In a party recently, I was introduced to a group of people from various states of India. During the conversation an interesting topic came up - 'life in various cities in India'. Suddenly I heard someone say, "There is no problem in Bangalore and you don't have to speak Kannada for ever. It is a Cosmopolitan city." I countered the statement, arguing that people from other states must learn Kannada and they will pay a heavy price if they don't do it. In ten minutes of discussion, I realized that I had lost that battle not because my statements had no substance, but the people of Bangalore is Cosmopolitan. Several days after that discussion, I was wondering about this "Cosmopolitanism". Just visit Bangalore and talk to some one you know or don't know for that matter. You could easily see that they speak a language you know, leaving you wonder how the common people in this city know so many other languages. Now you know what I mean? Yes, Bangalore is a cosmopolitan city and bangaloreans try to understand millions of People speaking all kinds of languages. Naturally it shows that the people are trying to do business or any other correspondence with people from other states so that they can feel at home. What is wrong with that? You may wonder. Well, let us see what happens:
The so called people from other states gradually start their own businesses and bring in more people from their home state and after one or two years we have a colony of people from outside. Now this phenomenon slowly trickles into the social fabric of kannadigas. It starts with small community hall dedicated to these strangers. Then there is a temple of their favorite god, followed by loud speakers making sounds in their language relentlessly. A "coupe de grace" is delivered with their man as a city corporator and lo - they demand that their dead poet's statue be installed in front of Vidhana Soudha, the pride of Kannadigas. The demands of such migrants do not end at that. Houses and plots will be allotted to these people at the expense of Kannadigas.
This pattern has repeated several times in Bangalore and is slowly spreading to other cities like Mysore and even to interior cities like Shimoga. This will one-day makes us aliens in our own cities and towns. Kannadigas are not against people from other states. But what we don't like is that these people instead becoming part and parcel of our city/town, influence and establish their language and culture and thus cause an irreparable damage to us.
So we don't have to be Cosmopolitan. We don't have to understand the languages spoken by whoever lands in Bangalore. We can be just kannadigas and speak Kannada only. It is tough to implement such an agenda immediately. But we have to make up our mind and remember whenever we interact with these people from other states in common public places.
Let us not forget that we don't have to be extra courteous to everyone just because they are in strange land. We don't receive the same treatment, if we ever go to other states. There is no suburb or part of the city in Madras or Hyderabad or Bombay where kannadigas have been living in-groups and able to live as they would have lived in Bangalore. This apathy is natural in all states and there is no reason for us to be so accommodative to others.
If all kannadigas don't understand this reality and act, soon our children and we will be aliens in our own cities and towns.