Learn Kannada or fend for yourself!

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Karnataka
Bangalore, July 24:These are the exact words  thrown at an enquirer at the GPO when he wanted some information regarding Aadhar card. Nevertheless curt, these phrases would have stabbed anyone who had imagined Bangalore to be cosmopolitan, receiving everyone with open arms.

Of course, things have been changing off late with increasing migrants in the city, leading to clashes between the two segments-the Kannadigas and the non-Kannadigas. The August 2012 incident of clashes between the Assamese migrants and the Kannadigas is a case in point.

Almost one year later, when  things seem to be normal, one can still feel an undercurrent in the way people treat outsiders. Take the above-mentioned GPO case where a government executive visited the GPO for an urgent query and was curtly refused to be entertained because he was not a Kannadiga.

"I was enraged by the way, the executive treated me. She asked me directly whether I was a Kannadiga or not (please note that was in English). When I answered in the negative, she asked me to go and learn the language first (in Kannada)," said Dibakar (name changed) who hails from Bihar.

While this is just one case, there are many more in the streets of Bangalore. For example:

While travelling

Non-kannadigas are clueless of the bus routes since everything is written in Kannada. Be prepared for a smirk or a comment (with communal undertone) in the native language if you enquired. In such cases, either you fight or ignore, the latter being the safest as you would be the only one raising voice.

The auto drivers go on to the extent of passing lewd comments or slangs if the commuter is a woman and a non-kannadiga and is not able to understand what he is saying.

In Office

Supposed to be a corporate atmosphere, one can see clean demarcation in the demography. Kannadigas speaking in the native tongue with their colleagues is not an uncommon scenario, although office regulations do not permit usage of native language. Naturally, one is left clueless what the others are talking about.

In Schools

Latest reports of the usage of Kannada verses in English text have taken students off-balance. Two textbooks-cum-workbooks in Environmental Studies for Class I and Class II have Kannada riddles and verses wtitten in Roman script.

While class 2 has 17 such poems, class 1 has 9. Meant to introduce children to animals, vegetables and plants, this forms a major part of the curriculum.The Karnataka Text Book Society owes up to the mistake saying," we forgot to add the meanings and the sub titles. We will ensure that the translations are incorporated in the next edition."

On digging further into the matter, the National Curriculum Framework coordinator GS Mudambadithaya said," We do not have English poems that equally fit the context so well. We realized the original meaning would be lost in translation. Everyone is expected to know Kannada to an extent. We have Kannada as a subject in schools. May be 0.5% teachers could be having problems with it."

Teachers in an International school say otherwise. "We face this problem not only while teaching subjects, but also in teacher-guardian meetings. Guardians refuse to talk to us in English although they have admitted their wards in English medium schools. One parent, in fact, went ahead and asked me to talk in Kannada otherwise she would not answer my questions," said Prerna, a Botany teacher in the school.

Bangalore seems to be losing its erstwhile flavour of acceptability and tolerance towards other cultures. The day is not far when it will lose its 'cosmopolitan' tag too.

OneIndia News

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