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'Soft' measures to promote Kannada - the time is now?

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Okay. I wrote this on Rajyotsava day itself, but didn't post for fear of generating the wrong kind of debates. Two weeks later, here it is.

Over last few years, I have noticed that my broken kannada always gets me better "service" and "treatment" almost everywhere. I do get 'caught', due to language error or slip in accent. It used to be within a minute 5 years ago, takes much longer to get 'caught' now. But I notice that the 'connect' increases after I get 'caught'. The fact that I am making an attempt earns me some points that I didn't expect. There is no bus stop near my office, but on return trips from lunch, 7 out of 10 times in a regular Bus, and 9 out of 10 if a Volvo, I get dropped right at my office simply because I request in kannada (alli swalpa nilasthira). Test this yourself, with requests in english, and hindi, percentage obliged would drop down a lot. Autorickshaw, Cab, Chikkangadis to Mall checkouts, it just helps and works better.

The interesting thing I notice these days though is a gradual increase in conversations of following type that start after I get 'caught'. "Wish everyone made an attempt". "Yaaradru kaleebahudu saar". "Why are they not?". And even, "Outsiders must". Based on observations over last few years, I get a feeling that there is a growing undercurrent of disappointment at visible decline of kannada at Bangalore. How long before scrupulous elements tap into this in wrong ways!? Not that the fear of that happening has to drive things, but what would be wrong with some 'soft' measures to promote kannada in Bengaluru, or perhaps all of state?

Examples:

  1. Pushing for language training for any employee/worker hired from outside the state. Per worker/employee trained, your company gets Rs 1000 worth rebates on state taxes.
  2. A state supported test of spoken kannada (TOSK). Those with acceptable score in this test get 5% off on property tax.
  3. "Teach your neighbour" program funded by state or corporates. Prove that you helped your neighbour clear TOSK, and 5% extra discount on your property tax.
  4. Trainer incentive for people willing to teaching the language. Choose your method, choose your style, but anyone helping others learn kannada gets support from the state.

What is 'soft' about things like above, you may argue. Each may have a different take on "hard" and "soft", but things like above are not extreme nor do they infringe on anyone's rights. State can't extort, but can certainly encourage via "subsidies". After all, any motive needs the language of money to succeed.

And yes, the "soft" measures would have to be designed well to prevent fraud and misuse. But seems to me that such measures are possible to create and execute. And we all get to gain from it, more speakers for a nice sanskrit based language, and generally better experiences all around.

Alva?

Comments

silkboard's picture

Any of it already in place today?

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There must be some. Someone enlighten please. What exactly is in place? How much money behind it? Are these being tracked?

Vasanth's picture

Nice topic SB - Hope everyone starts with it

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Nice to see you learning and speaking in Kannada. It is a very good initiative. There is a website called www.padakali.com which teaches one word per day. 

Main thing is whoever who migrates should be willing to learn to communicate easily  which is found in very minimum number of people.

 

ssheragu's picture

learning kannada

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ssheragu

silkboard, nice to know that you are learning kannada, if not earlier, at least now;

hpe that all others from otherstates do the same; again, knowledge of Kannada would be be hghly benfecial / essential for Praja members, especially from other states, for implementing our views / ideas.

many thanks

Srinath Heragu

kbsyed61's picture

It shouldn't be about US and THEM!

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ssheragu,

"...knowledge of Kannada would be be highly benefecial / essential for Praja members, especially from other states, for implementing our views / ideas..."

This statement of yours clearly marks the people as "Ours and Yours". Where is the question of yours and ours here? This is precisely a major factor which rattles people and prevent them from learning another language.

SB's experience lays bare as to why learning the local language is so important and beneficial. Wish proponents of "Compulsory Kannada" campaigns had taken means to help people learn the language without demarcating them as yours and ours or taking imposing stances.

Let us treat language as language, not make it a pride issue. Every language is beautiful and is pathway to rich cultural heritage of the land and its people. Kannada language is no different.

On the other hand, I also resent and have not understood the real reasons for people who stay at place for long and still couldn't pickup the local language. It should be the golden opportunity to learn a language as it is spoken and used all around you. No book or classroom can help what streets and interactions with people can teach. It all requires a bit of willingness to learn it.

As SB stated, it is only a win win situation. Nothing to lose, its all gains only.

 

psaram42's picture

Language Politics

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As pointed out by kbsayed61 ours and yours amounts to divide and rule politics of some of our Politicians like Mayawati Ji. Her proposal to divide Uttar Pradesh into four parts was a hot topic of discussion not so long ago.

A common language used by speakers of different languages is called Lingua franca. For example “Koine” was a dialect of ancient Greek that was the lingua franca of the empire of Alexander the Great. It was widely spoken throughout the eastern Mediterranean area in Roman times.

To day we need to talk in global terms where Indians are having the advantage of English. English perhaps is the majority language of the globe ruling the internet. The reason for this is that, it is a flexible language, where new words are constantly being added, on a regular basis. It has fewer alphabets too.

As SB, one has to speak in Hindi when in Delhi and in Tamil in Chennai for getting things done. Necessity is the mother of enterprise. Was the Linguistic division of our country a blunder? There were debates earlier for having declared Hindi as the National language resulting in three language policy.

