ಕನ್ನಡಾಭಿಮಾನ ಮುಖ್ಯವೇ ಹೊರತು
(Full Disclosure: I am Kannadiga residing in the United States for more than 13 years. I am in my thirties And I have two daughters. And, No, I do not consider them as "Seragina Kenda".)
I read Ms.(Miss?Mrs.?Mr.?) Janakis commentary about Mr.Ananatha Murthys remarks about English language. Let me say at the outset, while I disagree with Mr.Murthys comments and even find them a bit silly, my e-mail is more about Janakis even sillier defence of those comments.
It is not new to find intemperate and often illogical attacks on Americans and Non Resident Indians. It is sad that thatskannada.com is providing a platform for such nasty attacks on a broad group of people. I am quite sure, the web site would not have allowed any such attacks, had they been targeted against a community in Karnataka
Let me now delve into Janakis comments -
First, based entirely on one (or a few) readers opinion about Mr.Murthys comments, Janaki makes the sweeping conclusion that Kannadigas residing in US are incapable of understanding the profound writings and utterances of His Eminence U.R.Anantha Murthy. By the way, one of her complaints about English (and Sanskrit too) is that, it is not understandable and hence it lies.
Should lesser mortals like NRKs (Non Resident Kannadigas) say the same thing about Mr.Murthys works?
After establishing the intellectual superiority over the NRKs, Janaki dives directly into the "causes" behind this inadequacy of NRK minds. The causes she comes up with are breathtaking in their silliness. One could have even found them hilarious, but for the fact that they are also quite nasty in their implication.
What are these causes? Let us look into each one of them.
1. "NRKs are in their fifties. They came to foreign lands only out of monetary greed and their lust for anything foreign. But, their egos do not allow them to accept these facts."
Over the last few years a lot of young Kannadigas have come out of Karnataka and settled in foreign countries. So Janakis generalization of them being in their fifties is just plain nonsense. 100% fact-free. What about greed and the denial? Unless, Janaki has a backdoor entry into the brains and minds of thousands of NRKs, her claim is as good as anybody elses about what motivates people to go out and settle in foreign lands, absorb and modify foreign cultures. The implication that making money is somehow bad lies only in the minds of Janaki and her ilk. I feel no guilt about working hard and earning what I earn. I am also not ashamed about owning or desiring to own finer things in life.
2. NRKs are facing a "terrible problem". Their children are becoming Americanized. Especially the girls, as they have acquired "American mentality".
I wish Janaki had elaborated on this. I have been living in US for more than 13 years. I still do not understand what is "Americanization" and "American mentality" just as I do not understand "Indianization" and "Indian mentality". What I have found is, Americans are just like any one else. Each individual has his/her own desires, aspirations and limitations. The stereotyping and generalization Janaki indulges in is patently offensive. By the way, what is wrong with being "Americanized"? The America, I have learned to love and admire is the America that is a beacon of opportunity and the land of individual liberties. This is in spite of restrictions imposed post 9/11 attacks.
3. "The male children of NRKs do not have any interest in marrying NRK girls. They would like to marry the traditionally brought up girls from Karnataka." Oh! Really? Where did this gem of a fact come from? Most probably from Janakis superior brain I guess!
4. "If her husband asks for a cup of coffee, an NRK girl in US, not only does not make the coffee, instead she attacks him for asking it. Whereas, girls from Karnataka work like slaves"
Where did this one come from again? Which study showed these really interesting facts? Oh. Sorry! I forgot, studies and surveys etc. are for the inferior brains of people like me. The Super Brain of Janaki can conjure up these "facts" from thin air.
5. "The other problems NRKs face are: The split and politics of AKKA and getting their daughters married."
It is laughable to say that the politics and split of AKKA is somehow a grave problem for NRKs. I can not talk about all NRKs, but, I and the people I know have not lost even a minutes sleep over AKKA.
Similarly, I do not really know how many NRKs have daughters who are ready to be married. And how many of the parents of these girls are really "worried". Janaki again makes claims without providing any hard numbers. These are the "causes" Janaki provides for the inability of NRKs to comprehend the deeper meanings behind the profound utterances of URA.
No. She does not stop there. She has to prove that English is a "lying" language. So, what does she do? She provides the "proof". Here are the following -
"America lied about Iraqs nuclear capability before attacking it." Yes. American President Bush and many in his administration made the claim (among many others) that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. When that claim was made there were many Americans and others who did not believe this claim. They openly expressed their skepticism. Many in English language itself. If English is the language of untruth, what was the language the American skeptics were using?
