Bandh: It’s Kannada channels on TV (again)

The newspaper tells me this morning that it’s only Kannada channels today, at least from 6 am to 6 pm. I turn on the TV and I can’t see any of the regularly-visited channels, not even the news in English. Talk about a nice way to force people to understand Kannada. It’s brilliant.

The reason the channels are off the air is that the Cable TV Operator association (or whatever it is they’re called) has given their support to the bandh. Wonder if they’ll give me back one day’s money for service disrupted. That would be a good idea for a large-scale protest–every cable subscriber doesn’t pay the day’s subscription fee or asks for a refund. Or maybe, call the cable operator’s association and tells them that we’ll all move to Tata Sky. [1]

I think the other reason for this blackout is that the Reading-In-Kannada-Is-Good-For-You foundation is backing the bandh, to ensure that children read books instead of watching Pogo and Disney channel. It’s a different matter that children are reading Harry Potter (in English) or playing games on their computer.

It’s a wonder that I live in Bangalore and am still able to write in English on my blog. The Internet is next.

[1] — Don’t Tata Sky or the other DTH providers realise that this is a golden opportunity? Provide people an easy way to jump and make it affordable, and we’ll jump. Some will.


30 thoughts on “Bandh: It’s Kannada channels on TV (again)

  1. Good article.. I’m seriously thinking about Tata Sky. The only thing that’s stopping me is that we have an open terrace, and the cable guy has access to all the stuff I put on the terrace. If I can find a convenient location for the Dish Antenna, I’ll get the cable disconnected…

  2. I don’t know much about Tata Sky other than their ads in the TV and the newspapers. You might want to do a little research before jumping into that option. Customer service, moving the connection, refund if you don’t like the service, etc.

  3. Niranj,

    Seventhi Ninan had written in Hindu about the Tata sky and other Dish stuff. I remember that she did not recommend it at present and had adivsed to wait for better offers.

  4. Bangalore is in trouble… it has become Metropolitan, but the native people people are not yet ready to accept it.

    I would like to site an example in Pune… There are lot of different state people in Pune but they are never even ‘asked’ to learn Marathi. Ofcourse lot of things are still followed in Marathi, Hindi and Marathi being similar and with same script, the North Indians won’t face much problems. As for the South and other regions (like Gujratis), they adopt Hindi. The point is nobody even ‘asks’ them of ‘expects’ them to know Marathi.

    Here, I must point that there are (is) political parties who use “Marathi speaking land” as their political motto… but none has been able to even get public support, leave aside coming to power on that basis till date. Whereas in Bangalore, its different with all that forced movies, forced cable channels, those flags stuff!

    Mumbai’s native language has become Hindi and nobody has had problems with it for years!

    I think this regional stuff is getting out of bounds and the center must step in to unite people across India.

    Having said this, it seems Karnataka has disputes with all its neighbours – Andhra, Tamilnadu, Maharashtra, Kerala – something to think about!!!

    Examples of extremism (again, I am not talking about political parties as they are bound to behave poorly in any state) :-
    1) The Kannada people in companies in Bangalore celebrate company wide “Rajyotsawa” – I didn’t saw Marathi people in Pune, Mumbai celbrating company wide or colege wide “Maharashtra Din”, or NOIDA people celebrating UP din – they would do so on their ‘personal’ behalf.
    Looks like Kannada people are very defensive and always talk about ‘their’ culture, never seem to have a ‘National’ feeling!
    2) The Yellow+Red ‘Kannada State’ flag (so was I told) – these people just forget ‘Our’ National ‘Tricolour’. Seem to be lacking the feeling of being Indian fist – which is very shameful and if this goes this way, the Indian Government must tell these guys to leave India.
    Even HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) in Bangalore, had 8-10 ‘Kannada State’ flags hoisted over their building and hiding Our National Flag between them. Such a shame!

    Never in any state I felt so “Away from India”. But I am Indian and I know Bangalore is part of India so I hope one day we will unite under the same Tricolour.

    Also, don’t generalise this on “South Indians” terms. I think people in Tamilnadu are very active when it comes to having a ‘National’ level sentiment and opinion. Just read letters to Editor in “The Hindu” and you will get what I mean. You will find good remarks by lot of people from Andhra, Keral, Tamilnadu in the letters colum, but hardly find a “Kannada” caring about ‘National’ issues!

