Thursday, 6 July 2017

No means nahi!

Poet Prathibha Nandakumar wrote a beautiful article on the imposition of Hidi in Namma Metro, Bengaluru. Enjoy this wonderful piece published in the Bangalore Mirror:

I know Hindi. I also know English, Tamil and a little bit of Telugu and Urdu. My mother tongue is Marathi, which we have given up and speak Kannada at home.

None of that can justify imposing Hindi in Namma Metro. Hindi by choice not by force. Kannada is primary in Karnataka. Period. No space for debate. How did the BMRCL even get an idea that the Metro “needed” Hindi? According to a media report, BMRCL Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola has confessed that the Hindi signboards were put up in Metro “following Centre’s direction.” Why?

The anti-Hindi agitation is over five decades old in Karnataka. When we were in primary school, we witnessed our elder brothers and sisters in colleges actively involved in the anti-Hindi agitations. They even had parodies of popular film songs to drive their point home. I distinctly remember one song ridiculing the then Education Minister, SR Kanti, in the tune of “Jyot se jyot lagaake chalo….” and the lines went “…ye Kanti ki panche bhi udane lagi.”

Sixty years is a long time and still the Centre thinks it can fool people? Between 1937-40, Periyar started the anti-Hindi agitation in the south. It saw protests, marches, fasts, Goli bar, lathi charge, picketing …. everything. We survived but were imposed Hindi as third language. They said the third language marks don’t count for ranking but nevertheless Hindi was taught. The Centre was adamant then. The Centre is adamant now as well. Who directed the BMRCL MD to include Hindi in Metro sign boards? #nammametrohindibeda is not a campaign just for the heck of it for BMRCL to ignore. It has ignored the protests by pro-Kannada activist groups. It has ignored the online campaign. It has ignored the people’s voice. It has ignored the letter written by the Chairman of Kannada Development Authority. It has even ignored Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s statement that we don’t need Hindi in Metro because it is “not going anywhere out, it is very much within the city.” Metro PRO UA Vasanth Rao told NDTV that a Parliamentary Committee had come to check the observation of the 3-language formula in Metro “because the Centre is a stakeholder in Namma Metro.” That is what we are objecting to. The State is as much a stakeholder in Metro as Centre. Besides, that the “British” attitude of the Centre claiming/defending Hindi because it has funded a part of it is feudalistic to the core. When media persons pointed it out to Vasanth Rao that Tamil Nadu was using only Tamil and English in both sign boards and announcements, he was insensitive enough to say that “it was in violation of the ministry’s orders.”The Central Government is for all citizens in the country and should, as a rule, protect the interests of its subjects. By imposing a rule that is detrimental to the interests of the public and further insulting people by terming it a ‘violation’, the Centre is showing its callousness. The citizens of Bengaluru wanted the Metro to be called Namma Metro not just because it sounds like it belongs to us, but because it belongs to us. We do not want Hindi imposition and the Centre has no business whatsoever to impose Hindi on us, be it because it is a stakeholder or because it has ulterior motives. If the Centre thinks imposing Hindi will fetch votes, it has another thing coming.

Yes, all of us do watch Hindi films and sing Hindi songs and also idolise Hindi heroes. But all that is NEXT to our love for our language and also it’s a choice. Nobody forced us to watch Hindi films. We love to watch all language films but you can’t force us to watch. If you stuff our faces with Hindi we will vomit for sure. The Kannada Development Authority is a government body with all due powers to instruct the BMRCL with regard to the language policy. As Stakeholder State can dictate terms just like the Centre and if a body authorised by the State Government says Hindi nahi chalega, BMRCL has to listen to that also and PRO Vasanth Rao should know that it is in violation of the Chairman’s orders. Like CM Siddaramaiah said, the next largest speaking population in Bengaluru are Telugu and Tamil, followed by Urdu. As it is, Bengalureans are having a tough time dealing with drug peddling Africans. Remember the exodus of the north east people? Unless the BMRCL wants a repeat of complications arising out of language, it better wake up and honour the sentiments of Kannadigas.

NO means NO, not just in case of the physical but also in the case of language. It will not take much effort on the part of Kannadigas to blacken the Hindi in Kharola’s Metro. Namma Metro belongs to us, and we are saying hindibeda. That’s it. No means nahi.

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