Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"Kannadiga entrepreneurs in Kasaragod" vs. "Malayalam"

As I have been working in a private hospital in Kasaragod from sometime, I have come across many interesting facts and challenges. One of the challenges is language related. Majority of the partners in our firm are Kannadigas and it has always been a challenge to deal with Kerala government departments who seem to be too much "in love" with Malayalam, thus ignoring everything else.

[Of course there might be similar things in Karnataka also where non-Kannadigas might be unreasonably facing difficulties and I might not have even noticed (because I just know Kannada!). One thing that I noticed is electricity bill, which is only in Kannada - this is not something that I wholeheartedly agree. That example is just from a common man's perspective. I really don't know experience of non-Kannadiga entrepreneurs in Karnataka. Anyway, let me not get into Karnataka and be back to Kerala :-)]

Here I am just sharing some thoughts that I shared with my friends in QPMPA Kerala today.


Adding to many other difficulties, many private hospital owners in Kasaragod region have been facing one more important difficulty i.e. too much of Malayalam while dealing with government.

In Kasaragod region, Kannada is also one of the official languages; even today we can find villages in this district where people are unaware how to even speak Malayalam, forget about how to read/write. It is tragic that people who were involved in defining borders did few things that affected millions of innocent people. (Same thing happened with Kanyakumari also if I am not wrong.) In spite of having 3-language rule in this region Kannadigas have been continuously facing second grade citizen treatment right from the day of state formation.

Following is just an example: Just compare ESI websites of various states and you can see that Kerala is the only state that has website solely in Malayalam.

Kerala: http://esickerala.gov.in/
Karnataka: http://www.esickar.gov.in/
Maharashtra: http://esicmaharashtra.gov.in/
Andhra Pradesh: http://www.apesic.nic.in/
West Bengal: http://esicwestbengal.org/

I know, all this is futile at the end of the day; eventually I will have to quit this fight and take shelter in Karnataka and be a permanent resident of that state.

Alright, let’s keep Kannada aside for a moment – even though it is sad, let’s assume that that we Kannadigas eventually will either flee from here or will become Malayalees; let’s even ignore the agony we go through in the process. However, one more question arises: what about English?

Why most acts and forms have to be available only in Malayalam? Are entrepreneurs from other parts of India not at all welcome in Kerala? Let us also note that there is increasing number of young Malayalees who don’t know how to read/write Malayalam, thanks to CBSE/ICSE education system. Ironically such people also might find more comfort in other (less language fanatic) states and start their businesses over there.

It is definitely important to preserve language of the land, as there are far reaching implications if we ignore it. But is this the right way? Or is this unreasonable/extremist attitude by Kerala government? What is right? What is wrong? What is practical? I am sure debates will never end on this topic!


  1. In Karntaka, electricity bills are in Kannada as well as English. I have seen BESCOM & MESCOM bills.

  2. @ವಿ.ರಾ.ಹೆ. Thanks for sharing. hmm, in Mangaluru we get electricity bills only in Kannada. In Kasaragod we get only in Malayalam. If I remember it right, this applies to telephone bill as well.

    Anyway, that is from common man's perspective. More than that I am trying to highlight difficulties faced by non-Malayalee entrepreneurs' in Kerala.

  3. I feel your pain. The issue is complex and an intrinsic part of living in a multi-lingual, multi-cultural country like India. My take on this issue:

    1. This issue tends to get diluted or is non-existent in bigger, more cosmopolitan cities and gets accentuated in smaller towns, villages.
    2. I have heard people from every state, complaining about how difficult it is to live in a different state. In my opinion every state in India is equally difficult to live in for outsiders who are unwilling/unable to adapt to the local language and culture.
    3. This issue will likely become less painful as more and more people move out of their state and India as a whole becomes more cosmopolitan.

    BTW, have you seen this website - http://www.keralaesic.com/. How is this different from the link you are using?

  4. Probably Karnataka has least 'linguistic aggression' among all states in India. Many kannada organizations also have vested interests than protecting Kannada/Karnataka culture. However, as you said, very soon we'll need English to transact in most of the states.. At that time, Kerala also will be forced to change.

  5. Dear Taps, pain of outsiders is one thing. For people like me the place is my hometown and its a linguistic minority issue. Slowly and steadily Kannadigas are pushed away here. If the state is not willing to make life comfortable even for native residents like us, its sad. Perhaps native Marathis in Belagavi also complain the same way!

    This particular issue doesn't easily get resolved even in cosmopolitan cities unless government acts and orders start coming in English.

    Thanks for sharing another site for Kerala ESIC; I had a look - its not created and maintained by NIC, so not sure if its official or not. Will check. Anyway, its just an example, I had numerous other experiences where its everyday struggle.


