‘Imposition of Hindi’ in Bangalore Metro signboards irks Kannadigas
Signboards at stations that use three languages: Kannada, English and Hindi, have drawn criticism, with this being viewed as another instance of the imposition of Hindi.Updated: Jul 03, 2017, 16:43 IST
Bengaluru’s much-awaited Metro rail project, the first phase of which was inaugurated on Saturday by President Pranab Mukherjee, has already run into trouble.
Signboards at stations that use three languages: Kannada, English and Hindi, have drawn criticism, with this being viewed as another instance of the imposition of Hindi.
The chairperson of the Kannada Development Authority (KDA), which is a governmental body, has written to the managing director of the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) asking him to explain under what rules the signboards have used Hindi.
Chairman of KDA, S G Siddaramaiah told HT that under the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, Kannada was to be given importance over the other languages.
“I have written to the MD of BMRCL asking him under what rules Hindi has been added on the signboards,” he said.
“It is only central government entities that are required to follow the three-language formula whereas all other establishments should have Kannada and another language, with Kannada in larger font,” he said.
Siddaramaiah said an incorrect view was being promoted that Hindi was the national language.
“It is an official language like all others. If they want Hindi in signboards here, they must include our languages in signboards in places where Hindi is the predominant language,” he said.
Pradeep Singh Kharola, MD of Bangalore Metro, refused to comment on the issue.
“I have received a letter about the matter and it is an issue concerning BMRCL and the KDA. So, I cannot comment on this,” he said.
Siddaramaiah’s letter has raised the question about who owns BMRCL, a joint venture between the central and state government.
Pro-Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj saw the hand of the Centre in the move to include Hindi in signboards.
“Ever since the Narendra Modi government has come to power, they have tried to force Hindi on to us. This is not the first instance,” he said and recounted how the governor Vajubhai Vala, a former minister in the Gujarat government under Modi, addressed a joint session of the state legislature in Hindi.
Before him, governors, who were not from Karnataka, spoke in English, he said.
Nagaraj said Kannada had to be promoted in the state and there could be no compromise on this. “People coming from other states are welcome here, but they must also make an effort to learn the local language,” he asserted.
A protest campaign is running online, with the hashtag #NammaMetroHindiBeda on Twitter.