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Soliciting calls from "outside" on the rise, Kannada usage declining?

Very recently I had an experience where in I received a soliciting call from one of the reputed Indian banks. The weirdest part of the call was when it began ringing. I noticed that it was from a number based in Chennai, in Tamilnadu. Unassumingly I picked up the call thinking it could be either a long-time-no-call friend of mine, or some wrong number!

Not, but behold! This call was meant for me, and was not from anyone I knew! And this lady who called me to clinch some business deal, had the gut to speak to me in Tamil during the first part of this call!! Now this is what a Kannadiga aware of his rights as a consumer will get peeved. So I asked her gently to stop speaking in Tamil, begin speaking to me in Kannada, or end that call then and there. She transferred the call to another person. This new guy said that the call was originating from Chennai, and hence they couldnt provide the service in Kannada. They could however, according to this chap, talk to me in Tamil, English or Telugu!!! What bull crap!?

I said it is impossible for me to continue with this, and demanded to be not called from there again. I hung up on them. I will soon hang up on this bank too.

But, thats not where this can end, can it? Tomorrow (or who knows, today itself!) one might start receiving calls from within Karnataka, and the caller may end up speaking to you in fluent Tamil/Hindi/Telugu or whatever, but not in Kannada. You'll soon find these languages displacing us and our language from the market.

People of Karnataka need to be given good business, and in their own language - Kannada i.e. This chain of events could happen to many more of us, and we cant sit silent upon this matter. A business organization should realise that setting up a call-centre for Karnataka, at any place on the globe, will remain to require its soliciters to speak in Kannada, and not the language of their choice! Otherwise that organization needs to be protested against, and boycotted if possible.

silkboard's picture

consumers and choice

One can look at Bangalore FM radio stations for a parallel. Businesses that are not sensitive to majority customer's needs in a region, will naturally not do well here. Make intelligent choices (and boycotts) as consumers and businesses will listen (or die!).

Here is some data from 2001 census:

"The population of Karnataka 5.28 crore. ... 3.48 crore speak Kannada. Telugu (36.98 lakh), Urdu (55.39 lakh) ... Marathi (18.92 lakh) and Tamil (18.74 lakh). ... Hindi-speaking community (13.44 lakh). Konkani-speakers (7.68 lakh) outnumber Malayalees (7.01 lakh)."

Now, income distribution amongst these language groups may determine approach of some of these businesses. I haven't seen a comprehensive survey (in public domain) that builds a matrix of income and language preference of consumers. Some assume that the income/language matrix of Bangalore is significantly different from rest of Karnataka - could be true, but I will be interested in seeing the data.

nijavaada's picture

it lies in demand, and not purely in numbers

Thanks silkboard for your words about this matter.

While I agree that numbers do play a major role in businesses and decide whether they live or die in a market, I am of the opinion that there's no pure democracy in market. If there's a strong voice demanding a particular nature of product/service - a nature slightly different from what is already in existence in the market - like this call-center service which provides service in Tamil to people in Karnataka - while what we need is service in Kannada! A strong demand for such service will work - and it doesnt need the strength of all the 5 Crore odd Kannadigas in KAR.

What we need to concentrate on in this matter is what percentages are Kannadigas in, in each such market where Kannada is in troubled waters? Be it in banking sectors, or FMCG/Retail, or be it in any service based sector. There are nearly 10 lakh Kannadiga spenders in Karnataka (on an average, over many years) who spend nearly 10k per month in all these sectors combined (with service modeled as an expense based on transactions made). This means the Kannadiga audience itself gives businesses a revenue of around 12000 Crores every year.

Now if Kannadigas deny this business to dealers on the bases of language and denial of service in Kannada, will the businesses look towards the linguistic distribution in Karnataka, or will they look at the 12000 Crores drop in their turnover as a result of their service?!

Of course its an outcome of concerted efforts, and this is the extent to which numbers matter, not to the demographical level. Remarks?


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