  6. You can meet the persons in Kannada cell at collectorate. They should give you the translations I guess
    Dr. Narahari

  7. ಕಾಸರಗೋಡಿನ ಕನ್ನಡದ ಕಂದರ ಕೂಗು ಕೇರಳ ಕೇಳದು!

  8. I put forth some of my observations regarding:
    1. Most of the Kannadigas have already migrated to Karnataka. Only a few are remaining here in Kasaragod now, slowly becoming minority in their own land. Soon, they will also leave, making Kasaragod a perfect Malayalam area.
    2. Seeing such a situation, Kerala Govt. made it compulsory to study Malayalam in every school."Unfortunately" Kannadigas raised their last voice and temporarily it was abandoned. Soon, it will come in another form and nobody will be there for opposing it then.
    3. I am working as a Govt. Doctor in this area and I find it peculiar that some of the Kannadigas trying to show their Malayalam knowledge to me eventhough they know that I am a native Kannadiga. This, I have also observed in some officers who got Govt. jobs throgh Kannada reservation. Eventhough we speak Kannada, they act as they don't understand and answer in 'Paccha' Malayalam.
    4. In the Kanhangad area, I can see full Malayalam, eventhough a lot of Kannada & Tulu people are still living there. Today only, I met a family where parents converse in Tulu & their children in Malayalam. Such things are happening gradually in Kasaragod also.
    5. Unlike Kannadigas, a Malayali never speaks another language with a person belonging to his own state.
    6. Some of my Malayali colleagues are interested in learning Kannada. But, they couldn't because, nobody speaks Kannada with them, eventhough they try to speak.
    7. In Karnataka, each caste has its own language, but, in Kerala, all the casts speak Malayalam.
    8. In my childhood, I could hardly see a few Malayalam boards in Kasaragod Town only, never in adjuscent towns like Badiaka, Kumble, Mulleria. Many of the boards & banners were in Kannada & English. Now, almost all such things are in English & Malayalam, even in small towns. Another fact is that I am seeing more Malayalam boards now in Mangalore than it was in Kasaragod some 25 years ago.
    9. I never heard any political leader stressing for Kannada in Kasaragod area except in some statements during Assembly Elections. This is an exception to Kasaragod, when compared with Belgaum.
    10. I had met a garage worker who was cursing his teachers who taught him Kannada that they ruined his life by not teaching him in Malayalam
    Being a Kannadiga from Kasaragod, I am seeing daily my language dying in front of my eyes and expecting total death within next 20 years. Then, nobody will have any problem of language!

  9. Am totally Agreeing Annymous's voice dated April 11 2012. All the 10 points mentioned him are 100% right.

  10. KS, good point you made.

    It all started with Tamilians in South.

    As I have seen, mallus are not so egoistic like tamil blunts.

    if you take south India,

    1.Tamilians hate all other languages (including Sanskrit) other than English! So they come first haters.
    2. Telugu ppl are like Kannadigas only but they try to immitate Tamilians. So naturally they try to impose Telugu on others. So they come second in the order.
    3. Mallus knows to live life!
    They learn all the languages. Once they get the grip of (anything) language/location/region/job anything you name...they establish their power their, then they impose language on you.
    4. Kannadigas are probabably the most ignorant people (sorry dear Kannadigas) on earth?! They try to learn languages, they can compromise with their own culture, language, region - anything. They can be very easily cheated as well. However, they are the most trusted people in south India.


  11. It is pathetic, Kannadigas are driven out of Kasaragod (Kerala), whereas we kannadigas are giving away our jobs, land to Malayalis who come begging. Once they settle down in Bangalore, they start showing their poisionous colour. They are most dreaded creatures on earth. They will never cheat a malayali, but they also think of cheating non-kannadigas. They are most secretive people who do not get involve directly, but make others do it cunningly. We should boycott giving them jobs and land on our soil

  12. @Stuanch kannadiga:

    Such kind of hatred won't take us anywhere. I don't think it is right to label all Malayalis in such fashion.

    The mistake with Kasaragod happened during state formation and once it happened, it is quite natural that they try to establish their language in the entire state. From our end, what we can do is to remind them about our rights and keep fighting to preserve those rights. This is reality of life!

  13. Dear Krishna Sastry!

    I am from Bangalore, The way Malayalis are dominating, they show as though they are the boss of the state. They are arrogant towards non-malayalis. I came across cases where a malayali who is a top position threw away kannadigas on baseless charges and recurited malayali from Kerala. The charges what he made was that the kannada youth went to take part in Kannada Rajyaotsava function. it is high time, malayalis must be placed where they deserve. 80% Malayalis who have resided more than 10 years in Bangalore cannot speak fluent kannada leave alone reading and writing.

