Saturday, January 06, 2007

How stupid can Nokia get?

I don't know whether to laugh or cry looking at Nokia's product strategy for India. It's funny how they think they can market mobile phones with Hindi keypads all over India! Most Kannadigas just hate to see Hindi on the handset (I don't hate it, but I hate paying for something I'll never use). What Kannadigas prefer - no points for guessing this - is Kannada.

Ironically, Nokia did come out with a decent phone (Nokia 6030) which has a Kannada keypad, user-interface and SMS capability. Although the phone has its share of bugs, it is one of Nokia's best phones. Funnily though, these phones are extremely difficult to find in Karnataka itself - retailers present you with one or the other stupid Hindi phone which nobody really cares for.

And of course, Nokia needs to understand that Kannadigas would like to have better phones with Kannada enabled on them - the latest gadgets and gizmos are definitely compatible with Kannada, aren't they?

Nokia, are you listening?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Aryan Invasion Theory or not, Dravidian languages are different

What are Dravidian languages?

Dravidian languages are a family of languages spoken (very much so in 2007) in South India, Central India, parts of North India and the Baluchi province of Pakistan. The major Dravidian languages are Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam. Dravidian languages are classified under one family basically for linguistic reasons, i.e., similarity of grammar and day-to-day words. The list of Dravidian languages is pretty long. Wikipedia goes like this:

South Central Central Northern
Where are Dravidian languages being spoken?

The linguistic map of India is shown below (for further maps of world languages, click here):

The parts which appear reddish are areas where "Dravidian languages" are being spoken. Of course the most important Dravidian languages - Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam - are easy to see. But a closer look reveals more Dravidian languages being spoken even in Central India as well as in present-day Pakistan (the Brahui language of Baluchistan is Dravidian).

The Aryan Invasion Theory

Mostly because of the presense of Dravidian languages in North India and Baluchistan, linguists have had to come to the conclusion that an "Aryan Race" invaded India which was mostly Dravidian. They are of the opinion that the Aryans drove Dravidians to the south. This, in short, is the Aryan Invasion Theory.

Opposition to Aryan Invasion Theory

The theory is not liked by many, notable among whom are BJP and the Sangh Parivar, who think of this theory as a tool used by the British to divide North and South India. There have been many attempts to disprove the Aryan Invasion Theory, including recent claims (which have their share of opposition) of having decoded the Harappa-Mohenjodaro inscriptions about whom the "Aryan or Dravidian" question is raised by many.

Support for Aryan Invasion Theory

South Indian universities and centers of study support the Aryan Invasion Theory. In some universities, it is taken for granted. Nobody even questions the theory. For them, the difference between the two language families - Dravidian and Indi-Aryan - is enough proof for their stand about history. These universities have come up with many a PhD thesis, many a book about Dravidian languages, how they're unique, how all Dravidian languages have similar grammar, etc.

The theory is also supported by linguists all over the world. See references for details. It is these linguists who are called as people who "divide-and-rule" by the opponents of the theory.

Unscientific approaches of both camps

Both opposers and supporters of the Aryan Invasion Theory have shortcomings. It is funny how these shortcomings exist only in the Indian researchers.

The opposers of the theory (BJP, RSS & Co), although they've gone to lengths trying to disprove the Aryan Invasion Theory - something for which there is neither proof nor factual evidence, have failed to explain the similarity among Dravidian languages, and their marked linguistic difference between languages of the North which are called Indo-Aryan by linguists. In fact, the opposers even hide the fact that Dravidian languges fall into a different language family. I'd be darned if you find a map such as I've posted above in any publication of the Sangh Parivar. But the Sangh Parivar, if one has to take it seriously, must
necessarily explain how their opposition to the Aryan Invasion Theory is consistent with linguistic facts. It's high time the opposers take a course in linguistics.

The supporters - people from South Indian universities - must take a scientific approach towards the theory instead of blindly agreeing with foreign linguists and historians. It is high time these people conduct deeper research into history and linguistics. Although the similarity of Dravidian languages has well been analyzed and researched, it's a pity that the Aryan Invasion Theory has been implicitly - and explicitly - assumed by these researchers. It's a grave mistake to take such things as given. It's a pity that these researchers don't come to conclusions about history on the basis of current linguistic proximity of Dravidian languages. What I mean is - they could use the fact that Dravidian languages are related in order to come to speculations - if not conclusions about the history of the speakers of Dravidian languages.

