Do non-Kannadigas in Bengaluru face discrimination? Debate brews on Twitter

Published on Jul 19, 2022 11:06 AM IST

A debate is brewing on Twitter on whether or not non-Kannadigas face discrimination in ‘global city’ Bengaluru.

A row was fuelled once again in the Kannada cyberspace over language and Hindi imposition. (Image source: Velivada)
A row was fuelled once again in the Kannada cyberspace over language and Hindi imposition. (Image source: Velivada)
ByYamini C S | Edited by Swati Bhasin

Do non-Kannadigas in Bengaluru face discrimination? A fresh debate has been sparked yet again after several tweets claimed that those travelling in public transport "struggle" to communicate with locals. Despite being the tech hub of the country, Bengaluru continues to witness these debates time and again.

A Twitter user, Varadraj Adya, tweeted, “This boy wants to travel in metro. He is not from Bengaluru, neither is he literate in English and Kannada. Watched him struggle, with great hesitation he asked me in Hindi. Helped him. What kind of a metropolitan are we, if our policies exclude an entire language.”

This elicited sharp responses from the Kannada-speaking population on Twitter, one of whom replied, "Will metro stations in north have Kannada, Tamil, Telugu or any other language signboards? What should a person who doesn't know English/Hindi do in so called capital of India "Delhi"? #stopHindiImposition."

In a similar instance, another Twitterati wrote about her experience traveling in Bengaluru's BMTC bus, saying, “Today when me and my friend were traveling in @BMTC_BENGALURU, the conductor misbehaved with us regarding tickets as we were short of cash. But suddenly two Kannada speaking uncles started misbehaving with us saying is idiots for not knowing the Kannada language..."

"We tried to avoid the situation but they kept yelling at us saying North Indians should be kicked out from Bengaluru as if we all do not belong to same country. Felt really bad of how just a language can become a barrier and humans can't be human to each other,” the user, Vipal Nahar, added.

“Asking all the Indians to kindly behave as Indians with each other. Some compulsions force us to leave our house, otherwise who does not like their own home?” she finished in a three-tweet thread.

Read: #ServeInKannada trends on World Consumer Rights Day

This too, drew flak from language activists. PLE Karnataka, an organisation that aims to achieve linguistic equality in India, replied, “Will people in UP speak to Kannadigas in Kannada just because Kannadigas are also humans? You belong to Karnataka only if you learn and respect the language of the land - Kannada. Learn to assimilate and be one among us if you want to live in Karnataka.”

Several messages started pouring on Twitter, with Arun Javgal, from the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV), a pro-Kannada organisation, saying, “If you go to north - 'You' learn Hindi. If they come to South - 'You' learn Hindi.”

Meanwhile, the official Twitter page representing Belagavi lauded a team called 'Maharashtra Kannada Teachers' for their work in spreading Kannada. Belagavi, which shares its border with neighbouring Maharashtra, has a significant Marathi-speaking population.

“What is #Maharashtra_Kannada_Teachers? This team is quietly working for Kannada by teaching Kannada to the people of Maharashtra. We are really proud of the work being undertaken by Sharanappa Phulari and his team from Jattha part of Maharashtra.”

Stressing that the group has attracted more than a thousand interested people in just two days, the Twitter page urged the Karnataka government to recognize organisations doing selfless service for Kannada.

The debate of Hindi vs Kannada was meanwhile also prevalent on ground as a Hindi-speaking man and a Kannada-speaking woman were seen arguing in a video shared by a Twitter page called 'Nan mini radio'. The duo were arguing about illegal hoardings near the Vidhana Soudha premises, when the man said, “You don't have the right to tear down the hoarding, you should have given a complaint instead.”

To this, the woman is heard replying, “You don't have the right to speak on the issue since you are not even a Kannadiga.”

The woman had earlier teared down a hoarding that wished Karnataka minister C T Ravi a happy birthday.

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