"In order to attack Iraq, America used many lies and convinced many countries and even the United Nations." Really?! The last time I checked the news, I thought, the UN (due mainly to France and Russia) was not convinced about attacking Iraq. Then again, I may be incapable of understanding this too just like I can not understand the profound writings and utterances of URA.
"We fall for deceptive advertisements in English. But, if those advertisements are in our own language, we wont." This may be true to some extent. But, then again, it also depend upon the individual consumer. If Janaki falls for "The Complete Man" and laughs at "Sampoorna Maanava", then it is her problem. That does not make English the language of untruth. By the way, what language the scientific books written in English are using when they are uncovering many scientific truths? Many years back Abraham Kovoor used to give lectures - often in English - about the so called miracles of Sai Baba. What was the language he was using?
India Today published a picture of Aishwarya Rai with the caption "The Global Goddess".
One may or may not agree with that caption. But, only a superior brain makes the logical leap and uses that as an example for Englishs "lying" problem.
"English language news outlets publish lies. They are even becoming vulgar."
If some news outlets publish untruths and vulgar sensationalistic articles, does it make the language they use the culprit? By the way, does Janaki really believe that only English language news outlets engage in these things? Just yesterday, I read in a Kannada daily website the headline "Diwali Anchinalli America" (US on the verge of bankruptcy). Only after reading the article I found that it was the opinion of a person participating in a seminar in Bangalore. Does that make Kannada language deceptive? Obviously not.
"Americans have not produced any good literature in a couple of decades. American authors lack even basic honesty."
People may have differing opinions about the quality of literature produced by any country. After all literature like many things is very subjective. But it takes only a person with Janakis hubris to make such sweeping claims that in general American authors lack basic honesty.
Now that I have dealt with Janakis comments in detail, let me make my own observations about Janaki and her ilk. Why do they indulge in such diatribes against NRKs and Americans? I think I know the reason. They know that, such attacks make them quite popular among the so called intellectuals. (I am sure, Janaki must be mightily pleased with herself now that His Eminence URA himself admired her work.) They also know that, there is no downside to making such attacks against nameless NRKs and Americans. They can indulge in an orgy of stereotyping and gross generalizations with impunity and face no consequences. If they try to do the same with any other community in Karnataka, they very well know what the consequences are.
It is a shame that thatskannada.com is providing a willing platform to people for making such silly, offensive and illogical attacks on many of its readers.
28 May, 2003
What Others Say
Your article ಬೆನ್ನು ತಟ್ಟಬೇಕಾದವರಿಂದ ಬರೆ is nicely written. Thanks for mentioning my name. It is so sad to see all this unnecessory discussion going on.
- Vidya Gadagkar,
I read and enjoy your articles on Thatskannada.com! Keep up the good work.
I agree with your remarks on Mr. Ananta Murthy and Mr. Sharmas chaavaTi prahaara on NRIs. When Kannada is dying a slow death in Bangalore itself, it is not right for them to comment about the quality of kannada in NRI articles. At least we are trying to keep our kannadatana here.
Again, thanks for a good article.
- Sandhya Ravindranath, CA
Read your article on the recent controversy. Yes, you are right that, the great personalities should identify and encourage others to head for a big cause. Irony is that, they are working in a negative way.
I am glad that you are from my home district. My native place is Chikmagalur and I have lived there for my good 20 years. My parents are still there in Chikmagalur.
- Dattatri M.R. , CA
Dear Shama Sundara,
I liked the perceptive remarks of Janaki on my statement. As a matter of fact Janaki has taken my ideas much farther and enriched my thoughts. I am grateful to you for the space you have provided.
Dear M/S Triveni,
I read your beautiful article as a reply to BCR and URA talk about Amerikannadigas and America.You have such a gracefull and flowery way of writing the kannada language. Writings like yours should come more aften from more number of people as befitting answers to people like Mr Sharma.Cogratulations.
Sri Ramchandra Sharma was my teacher.If you see the Thatskannada reply mail I was the first person to react to his derogatory comments. I was having lots of heart ache(Guilt) far having called him cynic. I am an old generation of men who carry lots of love and respect for the people who taught them. I was thinking I was the only who criticised him harshly.But I have seen quite a few.But among them yours is the best with reason and rationale.
I do not know whether you have written and published any books.If so please let me know.If we do not recognise our own people, who else will? I am a serious kannada book reader!