Learning more languages is an advantage and a fun too.  Win win situation indeed! 

psaram42's picture

Soft Measures to promote Kannada?

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I think if there was money in teaching Kannada, there would be some already doing it in the private sector. On the other hand if the Karnataka government gets the idea to have all their files in Kannada that would be a derogative step. Think of state government writing to the center in Kannada and them in Hindi in turn!

silkboard's picture

So now, what type of measures?

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Thanks for the support on this Vasanth, srinath. I was looking around GoK websites, past news articles to find if such measures exist at all. Padakali like groups need solid encouragement.

The topic is such that miscommunication and confusion is likely. Like how Syed has picked srinath's comment slightly out of context, pure miscommunication.

Now, whether lingustic states was blunder or not, language divides or not, I am all for these "soft measures" to tap, prod and point people towards picking up spoken Kannada. What "soft measures" exist? What are your ideas on these "soft measures". ?

silkboard's picture

A monthly "a'Aa" day!? may be with a TV channel?

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Don't know how to write a-Aa-E-Ee (akshara maale) in english, but that was the idea behind the name - "ah-Aaa" day. A kannada name for such an event may not be the best, as the audience would primarily be the non-kannada citizens of city. But the event could target both the speakers and would be learners.

Format? One possible way:

  • Sponsored by a few corporates
  • Supported by Government of Karnataka
  • A local TV channel roped in.
  • Everyone shoots a video of a kannadiga teaching spoken kannada to an interested 'student'
  • Top 5 videos get prizes, that one day every month. On any of the criteria - creativity, style, or even humor?

Too far fetched? Stupid?

Think and think aloud :)

kbsyed61's picture

Spoken Kannada Classes at corporates!

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SB,

So far only seen & heard of push for formal type of learning.

Another good measure would be either the big corporates or the industry associations making room for conduct of classes in spoken Kannada on campus. Modern day tools like Audio/Visuals, quizzes, show & tell can be make use of.

BTW, I don't think my reading of Srinath's comment is out of context. What's your reading on this?

"...knowledge of Kannada would be be highly beneficial / essential for Praja members, especially from other states, for implementing our views / ideas..."

-Syed

silkboard's picture

The "a'Aa day" - dreaming on

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No harm in dreaming on, right?

  • So there would be a setup for Test of Spoken Kannada (TOSK), those who clear it, get a certificate.
  • Anyone who clears the TOSK on the a'Aa day, is a contender for 5 special awards that month
  • 5 names are pulled out from the lot who cleared TOSK, on the event day
  • Each gets a Rs 1 lakh award
  • 50K to the new kannda speaker, 50K to the individual or institute who helped him/her learn

Only problem is - how do you ensure that only the "new speakers" get to take the TOSK!?

sandeepckeerthi's picture

Pleasant Surprise

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SB,

It was indeed a pleasant surprise to read your posting on learning Kannada.

 

I remember when we were in touch during the opening of BIAL and I had called you once and started speaking to you in Kannada you had exclaimed you did not know Kannada. I was surprised that such a public spirited person like you 'seemed' a bit averse to Kannada. Maybe I was wrong. Or, maybe you have changed ;-)

 

I have several collegues who have bought homes in Bengaluru and have even moved their parents in from far off places, but insist they can get along with Hindi as it is the national language. I ask them then why not just use the International language English and forget Hindi too..!

 

Anways, your 'soft' approach is very practical and "has something in it" for both learners and teachers.

 

Also, cinema as a medium to spread a language cannot be discounted. I remember taking some of my non-Kannada collegues to 'Mungaru Malae' in the U.S and most of them had the tunes and some of the dialogues on their lips for some days. But alas, such movies are not made in Kannada very often..

 

Bit of an informal and rambling posting after a looong time Prajagale.., bear with me..

 

 

sanjayv's picture

Question of incentives

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Learning the language is simply a question of incentives. Most people choose the path of least resistance, and it takes effort to learn a language. In Bangalore, one can get away without Kannada most of the time. That is the simple explanation for why people do not learn.  It is nice that knowing the local language opens up the culture etc., but seriously, how mnay people would get motivated by that?

I started learning when I had to go and interact with some local govt officials. Speaking kannada always helps the interaction.  Like SB, I also noticed how everybody (auto drivers, vegetable vendors, govt officials) becomes a bit more considerate, even if I mangle the language here and there.

The problem is that very often, people reply to you in Hindi (generally) when they notice that you are speaking poor Kannada or groping for words. Unfortunately, the only way to improve skills is to practise.  So you have to persevere a little bit.

silkboard's picture

wasn't averse

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May be it seemed so in the phone, but I was never averse Sandeep. Just that in 2007 end, I got 40% of kannada spoken to me, it's now up to 80% or better if the accent is Bangalore/Mysore Kannada, not UK district or Mangalore.

Syed - what Srinath Heragu is trying to say above is that if we (Praja folks, who don't know Kannada) pick up Kannada, it will be easier for us to go meet, talk to and influence govt people that we do. There is no Us & Them at all there, just that English is not his mother tongue, neither yours, so when talking in English about Kannada, miscommunication is likely.

