Kannada in Higher Ed: Why the Usual Suspects’ Opposition is Uncalled For

The Government of Karnataka wants to introduce Kannada as a mandatory subject in Higher Education, esp. professional courses such as Engineering and Medicine. But apparently, corporate leaders and educators think it’s a bad move.

Let me examine these guys’ arguments.

Here’s what Mindtree’s Krishnakumar Natarajan, had to say:

Higher education should be beyond local languages. In higher education, the capability and skills imparted to students is more important. Are we creating enough local content and research in the local language? And what is the maturity of the local language content?

First of all, Natarajan is speaking as if GoK wants to make Kannada the medium of instruction in higher education. Else, why all the stuff about research and content and maturity? Is he saying Kannada literature isn’t mature enough? I hope not, because that’s not only incorrect but also racist – white racism, to be precise. The GoK only wants to introduce Kannada as a subject in higher education, so these concerns are uncalled for. I wonder where they even came from.

Now that we’re on the topic of actual higher-education content in Kannada, let me say that socially responsible corporates must share the responsibility of making Kannada fit and ‘mature’ for the purpose. They must share the responsibility of creating enough local content and research in Kannada. It’s not as if corporates are doomed to be mere consumers of content.

Ranjan Pai from the Manipal education conglomerate says:

What are we trying to achieve? The market and the globe is more anglicised. Forcing non-Kannada students to learn Kannada will be regressive. It won’t send the right message.

Since you ask, we’re trying to achieve social cohesion. Ring a bell, Mr. Pai? Understand such a thing? Is it taught in your education institutions? The idea that the market and the globe is getting more and more anglicised comes from a myopic view of the world. The world’s languages are getting increasingly represented everywhere, and Kannada is ahead of the pack in many ways.

If asking students studying in Karnataka to learn basic Kannada is regressive, what is asking them to not give a damn about the local language? Progressive?

Do you really want to make money from non-Kannadiga students by telling them not to give a damn about the local language, Mr Pai? It’s a fundamental responsibility of education institutions to maintain if not enhance social harmony. If education destroys it, shouldn’t we call it terrorism?

Biocon’s Kiran Mazudar Shaw says:

Kannada cannot be made compulsory in all courses, but can be offered as an option. Let’s see the fine print as I can’t imagine how they can enforce this very ill-conceived idea.

Ideally, what can or cannot be made compulsory in Karnataka will be decided by Karnataka state, not a non-Kannadiga businesswoman or her money. Hasn’t Biocon made it compulsory for employees not to smoke inside labs? In the same way, the state wants to make it compulsory to study Kannada. There’s nothing ‘ill-conceived’ here. The UK is asking people who don’t know English to leave. Why shouldn’t Karnataka consider doing the same with those who don’t know Kannada?

But the fact is, the state is not going to that extreme; it can’t as long as the current constitution isn’t declared null and void. Karnataka only wants to introduce a course – yes, just a course – asking people to learn the language of the land. It helps everyone.

As HC Boralangiah, former VC of Kannada university says:

For non-Kannada students, we have prescribed simple texts. We want them to become familiar with Kannada and Karnataka’s culture. Otherwise, we risk losing Kannada. Making Kannada compulsory means students need to pass in an examination as part of their degree.

And people find this unnecessary, regressive and ill-conceived? Come on, guys, stop your bean-counting and show some respect to India. Show that you are responsible citizens of India – the India right around you which you can touch and see and smell, the India that speaks Kannada.

Let’s Say the Congress Got Subhas Chandra Bose Killed. Now What?

The ‘big explosive truth’ about Bose’s death, whatever it is, is useless for the common man. I absolutely support the idea that the truth about the case should come out – it’s much better than falsehood. But what after that?

Let’s say, hypothetically, the much hyped Bose files reveal that the Congress (or Nehru, the man everyone’s pointing a finger at) got Bose killed.

What do we do with this piece of information? Ditch the Congress and vote BJP in every election from now on – which is obviously what the BJP wants? Maybe even get the Congress banned?