Krishne N Gowda
Namaskara. My name is Vatsa Kumar, I am the President of Houston Kannada Vrinda, in Houston, Texas. I read your response in the above portal. I wish to complement you for two things: the importance of the subject and how you have presented it, secondly, the wonderful kannada that you have used. I agree with you 100 percent with what you have said. In fact, I sent a response which is very similar to what you have stated.
Dr. Anantha Murthy was the invited guest at the World Millennium Kannada Conference in Houston in 2000 and Dr. Ramachandra Sharma has visited and stayed with us in 1984. It is disappointing that these gentlemen failed to see or appreciate the good work in Kannada that is taking place in this part of the world. I wish they had not mentioned anything about the NRI kannadigas. We do it for kannada, as we love it and we are passionate about it.
Keep writing and we enjoy reading your writing.
Bay City, Texas
ನೀವು ಬರೆದದ್ದು ನಿಜಕ್ಕೂ ಸತ್ಯ. ಕನ್ನಡಾಭಿಮಾನಿಗಳ ಪರವಾಗಿ, ನನ್ನ ವೈಯಕ್ತಿಕವಾಗಿ ನಿಮಗೆ ತುಂಬಾ ಅಭಿನಂದನೆಗಳು. ಯಾರು ಏನೇ ಹೇಳಿದರೂ ತನ್ನ ಕರ್ತವ್ಯ ಮಾಡುವ ಹರಿಹರೇಶ್ವರ ದಂಪತಿಗಳ ಆಶೀರ್ವಾದವಿದ್ದರೆ ನಾವು ಎಂದಿಗೂ ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರಾಗೆ ಉಳಿಯಬಹುದು.
- ಕುಸುಮಾ ಭಟ್, CA
Yes, this seems to be little irritating for the Non Resident Kanndigas. A good author makes a generalization and calls any work that Kanndigas doing outside India is because of papapragne. However good one may be in their respective area, be it is URA or BCR, they dont have rights to generalize and imply their opinion without properly thinking about that.
I agree that Kannadigas here in US are less inclined about Kannada interest, but that does not mean that few people who do something in that language can be generalized in this sense and alienate them because of some prejudice. I am not an active person in kannada, I dont go to kootas or I dont involve that much in Sahitya or something like that. However, I try to buy some books in kannada from good authors and try to read it, there is no big deal about it, it is just my interest. It is not about any papaprajne, just interest and enjoyment.
I think it is the same thing about these people who are here who write some books or pen some poems. It is their interest and their enjoyment thats it, why make a big deal. If you dont like their work, just say so, dont give adjectivesbased on where they live.
If somebody disagrees with URA, that does not mean that he is making fun of his work or his stature, he is just disagreeing with one point of view. Lot of people here in US felt going to war was not justified, but at the end, cant you just accept the fact that there was liberation of Iraqi population from a dictator. You can ask endless questions on whether US will do the same from other dictators and blame US about hypocrisy and all. But, cant these people just accept there was something good in this rather than endlessly being bitter about it.
I felt like laughing when these eminent people mentioned that the language cannot grow unless it is used in everyday use. I agree, but dont look at amerikannadigas to do that in a foreign land. Just look around you where you are staying, just go to MG road area and talk in kannada to shop keepers and others and after that come and talk big about people in forign land. I had hard
time conversing with a Jet Airline receptionist in Kannada, I think she knew the language but did not want to talk.(me too, I knew english and I did not want to talk english in banglaore)
Bottom line is, I dont think NRI authors should look for sympathy from these guys, just consider what you are doing is for your own enjoyment, I am sure thats all it matters. In a movie called "Serena", father of famous singer of mexican descent Serna, tells her that it is not easy to be mexicanamerican. "In mexico, they expect you to be more mexican than themselves and in America, they always look at you with doubt on whether you have blended in their culture.
So you have to be more american". Same thing for any expatriate community.
There will be always be higher expectations, it is a challenge and at the end everything will be fine. You migrated for a reason, so you got to face the challenges surrounding it. There will be some jealous people who make fun of the problems you are facing, but that is part of life you chose. Be brave, dont get bothered by it.
Lastly I am so surprised to find the article from "Janaki", there may be few points there, but her(or his) onslaught on NRIs (and America in general) was so childish and with low IQ. (Highest ignorance was NRIs try the relationship with bride/groom from backhome because one will get something equivalent of slave, give me abreak!!. Please grow up!! dont generalize based on one story you heard ).
ಕಡಲಾಚೆಗಿನ ಕನ್ನಡತನ ಒರೆಗೆ