Back to what Sanjay said - Just the niceties and nice feelings won't be enough. Putting some money behind some 'soft' measures would do much better. Some careful 'marketing' (that localization is cool), money for "tech your neighbours', or TOSK type programs from government or corporates should create good grounds. And then we can all think more, like making minimum 4 years of kannada classes a must (TOSK certificate a must to clear Class X!?) in primary + secondary schools.

Its hard to understand how a good number of people who have done all 10 years of schooling in Karnataka are still not TOSK 'certified'.

BTW, talking of kannada script, It is easy to pick up up letters like 'ja' 'ka' 'ra' 'ma' 'ga' from BMTC bus boards in Koramangala and Jayanagar. All BMTC/KSRTC buses have number plates in both, and one has to really try hard to NOT pick up kannada letters for K, F and all numbers. Unintented effect of having English & Kannda side by side.

kbsyed61's picture

Incentives do work!

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Incentives do work. Private corporations and corporates can incentivise the learning efforts.

At my work place, every year, a campaign for Health Checkup is taken up with a promise of gift awards to lucky few in a drawing. The bumper draw is "5K".

Believe me it works. if one analyzes it, employee is only required to do little on his/her part. The heavy lifting is done by the company bearing the cost for all the health checkups, prize money etc. But results are phenomenal. It is win win situation for both. Employee would get a preview into his health indicators and there is more possibility for taking measures to any anomaly or concern. Employer get to see its employees healthy, less absenteeism and more working days.

E.R. Ramachandran's picture

introduce Kannada in Airports, metros and Rly stations thro' kan

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Thanks Silkboard for raising an imp. topic...

We should introduce kannada words thro English letters, pictorial presentation to make kannada words familiar.

I have spoken to Mr. Chandru, of Kannada dev Autority, who has agreed to introduce Kannada at major public places provided we come up with a plan.

I have attempted something which can be improved upon. If members of Praja finalise something, we can take it up with Mr. Chandru.

The draft words are given below. Please fell free to change, comment, but can we have something which we can ask Mr. Chandru to run on a trial basis / implement?

 

Kannada Words can be used instead of English with suitable pictures

 

Examples:

                    Instead of    Write        (Kannada)            Show Picture

At Airport:        Arrival   Aagamana(  ಆಗಮನ )           plane landing

                       

                         Dep.      Nirgamana (ನಿರ್ಗಮನ )         plane taking off

                         

         Baggage x-ray      Saamaanu x-ray ( ಸಾಮಾನು ಎಕ್ಷ-ರೆ ) Bag with x-ray

                Check-in       nOMdaNe  ( ನೋಂ ದ ಣೆ )                           Checking-in          

                 Security       ThapaasaNe  (  ತಪಾಸ ಣೆ )          officer checking one   

       Baggage collect     Saamaanau  Thogo  ( ಸಾಮಾನು ತೊಗೊ  ) passenger collecting bag                                       

 

                 Enter                       OLage  (  ಒಳಗೆ   )                  Green Arrow 

                 Exit                         Horage     (  ಹೊರಗೆ   )             Red Arrow                                  Toilet:

                       Men                   Gamdasaru ( ಗಂಡಸರು )                Man

                     Ladies                 Hengasaru  (  ಹೆಂಗಸರು )             woman

 

 

 ans so on....

                  Taxi                   Taxi         (   )                             yellow-black car

                                                                                                                        

     Car Park             car      kaaru     (    )                                                      picture of cars                  

 

Railway Station:

 

                                 Enter                 OLage           (     )                         Green Arrow

                                 Exit                    Horage        (        )                    Red Arrow

  

If we can finalise something we can take it up further together..

My email: erram @rediffmail.com                                                                                                                            

psaram42's picture

People talk on the internaet

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People talk on the internaet using english alphabets. Like I talk to my friend an expert, while on BBO [Bridge Base Online] site using kannada.

              enry? en madta eiddira? - Hello what are u doing?

               ellidira?- Where r u?

etc. Same is true for people from other latin American countries. Nothing new. I feel it is best to leave it to people as far as language is concerned. They will communicate if they have to!

murali772's picture

Orchestrotsava

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Lamenting on how Rajyotsava had lost its true meaning, Suresh Kumar used humour to emphasise what could be done to add value to the language and its celebration. “Rajyotsava is celebrated in every corner of the state. But it has been reduced to ‘orchestrotsava’. We need to ask ourselves if Kannada is really alive in our homes,” he said, while reminding the listeners that neither Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh nor Kerala had Rajyotsavas for their languages.

For the full report in the New Indian Express, click here

Looks like Mr Suresh Kumar, amongst the few good faces of the current government, was more or less hinting at pursuing the soft approach as compared to the hard ones seen here, as well as here. Quite as another noted leader (I can't recall who) had once remarked - "soft approach endears; hard, alienates", or something to that effect.

Muralidhar Rao
psaram42's picture

Murali sir,What has

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Murali sir,

What has Rajyotsava to do with teaching Kannada to people whose mother toungue is not kannada in this thread? Home Minister R Ashok  arranged an Elefent for son's college for the occation. With such ministers Rajyotsava looses any significance if at all it did have. 

