When you get peanuts for Rs. 40,00,00,00,00,000, you ask a few questions

The Aug 16th edition of the Economic & Political Weekly carried an article by Papia Sengupta and T Ravi Kumar from Kilorimal College, University of Delhi. The two scholars argue that India badly needs systems which ensure a greater acceptance of diversity, especially linguistic diversity. Could anybody disagree?

Growing Regional Disparities

As may be seen from the table, the economic performance of regions in India has been extremely diverse over the past two and a half decades resulting in higher levels of regional disparities. The coefficient of variation (COV) of per capita regional incomes, measured as per capita net state domestic product (PCNSDP) at constant prices, increased from 29.4 in 1981-82 to 35.3 in 2005-06. The ratio between the maximum and minimum incomes across regions increased from 3.0 to 4.7 over the same reference period.

In 2005-06, seven of the nine states with PCNSDP higher than the national average, viz, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, are non-Hindi states (Table, col 3). Similarly, of the nine states whose economies grew at a rate higher than the national average over the period 1980-81 to 2006-07, five states – Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu – are non-Hindi states. Two of the remaining four states, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand, were created only in the year 2000 and in terms of economic performance their parent states – Bihar and Uttar Pradesh – are placed near the bottom, with ranks of 16 and 18 respectively (see the Table, col 4).

The growing regional disparities within India have generated stress on federal relations between the union and the states. For example, the recommendations of the recent finance commissions have been accompanied by demands from the richer and faster growing states, which are primarily linguistic “minority” states, to dilute the progressivity of the horizontal devolution formula since a higher degree of progressiveness redistributes resources from the centre away from them and towards the poorer states which are largely “majority” language states [Kumar 2005]. Recently, the chief minister of Gujarat – a linguistic “minority” state which has developed the fastest over the past 25 years – is reported to have remarked that the central government should “…stop collecting taxes from Gujarat and also stop aid to the state” as “….Gujarat gives Rs 40,000 crore as taxes to the centre and receives only 2.5 per cent of it in return”.

The major theme in multicultural studies relates to the need for policies not only to preserve the minority cultures but also to ensure their effective integration into the national mainstream. It is implicitly presumed that conflicts may arise within society primarily due to the minority groups feeling excluded in terms of benefiting less than the majority group from the overall national development process. However, the disparate economic performance of the states of India poses a set of issues that suggest a need for multiculturalism taking greater cognisance of the possibility of friction between the majority and minority cultural groups occurring due to the latter progressing faster than the former. A broader analytical structure is required for the identification of not only the conditions under which these can occur but also the policies that need to be pursued under these circumstances to ensure a greater acceptance of diversity within multicultural societies.

Kannadigas should go entrepreneurial full throttle

The need of the hour for Kannadigas today is to go entrepreneurial. The economic policies of the Government have resulted in sector after sector (which were earlier in full or partial Government control) being privatized. Also, consumption by people has increased in the past decade, hence there is great demand for new products & services, many of which was earlier unheard of. All these present a grand case for every second Kannadiga to go entrepreneurial. Are we Kannadigas ready for it? Do we Kannadigas have the stomach to take on the challenge of establishing business enterprises to service the huge business opportunities within & outside Karnataka?

Do you think there is an option for us, the Kannadigas anyway? NO. We have no option but to get on the race. If you don't get on the race and compete, you are gone. If Kannadigas do not, someone else does it. Ultimately people are looking for good products and services, Period. It does not matter to them as to who makes a product or who sells it. Generally a lot many Kannadigas express their worries about issues like discrimination against Kannadigas in jobs, consumer service and many other facets. If this concern of theirs could be converted into concrete action of creating enterprises, that would work wonders. Many of the problems that Karnataka and Kannadigas face today can be addressed by Kannadigas getting big time into business. Kannadigas will have more money, more money will get pumped into Karnataka's economy, more Kannadigas will get jobs, Karnataka government will be more confident in taking up welfare & development programmes & so on and so forth.

