Anti-Hindi Sentiments Reaches Its Pinnacle In Karnataka – Learn Kannada Or Lose Job
Government orders bank employees to learn Kannada in 6 months or lose job!
Probably for the first time in Independent India, bank employees in a state have been ‘ordered’ by a Govt. body to learn the local language, or lose their jobs.
Is this the pinnacle of extreme regionalism, and height of partiality towards one particular language? Or this a reaction by some sections of the society, against Govt. of India’s diktat to expand usage of Hindi?
Are we witnessing a civil unrest movement, wherein language has become the cause of protest? Is it good for the democratic sanctity?
Learn Kannada Or Lose Your Job
The Kannada Development Authority or KDA has issued an order meant for all branch and regional heads of all nationalized banks operating in the state of Karnataka.
KDA is a Govt. body, formed in 1994 to protect, nurture and promote the usage of Kannada language in Karnataka, and focuses on usage of local languages in Govt. establishments, buildings and documents.
The order explicitly and clearly says that every non-Kannada working in banks should learn Kannada language within 6 months, otherwise they would be fired.
KDA chairman SG Siddaramaiah said in that order: “If employees fail to learn Kannada in six months, they should be relieved of their services in accordance with the recruitment rules.”
Although the order mentions every staff working in every nationalized bank, it seems Hindi is specially targeted by them. The order further says that just like Hindi units are being established across all bank branches to promote Hindi language, a special Kannada unit should be established across all branches to the same purpose.
The order from KDA Chairman said, “There is a lack of will in implementing the local language in many banks. …not paying due respect to the local language can lead to conflicts in future. Banks have to take up the measures on an emergency basis.”
In fact, KDA Chairman will visit all branches to personally inspect the ‘implementation ‘ of the order. Banks haven’t yet responded to this order from KDA.
The Rise Of Anti-Hindi Sentiments in Karnataka
This is not a one-off case of over-protectionism of a local language: Anti-Hindi sentiments have been consistently rising in South India, especially Karnataka, due to various political and social reasons.
Last week, Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) had to remove Hindi signboards from their Kempegowda Metro Station, Chickpete, K.R. Market and Jayanagar metro station in Bengaluru.
BMRCL had to do this under pressure from pro-Kannada activists, which includes KDA as well.
The campaign to remove Hindi signboards started with hashtag #NammaMetroHindiBeda, after which members of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike blackened Hindi signs, across the metro stations.
CM Of Karnataka had to intervene, and issue a letter to BMRCL saying, “The State Government is compelled to ask BMRCL to redesign their signages in Metro station, without using Hindi. It would be much better to follow a persuasive approach than a mandatory one..”
Note here, that this move by BMRCL and State Govt. of Karnataka clearly violates the notification by Union Ministry of Urban Development, dated December 2016 which says: “As per the official Language policy of Union Government, it is necessary that at all metro stations located in non-Hindi speaking regions, the signboards, name boards, announcements and publication material, etc. for public information shall be in three languages – regional language, Hindi and English.”
Last month Kannada development authority (KDA) launched a campaign to stop ‘imposition’ of Hindi in schools based out of Karnataka. As per KDA, knowledge of English and Kannada is enough for school kids.
Will bank employees, who are not from Karnataka bear the brunt of this anti-Hindi agitation in the state? Is this being fair to the bank employees?
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