  14. I fully agree with views of most of you all. Malayalis are taken away jobs of Kannadigas with the help of those malayalis who have already settled in Bangalore. You go to any Central government office, they either speak Malayalam and Tamil, and no respect for kannada. Malayalis do not like to take part in Kannada Rajyaotsava functions. They feel offended, though they are earning on this soil. Our politicians have made the kannada movement very weak and growth of malayalis in karnataka. Kannada orgnaistions should fight back unitedly to defeat this maggots known as malayalis

  15. being a kannadiga i was alwaz driven out from the freedom to shout jai kannada nadu i mallu prome kasaragoduuuuuuuuuuuuuu

  16. being a proud kannadiga i had no problm learning kannada and malayalam bt we were often teased in a mallu prone town.kannada will become a MINORITY if all of us go out of kasaragodu instead stay in kasaragodu ant tell iam a proud to be KANNADIGA .

  17. I beg to you all guys that please STOP STOP STOP fighting in the name of languages. I am neither Kannadiga nor malyalam but a Bengali of Bangladesh origin who now doesn't have any state to call his won. Ya not even West Bengal. And that is the reason we mix up with all the cultures wherever in India we go. I BEG AGAIN TO ALL TO STOP FIGHTING AND BE REMAIN UNITED AS INDIANS. PlEASE MY DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS< PLEASE!!

  18. Quite unfortunate a Malayali is picturized in a bad manner by others here. People have to broaden their mind in order to understand Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu have the same mother which is the Proto Dravidian language. It is important each other to understand every language is unique in it's own way and the most important usage of a language is to communicate each other.

    A true Malayali is self esteemed person who does not show any dominance.

  19. postponement of today's psc test is the biggest victory of kasaragod kannadigas

  20. I find this whole conversation meaningless. If one can learn english as a medium of communication why can't you learn malayalam for the same. Learning malayalam doesn't mean that you have to lose kannada. I am a malayali who was brought up in a orissa and i can read and write both languages. I also participate and take pride in the celebrations of both lands. Currently i live in bangalore and am learning about karnataka, its culture and its language. Its an enjoyable process and an opportunity that is available only in a multilingual and multicultural land like India.

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  22. The comments made by many of you maybe be based on experiences you had, being a minority in a Malayalam dominated Kasargod. But my family has been in kasargod for the last 50 years and eventhough we speak Malayalam,we had made it a point that we learn Kannada and communicate with ease to the Localites.The Non-Kannadiga speakers are never hated in Kasargod.In my knowledge there is a Protestant Church in Kasargod that preaches only in Kannada,and i am a art of it.If any of you are in fear of the language to be eliminated from the district...I personally will object it with force.

  23. ನಿಮ್ಮ ಈ ಲೇಖನಕ್ಕೆ ತುಂಬಾ ಧನ್ಯವಾದಗಳು. ನಾನು ಮೂಲತಃ ಶಿವಮೊಗ್ಗದವನಾದರೂ ಮಂಗಳೂರು ಮತ್ತು ಕಾಸರಗೋಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ ವಿದ್ಯಾಭ್ಯಾಸ ಮಾಡಿದೆ. ಆದ್ದರಿಂದ ನಿಮ್ಮ ವಿಚಾರಗಳನ್ನು ನಾನು ಒಪ್ಪಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತೇನೆ.

    ನಾನು ಗಮನಿಸಿದಂತೆ ಮಂಗಳೂರಿನ ಕಾನ್ವೆಂಟಿನ ವಿದ್ಯಾರ್ಥಿಗಳು ಅದರಲ್ಲೂ ಕೊಂಕಣಿ ಮೂಲದವರು ಕನ್ನಡ ಮತ್ತು ತುಳು ಭಾಷೆಗಳನ್ನು ಕೀಳರಿಮೆಯ ದ್ರಿಷ್ಟಿಯಿಂದ ಕಾಣುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಥವಾ ತುಳುವಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾತನಾಡಲು ನಿರಾಕರಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ .

    ನಮ್ಮ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಅದರಲ್ಲೂ ಮಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲೇ ಈ ರೀತಿಯ ಸಮಸ್ಯೆಗಳು ಇರುವಾಗ ನಾವು ಕಾಸರಗೋಡಿನ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಏನು ಹೇಳೋಣ?

    ಕಾಸರಗೋಡನ್ನು ಕೇರಳದಿಂದ ವಿಲೀನಗೊಳಿಸಿ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕಕ್ಕೆ ಸೇರಿಸುವುದು ಕಷ್ಟಸಾಧ್ಯ ಬಹುಷಃ ಮುಂದೆಂದೂ ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗದೆ ಇರಬಹುದು. ಆದರೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಕೈಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾಡಬಹುದಾದಂತಹ ಕನ್ನಡಪರ ಚಟುವಟಿಕೆಗಳನ್ನಾದರೂ ನಾವು ಮಾಡಬಹುದಲ್ಲವೇ? ಈ ರೀತಿ ನಮ್ಮ ಭಾಷೆಯನ್ನಾದರೂ ನಾವು ಉಳಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಿಸೋಣ.