Me and My Muse

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Un-acceptable North Indian

India as we all know is (or supposed to be) a country where we live.

Perhaps! But, a person migrating to the southern part (at least for Bangalore) of India would be (should be; rather) forced to take something like IELTS or TOEFL (for SOUTH INDIAN LANGAUAGES) before he did so.

A person coming from India and settling in 'South India' has to face unprecedented problems of language. Yes, thats what I felt 12 months ago. The very face of Bangalore tells you that you are in a different country. The food, the people, the culture, the language and even the climate is not Indian (or as any South Indian would say "North Indian").

I had been a state hopper (quite ethically a gypsy in modern form of an old fashioned word) and stayed in various different states, but after dropping in Bangalore my perceptions have changed.

The Language:

The inhabitants who throng the so-called southern part of the country would rather be dumb than accept what has been proclaimed as the "National Language" of the country. They don't even care if it is an insult to it. Somehow they wont speak Hindi. Somehow they don't know it either. Somehow even if they do, they disagree to understand the language when spoken to.

Generally speaking, a cream and educated population understand this and be as 'Indian speaking' as possible. But the general mass (comprising of bus conductors, cab drivers, shopkeepers, market sellers and the entire bunch of stubborn idiots who are important for public utility services) prefer to remain uneducated and justifyingly plan to manage with 15 English words (10 being numbers) or keep uttering Kannada even if the person spoken to cannot understand.

Everything including, bus numbers/destinations are scribbled in the staunchest Kannada script with no sub-titles in English or Hindi making the "unacceptable North Indians" highly dependable to the haggards and vulnerable in terms of money and verbal fights.

The cab/auto drivers don't prefer to listen to you as well. A generic example would be; they would keep driving even if told to stop (in Hindi) and take you unnecessarily far from where you intend to stop. The shopkeepers would fool you or make a fool of you by quoting unusually high prices just by a look at your face.

The People:

Even if the above discussion was not enough. The so-called 'friend' or 'colleague' would often jump to their vernacular even if the discussion was about official issues. This happens when the so-called "unacceptable North Indians" are out numbered in a group. To make things worse they would often burst in laughter when they understand that you are feeling shunned.

Sometimes we hear senior citizens in the bus complaining about "These fellows (pointing to the same unacceptable North Indians) have spoilt our language and culture". Quite strangely they seemed to know English in all such occasions, I have heard.

The Culture:

As natural as being in some new country, I discovered here people don't celebrate 'Holi' and neither do encourage for the same. Most offices are schools remain open for work and there is no specific celebration seen anywhere. Another event; at the death of a local hero (quite amicably accepted as GOD) called 'Raj Kumar' was mourned and the mourning forcibly thrashed upon un-acceptable North Indians. The entire day I had to spend without food for mourning as all shops and public/private transport were closed.

So what ????

It is often easy to associate being in Bangalore as being outside India.

Thankfully though, we have some very high profile shopping malls and public transport services which try to adjust these features a bit. But these remain unreachable to the underpaid employees (including software engineers) of the so-called "reputed" business organizations, who don't care to bother about the social status of its nuts-and-bolts. The filtered services are far from, to be called "available".

The point which mostly goes un-noticed is:

The so called "unacceptable North Indians" add to a huge amount of state revenue by paying taxes (sometimes through their noses). In return a mere acceptable quality of treatment remains costly.

It shouldn't be quite a surprise if one fine day we have to sit for TOKFL (Test of Kannada as a foreign language) or something like that.

[I am highly thankfull to Sarvadnya Mutallik & a couple of holy souls like him, who understands these points. Without friends like him I couldn't have existed in here]



Blogger meghna said...

It's true and it's interesting. I'm glad I don't have to go through the same thing. It's a terrific piece of writing. I'm awed by the style

Monday, October 16, 2006 1:36:00 PM  
Blogger bharati said...

Hey Arnab,

I can understand your woes. B'lore and for that matter our country has a long way to go ......

I must say this is a problem everywhere: that of regionalism. People in every state are hell-bent on preserving their "regional culture". The core-localites of any region fear their culture being robbed by the "outsiders".
So, they try their best to thrust "their" culture onto outsiders too, the local language being one of them.
As it is "Jai Maharashtra" in maharashtra, its "Jai karnataka" in karnataka. The sign boards in maharashtra are in marathi, but marathi has been fortunate enough for its script being that of hindi(almost).