Why the Aryan Invasion Theory doesn't matter

The Aryan Invasion Theory - whether true or false - is useless in determining the future of speakers of Dravidian languages, unless it is politically engineered to determine. Why do I say that?

Whether the Aryan Invasion Theory is true or false, nobody can hide the fact that Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and every other Dravidian language is a "linguistic cousin" having not much to do with Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and Bengali. Nobody can discount the fact that day-to-day words in all Dravidian languages are linguistically proximate. Scientific proof exists for the similarity of these languages, and only those who care a hoot for science can bring other theories to hide the similarity.
It is such people who go around trumpeting the falsity that Samskruta is the mother of all languages (funnily, the rest of the world doesn't think so - they class Samskruta along with other european languages and provide linguistic proof for their similarity (maatru, mother, etc etc.)

Nor would it be politically correct or desireable to prove that Dravidian languages are derived from Samskruta (as the Sangh Parivar thinks). Dravidian languages are on the rise - contrary to what the English media led by the Times of India tries to propagate. Kannadigas, Tamilians, Telugus and Malayalis are becoming increasingly aware of their uniqueness and fighting for linguistic rights.

Truth alone wins. satyamEva jayate.


3. Dravida Bhashavijnana - Dr. Hampa Nagarajaiah, D.V.K. Murthy Publishers, Maisooru - 4.
4. Toulanika Dravida Bhasha Vijnana - Dr. K. Kempegowda, Bharati Prakashana, Maisooru
5. Dravidian Etymological Dictionary - Burrow and Emeaneau

Karnataka’s linguistic inferiority complex

Just as the effect of hundreds of years of environment can be seen in the bark of a tree, the effect of hundreds of years of history can be seen in the linguistic inferiority complex that prevails in Karnataka today. I use the term linguistic inferiority complex (LIC) to denote inferiority complex relating to one’s own language, its utility, its boundaries and its importance. The disastrous effects of this inferiority complex can be seen in our education system, our society, industry, and in general just about everywhere. LIC is so second nature to the so-called “thinkers” of Karnataka today that even its existence is not acknowledged by them. LIC in Karnataka is made up of the following four unwritten linguistic inferiority complexes, not one of them scientific or democratic or supported by commonsense or fact:
  1. Kannada can be used only for “simple conversations and light stuff like poetry, drama and other non-scientific things”
  2. English is the best language for “conversations between intelligent people; definitely the language for any scientific topic”
  3. Samskruta is the only language for anything even slightly spiritual
  4. Hindi is more important than Kannada in India

The first inferiority complex can be traced to India’s colonial past. The British who opened English schools instead of Kannada and Samskruta schools sowed the seed of linguistic inferiority complex. School students used to get punished for speaking in Kannada (this is seen even today in most of Bengalooru schools) and rewarded for every small achievement in English. With this a sense of achievement got attached to English and a sense of non-achievement to Kannada. Kannada came to be slowly regarded as a language fit only for simple conversations and light stuff like poetry, drama and other non-scientific things – because the British simply didn’t let anything other than that to go on in Kannada. They truly didn’t think Kannada was fit for anything at all. Even after independence and consequent formation of linguistic states, Kannada is not fully implemented in administration, education or industry.

Since the British introduced English as the panacea in the atmosphere of inferiority which they themselves created, it slowly replaced Kannada as the language for conversations between intelligent people; definitely the language for any scientific topic. The English education system was nothing but an engine producing more and more people with this fatal inferiority complex, fit to serve the British crown. Those who came out of the system took pride in hating Kannada, making fun of Kannada and being able to speak English. The flawed arguments that English (as opposed to knowledge) is the strength based on which we can win global markets today, that English is the language of science and technology, stem from this very same inferiority complex continuing to pollute a Kannadiga’s blood. Although examples exist of countries like Japan, Israel, France, etc., which have all their systems in the language of the land, a Kannadiga is blind to this because of this second inferiority complex.

