Bangalore: The emotional value of Kannada in Bengaluru from the perspective of migrants, immigrants and the State itself

by Antra sah
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Bengaluru: Every state in India is distinct from each other, be it culture, religious practices, customs, local practices and even the language. The language is at the root of identity for any state and Kannadigas are proud of their mother tongue Kannada spoken in the State of Karnataka.

Bengaluru during its evolution into a major cosmopolitan hub and transformation into the Silicon Valley has embraced people from all corners of the country and now modern Bengaluru constitutes 50% immigrants among its total population. It has nearly 50 million speakers being the official language of the State of Karnataka it is used in major movies, newspapers which dates back to 850 A.D. and has attained some amount of national significance as well.

But now people know that the language of Kannada is in poor health due to changing demographics in the city, where now English along with Hindi is taking over the language preference. The people are sentimental about the language, though some fear that language dominance may give rise to groups like Shiv Sena in Maharashtra who often create violence against non-Marathi speaking people while some are of the belief that other languages can be promoted alongside Kannada.

Strengthening education at primary levels by the Government could prove to be a major reawakening of the language, as in the case of Kerala which has the highest literacy rate in our country due to the State Governments strict educational prerequisite, nearly everyone knows how to speak as well as write their native tongue, the official language being Malayalam.

At present, a variety of languages are spoken such as Hindi, English, Urdu, Marwari, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati etc. presenting a multi-dimensional aspect as far as linguistics are concerned which is a scene unfamiliar three decades back.

Though communicating in the native tongue may create an atmosphere familiarity and belonging among the people in the recent times with the onslaught of globalization, students, as well as professionals alike, prefer to speak in a language they feel comfortable which just gets their job done when people are ready to interact in other languages with 80% of local residents knowing different languages apart from Kannada but contrastingly numerous theaters, literature and poetry use the native tongue.

The unwillingness of the immigrants to learn the language together with changing lifestyle in the city and multi-linguistic skill of the locals has not necessitated many to learn the language which is also one of the contributing factors for the diminishing margin for the usage of Kannada.

But on the brighter side the city is a small part of the entire State of Karnataka, where people throughout Karnataka mostly speak the native language with pride. There still exist a numerous sections of people who want to learn the language out of interest to blend with the city and the sentiments of the locals as well as for educational purposes.

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