The more broader issue turns out to be "Patriotism: Racism in disguise??" What one can see in south india as regionalism is their patriotism for their land(the border being that of a state).

If one can justify patriotism, then regionalism can be justified too, on the same lines.

Having said this, I ask, If at all patriotism and regionalism are love for their land, then why should that love stop at borders???

-Me :-D

Monday, October 16, 2006 5:15:00 PM  
Blogger Topesh said...

Well Mr. Arnab its good that u have found urself so much matured & grown enough to comment such things about a particular community in India. But what i feel is u should draw a finish line to ur ideologies, because ur comments were totally un acceptable and made no sence to me. also by commenting such things u r hearting ones sentiments.
what really do u know about south india? how can u comment such non-sence things bout their culture? u have just stayed in bangalore & u r doing a job out there so what i feel is u dont even have an inch idea about there culture. Have u ever visited a south indian village?
Have u ever tried to understand the people out there? do u know that people staying (especilly the bramhins) r known to be the original Indians?

Now about their language that u r commenting, what i feel is that they r proud of their own language thats why they r speaking it and using it in busses & cabs. After all that is what India is 'UNITY IN DIVERSITY' u r talking about common language hindi!! how many languages does Japan have? its around 125 & that too no common languge. For this reason u cannot blame them & their language. IF I WAS THERE AT UR PLACE, I WOULD HAVE DEVELOPED RESPECT ON THEM.

Being a bengali, its very sad to see that most of people of bengal have forgotten their own language!! own culture!! own food!! what they feel is speaking in Hindi or English is a status symbol. Is it relly so? i dont think so. In busses of Kolkata instead of writing in english one should write in bengali. Which the government should hardly do and so the peoples, as reading in english is far more comfortable than reading in Bengali? isnt it so?
So Mr. Arnab before commenting on others u should think of what ur place is lagging. This things makes me very emotional. what bout u?

Why u have used the word 'unacceptable north india' every time i dont know? but about celebration of holi i have also explanations how many bengalies do u find celebrating raksha bandhan? its because we celebrate our own festival 'BHAI PHOTA'.

so lastly i wanna say that u dont have to sit for what is called as TOKFL. What u have to do is, be proud of ur language, be proud of ur culture, ur place & dont blame others, u'll find that world will respect u!!!!

Be it Rasogolla or be it masala dosa, be it Bissabella Bhat or be it Biriyni!! its the UNITY IN DIVERSITY its india!!


Wednesday, October 18, 2006 7:51:00 PM  
Blogger Arnab Pal said...


u dint had to be diploamtic in the beginning ... ur criticisms are worthy .. and im glad u fond the place to voice out..

but u have slightly strayed from my context .. i have neva discussed about non-respect of a culture/language..

my context stands as "when there is a common interest in getting an objective done"... in no context directly/indirectly have i encourage not using your own language .. its just important when someone who doesnt know the language has to interact with you..

i am glad you hadn't given the "Japanese People" as an example... I am sure you know that they have a lot of scripts and languages between them. But since I have interacted with them I can assure you that they always encourage English as international communication.. and would never cling to something like this for the mere sake or fear of loosing their culture/language ...

Thursday, October 19, 2006 8:47:00 AM  
Blogger Topesh said...

On this regard, what i wanna say is, u r partly right 'bout having a common medium but side by side why don't u try out their language too?

i hope thers no harm in learning an extra language. If u learn Kannada u can tell people that 'i know 4 languages' & if u have learned Marathi then it will be 5!!! isnt it great?

i have seen lots of south indian coming here and learning bengali & they r speaking well!!
there is one ma'm in our college who originally belonged to hyderbad & she got married to bengali & within 6 months of their marriage she got fluent in bengali. I have a friend in our coll who is from kerala. she didnt knew bengali when she joined the college, but now she can understand well & tries to speak it out.

so, my point is if they can learn ours why cant u learn theirs?
just try it out!! its not every time u r gonna get this kinda oppertunity!! just thank almighty that he has sent u work in such a place so that u can gain some +ve points out of it.

hope that u agree to this mantra.

