A Lithuanian court ordered the removal of street signs not written in Lithuanian, dealing a blow to minority rights campaigners in Polish- and Russian-speaking areas around the capital. The ruling capped a yearlong legal battle rooted in a far older debate. Swaths of the Lithuania, including the capital, Vilnius, were Polish until World War II. When Lithuania was part of the Soviet Union, Russian was the dominant language in public life. After independence in 1990, Lithuanian was reinstated as the official language, creating tensions in areas where the majority speaks Russian or Polish. Local authorities have one month to remove the offending signs.Second - are the Kannadigas of whom there are 55 million to count (nearly 16 times the number of Lithuanians!). Reports the Indian Express:
Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa had announced last month that all shops and offices which don’t display their nameboards and other signboards in Kannada will invite a penalty of Rs 10,000. This move was also recommended by the Kannada Development Authority (KDA).Whether it's Lithuania or Karnataka, and whether it's removal of non-Lithuanian signs or a fine for not displaying Kannada signs, this is an expression of the world's need to maintain its linguistic diversity. It's a different matter that the Kannadiga expression pales in comparison to the Lithuanian as an expression of authority: removal is stronger than a petty fine; the Lithuanian expression carries a stronger will than the Kannadiga expression.
However, while the international media looks at the Lithuanian case as an expression of its freedom and need to maintain its identity, the Kannadiga case is simply overlooked by it likely because of the prevalent feeling that all of India "must be speaking Hindi". That's the story of Hindi Imposition, and we don't want to get into that method of linguistic oppression in this article. Or perhaps it's the general neglect of anything Indian or whatever.
The point we'd like to make is that the English media houses in India - even ones operating in Karnataka itself - look at the move by the government at as something anti-development, anti-business and anti-India. Here's an example from the Indian Express which talks of the Government in the following light words:
Owners of shops and offices, those of you who are still not displaying their names and signboards in Kannada, beware. Because it is not just the activists who are out to get you, even the state government is not on your side.We humbly ask: why are we like this? Why do we talk of a legislation which protects our own language as something that's "out to get us"? Why do we expect our own government to be on the side of those who display disrespect and neglect towards our own language?