    You see, the question is not just of language. Its about ‘National’ feeling.

  5. Kerala is one place where I visited (1-2 days only) that I found mostly Malayalam speakers. Don’t think Hindi would’ve gotten me too far there. Also, there’s a strong anti-Hindi, pro-Tamil sentiment in Chennai though I am not sure that it extends to the rest of Tamil Nadu.

    The state flag was pretty prominent this year wasn’t it? The first thought that came to my mind was the confederate flag of the Southern states in the US. I think Mississippi still uses that flag. I’m too lazy to look it up.

    It’s interesting that language was used to break up the country into states. On one hand it makes sense but on the other, it’s exclusionary. It’s a tough one to solve and it doesn’t help that people tend to be jingoistic (towards the state) when it comes to language.

    If you call the electricity guys for complaint and make a mistake of speaking in Hindi, and I’ve noticed that you get a response in Kannada. All this language-based stuff would’ve been fine in a situation where you can stay in your own well (read: frog-in-a-well) but now, it’s just not possible. Banks transfer people, government officials are transferred, people move jobs–it’s hard when everyone expects you to learn their language.

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head–it’s about being Indian, everything else is a distant second.

  6. I think it is very silly of cable operators to block channels. That said, I think there are some things to consider here:

    It is very true that India is a nation built on the principle that Nationality is more important than regionality but it would be insensitive to think that people of different regions do not have affinity to their own language and culture.

    Mumbai being the center of hindi cinema, really cannot complain about people talking in hindi. Also the uproar against tamilians in Mumbai shows what would happen if a significant number of people started speaking a language they don’t understand.

    All major cities have this problem. It is hard to survive in Chennai or for that matter in any city in Kerala without knowing the local language. Bangalore is a much easier place to survive when compared to these cities.

    The problems is you love your language and feel bad that you feel left out in your own city when you use your own language. This was not so much of a problem when all developed cities in India were in the north and hindi worked as an easy mode of communication. As we grow and more and more south Indian cities become important to the nation, it becomes imperative that people who migrate to other states become sensitive to local language, culture and make an attempt to learn it.

    After all diversity is an integral aspect of the India.

  7. hi Zapotek ,
    i m sure u shud be a tamilian saying that you experienced better nationalism in tamilnadu than in karnataka ……….!!! people of tamilnadu are so obsssed with tamil that they donot know any other language otherthan tamil . its ‘only tamil’ to the extent in tamil nadu that even the DD channels were converted to tamil in 1990s and they are the ones who are fighting for a seperate tammil nation and they are the ones who donot and will never accept hindhi as national language . ppl in bangalore speak english most fluently in that respect n even the bus conductors get the skill of hindhi atlest – mind u !! and dont dare to say that we people cannot celeberate kannada rajyotsava – its a day meant to be remembered by every kannadiga because thats when karnataka was formed – i guess you are unfit to be an Indian , who is not able to understand that India is a subcontinent and you need to learn to respect all regional languages and regional flavours .
    lastly dont say ever that we dont have the feeling of Indians – there is a culture in madekeri ( know that its is karnataka ) where people have 2 children one to grow the generation and one for army and that obviates the fact that lots of soldiers have sacrificed their life from madekeri !
    i think you probably have to go around bangalore and karnataka to first understand what is karnataka rather than just seeing one blog or s(h)itting in front of internet

  8. Pingback: INI Signal - » Tamil TV Channels off air

  9. Hooo hoo…ppl in madikeri are coorgis/kodavas and are not native kannadigas. For your informations, Coorg ppl are wanting to form a separate state..Can u help me understand this?

  10. -kumar,
    So what if Dr Raj’s village is in TN.. that in no way makes him a tam. Rajanikant is marathi, born and brought up in B’lore. But he’s a tam, as he’s made movies in your language and state. Jaya is from Mysore, MGR’s a keralite.. its not where they’re born that matters, but to the place they earn their fame and name.

    Kodava is a dialect in Kannada, not a separare language.. FYI, there are 20 such dialects in Karnataka, but all easily understood and spoken by people from various parts of the city. You have in TN something like the Badagas of Nilgiris. And no, they’re very much part and parcel of Karnataka.