I maitain people learn if need be. Right now if our children dont learn English  the window for learning for a living / knowledge is reduced.

silkboard's picture

focus - spoken language. Outline for TOSK

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PSA sir, and all other readers, this is not about English vs Kannada, having all files written in kannada and all that. We can start with simple goal, and that could be

"promote learning of spoke kannda"

All else comes next - written language, teaching in school etc. For the moment, forget those, you will only get into hard to control discusssions. Think hard please on promoting soft measures to help develop sensitivity towards the 'local' language.

ERR sir - some of us met last night and developed a framework for TOSK (Test of Spoken Kannda)

  • 80 questions
  • Each question has a common usage line written in English / Hindi / Tamil
  • Below the questions, 5 options
  • Clicking on any option plays the kannada equivalent (audio) of this common usage line
  • Candidate has to click on the audio that he/she thinks is the closest match.
  • If the candidate passes 50 of 80 questions, a TOSK certificate is generated, and can be printed :)

We can setup a TOSK online center in not much time, just need volunteers or money to do the questions and record audio files. We can launch a campaign around TOSK as the center peice. And then

  • Do an mobile phone driven version of it with sponsorship from Airtel, Aircel, Vodafone etc. Think of 'just dial 444 to check how good your spoken kannada is"
  • Have government, individuals, companies etc sponsor random awards for people taking TOSK tests. "every month, 207th TOSK certificate gets 1 lakh cash with it".

Let us think, think, think. We have got something going here.

murali772's picture

hard approaches

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Examples of hard approaches that do more harm than good can be accessed through the links provided below:
http://praja.in/en/bangalore/discuss/2008/04/kannada-license-plate-numbers-increase
http://praja.in/en/blog/murali772/2010/12/27/mis-use-kannada-registrar-societies
http://praja.in/en/blog/murali772/2010/05/17/right-response-english

And, culture and language being closely interlinked, the examples cited by me earlier here also have their relevance.

@ ERR - I am most pleasantly surprised by a Ramachandran (as different from a 'Ramachandra') taking up the Kannada cause so fervently. However, like English enriches itself by adding new words from other languages regularly into its lexicon, it would be good if Kannada can also follow suit, rather than invent new terms for words like security, check-in, etc. I recall the time when a Technical director of the now closed NGEF pursued the setting up of a separate wing in the company for coining new words/ phrases for technical terms, ending up with some convoluted multi-word Kannada term for the ordinary 'screw' - not surprising NGEF landed up where it eventually did.

Muralidhar Rao
silkboard's picture

any thoughts on the soft measures please?

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As we can see, despite all the good intentions, this topic is such that it just veers off.

Murali sir, with all due respect, harsh criticism of anything remotely preceivable as hard measure is also not right. Whether the NEGF translations were convoluted multi words in local language or not, whether NGEF went bust due to those translations or not - those are your personal judgements that I-am-afraid don't add much to this constructive talk. Any ideas on what more soft measures would be possible? Any at all from your side?

Please help me and help us all by encouraging the right kind of ideation and plans.

 

ssheragu's picture

ssheragu

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as silkboard has stated, silkborad has correctly understood me and others have misunderstood me;

when I said ours, I did not men that people from karnataka or kannadigas versus others, but praja members and the powers that be who implement our views;

many thanks

Srinath Heragu

E.R. Ramachandran's picture

kannada - soft measures

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Language has already become an emotive issue here! But let's ignore and proceed.The work ahead is more important.

Let's concentrate on how to spread kannada where it matters most; in public places like Airports, rail, bus and metro stations; malls etc. This is where Mr. Chandru says he can help introduce if we show a plan.

What I gave was just a draft. Please give an altermative that  could work. Please think how we can introduce kannada in these places for some basic words; welcome, enter, exit, toilet, check-in,baggage x-ray, departure, arrival. Daily a lakh+  commuters use these words in English. We can even introduce pictorials.

The words should be such that it should be spoken in conversation, easily identifyable when seen and should be in kannada.

What can we do to introduce kannada here? can we prepare a plan of action?

When there is possibility of help from Government re this, let's not miss the opportunity.

 

 

Mr. Murali sir : No comments!

Silkboard: Good attempts to bring in awareness amongst non-kannada users and make them go for it.  I think this effort will bring in results.

ERR

kbsyed61's picture

@ssheragu, Thanks for clarification!

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@ssheragu,

Post your clarification, I stand corrected.

BTW, There has been never an issue with  Kannada as the language of communication with officials in our efforts (at least issues on which I have worked), though I am also conversant in Kannada. We have been able to communicate ideas, solutions to the 'Powers' in government.  We haven't come across any difficulty on that front. Thsi is beacuse, many on Praja are well versed with conversational Kannada as well as in administrative level.

But no disagreements on need to learn Kannada, language of the state where one live and work. Actually I encourage my children to learn as many language as possible. Currently my daughter is taking courses in 'Spanish - Honors Course' in High School, as 'Spanish' is the 2nd most spoken language in US. There is no escape from that.

 

 

kbsyed61's picture

Video - Live and On Demand!

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SB,

You might want to consider this.

My little one is 4 years old and as usual he is fond of TV for his program on PBS Kids, Nick Jr, Disney etc. I am discovering that every week he is able to pick 2-3 words and use them in the daily conversation with us. He is basically building his vocabulary. The primary reason for this addition is programs on TV which are specifically  targeted with that objective. Seems to be a great success.