Samskruta enjoys a special place in Karnataka because of the huge corpus of spiritual literature which exists in it (not that we read or understand it). Almost every spiritual thinker of India – real or fake – has resorted to Samskruta as the language for his spiritual literature. This has been disastrous from the point of view of dissemination of true spiritual thinking among Kannadigas. Even today, most of Karnataka remains spiritually challenged because of this single mistake. Kannadigas have come to believe that spiritual literature cannot exist in Kannada, that our Gods understand only Samskruta! We are so spiritually blind and so mesmerized by Samskruta that we think anything and everything written in Samskruta is divine, that even the language and its grammar are divine and worth imitating in Kannada. It’s a pity that even our grammarians have bought into the flawed theory that Kannada – a Dravidian language – is derived from Samskruta, a theory proven totally wrong by linguists all over the world. This is our third inferiority complex.

The issue of Hindi (at best a budding language when it comes to age or achievement compared to Kannada) is more recent but reminiscent of British imperialism. Although there is no constitutional provision granting Hindi the status of “National language”, Karnataka has been made to believe so. Hindi is merely – but undemocratically – the only official language of the Indian Union, but schoolchildren in Karnataka are taught the blatant lie that Hindi is the National language of India. The central government invests hundreds of crores of rupees every year to impose Hindi on Kannadigas in education and central government institutions, even banks, using every medium possible. In the name of urbanization, entertainment media has very tactfully imposed Hindi on Kannadigas and made us believe that real entertainment can exist only in Hindi. Slowly, therefore, the suicidal feeling that Kannada is “not enough” to get on to Mainstream India has crept into a Kannadiga’s thinking. Kannadigas have come to believe that Hindi is a more important language than their mother-tongue in India. This is our fourth inferiority complex.

Linguistic inferiority complex is draining the life-blood of Kannadigas, turning us into inferior individuals building an inferior Karnataka. It has already brought about a class divide in Karnataka. The “higher class” slights Kannada and Karnataka, experiences physical pain living in Karnataka, is devoid of self-respect, cannot compete with westerners in true intelligence because of having to use a foreign language, and is waiting in long visa queues to escape from reality. The “lower class” – which cannot slight Kannada and Karnataka – is removed from education, science and technology (due to English) and commerce (due to English/Hindi). Both classes are removed from spirituality (due to Samskruta). It is clear that linguistic inferiority complex must be rooted out from the mind of every Kannadiga if at all we wish to progress. There is no option but to think of ways in which Kannada can completely replace English in education, science and technology, and Samskruta in spirituality and religion. Hindi together with the baggage of lies must be removed from school syllabi and the constitutional priority of Kannada in Karnataka must instead be taught; Kannada must replace it in central government offices, banks and commercial institutions.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

One resolution worth making this new year

We are all set to welcome 2007, the 51st year of Karnataka's statehood, the 51st year of the recognition of Kannadanaadu as a "stand-alone" state wherein Kannada can flourish.

However, it is a sad fact that Kannada's flourishing is fast receding from the realm of possibility, let alone entering the realm of visibility! A day's visit to Bengalooru confirms this: Kannada is virtually banned in the Malls, shopping complexes, commercial establishments, central government offices and MNCs! Of course nobody has the guts - like the British had - to put up apartheid-ish signs saying "Kannada speakers and dogs not allowed inside", but every other instrument of linguistic oppression against us in our own land is well in place: no customer service in Kannada, no banks in Kannada, no receptionists speaking Kannada, no roadsigns in Kannada, you name it: it's either not there in Kannada at all, or Kannada is hidden away from where you can see it like dirty underwear. English and Hindi are taking up those "primetime" slots.

Some people (well, actually mostly the newspapers and tv channels) attribute this to globalization and the emergence of a "resurgent India". But what kind of resurgence is this, when our own language is being wiped off our own state? This is not progress, this is the sign of doom. This is the sign of a disintegrating India, the disintegration catalysed by the so called "educated Indian".

It is sad that up-and-coming Kannadiga youth are buying this suicidal theory. They've got money in their hands, but fail to understand that that very money is an instrument with which to resurrect Kannada in Karnataka. That money works wonders in this capitalistic world: customer is god!

So let's make a new year resolution, one resolution worth making this new year, and stick to it:

"I will not use any language other than Kannada for interacting with anybody, anywhere, for any reason inside Karnataka. If this is not possible at my workplace, I shall not let that interfere with the world outside work. Even at work, I will not patronize any language other than Kannada. Outside work, I will demand service in Kannada in banks, malls, central government offices, while obtaining customer services, everywhere! This is my birthright, and this is the least I can do to serve Karnataka, and thereby India."

By sticking to this basic resolution, Kannadiga youth can work wonders in resurrecting Kannada in Karnataka. And when that happens, we can be sure that we're progressing - for it is Kannada with which Kannadigas can communicate and cooperate and rise higher; not english, not any other language.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Derecognition of schools and prostitution on paper

About 4000 schools in Karnataka which have violated government rules and illegally run English medium classes (after signing on bond paper to run Kannada medium classes) have been slated to loose recognition starting next academic year, which means sometime around April 10th, 2007.

However, the newspapers - all the English papers and a few Kananda papers - have behaved in such an irresponsible way (and upheld going against law) that one almost starts developing an aversion towards newspapers in general. It is a known fact that the Indian press has turned to virtual prostitution - selling every inch of its body, especially its vital parts - the editorial and opinion columns. The Times of India and its "sister publications", Vijay Times and Vijay Karnataka, have been leading the pack.

What have the newspapers done?
  1. First of all, they've removed focus from the actual problem, which is that the erring schools have actually been illegal in not doing what they signed on bond paper. After having removed focus from this, they've tried to make this a "philosophical question" about "which medium is better: Kannada or English"? The fact is - irrespective of that question, nobody can get away by violating law. If this is let go of, the courts will have to let go of every mistrust case: you don't need to do what you said you'll do on your apartment's sale deed, etc etc!
  2. Next, they've tried to wage a childish war against minister Basavaraj Horatti and politicians in general, trying to "bring them to their knees" on the point of them sending their children to English medium schools! How childish, how irresponsible this is! What has that got to do with a set of illegal businessmen (yeah, that's what those who run the school are) defaulting? Again, this too is nothing but a trick to "lead" the "reader" away from the real problem and fill public minds with the agenda of those businessmen. Why would the papers do that? Because they've bought the "body" and the "vital parts" of the newspapers, that's why.
  3. Then, the papers ask as to why the punishment was not given for all these years (the legislation against English medium schools was passed in 1993), knowing fully well that the politicians cannot answer this question in public - the reason being those traitors have been made to shut up by these illegal businessmen by way of bribe - the same businessmen who have bought the newspapers. For a moment, let's forget about all this bribing which has happened, and just ask: "What's wrong if the policeman finds out a little late that someone has stolen his neighbor's son's golden ring?". Instead of focusing on the fact that the ring has been stolen and that the police have finally managed to track down the criminal, is it a display of post-adolescent behavior to ask why the police are so late?
  4. Next, the papers, especially Vijay Karnataka, ask as to how punishing the schools is going to help Kannada. This is a cheap trick to make Kanandigas feel that the government is doing nothing to help Kannada - whereas the fact is that the papers don't really care a damn about Kannada. Again, the strategy is to defocus from the real issue, manipulate mass sentiments and get away by doing what the bribing businessmen want them to do.
  5. Then these papers (this time led by Vijay Times) ask how, if it's okay to legalize illegal buildings, it's not okay to legalize illegal schools! What a display of responsibility! What a way of "guarding the reader"! Instead of bringing the corrupt politicians down to their knees for the anti-people act of legalizing illegal buildings, these traitors want illegal schools to be legalized! What a display of puberty! What a display of ethics! What a display of concern for people! What a display of democratic thinking!
It is high time we wake up and realize the damage being done by this harem of publications. It's high time we Kannadigas realize the real agenda of the press today - the complete destruction of Kannada, Kannadiga and Karnataka.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hindi - Myths and Reality

