Tamil, Kannada and the middle path

The politics of linguistic identity has its merits, especially in a country where linguistic oppression in the form of Hindi imposition, cultural oppression in the form of over-Sanskritization (and its related vice: the caste-system), and political oppression in the form of anti-federalism go un-noticed otherwise.

Yet, politics does not provide the complete solution.

In the recently concluded World Classical Tamil Conference, Tamil Nadu might have just proven its leadership in the politics of linguistic identity. While irresponsible media reports claim that such conferences are a display of "linguistic chauvinism" and "parochialsim", the fact is that these are natural reactions of a People subjected to thousands of years of immigrant high-handedness. The Government of Tamil Nadu must be congratulated for pulling off a good Conference highlighting Dravidian identity.

Disappointingly, however, both the Government and Tamil society at large woefully lag behind in taking Tamil to the next level--above linguistic identity. In becoming the chosen language for serious education and research, Tamil is no better than any other Indian language. This fact is also illustrated by the academic programme of the Conference which glaringly misses out anything significant about the the future course of Tamil, as if history alone suffices.

Tamil must look up to the Japanese, Germans and Israelis of the world who aren't wasting time tom-toming about antiquity, beauty or originality, but are instead investing their time, money and energy in using their languages for almost all known purposes.

Pride in the absence of serious attempts to make the language functional and futuristic will not last long. Although this conference makes it seem otherwise, one already sees Tamil pride in a by-and-large dysfunctional Tamil receding, and giving way to the acceptance of English and even Hindi in pockets. This is the death of Tamil Nadu, a death into whose mouth Kannadigas have decided to enter, a death which must die.

Thus, it is high time Tamil rises beyond offering the Tamils an identity, and becomes the chosen language for progressive purposes such as serious education and research.

Who will take Tamil to that level? None other than Tamil youths. Governmental force alone will not take it there. Tamil youths must wake up and realize that Tamil alone can help build a great Tamil Nadu, one devoid of poverty, ignorance and social ills.

Unfortunately, though, most upwardly mobile Tamil youths have resigned to the feeling that nothing much can be achieved in their mother tongue, just as their Kannadiga counterparts have. Those who offer the highest praise for Tamil have themselves resigned to the feeling that Tamil is at best a vehicle for leisure-writing, not for any serious purpose. This feeling must go, and together with it the suicidal belief that English will solve the problem of Tamils.

Kannadigas and Tamils have much to share and cooperate in taking their languages to the next level. Best practices from both traditions and cultures must be used for mutual benefit. While Kannadigas have over-done themselves in making way for Sanskrit and immigrants, Tamils have turned hostile to both and even rejected the wisdom of the Infinite which is encoded in Sanskrit. While Kannadigas have blindly submitted themselves to immigrant high-handedness in full, the Tamils have turned xenophobic and thrown away pure gold which some of the immigrants brought them at their door.

Clearly, extremes have to be avoided and a middle path discovered.

This middle path is not to be discovered by planting statues of old poets here and there in the hope of petty political gains. It is to be discovered by Tamils and Kannadigas sitting together and discussing ways of getting the two languages out of the clutches of history, antiquity and dysfunctionality. It is not to be discovered by politicians acting alone; it is to be discovered by us the people working in harmony with each other, and with our respective governments, and with unceasing love and caring for our own people.

11 comments:

Sathish Yadav said...

I don't know why you comment on Tamils as Xenophobic, a large collection of writings which were migrated to the north via translation from Tamil haven't come to notice.

There was never pure gold brought by the immigrants mostly copied wisdom, except for paeganism which they used for their invasion of the south.

South didn't have paeganism, it was a land of Atheism and until these migrants infused paeganism. For a fact, TN is the only state which has a large population of Atheists.

But I have thought hard, I don't know how to kick Hindi's butt, perhaps their own people are killing it.

Anonymous said...

I would like to respond to your comment "Pride in the absence of serious attempts to make the language functional and futuristic will not last long. Tamils have taken serious attempts to make the language funtional but Indian Government had discouraged the same. Here is an example.

Tamil Nadu developed a curriculum and books for undergraduate engineering education in Tamil by 1997 itself. Many highly qualified engineers and professors participated in this effort over several years; many of them volunteered their time, for the love of Tamil. An expert panel
reviewed the curriculum, books and availability of lecturers and professors, and certified that a student studying engineering in Tamil in one of the approved colleges and passing the examinations would be as good an engineer as one studying in English. Arrangements were made to offer
engineering undergraduate courses in Tamil in a few selected colleges. Announcements were made that students may apply to study in either English medium or Tamil medium.

But AICTE (Central Government Establishment) refused to approve starting of Engineering Courses with Tamil as medium of education saying that TamilNadu has to wait until other states also develop engineering programs in their mother languages. Why should Tamil Nadu wait until similar programs are developed in other languages? Indian Government has never allowed any non-hindi language to grow beyond Hindi.

Just take a look at this extract of "Achievement list" published by Government of India 'CSTT' wing. You will know the amount of Interest Indian government has towards developing Hindi.

"
The Commisssion for Scientific and Technical Terminology (CSTT) has evolved and published more than 6 lakhs terms belonging to all major university disciplines – sciences, social sciences, humaities, engineering, medicine, agriculture, etc. in Hindi. The CSTT is presently engaged in evolving terminologies for the newly developed disciplines out of which terminologies for space science, computer science and steel and non-ferrous
metallurgy, philosophy, mining engineering, printing technology have been recently published and work on information technology, natural disaster oceanography, glaciology, stock exchange, biotechnology, environmental engineering, literary criticism, film-television, esthatics,
advertising, lather engineering, fisheries etc. are in progress. Besides these, terminology development in the subjects like Education, Phychology, Architecture, History, Climatology, Mathematics etc. are also in hand. With a view to promoting the use of Hindi in official transactions, a consolidated glossary has been brought out and is being distributed free among the ministries, departments and public sector undertaking of the Government of India.

With a view to helping evolution of an appropriate style of scientific wiriting in Hindi and to provide latest information relating to various fields of knowledge, the CSTT has stated publishing quarterly journal, "Vigyan Garima Sindhi".
The Commission conducts such workshops in various subjects at different universities and higher technical institutes motivating people to use the standard technical terms in Hindi in their teaching and adopting Hindi as medium of instruction.
"

Kiran Rao Batni said...

> Just take a look at this extract of "Achievement list"
> published by Government of India 'CSTT' wing. You will know
> the amount of Interest Indian government has towards
> developing Hindi.

Sure, the Govt. of India has been focusing on Hindi, giving it a larger than life status.

> But AICTE (Central Government Establishment) refused to
> approve starting of Engineering Courses with Tamil as
> medium of education saying that TamilNadu has to wait until
> other states also develop engineering programs in their
> mother languages.

This is news to me. Clearly, it's nonsensical to ask TN to retard Tamil's growth progress. In fact, TN could have been on the forefront of this transformation. Do you have a link or something with more info on this? I'd like to dig deeper.

There is no doubt that the Tamil language is far ahead of other languages in the education sector. Tamil has to build on whatever it has and remove all roadblocks.

BTW, Karnataka tried implementing Univ education in Kannada the 70's, mainly out of Mysore University. However, there were serious flaws in the approach taken by the Univ, such as: too much use of Sanskrit (which made English look better), looking at Kannada implementation as a secondary or tertiary activity in the business of the Univ., etc.

Anyway, I think Tamils and Kannadigas have to join hands in this campaign. I don't mean just politically. I also mean linguistically (we can share a lot of terminology) and sharing of best practices (what were Tamil's major roadblocks? How can we get over those? What can Kannada learn from Tamil?)...etc etc...

Sathish Yadav said...

I am forced to believe that I live in a Step-Mother land...

elango said...

@ sathish i am sorry for your ignorance if you are not a hindi speaking person.

Sathish Yadav said...

What Ignorance???

Indus Child said...

Hey all, Please stop pulling Kannadigas with the Tamils. They are in no way similar to you guys. They are all first Indians and then Kannadigas while Tamils are anti-hundustan. Northerners and Kannadigas are all brothers and sisters just as any other Indians.

Mera Bharat Mahaan!

Sathish Yadav said...

Oh... cut it all... the last posts were in 2010 and everything is quiet now...

elango said...

consider a kannada speaking person in a central government office in karnadaga.actually if kannada can not be used in karnadaga how do you call this situation

Sathish Yadav said...

God damn!!! Everyone are humans and are entitled to their own views... Tamils are anti-hindustan it seems, Indus Child, you won't be speaking in English, if we hadn't fought English to be Union language... don't be in your own world...

Don't you guys, see it was 2010 when this blog was posted and comments exchanged, it is 2013 and still guys wanna own up to primitive posts... move on... I am unfortunately subscribed to this...

mukthar mohammad said...

Sanskrit is eatingaway indigeneous kannada vocabulary...we are blindly incorporating more and more sanskrit words...we must follow tamil model or else oneday kannada will become indoaryan language....anyhow tamil,telugu,malayalam tulu etc are our brothers we have to walk together to face the onslaught of sanskrit....Hail Dravida Nadu

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