    I agree entirely with Raj here. When you cannot speak your language in your own state and city, its a sense of unbelonging. We would never like if one day we went to a place in Delhi and found that people expect us to speak only chinese!

  11. What do you do about people who get transferred from a different state? Expect them to learn new languages every two or three years? What about IAS/IPS officers who are posted from a different state? What about people who come here temporarily for a few months? Will they learn a new language?

    If they can help it, people will try and get by with what they know. If they can’t they’ll learn the language but only the words that they need.

    Yes, it is a disadvantage if you can’t speak Kannada in Bangalore and a bigger disadvantage, elsewhere in Karnataka. But, if people are willing to live with the disadvantage and can’t learn (for whatever reason) the language, why punish them for it?

  12. Hello all.

    I am a kannadiga born and brought in Mumbai. Believe me, I have never ever felt that I am a non Maharashtrian. All languages are respected in Mumbai and so are all the people speaking them. Here you are not expected to learn Marathi to survive (but MAHARASHTRIANS DEFINITELY FEEL HAPPY IF A NON MAHARASHTRIAN SPEAKS IN MARATHI). This is the true essence of Mumbai which has lead to its preogress. This does not mean that Maharashtrians have forgotten their language, culture etc. They have a very strong attachment and love for theri state, culture and language. But nothing is forced

    I do not feel the same when I visit Bangalore. Even though i am a kannadiga by birth, I have been made to feel like an outsider in Bangalore (of course by people who know me well). I do appreciate the sentiments of Kannadigas towards Kannada language and Karnataka, what i resent is the fanatical attitude that some people harbour. I definitely do not agree towards the hostility towards people from other states. After all, we all are Indians first and then come the states.

    And for your information, i can speak, read as well as write Kannada.

  13. Just one more thing….

    I personally feel that the common kannadiga is a very open minded, large nearted and caring person. It is only because of the political scenario in Karnataka which is responsible for all the mess being created in the name of language, state etc.

  14. Srinivas said: “I do appreciate the sentiments of Kannadigas towards Kannada language and Karnataka, what i resent is the fanatical attitude that some people harbour. I definitely do not agree towards the hostility towards people from other states. After all, we all are Indians first and then come the states.”


    No fanatical (or extremist) attitudes, no hostility, and we’re on to Shangri-la. Or is that utopia? Whatever–it’s a good place to be in.

  15. -PAM,
    People who come to stay here for a few months are guests – they are not expected to learn the regional language, but definitely people who stay for a few years.

    And though “learning” is hugely need-based, it can also be a sign of the guest showing a little courtesy. It can perhaps start with the very simple “Forum barteera” to the auto driver, “current yaake illa”, “bega maadi, please” with the electricity board personnel, “beans eshtu?”, “swalpa kammi maadko guru” with the vegetable vendor, and “ondu majestic kodi” with the bus conductor, and “oota aita” to someone who knows what it means and can appreciate!

    Of course, if you need to, and want to blend in!

  16. ellelliyu: I do know a serviceable amount of Kannada but not enough to carry on a conversation. It’s the whole “you must” thing that rankles. I’ve no problem learning on a need-to basis, which I am doing.

  17. Hi Percy!

    Am new to Bangalore.

    Really need to know enough Kannada to be able to ward off conmen autowallahs, vegetable vendors, and the bus drivers.. how about a little Kannada tutorial, just enough to help people like me stay afloat, peppered by some of your own experiences, of course?

    I just now learnt the meaning of the word ‘hinde’ when a neighbour’s kid kept looking at my rear when my ‘hindi’ sounded to him like the Kannada ‘hinde’ :D

  18. Anjali: Welcome to Bengalooru. My Kannada has been picked up through asking people and figuring out stuff. It probably helps that I understand a couple of other south indian languages. I think that there are courses for non-Kannada speakers that are held now and then but I’ve never attended any.

    Good idea on the tutorial though, something to think about. Maybe I will do it when I can get some words together. Thanks for the idea.

  19. Well, people seem to be all praise for Mumbai & hell bent on cursing Bangalore for some people who talk to them in hindi & knows only kannada.

    Well, i’ve been in mumbai for past 6 years. Even mumbai is not far behind Bangalore in terms of regional chauvinism. One should see how shiv sena behaves with outsiders in Mumbai. One should also see how marathis behave with non-maharsahtrians in factories & MNCs too. One should also see how the policemen behave if we can’t converse with them in marathi. No different from the way kannadigas behave.

