It's none of your business, Minister!

As if proof were required that the Karnataka government does not even possess a clear stream of reason which can be accused of losing its way into the dreary desert storm of dead habit, Karnataka's Primary and Secondary Education minister Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri has come out with fresh nonsense about setting up a Sanskrit university in Karnataka. The minister delivered the following message to Sanskrit students and promised more funds for Sanskrit:
“Fight against the injustice being done to Sanskrit and send a strong message against those opposing the university. If we do not, then we would be overlooking the language,”
Note how glibly Kannadigas are accused of doing injustice to Sanskrit, while it (a northern language) has actually been patronized a lot more in Karnataka than anywhere else in South India. After all, what's the big deal if Kannadigas overlook a language which is not local to Karnataka, one which is not spoken in Karnataka, one which exists only in scriptures? 

Indeed, why would anybody overlook any language? It is only when that language is perceived to be useless to them, and when it is not their own. Thus, the overlooking of Sanskrit is not due to any concerted effort of an assumed organized opposition but is simply the by-product of Kannadigas' identity and their focus on secular pursuits. If Sanskrit had had what it takes, it would have been where the minister likes it to be. 

There are a thousand other languages which Karnataka overlooks, for the reasons above. We can't go on building universities for all those languages, can we? 

Truth be told, Mr. Kageri's government in its asinine focus on Sanskrit is overlooking what is a crime to overlook: Kannada, the language of Kannadigas whom his government is expected to represent! 

Being the state government of Karnataka, the BJP government's first and foremost focus ought to have been Kannada and not Sanskrit. Sanskrit is merely a language which influenced religious and spiritual literature in Kannada long ago, with negligible influence on the Kannada used for any secular pursuit - such as plain day-to-day usage! 

Since democratically elected governments are expected to indulge in secular works such as education, employment, law and order, one expects the government of Karnataka to invest public money in secular projects such as Kannada linguistics - a field which has suffered just too much neglect in the universities of Karnataka. Not siphon off public money to fund private, non-secular and useless pet projects such as Sanskrit universities whose graduates will at best be left dreaming of jobs for which they don't qualify, as if in punishment for having studied a language irrelevant for secular pursuits. 

Also, I'd like to remind the minister that Sanskrit has nothing to do with Karnataka's Primary or Secondary education. It's none of your business, Minister! Listen very carefully: it does not take a Sanskrit university to do your job well. In fact, when you talk about a Sanskrit university, you make it public that you have no clue of what your job entails, dear Minister! 

Of all things, Primary and Secondary education must be freed from the ills of over-sanskritization, because it is in the early stages of a student's development that his/her mother-tongue plays the most important role. In fact, today's Kannada medium education system is so full of Sanskrit that it has rendered the Kannada medium difficult to Kannadigas themselves (take Vasant's challenge here). 

If there is anything the minister has to do, it is to first acquire a clear stream of reason unpolluted by non-secular ideologies, and then to fund research into improving the quality of the Kannada medium education system by taking it closer to the people, not away from. 

That would require the courage to question and jettison established superstitions - such as the superstition that Sanskrit can help in the upliftment of Kannada or Kannadigas. It's obvious that Mr. Kageri or his government or his party or its alma-mater (RSS) have no such intentions, because by neglecting Kannada they have shown that it is Kannada which they consider as useless to them, and as not their own.

4 comments:

ತಿಳಿಗಣ್ಣ said...

Pathetic condition of Kannada and Kannada ethnicity...

If a government like this continues.. Kannadas will be under the hegemony of Sanskrit.

clangorous said...

Well Said,

Till now I used to respect this minister for standing up for Kannada Medium as primary education and also walking the talk by sending his own daughters to Kannada Medium schools... looks like the hidden agenda behind this was to promote Sanskrit University so that more and more Kannada words could be made more unscientific and difficult to understand or pronounce...What a great Government we have in Karnataka... Our beloved chief minister openly promotes hindi movies, even seeks publicity about his visits to P.V.R to watch the so called National Language movies ... In his 18 months stint, has he ever made an attempt to watch a Kannada movie ?... Eventhough Kannada/Tulu movies won national awards ... has he watched any one of them or promoted them as they are not getting theatres ? ... Shame on this pseudo National Parties who can never promote the language, state and the people who have given them the power...

Thennavan said...

There are already many Sanskrit Universities in India. What is the need for another Sanskrit University in Karnataka? What benefit will it give to the people of Karnataka except a false pride that Karnataka also has a Sanskrit University? On the other hand, it will be only to the disadvantage of Kannada and other languages of Karnataka because it means 'The more Sanskrit the less Kannada'.

As long as Kannadigas are basking in the glory of Sanskrit, Kannada has to limp in its own land, Karnataka, let alone other places. Only some other language like Tamil only has to wake up and remind you of your language when the other language gets some special treatment like classical language. By the way, Tamils have been demanding on every possibe occasion, very recently in a yearly meeting organised to commemorate the movement against the Hindi imposition and addressed by Thiru M. Karunanidhi, that Tamil also be made an official language of Central Government. Why not the Kannadigas also join on the bandwagon now itself for Kannada as an official language in the Centre instead of waiting until Tamil be made an official language in the Centre and quoting the case of Tamil as the justification for a similar treatment for Kannada as done for the status of classical language?

It is really a mystery for a Tamil as to how other language people (other than Hindi people) are complacent about the status of their own language when Tamils alone demand a proportionately equal treatment for their language politically vis-a-vis Hindi and Sanskrit.

elango said...

@ thennavan, well said.if u.k govt say it will accept only those who knows english as permanent resident nobody say it is linguistic chauvinism.You can't get citizen ship in any europian country before passing their language exam.It is not considered as linguistic oppression.if a tamil asks for equal right for their language these people say it is linguistic chauvinism.kannadigas say they adapt to the area by loosing their identity and they are very proud of it.but tamils always try to preserve their identity wherever they go. it is their greatness. not their weakness.They are brave people so they don't ill treat the innocent in their land.

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