1. What is Hindi Divas? Why is Hindi Divas organized?
Hindi Divas is organized by Government of India on 14th September every year. Hindi Divas is organized at all Central Government offices across the country and general public is encouraged to participate in it. This event is organized to promote usage of Hindi in administration and for general communication by all Indians, irrespective of whether Hindi is their mother tongue or not. This event is funded by the tax payer's money, most of whom are not Hindi speaking.
2. Why do we need to oppose the Hindi Divas / Saptah celebrations? Why should we oppose this official patronage to Hindi?
Although India prides itself as a democracy in the community of nations, it is a sad fact that the Indian constitution calls Hindi together with English as the only two Official Languages of the Indian Union, to the exclusion of the mother-tongues of more than 75 % of India. A close look at India's language policy betrays the sad but dangerous truth of Hindi imperialism, which is but the new face of English imperialism. The very rule that knowledge of Hindi (or English, but preferably Hindi) is an absolute must for entry to Central Govt. jobs is a defeat of democracy. The concept that there should be one and only one administrative language for central government purposes simply does not apply to countries with plural cultures, languages and peoples. Disregarding this basic fact, the central and state governments have geared up to destroy our language and culture, to name our places in Hindi, to use only Hindi in our central govt. offices, to impose Hindi in very way possible, through every available channel, every available medium. Since Hindi imposition is anti-democratic and defeats the pluralistic nature of our country, we need to oppose Hindi imposition. Since Hindi Divas / Saptah are instruments of the Union Government to impose Hindi, we need to oppose this event.
3. Is Hindi the "National language" of India?
India as a nation comprises of various languages and cultures. Every individual represents his language and culture likewise language and culture are symbols of ones identity. India considers itself a federal republic because it comprises of different states which have their own language and culture. There was a strong cultural and administrative reason to form the states based on linguistic affiliation, because of the vast diversity in culture and language. Thus each state has its own official language which mostly differs from that of other states'. That language is the lifeline of the people of state and it represents its culture, since language is the media for communication and inheritance of culture.
Hindi was accepted as official language in some states and it represented the culture of only those states. Nowhere in the constitution is Hindi mentioned as the "National language". According to Indian Constitution, 22 languages are accepted as scheduled languages. Among these 22 languages a single language does not represent India's culture in its entirety. A situation where a single language can represent India's culture can only be made possible by suppressing India's diverse cultures. Hence Hindi is NOT the "National Language" of India.
4. Being a strong votary of Hindi as the national language is considered the litmus test to one's patriotism towards the country? Is this right?
This is absolutely wrong. Efforts of Hindi speaking people to force non-Hindi speaking people to accept Hindi as the sole National language is against the national spirit. In fact those who do this are not patriotic. Linking acceptance of Hindi as National Language & the knowledge of Hindi to a citizen's nationalistic credentials is dangerous and unacceptable.
5. How is Hindi being imposed on on-Hindi speaking people in India?
Hindi has been and is being imposed on non-Hindi speaking citizens of India through various means.
The three main vehicles of imposition are:
  1. Through Administrative system
  2. Through Education system
  3. Through Media and Entertainment
1. The central government through its directives has been encouraging central government offices, banks, insurance companies to transact in Hindi. All these were under the control of the Central Government for almost four and a half decades. The control on these institutions has been fully utilized by the Central Government in its attempt to use Hindi for all official transactions / communication. These departments provide incentives for employees who implement Hindi, promote those who ensure Hindi implementation, provide leave to attend special courses in Hindi, etc.
2. Central Government through its three language formula has been systematically forcing Hindi on non-Hindi speakers. Students in the Hindi speaking states never learn a third language whereas students in the non-Hindi speaking states were / are being forced to learn Hindi. Also, wrong information is being taught to students across the country that Hindi is the National Language
3. But the most successful way of imposing Hindi on non-Hindi speaking people has been through media and entertainment sector. For almost four and half decades after independence, due to the socialist moorings of the Union Government, there was monopolistic control of radio & television by the Central Government through AIR and Doordarshan respectively. This has been utilized by the Central Government in providing news and entertainment to non-Hindi speaking people ONLY in Hindi for almost 40+ years. This has resulted in creating a huge market for news & entertainment in Hindi which both the Government and the private sector are NOW encashing at the expense of other language media and entertainment industries.
7. What is the impact of the imposition of Hindi on non-Hindi speaking people in India?
This three pronged approach (through administration, education and media / entertainment) to impose Hindi has met with success to a considerable degree in some of the states of India. Many of the languages like Bhojpuri, Maithili, Santhali, Rajasthani, Haryanvi, etc have been systematically reduced to "dialects" of Hindi. Many other languages like Punjabi, Marwari, Gujarati, Bengali, Marathi have lost their entertainment industries and are happy entertaining themselves in Hindi, an alien language to most people living in those states. Students in most of the states have been brainwashed that Hindi is the national language of India. Loyalty and patriotism to the nation has been reduced to acceptance of Hindi as the sole "National" and "Link" language. Any Indian having a different opinion on this is branded as not being nationalist enough! A bigger problem this has created is the false sense of superiority in the Hindi speakers. Their expectation that the whole of India speaks Hindi, their reluctance to learn the language of the place they settle in, arrogance that they display in their interaction with fellow non-Hindi speaking Indians is the biggest threat to national integration.
8. I never knew all this was happening. I am aware of this issue now. What should I do?
Be aware that Hindi is not the ONLY national language of India. All the languages spoken in India are National languages. Please create this awareness in people around you.
If you are residing in non-Hindi states, ensure that you conduct all the transactions at central government offices and banks in the language of the land or English. Do not use Hindi.
Boycott Hindi films and music in non-Hindi speaking states. Encourage the media and entertainment industry of the place you live.
Boycott schools and colleges that teach ONLY Hindi and not the local language in non-Hindi states.
In non-Hindi states, converse with Hindi speakers in the language of the land or English. Do not converse / transact with them in Hindi.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Kannada must reign on state highways

