Karnataka's "linguistic inferiority complex" must go

PUROHITA writes from Singapore: 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.


Unknown said...

Very true and eyeopening. Dear Kannada friends, please forward this to our Anglo-Kannada friends and let them read & digest it.

IrsuMursu said...

Nicely composed and written, makes a lot of sense and absolutely agree.

Eventhough there cases like HiremagaLoor Kannan doing pooje in Kannada, Samskrutha has completely dominated in the spiritual realm. If you look at kannada medium text books particularly science and maths you will find that most of the "technical" terms are blindly derived from Samkrutha, looks like Kannada was not even given a chance!

What you say is true with a lot of Indian languages. English, Samkrutha and Hindi have dominated so much that you need a revolution to bring about any change.

Anonymous said...

Good Points...

But I don't agree with
"# English is the best language for "conversations between intelligent people; definitely the language for any scientific topic"

and the charges against British...

British are the one who started first Kannada school. They were the one who used Kannada in adminstration too( Please note even in Madras and Bombay province Kannada was a official language )

Todays pathetic condition of Kannada when it comes Science and commerce is because of unfiltered heavy borrowed Sanskrit words...( Kannada Encylopedia by Narayana is nothing other than Sanskrit Encylopedia/Vishwa Kosha written in Kannada script and some basic Kannada words )

Even Kannada medium text books are so bad.

Really if Kannadigas want to develop or to perform rather whats called 'language engineering' they must first get rid of awkward, unpronuncible, heavily filled Sanskrit words. Instead use words formed from kannada words or Direct English. Ex/: There is no need to call 'TV' Dooradarshana in Sanskrit or DooranODa in pure Kannada; TV can be ಟೀವಿ in Kannada;No Harm.

The problem with Hindi is;
It is a language used to help invasion and immigration of Hindi people to all parts of India. Hindi Speakers are not more that 30%. Out of around 26 states on 5-6 are Hindi, rest 20 odd are non Hindi. Even Bihar, Jharkand and Uttarakand have their own language which is not considered Hindi.

Only Rajasthan, UP, HP and MP are Hindi states.. In Delhi Hariyanvi and punjabi are official.

Whatsoever.. the article is nice.

We atleast now know our enemies.

If I remember correct BMSri said "No English, No Sanskrit, No Hindi, only Kannada"

Kannadas need a pure-kannada for a while urgently ;)

Well Well .. This is all day dreaming... Nobody is really interested and many don't know. Even the Kannada organisations have pure sanskrit names.
1) Karnataka Rakshana Vedike( all Sanskrit)
2) Kannada Saahitya Parishat( only Kannada is a Kannada word ) :)

Best of luck! What a late realisation!

Tarale Seena said...

Inferiority complex is not perhaps the only explanation. Simple conversations need not borrow words from English and Hindi, but expressing familial love or any other feelings in Kannada, while the best perhaps for expression of emotions, still leaves one very conscious of cliches. "I love you" is used more than "Naanu ninnanu preethisuttene". When you want to express love for your kid, either it's the bland "Ninna kandre nanage tumba ishta" or the complex "preethi", and hence the escapist recourse for English.

I know people who speak Kannada, and they all have "fatherrru, brothersoo, motherru". I make conscious efforts to try and goad such conversations towards use of more Kannada, but the rambling goes on.. I think our media needs to exercise use of simple every day words, to inculcate the easy communication that can flow in one's own mother tongue.

Anonymous said...

- The issue of LIC putforth in the below article in a manner which no one can deny.

- Personaly I do not understand why Kannadigas posses the inferiority complex as against the great history of kannadigas. Kadmaba,Rashtrakuta,Chalukya,Hoysala,Vijayanagar samrajya - so much to be proud,but still the existance of "Complex" nature of inferiority.

-I feel "Kannada","Kannadiga" nowdays have became "Namapada" (Noun) rather than requirment being "Kriyapad"(verb). "Kannada"da bagegina KaLajigalu kriyapadvaguva varege, kannada keval ghoshane,shoshaneya padvagiye ulidubidutte.

- "Kannada"vu indina deen parshithitiyond "Garva" da shithtige baruvudu yavago ? ("Garva" yake andre namge kevala Kannada aatmavishwasdind beegidre saladu..Garvadind baduka beku.....bere bhashegalu Kannada mele madiru-maduttiru dabbaLikege takka uttar kodabeku.

- Ene andru,eshte barudru...nimma-nanna anisikeyanthe.....Pratiyaoobba Kannadigaru Huttininda "Kannadatanada" abhimana belesikollabeku, lekhandalli barediruv "LIC" emba kiLarime yinda horage barabeku.

Anonymous said...

As Sri Seena has said we should avoid the use of English words indiscriminately in our daily conversation if Kannada words are available. The main culprits who are involved in this exercise are from the entertainment industry.
Another aspect which I would like to bring to the notice of the readers of engururblogspot is to identify the real enemies of Kannada and Karnataka. It is not the Tamilians or North Indians, but the ruffians sitting in the Vidhana Soudha and their henchmen, the bureaucrats. Until and unless you exterminate these people afflicted with plague and rabies, Karnataka’s prosperity or Kannada finding its rightful place in its own land will be a dream.
Making Kannada the dominant language of the state is not that difficult. For instance, just pass a law making it compulsory for all educational institutions operating from Karnataka to take a declaration from non-Kannadiga students who come to study here that they will learn Kannada and pass an examination within six months and failure to pass will prevent them from appearing for their academic (B.E., M.B.B.S, Law, Hotel Management, etc) examinations. That’s it. Every year lakhs of students come to Bangalore and other parts of Karnataka and just imagine how we will be able to spread our language, culture and history without resorting to violence. Thousands of our Kannada teachers will find employment. In the form of assignments the students could be asked to comment on a Kannada film or serial in a channel. This will force non-Kannadigas to watch Kannada movies. They could also be asked to subscribe to Kannada dailies and weeklies. This move will probably make Kannada the most familiar language all over India, next to Hindi. Similarly just pass and strictly enforce a law making it compulsory for commercial establishments all over Karnataka to display their nameplates only in Kannada. While allowing entrepreneurs, let the state take an undertaking from them to give preference to Kannadigas in employment. Though it is easy to make Kannada dominate in the state, as I have mentioned above the shit eating politicians of Karnataka will not allow as they want to take advantage of the frustration of Kannadigas for their benefit and divert their anger against other linguistic groups.
Let us not consider Sanskrit as an alien language by imitating the D.M.K. Sanskrit and Kannada; Hindu culture and Kannada culture are inseparable.

Anonymous said...

"Let us not consider Sanskrit as an alien language by imitating the D.M.K. Sanskrit and Kannada; Hindu culture and Kannada culture are inseparable."

The great Hindu speaks? :)

Do we have to mix always linguistics with religion..!!

Sanskrit is a parasite which lives eating living languages.. the example is Kannada which is day by day getting heavily Sanskritized.

This person says to aviod English.. :)

Funny though, I could write the comment in his favorate Godly Sanskrit.!! :)

What a pity!!

No mercy, whether Sanskrit, English or Hindi.. throw them aways.. !

Anonymous said...

The writer's analysis is fine and gives good reasons for the language Kannada to lag behind

Harish Kumar said...

It is Deccann Herald more than TOI which spreads the lie that Hindi is India's national language.

Our problem is not NI but the local culturally colonised kannadigas.

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