    All Indians are alike and are somewhat possessive about their hometown or home-state. Why blame Bangalore alone?

  20. Dont u guys dare to speak abt kannada when u r in karnataka. when u dont respect kannada y are u here, u can very well go to ur native no one’s stopping. u want the job in karnataka but not the culture here. when u go to tamilnadu, they force u to speak in tamil, so dominating.. and the people in karnataka speak in the language that u r comfortable with. u people should be kicked out of karnataka first and then INDIA rather than the people here.because of u guys, karnataka is spoilt, have u in any way contributed to karnataka, if not atleast to ur state? when u cant do that why u spoil the culture here?wt rights u have to speak abt the karnataka like this?or say that we can’t celebrate our rajyotsava? u dont have patriotism to ur own state and illspeaking abt the state which gave u job………..ur state cant provide u anything and u wanna dominate here. Mind u, never ever speak abt karnatake like this…………

  21. Guys, when you go to US, do you try to speak in your mother tongue (tamil or telugu or whatever) there with americans? Then, why do you expect kannadigas to speak in your language here?

    When you go to some other place you’ve to adjust to those people’s language and culture and not expect those people to learn your language. If you expect so then you should never be allowed to enter any other state because if more people like you settle in other states then that state’s culture would eventually vanish away.

    FYI, Hindi is not the only official language. Hindi is just one of the many official languages like Kannada.

    To whoever said Kannadigas are not soft to outsiders: I’ve visited almost every state of India, UK and US. I have never seen people anywhere as soft to outsiders as we kannadigas are.

    We are kannadigas. We speak in Kannada. You can continue staying here if you can make us feel you are one among us. Else, PLEASE GET OUT OF OUR STATE!!!!!!!!!

  22. Till the last year, we had been very soft to outsiders. Now, we have learnt a lesson and we are implementing it in every possible field. Be it cauvery strike by software professionals or anything, we are always united.

    Those who feel we all Indians should speak in Hindi only:
    Why shall we all not speak the global standard language i.e., English?

    Guys, we all are indians and let’s be honest to our country, state and the languages. Love your language and respect other languages too and that’s what we kannadigas follow.

  23. If a non-kannadiga enters Karnataka, we welcome him trying to speak in his language for a few days and gradually try to make his stay happy here by teaching him Kannada. We will never ask him to forget his language. What we expect him is to be faithful to the state and the people who have welcomed him. What happens when you visit tamil nadu? How accomodative are any other people when compared to we kannadigas?

    Rajyotsava: We hoist our Kannada flag on Rajyotsava day and we hoist our national flag on independence day.

  24. Hi All,
    Everyone loves his own language,state. We all have to coexist. All south indian languages are related and could be easily understood and learnt easily if you are a south indian. Hindi speaking people could easily manage in bangalore because majority of bangalorens have a working knowledge of hindi. But nothing should be forced.Everyone should be responsible and should think before spewing venom.Everywhere the majority is good and accomodative to the guests from the other states.Butbit is the minority who for their own selfish interests create acrimony vitiate the atmosphere get media coverage and publicity.Ignore them and defeat their designs by contributing your might towards your adoppted state. Your mother state will be proud of you. JAIHIND.

  25. The politicans have won. Thats what they try to do… always divide people. Based on language, state, relegion, caste, sex, sexual orientation, colour, race, region.
    Bangalore is the only place where locals speak to other people in their own language.
    What is this whole state pride anyway? You happened to be born in that state. How can you be proud of something that happened to you?
    I’m not “proud” to be from Bangalore. I’m “happy” to be from Bangalore. I’m not “proud” to be an Indian. I’m “happy” to be an Indian.
    And what is with all these flags? When did people start buying all these falgs for different occasions? Do we need a constant reminder about the state?
    We already know. Get over all these meaningless symbolic references.
    I’m “proud” that I am an Engineer because it is somethign I did on my own. Something I achieved.
    Every state has fanatics trying to force their language, culture, religion on others. Why dont you just let these people alone?
    And also Hindi is not our national language. I get tired of making this point over and over again. Just because I speak kannada am I less patriotic that someone who speaks in hindi?

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