Kannadigas, it's time to get started

For those Kannadigas who want to build great brands & have access to intellectual & financial resources, they should go the whole hog and start higher end businesses which create great value for the customer as also great valuation for the promoters. Also, there are huge opportunities in being dealers, distributors, resellers, franchisees for larger existing brands. Kannadigas should just grab every business opportunity – be it product or service, high-tech or low-tech, own brand or dealership, urban or rural, big or small. One thing for all of us to remember is if we do not get on this race in the next couple of years; we just cannot get in & may be out of it for a very long time to come. So Kannadigas, what are you waiting for? Look for business opportunities around you and start your enterprise

Hindi Imperialism Destroys India's Spiritual Unity

On Sept 11, Tarun Vijay (see photo), former editor of the Hindi-language weekly Panchajanya (mouthpiece of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and thoroughbred champion of an India with all diversity ironed out, lashed out at Amitabh Bachchan for not speaking up against Raj Thackeray. Earlier, Raj had called the Bachchans traitors of the Marathi people for favouring Hindi as opposed to Marathi in Maharashtra. Tarun builds his argument on the ground of what he thinks is Indian Nationalism, but which in reality is only Hindi Imperialism. This imperialistic ideology is an effect on weak minds of years of attempts to destroy diversity and impose a false this-worldly unity among the different linguistic peoples of India. Since this wild-goose chase threatens to destroy the unity of India which exists at a spiritual level, we caution readers to not fall prey to the ideology of the Tarun Vijays of India. Their India, which is often the India as advertised in the media, is not the real India. It is the dead body of the real India.

First of all, Tarun Vijay takes the now well-exposed Hindi-imperialistic stance that Hindi is the national language of India. For heaven's sake, when the hell will the people of India realize that Hindi is no more national to India than Kannada or Marathi is? When will the people of India realize that Hindi has only been chosen (what if undemocratically) as the official language of the Indian Union? So when Amitabh Bachchan or whoever speaks Hindi, he is not speaking a language which is any more national than Kannada. Tarun needs to first pick up a copy of the constitution of India and read for himself what Hindi has been called therein.

Armed with total ignorance of facts, Tarun makes a statement which quite a few do not stop to question:
Maharashtra belongs to Maharashtrians as much as it belongs to the other Indians
Now, is this statement true? Let's not be fooled. Does your house belong as much to other Indians as it does to you? Dude, dude, noooooooooooooooooooooooo! Maharashtra belongs to the Marathis and the Marathis alone. Anybody else setting foot on Maharashtra is a visitor, not a resident. The visitor must necessarily abide by the laws of Maharashtra and respect Marathi culture and language. Period. The fact that the visitor does not need a visa to enter Maharashtra does not take away that duty on the part of the visitor.

Well, surprisingly Tarun doesn't shy away from accepting that the Hindi people coming in to Maharashtra don't respect the local culture and language. Well, that's what Raj Thackeray is saying, and that's what Raj Thackeray is acting on! Having admitted that, Tarun hastens to add the following disclaimer, lest he himself be caught subscribing to the idea of the real India:
This is not in support of people like Raj, but just to underline a fact that explains why there was a space created that inadvertently fed divisiveness and parochialism.
What Tarun dismisses off as a small space created in an otherwise perfect structure of the Indian union is indeed a large abyss slowly devouring mile after mile of India, an abyss called Hindi Imperialism. It's high time the Tarun Vijays of India realize the size, the magnitude and the depth of this dark abyss. It's no small space; it's a black hole which is threatening to devour the very idea of India.

What Tarun calls as "divisiveness" and "parochialism" is in reality diversity and patriotism, the very foundation of India's unity. A Hindi who is patriotic to Maharashtra in Maharashtra strengthens India, whereas a Hindi who is patriotic to Uttar Pradesh in Maharashtra is a nail in India's coffin. The sort of pan-national vision consisting of linguistic and cultural unity which Tarun talks about is non-existant, and is only assumed by the Imperialists. The one and only pan-national vision of every Indian is one's patriotism towards one's own Linguistic People and Land. There is no pan-India vision for a Kannadiga other than a Kannadiga's patriotism towards fellow-Kannadigas and Karnataka.

Tarun asks a very good question which he thinks he has answered, but which in reality he has only shied away from answering:
What are the centrifugal forces that keep the nation as one?
Tarun's next sentence lets you believe that it answers the above question:
A sense of belonging to common aspirations, icons of faith, and a commitment to widely acceptable pan-national vision.
But does it really answer his question? What are these centrifugal forces that he has posited opposite us? We have already argued that the only common aspiration of Indians is loyalty and patriotism to his/her own linguistic people and his/her own linguistic territory. There is no common aspiration over and above that. Yes, there is a common aspiration to be secured against attacks from outside India, but that too is just another form of the same patriotism towards one's own linguistic state. Kannadigas wish that the border between India and Pakistan be secured because of the fear of bomb blasts in Karnataka. Kannadigas shiver at the news of bomb blasts elsewhere in India because of the fear that those blasts can potentially occur closer home. Hard as it may seem to the jaundiced ear, this is The Truth.

