Recently we have been having many discussions in lab on if people should be expected, asked, or enforced to learn a language. Over here I am sharing my personal thoughts on the same.
Just to give a little background about India, We are 29 states and 7 union territories; every place has different language, lifestyle, economics, culture, rituals and food; and the only thing unifying all of us is our diversity, which is our pride too. We portray ourselves as very tolerant of each other’s cultures, lifestyles etc. and respect the way a person is. Recently I have been having second thoughts about are we tolerant and accepting of other people’s choices? I know we are much better than most of other geographies, but within ourselves exist many differences.
Bangalore has been a metro city for quite some time now especially after the IT boom and is still going forward in term of its diversity. People from various cultures throughout the country come here for good weather, work and education. In addition, a survey came up with figures that more than 50 % of Bangalore’s population is migrant. In a scenario like that, where more than 50 % of population is migrant and non-Kannada speaker and the remaining native population is native kannada speaking, how should one communicate with each other. A pro right wing of native population has been resilient that Hindi is forced upon them historically and hence refuse to use that; they expect migrants to learn kannada to become a part of them. Another bunch of native population is very accepting and not so conservative of language and hence migrants find it easy to communicate with them, this bunch might not necessarily be Hindi speaking. It is just the ideologies that differ. Migrant population might not necessary be Hindi speaking, they can be speaking tamil, malyalam , telugu, English or any other language; then why such partiality with Hindi speakers. I understand that there has been a long history of Hindi imposition in this state and associated anger with it. However, it has been some decades now, people should leave the anger behind and see in present. I am a Hindi speaker who has been living in Bangalore for 3-4 years, my workplace requires me to know English and I don’t us much of Kannada. I can understand little bit of kannada and can speak small phrases or some words from it. My work and home does not use this language and hence I do not use it often, but this does not mean I do not want to communicate with people. I have noticed people being rude and refusing to talk to me, just because I do not know enough kannada, while these people know English. In case of Bangalore, where more than 50% population is migrant I do not see why to enforce Kannada on migrants, if they need or want, they will learn. Similarly, migrants should not force others to learn Hindi.
I feel communication is possible even without knowing each other’s language if an effort is made and if we have respect for each other. It is fun and useful to know more languages, but that does not mean you enforce it on someone. Its personal choice whether one wishes and can learn a new language as it is not easy for everyone to learn a new language. Another important thing, not knowing a language should not mean rude behavior and non-communication. India is huge and we all belong here, so we should try not have these boundaries and have mutual respect for each other.