Thursday, October 19, 2006 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Arnab Pal said...


you still seem to be lost all over the place...

the context you have used 'our' and their is ambiguous .. i also want everybody to learn 'our' language.. atleast understand and speak broken tongue in it.

our would obviously mean a common (national) language .. so if its a question of learning our languge then both has to learn ..

the issue with learning a language is definitely in question but thats definitely not a permanent and stable solution...

hope you would understand that your your ma'am's example wont fit in general .. for a whole lotta reasons
a) she has married (which is not just as simple as living in a different environment) .. definitely she would have prepared for all this from before
b) she took atleast 6 months (can i assume fluency too .. thanks) .. do you think most people can afford that amount of time

oh you have your friends too ..
my friend, what we are discussiing here is for a general solution and not about people who have language learning capability quotient 110% .. so your frind and maam can be good in learning a new language but not the most of us

Thursday, October 19, 2006 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger bharati said...

Being proud of their culture is one thing and forcing their culture onto others is another.

All of this comes from a more broader concern of "love within boundaries". I am a south Indian, infact a kannadiga, by origin. I have been in karnataka for 9 years! I do love my language because that is what I grew up talking, but would never expect and force my language and culture on my friend who has grown up speaking a different language.When both of us want to communicate, it ought to be in a common language! Just becasue, he is an "outsider" does not make him vulnerable and bound to speak the local language.

The very reason why India is growing to be a powerful economy is because of their highest English speaking population. Accept it or not, English is a global language. People have this prejudice against the language, but that will only leave us behind in this globalization.

"Communication", my friend, is the key to progress globally, else we would still remain the under-developed country with a notion of "We will lose our rich cultural heritage if we let that happen!!". To communicate, we need a mutual, common protocol: a common language. Within south india, its south indian languages. Within India, its hindi. Globally, its English. Now, if hindi has been made a national language, then is every individual state a separate country in itself to not to speak hindi?? I dont understnad that when Hindi is a national language, still many south indian states have not made it a compulsory language in schools! This gives them an escapade...

I dont like this notion of love/hatred for a sect of people based on their origin. So, "I love/hate some-Indians", or anything on the same lines would be illogical. Love, respect et al should be unconditional, the only condition being to ascertain that they "Deserve" it. I would never like a terrorist of indian origin and dislike a scientist of pakistan just for the feeling of belongingness.

If all this is happening just out of the fear of losing our culture, then, doesn't that reflect our incapability at preserving it?? Progress cant be termed as a threat to cultural heritage.

-ME :-D

Thursday, October 19, 2006 1:00:00 PM  
Blogger Topesh said...

well i dont know how i would explain to u? what ever i'm trying to explain to u, u find that i'm going out of the track!!

now could u plz answer that, what do u mean by living in different environment? & what she would have prepared from before?

Plain & simple what i feel is she would have prefer to speak in english rather than learning bengali!

What the time factor ru talking bout? u r staying there for more than one yr isnt it?
if the reason is that, u dont want to learn then its different but if u have 'will' then difinetly there gonna be a 'way'.

if i come to ur points. no one in this world can force a person to learn something. Be it language or any thing. until & unless that person has an urge, its not possible for him/her to learn that particular thing.

also i dont agree with ur idea that because of only highest english speaking population India is growing as most powerful economy. Is it because as we spent 200 yrs under the rule of britons so we have to speak english? how France is growing then? how many people in france speaks in English? hardly u r gonna find people talking in english.
yes we can learn english but its not gonna make us economically developed.

yes, about a common language i'm not fully disagreeing to this fact. but what is the harm if one tries to learn about a particular community through its language.

what do u feel, which is more powerful?


Thursday, October 19, 2006 5:41:00 PM  
Blogger Rejoy said...

wow! here is a spicy one! it was well written and i think the points are right. Some things i agree on:

- the buses should get themselves english subtitles under the excuse that it will be useful for foreign tourists

- some people (not only kannadigas) have the bad habit of speaking in their native tongue even though one of their friends, who cannot understand the language, is with them. I personally think, its rude.

- if people are really interested that we learn their language, they could be a little helpful. I have even seen emails which go like "don't talk to people who don't know kannada" going under the subject of patriotism

but i would like to end this on a positive note (slightly outside this context but still relevant). I have met a couple of people, here in bangalore, who understand "our" concern and do their best to make our stay worthwhile. Cheers to them!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006 3:05:00 PM  
Blogger Warriorwithin said...

dude u feel like this in bangalore....why dont try out chennai...u ll be fucked to the core

Thursday, April 10, 2008 3:43:00 PM  
Blogger Arnab Pal said...

ya dude ,,, chennai seems to be worse .. but when i wrote this i dint know ..

now bangalore feels like heaven :P

thanks for your post :)

Thursday, April 10, 2008 9:06:00 PM  

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