Before we go there, we’ve got to deal with one small problem: the same Nehru, the same Congress, created the structure of the Indian nation today and wrote everything down in the Constitution. Oops, it’s is now poisoned!

If the Congress or Nehru indeed got Bose killed, wouldn’t it follow that there are criminal minds behind the Constitution of India? Shouldn’t we declare the Constituent Assembly’s work null and void and start all over again with people who have impeccable credentials?

The above would be the argument of those who take operational corruption really seriously and think that requires us to question the systems that operationally corrupt people built.

Mind you, that’s quite like what the BJP is doing today: they’re trying to expose operational corruption in the time of Nehru as a way of upholding their own ideology. But only, the BJP is not going the full distance. It doesn’t suffice to blame the congress. They need to blame the Constitution which the Congress created, too.

Be that as it may, my argument is different. I don’t give a damn about operational corruption as long as India’s primitive corruption thrives. I’m not worried about the book not being followed; I’m worried about the book being followed – because when it’s followed, primitive corruption thrives.

I don’t care if Nehru got Bose killed. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. It’s a useless piece of information because the real problem in India is not who runs the show but what show is run. That’s why I find it stupid for people to base their vote on how Bose or Gandhi or whoever-it-is died.

What show is run depends on the Constitution of India. I want it rewritten from scratch because the show has serious problems. Not because its creators could potentially have indulged in operational corruption, but because India’s primitive corruption has gotten into it all by itself. There’s no way it couldn’t have gotten there, whether the people involved were operationally corrupt or not.

Therefore, I’d like votes to be cast based on who can get the Constitution rewritten from scratch, today. Not based on how someone died ages ago, even if that someone is a tall figure like Subhas Chandra Bose.

The Constitution needs rewriting for the simple reason that it mishandles India’s diversity, notably of the linguistic kind, and makes the Aryan Pyramid of Corruption thrive all over India. This is the real issue in India, and it’s a problem when politicians and the media take attention away from it.

From this perspective, the ‘big explosive truth’ about Bose’s death, whatever it is, is useless for the common man. I absolutely support the idea that the truth about the case should come out – it’s much better than falsehood. But what after that?

On Rohith Vemula’s Suicide

The Pyramid of Corruption, which term is a metaphor I use for the caste system and everything that comes with it, cannot throw any light on Rohith’s suicide. I have to say this because people who don’t really read the book, or don’t understand its arguments when they do, have historically come to very hasty conclusions about what I’ve written.

Those on The Left, who are commenting on the suicide, are basing their statements on the thesis that Brahmins or other upper caste people, specifically in The Right, have somehow conspired to push this student to commit suicide.

Even if the allegation were true (I have no way of deciding either way), nothing in my book can explain it. This is simply because it would be an ‘operational’ crime, not a ‘primitive’ one. I have nothing to say about ‘operational’ crime or corruption.

In case you don’t understand the term ‘operational’ crime or corruption, it is crime or corruption which is of the nature of a deviation from “the system”. If the allegation were true, it would clearly be such a deviation, and I have nothing to say about deviations. My book is about “the system” itself, and what would go wrong if there is no deviation.

My book is about how the caste system has entered into the very foundations of the Indian Nation. I talk at the level of how entire South India, being mostly Shudra, is in a Vaishya Vacuum. This fact benefits North India because Vaishyas are almost entirely North Indian.

I talk at the level of why Sankritized Hindi is essentially considered superior to any South Indian language. I talk at the level of a depopulating South India and Aryan (i.e., North Indian) migration into the South, and consequently Aryan control of the South, right under our noses.

From the above, I hope you understand that I don’t differentiate between The Left or The Right. Both swear by the same constitution and my book is about what’s wrong with that constitution. I call for rewriting that book from scratch.

If my suggestions are accepted, I don’t think suicides like the one in question can be saved in the ultimate analysis. Only, New Delhi would have nothing to do with them. Such cases would be opened and closed within Telangana because they’re not inter-state matters.

