Arabic – brace yourselves people of the Arab world – is not considered cool.There are important lessons for Kannadigas here, especially for the kind that thinks that the FM stations mushrooming all around Karnataka are doing disservice to Kannada because of saying "sakkat hot maga" instead of "atishayavaagi shaakhajanakavaagide putrane". This very kind of Kannadiga would rather play down on even "tumba bisi maga" which in reality is no less "cool" than "sakkat hot maga".
To know why we have to look away from Arabic speakers to those who aspire to learn it. Students of Arabic approach it mainly for professional reasons: for academic purposes, for political or literary understanding. That is not the case with English – all across Asia and Africa, across Europe and Russia people are mouthing along to episodes of Friends or singing lyrics from the latest pop hit. As popular as Nancy Ajram and Amr Diab are, there are not many non-Arabic speakers itching to understand their words.
Perhaps that is not surprising, given the pedigree of the language. Arabic carries the weight of faith, a weight it will never lose. It is the language of the Quran and, in the language of the inexpressible, it is hard to express simple, even base, emotions. Arabic sometimes seems like a language destined to be sung by angels or whispered by lovers, not to be the language of the boisterous street.
On the contrary, it's the FM stations which are keeping Kannada alive in the popularity-vacuum created by heavily Sanskritized Kannada literature which the common man had rather not touch. Old-school writers resorting to Sanskrit words at every opportunity are the ones who are diminishing the usage of our language, not the likes of Urban Lads who are doing great service by modernizing Kannada (either with or without the intention of service) - much to the agony of English-haters.
With Kannada, the problem is not that it lacks the faculties to express "simple, even base, emotions". In fact, it's already the language of the boisterous street. The problem with Kannada is that all these advantages are themselves considered base for not being Sanskritized enough. Languages - if left to themselves - evolve taking in the best aspects of all languages within their reach, like how Kannada is now taking the best aspects from English ("sakkat hot maga" and "table mele idu" are Kannada phraes which lend longevity to Kannada).
It's only when the worshippers of anything old enter the scene that evolution is stifled. And they never get the point that letting Kannada be what it wants to be is not hate of Sanskrit. Even less so is it the hate of spirituality - of which the Sanskrit language has an abundance of, and which Kannadigas can imbibe through Kannada translations. So, while the spirituality in Sanskrit is welcome, the unscientific feeling that Kannada is best when it starts resembling Sanskrit - or that Kannada is best when it's strictly limited to existing old-school poetry and literature - is unwelcome.
Developments such as the Urban Lads, contemporary Kannada film music & our Kannada FM stations are a celebration of Kannada, of democracy, of the future, of liberty, of vibrancy, of youth, and yes, of life.