Thursday, May 15, 2008

Linguistic conflicts plague America

I read this article recently in the Dallas Morning News about how Spanish has begun to dominate America. The author Mark Davis rues the fact that an increasing number of Spanish speakers are dominating various aspects of life in America and how the official language, English, is being sidelined in the country.

Coming from Bangalore, India's sole cosmopolitan city, I can relate very well to this peeve of the author. Bangalore's salubrious weather, accommodating and friendly people, favourable government policies have made the city the destination of everyone seeking better opportunities. This is one capital city in India where you can speak any language and yet lead a normal life. I have met several families who have lived for generations in Bangalore and yet don't speak a word of Kannada, the local language.

In fact the influx of outsiders is so much that natives or people from Karnataka have become minorities in their own capital city. This is perhaps the only capital city where locals don't have any say in any matter. Several of the MLAs and municipal councillors, people occupying government posts are non-Kannadigas, I mean they are not natives of the city or even of the state.

This article sparked off memories of my own city and the constant grouch I had against people who have lived for generations and not bothered to learn the local langauge. I get irritated and angered when people proudly said "You don't have to know Kannada to live in Bangalore". But it is of no use, my getting angry will not motivate people to learn, in fact it makes them even proud of themselves.

In my opinion, more than anything, this kind of abhorrance to the local language only shows arrogance on the part of immigrants, who want to live off the land but don't want to show even scant respect to the people who have helped them lead a better life. Anyway who is bothered about my opinions, in a democracy it is the majority opinion that counts and Bangalore's majority are not Kannadigas!

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