai Vala addressed the joint session of the Karnataka State Legislature in Hindi. (India Times; February 7, 2017)
Who do we blame? The governor, or the state chief minister and the entire members of the legislative assembly who did not walk out in protest?

2. Our Commentary

Our position is that the governor should know the state official language. The very ideal of linguistic states is "mocked" when the head of the state (the governor) does not know the state language. We would like to mention in this context that many IAS and IPS officers who hold top administrative and law-enforcement positions in the state government (such as district collectors and assistant inspector generals of police) also are from other states and cannot read or write letters and reports in the state official language. At least one judge in the State High Court is appointed from another state and most likely do not know the state language. These appointments are mockery of the very concept of linguistic states. It is our opinion that the Indian government is deliberately sabotaging the use of state language at higher levels of state government offices. By the way, these IAS and IPS officers have to learn Hindi even if they are working in non-Hindi states.

Let us, for the sake of this discussion, agree to a governor who does not know the state language. Instead of speaking in Hindi and providing translations in English and Kannada, why didn't Governor Vajbhai Vala speak in his mother tongue Gujarati and provide translations in English and Kannada? That is more acceptable to us. Him speaking in Hindi seems to indicate a further attempt of thrusting Hindi on the people and legislators of Karnataka.

I think that both the Former Chairman of the Legislative Council, Veeranna Mathikati, and the President of Kannada Rakshana Vedike, Narayana Gowda, hit the nail right on the head when they correctly pointed out that it is part of Hindi imposition on Karnataka.

We demand that laws be enacted at the central and state level that all those who work in a state must have working knowledge of the state official language.

3. The Big Picture

We shall not look at this incidences of the governor speaking in Hindi at the Indian Republic Day celebration and to the Joint Session of Karnataka Legislature in isolation. We see a larger picture of indirect Hindi imposition and attempts to dilute the use of state languages. Here are a few pieces of related information (not a complete list). 

Indian government has put up some Hindi billboards in the streets of Bengaluru (Bangalore) advertising central government projects (see the 3rd photo at this link). There is no Kannada there. Is not Kannada the best language to advertise in the streets of Karnataka? I don't think the main purpose of these billboards is to inform the people of Karnataka about Indian government projects but to flaunt Hindi in the non-Hindi state of Karnataka. This seems to be part of the Indian Government's effort to push Hindi into non-Hindi states through indirect means. Indian government approved 700 crore Rupees in 2011 to promote Hindi through different advertising mediums like FM Radio, televisions and outdoor advertisements such as promotional hoardings at railway station, bus stands and bus stops. (Jargon Post; July 30, 2011) (1 crore = 10 lakhs)

Southern Railways, owned and operated by the Indian Government, is also in the fray to thrust Hindi into non-Hindi states. It posts safety information in Hindi and English only in trains running within Karnataka State. It is almost criminal not to post such important information in the local language. Photo shows Hindi/English safety information in a train traveling from Sagar to Bengaluru in 2014 (see the 2-nd photo at this link).

Destinations in some trains running within the state are in Hindi and English only. Photo shows destination signs in Hindi and English only in a train running between Bengaluru and Chennai (Madras) (see 3-rd photo at this link). Bengaluru is in Karnataka and Chennai is in Tamil Nadu (both non-Hindi states). The destination names should have been written in Kannada and Tamil, state languages of Karnataka and Tamilnadu  How can passengers understand where the train is going? Is it necessary for Kannadigas and Tamils to know Hindi or English even to ride trains between their home states while Hindi people can read the destinations and safety  posters in their mother tongue several hundred miles away from home?

Indian government owned Canara Bank's Cash Deposit Kiosk at JP Nagara Branch, Bengaluru (Bangalore) is in Hindi and English only (see 2-nd photo at this link). It is Karnataka. Why no Kannada?

Indian government's goal is very clear, "Make all Indian languages except Hindi useless so people will rush to learn Hindi just to live in their own states". If anyone has any doubt about Indian government's nefarious goal, read the following incidence.

A Parliamentary Sub-Committee Meeting was held in Mysore (Karnataka State) on July 5, 2008 to review the “implementation” of Hindi as per the official language policy. There was a large board written in Kannada. It says, "Maneya Vyavahara Kannadadalli, Karyalayada Vyavahara Raajabhasheyalli". It means, "Use Kannada at home, use Rajabhasha in office". They are referring to Hindi as the Rajabhasha.

Indian government's nefarious aim is very clear. Dilute the use of Kannada in its own land and infuse Karnataka with Hindi. Slowly but surely Hindi will replace Kannada everywhere except within Kannadiga homes.

Unless the people, politicians and the government of Karnataka mount an effective campaign against  direct and indirect Hindi imposition, the future of Kannada is not very bright.

[Final Note: We discussed some indirect Hindi imposition in Karnataka in this article. There is also direct Hindi imposition. Non-Hindi employees of the Indian government as well as Indian government undertakings such as Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), government owned banks, railway require its non-Hindi employees to pass Hindi examinations and do certain percentage of work in Hindi. These non-Hindi employees suffer in silence and the general public do not know much about it.]

Disclaimer: The photo links in this article are from other web sites and Tamil Tribune not responsible for the contents of those sites. Contact those sites for their contents.


Hindi Imposition in India: A Collection of Articles

Index to Archived Articles

Summary: Indian government dilutes the use of Kannada and infuses Karnataka with Hindi. Slowly Hindi will replace Kannada everywhere except within Kannadiga homes. Examples.

Thanjai Nalangkilli

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