The Bengalooru - Maisooru state highway (not BMIC, mind you - that requires a special blog) has improved quite a bit after long years of putting up with crappy work and uncaring governments. However, the current government has made a four huge mistakes w.r.t. the signboards on the highway.

Mistake #1

Do you understand what "TRUCK LAY BYE" means? It's a signboard which appears 4-5 times on the highway. Now, I've been around the world - travelled in four continents (two of which have quite a few english speaking countries) on this planet, and never found this sign anywhere else. People of Pandavapura, Srirangapattana, Melukote are supposed to understand this goddamned sign. It doesn't even have a translation in Kannada! It's a huge mistake that this sign is in ENGLISH. When the govt. itself has rules which dictate every signboard to be displayed in Kannada with Kannada being more prominent than English, it's a pity that it doesn't follow the rule itself.

Mistake #2

The signboards indicating names of places have both Kannada and English names written on them, but the English sign is on top and Kannada is at the bottom. For e.g., "Pandavapura" is written in English on the top and in Kannada script at the bottom. This is the second huge mistake. What is the explanation for having English on top? Fools may argue that it doesn't matter which is on top, but it does matter - the Kannadiga eye scans a write-up from top to bottom, and it's imperialistic to make the eye encounter English instead of Kannada. It's a continuation of British imperialism.

Mistake #3

The signboards referred to above not only have English names on top, but the English writing is in a bolder, bigger font compared to Kannada. One has to be near striking distance of a "Pandavapura" board to be able to read the Kannada script. It is clear that the govt. doesn't want people to read the Kannada name from a distance. This is the third huge mistake.

Mistake #4

The English translations of the names stink of British imperialism, and are tailored for pronunciation by foreigners rather than Kannadigas. For instance, "Sirangapatam" is the name given to Srirangapattana. Why be so slavish as to change the name of Srirangapattana so that it can be better pronounced by a British "dore"? This is the fourth huge mistake.

Verdict by Q&A
  • Who is the govt trying to impress by putting up these cryptic english signboards? The answer is - everybody who is not a Kannadiga.
  • Is it trying to lick American asses? Yes.
  • Is it trying to lick British asses? Yes.
  • Is it trying to lick non-Kannadiga asses? Yes.
  • Why does the govt. not understand that Kannada must reign on state highways? Because it lacks self confidence. First of all the govt. doesn't believe that Kannada (an instance of "anything our own") can be used for anything "high tech" like a good road. Secondly, it doesn't care for Kannadigas. Thirdly, it thinks people who use the road are English speakers.