It's a pity that Tarun mentions "icons of faith" as a centrifugal force. This is flawed to the core. The followers of the great religions of India do not have common icons of faith; they do not need them either. As such, icons of faith cannot and must not be imposed across India because of the flawed ideology that there ought to be common icons of faith. Instead, the real centrifugal force which binds Indians atleast at the sublime level is a common thread of spirituality that runs among the different linguistic peoples of India. We must hasten to add that this force does not have what it takes to unite India at the this-worldly level of economic activity. At the this-worldy level, there is no centrifugal force which can keep the different linguistic peoples of India united other than the force of respect for unity in diversity, which is nothing but respect for every linguistic community in India. The fact that Indians predominantly follow what has come to be known as Hinduism does not make them forget the internal linguistic and cultural differences.

Thus, the "widely acceptable pan-national vision" is not what the likes of Tarun Vijay have been talking about from right after India's freedom from the British. Unlike what the diversity-destroyers have propounded, that vision cannot disrespect this-worldly diversity in the slightest manner just because there is oneness at a spiritual level. That vision helps Indians unite when it comes to warding off attackers, and to celebrate our great spiritual heritage. But at the this-worldly level, the different linguistic peoples of India must compete with each other - Kannadiga with Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Oriya, etc - and struggle to promote their own interests. We must never forget that India's history is full of wars between the different linguistic states, even though they all ultimately bowed down to the very same Upanishads, the very same Vedas or the very same teachings of the Buddha or the Tirthankaras. These wars were fought for this-worldly reasons notwithstanding the clear and present unity at a spiritual level.

India can be made stronger only by recognizing that unity among its different linguistic peoples cannot be enforced by indulging in Hindi Imperialism. Doing so only destroys the spiritual unity which exists among Indians, whether they are Kannadigas or Marathis or who-have-you.

Hindi Imposition Pollutes India

Did you know that Karnataka has been identified as part of "Region C" by the "Official Language Rules - 1976"? This means that Karnataka is not lending itself to Hindi Imposition easily. Of course it's very difficult to do that in Karnataka, whose people speak a language called Kannada which is as different from Hindi as is Swahili! The fact that we're in "Region C" simply means that the focus for Hindi Imposition is going to be basically on us!

Against this backdrop, KARNATIQUE cautions Kannadigas to unite againist this slow poison.

Hindi Imposition targets for Karnataka (
2008-2009)

The undemoctratic imposition of a foreign language on Kannadigas, which is considered as a crime by the UN Declaration of Linguistic Rights is very, very organized, and very, very legal in India.

In 2008-2009, every single central government employee in Karnataka is scheduled to be trained in Hindi. Every single typist / stenographer is scheduled to be trained to type / take shorthand in Hindi. In the same year, the website of every central government institution will become bilingual (Hindi, not Kannada, stupid!). Every single computer purchased in any central government institution will support input and output in Hindi. In the next year, every single central government institution will be inspected a minimum of four times to make sure that the imposition is going on fine.

Hindi imposition pollutes India

The positioning of the Hindi language as the only "official (Indian) language of India", as well as the absence of true federalism and consequent disproportionately high stakes for the central government in internal matters of the subscribing states - both constructs ill-begotten in a hurry - have polluted India.

Hindification has destroyed the very idea of unity in diversity and accorded a higher status and undue advantages to the speakers of that language. This, together with the constitutional right of all Indians to work and settle anywhere in India, has placed speakers of Hindi (and close-by languages) at an advantage over and above other linguistic peoples. When once you declare the knowledge of Hindi as a prerequisite for any central government job, it is natural for the speakers of that language to fill those jobs.

The states subscribing to any federation of states do so for personal material gain and for not any spiritual reasons. It's as simple as that, and India is no exception. In an environment which does not treat the subscribing peoples as equals but instead accords a higher status to one people over the rest, songs of the sublimity of the Idea of India start to sound like the harsh calls of a predatory bird! Who can care to appreciate the beauty of the common sublime thread of culture when the harsh reality is that you are not being treated as an equal? How long can anyone continue to sing the praise of the Idea of India from his heart when the harsh reality is that he is being considered as a second-grade citizen when it comes to employment?

Kannadigas must unite against this pollution

Kannadigas are Indians because they do not speak Hindi. Kannadigas are Indians because they prefer to use Kannada in banks. Kannadigas must not forget this and be suppressed by anything which loots their fundamental linguistic rights. Kannadigas must unite against this pollution of India by way of Hindi Imposition and re-establish respect for diversity among its destroyers. India needs to realize that there can be no unity without diversity, and that Karnataka is not ready for the murder of great and ancient Kannada language because of recent political developments which have placed it in a system which imposes Hindi. The murder of Kannada is the murder of Kannadigas.

That India is a dead India in which Hindi replaces Kannada. Kannadigas cannot let that happen. Arise! Awake!