Picking on those observations, I would like to suggest for exploring making of Videos to teach Kannada words in a real setting. These Vocabulary enrichment programs are done with settings like:

  1. Teach all the common words used - In Kitchen, Dinner table, House, Post Office, Train, Bus, Bank, Hospital, Picnic etc. Can pick on one setting in one video.
  2. Teach constructing small sentences in an interactive depiction.

These educational videos can be targeted via TV programming. Another avenue is making these videos available On-Demand through websites, By Post/Courier like ASJ had for Safe Driving.

-Syed

murali772's picture

everybody here has good intentions

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As we can see, despite all the good intentions, this topic is such that it just veers off.

All talk here is with good intentions - nobody has a monopoly on that

harsh criticism of anything remotely preceivable as hard measure is also not right.

That may be your view. But, I don't believe in beating around the bush. When I see a wrong, I like to call it wrong. And, it is good to see highly respected people like Mr Suresh Kumar and Dr Chidananda Murthy say so too.

Whether the NEGF translations were convoluted multi words in local language or not, whether NGEF went bust due to those translations or not

And, it will help if you could avoid such distortions of what I stated

Any ideas on what more soft measures would be possible? Any at all from your side?

What else was this?

And, to appreciate fully what is soft, you need to identify what is hard too. You may have a problem there, but not me.

Muralidhar Rao
silkboard's picture

Alright sir. Time for a meeting.

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Yep Murali sir, you are right, all views have their place. That "Kannada Kali" example is that type of soft measure that we need to look for and support.

Now, ERR sir, and anyone else - Let us go meet relevant department of GoK to see what they have in plans and what support we can get from them. I am silkboard [at] gmail [dot] com, anyone who has had trouble joining in the talk on this post, please email me if you want to help grow this into a high decibel project.

kbsyed61's picture

Use of Social Media - Youtube!

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Another approach to deliver learning material would be use of social media specially Youtube for video sessions, FB, twitter for publicity, links, information etc.

People are using Youtubr for education purposes.

http://www.khanacademy.org/video/algebra--linear-equations-4?playlist=Algebra

E.R. Ramachandran's picture

Silkboard, Murali sir and

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Silkboard, Murali sir and friends,

 

Mukhya mantri Chandru who is the chairman of Kannada Dev, Authority  has asked Praja team to come down and  show how we can promote Kannda in public places by giving a plan. He is ready to have a discussion on this.

Chandru's number is:94484 60833.

In the meeting you are planning to have, a draft plan can be drawn up before meeting Mr. Chandru.

As we long we are all keen to promote Kannada by various means, the first meeting could be to discuss  options with Chandru, budget etc and arrive at some consensus which will decide  future course of action.

ERR

idontspam's picture

KFI-TOSK certificate by KDA

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Good going, here is my suggestion, These measures can be rolled out by KDA under the banner KFI (Kannada For Immigrants). KFI will rollout TOSK as one of its certifications. Additionally, KFI should promote atleast 1 pvt kannada training school in every ward, more the merrier, each accredited by KFI. 

murali772's picture

good initiative

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Excellent ERR avare'

I would certainly like to join the group to meet Sri Chandru, with a view to also list out to him the hard measures being imposed by various vested interest groups, and to prevail upon him on the need to curb them, since they only tend to put off people and end up making even genuine efforts counter-productive.

Muralidhar Rao
sanjayv's picture

Immigrant?

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IDS avare - if there is a word I hate in this context, it is immigrant.  I am still in my own country - so let us avoid words like immigrant or alien.  Why not call it Kannada promotion Council or something like that?

idontspam's picture

My bad

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 I am still in my own country - so let us avoid words like immigrant or alien

True, wrong word.... I would rather use a replacement. I was borrowing from the SFI (swedish for immigrants) that is quite popular in that country. Obviously I overlooked that the word cant be applied "as is" for regions within a country.

psaram42's picture

Satya a world citizen

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SFI (Swedish for immigrants). Would aliens be all right? Lol! 

psaram42's picture

If it is Mukhya Mantri

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If it is Mukhya Mantri Chandru, I would like to join if permitted. He is an interesting person to meet. What about Online/Automatic Translation software to help people like Murali Sir?

silkboard's picture

ERR Sir, I am ready, first meeting

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With clear focus on soft measures, and a list of suggestions from our side, let us do our first meeting with Kannada Dev Authority?

So far,

  • you are suggesting bilingual signs with picturs, as one way to help people learn common phrases
  • other proposal as TOSK
  • tax incentives etc for people who help more and more learn
  • Kannada Kali type targeted initiatives (all Profs)
  • Flooding youtube with "learn in 2 hours" type videos
  • Measures borrowed from SFI (from Sweden)  that are outside of above three

Let two of us and everyone else who is in on this meet on phone (I will publish teleconference bridge numbers) first to make a list like above. We will prepare a document with first list of "soft measures", and then meet KDA and all others who can support from Government side.

 

E.R. Ramachandran's picture

Kannada focus

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Silkboard and friends,

Glad things are moving.

I stay in Mysore and my tel no. 94805 60554 (  & 0821-2500596).

I can come for the meeting with Mr. Chandru and go back. But my coming depends on when he gives appointment. If it is before  forenoon, I can attend and go back.  Else, you all can meet him

That is not so important. Some of you can present my views too.

I await teleconf. for further inputs.

ERR

murali772's picture

perhaps we should be meeting this minister

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After reading this, I now feel we should be meeting the Kannada and culture minister, Sri Govind M Karjol, rather than any body else.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

another example of how not to do it

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some drivers and conductors viewed the vehicle as their personal fiefdom to run as they pleased, that they felt when you were on ‘their territory’ they could be as rude as they wanted to, and the fact that the rudeness went up several notches when they figured you didn’t speak Kannada. I learnt the exact meaning of the word 'disdain’ on these buses.
    
I think it's perfectly reasonable to be expected to learn the local language, but it should be a matter of choice. I don’t want to be bullied into it. I don’t want to be judged for not speaking it. I don't want to stop using a public service, supposedly run by professionals, because I don't speak it.
    
And on Wednesday, I realized how deep my outsider status was. I stopped two men on my bus from thrashing a girl they suspected of trying to steal a purse. No crime was perpetrated, they didn't have a shred of evidence, yet they started slapping the young girl around. I yelled at them and advised her to get off. Well, they had a new victim. How dare I, a Hindi-speaking interloper, interfere in their righteous rage, in their democratic right to take the law into their hands? Out came the trump card — get out of here if you don't speak Kannada. ‘Nikal jao idhar se’.


For the full report in the ToI, click here.

Very much as some people may be vary of discussing such matters in the open, I feel compelled to do so lest the silence of the majority ( I am certain the majority is opposed to such ways of a handful of chauvinists) leads us to eventual Talibanisation of the state.

 

May be we should pursue the meeting with Sri Govind Karjol seriously.

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Story full of holes

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The writer has made a mountain out of what is essentially a molehill as the article portrays. Though undesirable, go anywhere across the world and you would find such fiefdoms & reactions & our city or state is no different. I have had the opportunity to be exposed to working with far more kinds of people & cultures almost all through my working life – much more than most have. Having traveled extensively all over the world, I can also say that such unnecessary spats are common in many, many countries, not to mention those within our own country.

Bangalore has certainly been highly accommodative to all outsiders more than any other city – probably the most anywhere in the world. Whilst most Kannadigas are simple  by nature & are not easily drawn into quarrels or arguments, there is probably a minority that does this in situations – far smaller a sample than most other ethnicities, I’m quite certain – this is my personal opinion. And there may be some here in disagreement with this – it’s their choice.

Coming to the article itself, there are many questions:

1) The writer confesses that he didn’t know the local language. Then, how does he know what the version of the accusers was ? Without making any attempt to investigate by asking them politely, how can he be certain that the girl was innocent ?

2) Even if the girl were innocent, & he wished to help her, why did he start by yelling at them in a language alien to them ? Was this not a ridiculous start for an intervention to help ? This was in a public bus & not in some remote corner – not knowing the local language, couldn’t he have asked others to intervene, always being polite ?

3) It is unbelievable that all the other passengers were mute spectators when a girl was being slapped in a bus – what were the other passengers doing ? Did every other passenger turn his head away ?

4) When there are already increasing divisions between the rich & the poor making people uncomfortable, further complicated by various ethnicities trying to live together as it is in Bangalore more than anywhere else, was it not irresponsible on the writer’s part to start this additional spat by yelling in a language alien to them whilst trying to help the girl ?

5) How are so many tens of thousands of traders & shopkeepers all over the city & especially in Chamarajpet, Chikpet, Balepet & Tharagapet where Jains, Marvadis, Gujratis, Rajasthanis, etc (all outsiders) have no problems operating ? How then is this writer claiming discrimination ? It seems obvious that he himself was at fault by yelling in a language alien to them & thus, disrespecting them.

6) The writer says that he “will not talk about the many wonderful things ‘outsiders’ are doing to make this city a better place to live in”. Have the locals not done anything at all to make the city what it is today ? How is he conveniently forgetting the contributions of Narayan Murthy, who started it all or Nandan Nilekani & going back to Visveswaraya ?  He does not seem to want to be bothered about his own city’s history or respecting it's own denizens, even whilst publishing something out in the open !

7) Further, the writer states that it was “perfectly reasonable” to be expected to learn the local language, yet he says that it should be a matter of choice! It’s thus clear that he has made no attempt to know at least enough of the local language for working & this was the obvious reason why they seem to have gotten enraged.

All in all, the writer’s story seems to have many holes in it & some arrogance too.

Some examples that I have observed that would enrage locals: Delhites saying that they get parathas throughout the night in delhi, but such food is not available in Bangalore throughout the night; outsiders claiming that Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, etc are cheaper and better places to live in than Bangalore; those overly fond of hindi movies complaining about the lack of extensiveness in variety of shows in the city – such negative comments would obviously enrage most locals.

Above all, why is TOI publishing such stupid reports ? Do they not have so many examples of good experiences of outsiders, as is clear on so many blogs across the city & on praja ?

psaram42's picture

A well written True Life Story

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I suppose TNN is a senior editor of TOI. This according to me is a well written “true life” story about the language issue in our own Capitol of the state of Karnataka. He being a senior editor of the paper has the prerogative to write what he decides to be fit for his paper, as long as it is factual. As of now TOI is having a good circulation in our country including Bangalore. Let us give credit where it is due.

 I was in Delhi for two years during 1975-76. Then it was common for the locals to brand all non Hindi people as “Madrasi Sala”. Yes it is possible that some Local enthusiasts here in Bangalore may behave like Shiv Sena of Maharashtra. I doubt any politics in it yet. 

Here it is politics between two major Communities like Lingayats and Vokkaligas [Gowdas].

dvsquare's picture

I have many good examples but ...

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I have many good experiences being a outsider, but sometimes, in many day to day issues, and you want to fight wrong things, fight corruption, and don't know the local language, and that's the point, you hit local-outsider abuses or fights.

Same happened with me many times, when I try to stop an auto and ask to go for hire to some place and he doesn't want to go by meter. That moment, if I try telling him that I will complain, and as soon as I try to note down his number or just try to read it, they just get so irritated and start abusing and majorly start this local-outsider fight. I never want to go into that kind of fight at all, because that's not the issue at all.

murali772's picture

global phenomenon?

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The report is by Shrabonti Bagchi. The name suggests it's a lady. And, she was coming to the aid of another lady passenger, who was being beaten up by two men on suspicion of trying to steal a purse, though, according to Shrabonti, their suspicions seemed misplaced. Now, either way, the men had no business to lay their hands on a lady, and it was this act of theirs that made Shrabonti to intervene, the conscientious person that she obviously is. And, it is conveniently turned into a language issue. Worse still, there are people who want to explain it away as a global phenomenon.

Muralidhar Rao
Shrabonti's picture

 Hi, this is Shrabonti from

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Hi, this is Shrabonti from TOI.

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who has engaged with what I wrote and thinks it's worthy of being debated at this forum.

There was some confusion about my gender; to clarify, I'm a woman in my early 30s and an asst editor with TOI.

I would like to answer some questions raised by the user Naveen. I think your doubts are very valid, and deserve to be taken seriously.

Before that, I would say that this statement is a little high-handed:

"Bangalore has certainly been highly accommodative to all outsiders more than any other city – probably the most anywhere in the world."

This suggests that Bangalore has bestowed a favour upon less privileged people who have moved here to work by being "accomodative". I would beg to point out that simple laws of economics govern urban migration and that as much as Bangalore has accomodated others, it (and the people living in the city) have benefited in financial and other ways from its growth (think schools, colleges, culture, urban institutions, job prospects) -- which are open to everyone, not just migrants.

1) The writer confesses that he didn’t know the local language. Then, how does he know what the version of the accusers was ? Without making any attempt to investigate by asking them politely, how can he be certain that the girl was innocent ?

I may not speak the local language with any amount of fluency, but I understand enough to make sense of everyday conversation. I was not certain the girl was innocent, but you see, they couldn't be certain she was a thief either. As I pointed out in my piece, no actual crime happened. As a woman, I felt enraged to see two men slapping a girl around and I reacted to protect her.

2) Even if the girl were innocent, & he wished to help her, why did he start by yelling at them in a language alien to them ? Was this not a ridiculous start for an intervention to help ? This was in a public bus & not in some remote corner – not knowing the local language, couldn’t he have asked others to intervene, always being polite ?

No one intervened. A college girl next to me looked distressed but said 'these things happen'.

As for the language I used, in an agitated state of mind I could not use a language I was not fluent in.

3) It is unbelievable that all the other passengers were mute spectators when a girl was being slapped in a bus – what were the other passengers doing ? Did every other passenger turn his head away ?

Yes, essentially. Some -- a few women among them -- later turned to me and started blaming me for protecting her.

4) When there are already increasing divisions between the rich & the poor making people uncomfortable, further complicated by various ethnicities trying to live together as it is in Bangalore more than anywhere else, was it not irresponsible on the writer’s part to start this additional spat by yelling in a language alien to them whilst trying to help the girl ?

I could not sit quietly while a young girl was being slapped by two burly men. There was no intention to insult anyone. I reacted as a human being who doesn't like violence.

5) How are so many tens of thousands of traders & shopkeepers all over the city & especially in Chamarajpet, Chikpet, Balepet & Tharagapet where Jains, Marvadis, Gujratis, Rajasthanis, etc (all outsiders) have no problems operating ? How then is this writer claiming discrimination ? It seems obvious that he himself was at fault by yelling in a language alien to them & thus, disrespecting them.

There was no disrespect intended. As for the tradesmen, they evidently need to learn the language to operate on a day to day basis. In my line of work, it's not imperative for me to do so.

I would like people to put themselves in the shoes of migrants to Bangalore for a minute here -- imagine you are transferred to, say, Calcutta. Can you be 100% certain you would feel the need to learn the local language if you can get by without knowing it? Please be honest.

Learning the local language because you want to, because you like it, because you would like a deeper connection with locals is one thing, but learning it to 'pay the price' of living in a certain city is another, right?

6) The writer says that he “will not talk about the many wonderful things ‘outsiders’ are doing to make this city a better place to live in”. Have the locals not done anything at all to make the city what it is today ? How is he conveniently forgetting the contributions of Narayan Murthy, who started it all or Nandan Nilekani & going back to Visveswaraya ?  He does not seem to want to be bothered about his own city’s history or respecting it's own denizens, even whilst publishing something out in the open !

No one is denying or forgetting anything that Kannadigas have done for Bangalore. It was simply not relevant to mention that here.

7) Further, the writer states that it was “perfectly reasonable” to be expected to learn the local language, yet he says that it should be a matter of choice! It’s thus clear that he has made no attempt to know at least enough of the local language for working & this was the obvious reason why they seem to have gotten enraged.

I stand by it that it is a matter of choice and whether I choose to do so or not should not be reason enough for anyone to bully or insult me.

Thank you for letting me use this forum to elaborate my viewpoint.

Shrabonti

Naveen's picture

@Shrabonti

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Hi Shrabonti,

Madam - thanks for your post, & things are much clearer now. Your report had sounded unrealistic to me though I read it a few times since itseemed improbable that no one else had intervened & you were the lone person assisting her. I had also assumed you were male since I hadn't read the name - apologies for that. It's really very sad & unfortunate that no one else had intervened to help the girl.

Yr comment about the statement being a little high-handed - please do not read between lines here. I stayed in Mumbai for almost five years, but never had a problem then, despite people having far more aversion to south indians those days because I already knew hindi & learnt a fair bit of marathi, having lived & been to school in delhi earlier. Other south indians faced issues on a daily basis because they kept struggling with hindi & marathi & everyone would get irritated very easily, especially the bus conductors, since their job requires quick transactions in the bus. What I mentioned was in this context. Kannadigas do have tolerence levels much higher than elsewhere -  this is my personal opinion after my experiences as an alien elsewhere in the country & also abroad.

Agree that you did the right thing by intervening. If others had not helped, they had not discharged their obligations, as they should have.

Yr question about a migrant & the need to know the language - I suppose it would depend on how long one is planning to stay. If one is planning to permanently reside at the place, I guess he or she should try & learn the local language as quickly as possible, though this can be quite difficult. If one is on a temporary stay, it may not be necessary, though one may face issues as your experiences have shown.

The comment abt what kannadigas had done for bangalore - I quoted what the first reactions would be from a local's standpoint when contributions from outsiders are recognized whilst their own is ignored. Anyway, I feel that it might be best not to get into the subject at all in such writeups.

I have a question - how do you think all this discrimination began where there was none ? As I see this, a divide has been unnecessarily created & there are elements that are taking advantage & using it to create problems, but first, how did this divide happen ? If one can answer this, the matter might become a lot more clearer & I was trying to address that issue in my comments.

silkboard's picture

Thanks for responding Shrabonti

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Thank you for engaging around your story.

My observations as an infrequent user of the Bus.

  • Not speaking in kannada when dealing with the conductor isn't as bad as many say.
  • But, tolerance level for arguments are definitely lower when dealing with non-kannada speakers. Many times (but still, not more than 1 in 3) when even a small argument develops (usually, it will be - "I want my change now", or "stop, I am in the wrong bus"), the conductor walks away cursing the commuter behind his back.
  • More tolerance for women commuters in similar cases
  • When some characters misbehave, people (inc conductors) mostly put up with it. From what I see, the langage doesn't matter, "peace loving" race that we are, as soon as any goonda looking guy raises his voice, people mostly keep away. Language of abuses doesn't matter
silkboard's picture

ERR sir, delayed ...

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Since I signed up to do this, must leave a note of apology for the delay, esp for ERR sir whi has offered to come over from Mysore. I am on for this (meetting with anoyne who can support developing some soft-measures to promote kannada). Just that last month got terribly busy at work, and am running late on kick starting this (through a first meeting).

regards,

SB aka Pranav

idontspam's picture

how to...

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found this on my FB timeline http://zenhabits.net/how-to-learn-a-language-in-90-days/

blrpraj's picture

why just kannada?

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Why soft measures to promote kannada alone?  Why not soft measures to promote Hindi also to give a chance for non hindi speaking localites to catch up on hindi?  I have observed on many occassions buses have destination boards in kannada only.

 

 

psaram42's picture

  Did we meet Mukhya mantri

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Did we meet Mukhya mantri Chandru? I do not recollect any mention in Praja either in this or any other thread. 

 

murali772's picture

Kannada proathsahana

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Last evening, I was at a Raghu Dixit show at HSR layout. The show was just mind-blowing. And, the best part is that almost 75% of the songs he sang were in Kannada, a few based on old folk-lore, which got even my m-i-l dancing a few steps. This man is single-handedly taking Kannada to its pinnacle, by popularising it amongst the youth, who were just freaking out on the music, joining in the chorus, and loudly too, irrespective of whether many even understood a word of what they were singing.

We got a few minutes with him after the show (my nephew, AJ, a young guitarist, is now part of the group), when I got ask him why Kannada needs "rakshanae" (by KRV), when he is providing it all the "uddara/ proathsahana" (words used by him). He agreed totally that it's all misplaced.

Muralidhar Rao

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