Yes, Rohith Vemulas wouldn’t be worried about Yakub Memons that don’t trouble Telangana. Telangana itself would be a much safer place vis-a-vis attacks from potential Yakub Memons who don’t speak Telugu. Telangana would catch non-Telugus easily. Today it doesn’t and the Centre is itself non-Telugu for the most part.

I think I can say that Rohith Vemulas wouldn’t worry about an all India “Dalit” caste, which is just a recently invented collective noun. They’d stick to local caste names and would therefore worry less. Also, caste distinctions would get slowly erased because of the increased focus on Telugu from every caste, and the collaborative effort to make Telugu fit for all modern purposes.

Further, the Centre would be a Government of Governments, not a Government of People, and therefore there would be no central Human Resources Development minister or ministry to begin with. No Central Universities either. The Hyderabad University would be answerable only to the State Government. Let me also say that Telugu, with a high degree of focus on native words, would be the preferred medium of education.

And hey, there’d be no Telangana either. There’d only be a united Andhra, because the Centre wouldn’t have the power to create or destroy states, and all the states of my conception are linguistic ones. ‘One language, one state’. Not like Ambedkar’s ‘one state, one language’.

I hope this short journey into the book gives you an idea of what the book is and is not. I hope you too, stop worrying about these ‘operational’ issues and take a look at what’s wrong in a ‘primitive’ sense.

2 Simple Points Which Will Seal the Argument About Sabarimala

Social transformation is none of the state’s business. It is because we don’t understand this fully that we allow all sorts of social disasters. Hindi imposition, for example. Also, of what value is a protest against men’s clubs in a democracy?

1. The question of menstruating women entering the Sabarimala temple lies in the domain of society, not state. So, those who want it must discuss with the temple, not the state. It’s a different matter that our state likes to poke its nose everywhere. The Supreme Court has proved it time and again. But that doesn’t take away the fact that this is state transgression into society. Social transformation is none of the state’s business. It is because we don’t understand this fully that we allow all sorts of social disasters — Hindi imposition, for example.

2. Even if one were to allow the state’s transgression into society for argument’s sake in this case, of what value is a protest against men’s clubs in a democracy? That’s what the Sabarimala temple is. You can’t oppose it without looking like a medieval lawmaker. What’s wrong if a set of males want to gather, climb a hill, and offer prayers to a certain deity, without letting menstruating women come near?

The Permanent Solution to Jallikattu-like Problems

If Tamil Nadu didn’t have to knock on the doors of a court outside its borders, if the matter were to be settled by Tamils alone, a ban on the tradition is unthinkable.

Jallikattu, an ancient Tamil tradition without which Pongal isn’t Pongal, has been turned illegal by the Supreme Court in which Tamil representation is miniscule.

Such things are possible in India because others have a stake – actually, more stake – in everything here.

If Tamil Nadu didn’t have to knock on the doors of a court outside its borders, if the matter were to be settled by Tamils alone, a ban on the tradition is unthinkable.

It’s a pity that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has to literally beg powers that be outside of Tamil Nadu to save a Tamil tradition.

RSS/BJP supporters thankfully understand the importance of this tradition, but thankfully is the problem.

When the decision is not with us, we have to be thankful to others if they understand our concerns (and vote them).

What if they change their stance tomorrow (a happening over which we have no control)? Even if they don’t change, why have a system in which the decision is with others?

The permanent solution to problems like this is not believing that some “national” party is always going to be on our side. Nor is it to hope for a central Judiciary which can be made to tilt towards us on an issue-by-issue basis.

The permanent solution is to create a central Judiciary which has no stake – yes, no stake – in intra-state matters. Let it deal only with inter-state issues.

In a democracy, there’s no reason why someone in Delhi, with a theory about animals, should be a stakeholder in a case related to people 2,500 kilometres away. It doesn’t help that the stakeholder can sometimes see our point.

The only thing that can help – permanently – is for that stakeholder to vanish.