Tuesday, March 14, 2006

In Reply to A Letter Related to Kannada Nadu

I think the author of the article has done commendable research on the
matter. And as a good Kannadiga he has played his part well. His
analysis is more than complete. Nobody should be in a position to add
anything to that.

As he rightly points out, the strengthening of a community is indeed
through increasing the efficiency and competency of its members. Things
like Govt. enforcements and laws can do little to the prosperity of the
community. The author's stand is nearly balanced. He gives an impression
that a disciplined, industrious and competent community is what thrives;
and he advocates the imbibing of these qualities strongly enough.

Follow what I would like to add. Just perhaps a point of view...

Community brotherhood is similar to patriotism. Patriotism without
reason is meaningless. Similarly, feeling brotherly for somebody just
because you know that he's a kannadiga doesn't seem mature enough. To be
eager to do something for Kannadigas without any proper reason would
also be unreasonable.

But I don't say there's no reason to love brethen of your community.
People belonging to the same cultural background are more likely to have
been brought up in similar environments. Consequently, there cultural
tastes are more likely to match. Hence, they form a cohesive group of
people who can (most possibly) share one another's views, opinions and
tastes. When they involves themselves in such activities, they evolve
like a family. That surely increases the so-called community feeling.
Being enthusiastic to be useful to your brethen under that feeling is
perfectly logical.

However, when such a cultural bonding is just a phantom thing, not a
reality, then people having been born in the same community are as far
away from each other as anybody could be. The concept of community
feeling doesn't hold much water in that case.

I discussed the matter with many other people and got yet another
viewpoint. It would be wrong to call Bangalore a Kannadiga city per se.
True, it's the state capital. But it used to be a military cantonment in
the initial days of its noticeability. Thereafter, a business centre all
along. Bangalore was brought to its state of glory (or whatever) by many
people: The immigrants as well as the natives. Therefore, though
worrying about
the financial profile of the kannadiga population may be a valid act.
But to think of the immigration and their consequent prosperity as a
wrong thing would be carrying it too far. Bangalore's prosperity and
immigration are sort of complimentary realities.

As a conclusion, I have some very nice suggestions which will look
perfectly impractical to you! :)

Attack the problem at its root. That's the general lack of cultural
bonding between kannadigas in B'lore. This bonding can never be created
by helping
them build software careers. In business, there truly doesn't exist a
community. The cultural bonding can be developed only through vibrant
cultural environment. We should do something to remove the callousness
of people towards their culture. There should be more Kannada movie
shows. Carnatic Classical Music should be propagated more aggressively.
Knowledgeable people should make more efforts towards spreading
awareness about the history and geography of the state. Religious
festivals should be celebrated more pompuously. Regional art should be
given general notice. Kannada literature should be made a more generally
noticed effort.

A well-informed community will be naturally cohesive and strong. An
ill-informed community will be aggressive, worried, irritable and
confused. Under such condition, resorting to any strange methods to
strengthen the community would only accentuate its indecision regarding
its survival.

If you can take a stronger statement, then one must not take one's
concern for his people as a real concern for his culture (or community)
if it rests upon their monetory condition. One's concern should start if
and when he's able to observe whether his community does indeed contain
enough cultural vibrance to hold itself together. In absense of that
cultural vibrance, the community bonding is essentially fake, doesn't
exist! Anything done in the effect of such phantom affection is an act
of total confusion, and will lead to chaos. This is true about Tamils,
Malayalis, Gults, Bengalis. This would be true about Kannadigas if they
resort to anything of that sort. Cultural vibrance is what makes a
community a reality. In its absense, there's no such thing like a
community. A statistical figure showing people said to belong that
community doing well monetorily doesn't convey anything. The cultural
bonding that's supposed to hold them together may as well be inexistent.

A good example of a strong community is of Pune. It has a vibrant
cultural environment. Drama theatres, Cultural Fest.s, Ganeshotsava,
everything keeps up a maratha atmosphere. And you see that pride and
confidence in the native maratha guys. No doubt, that city enjoys a good
cultural environment in the presence of immigration from other place
comparable to Bangalore's. I have not heard of a case of a Marathi
fellow helping a Marathi fellow to get a job. But they are far from
feeling insecure in their own land.
(Imported from my old weblog November 26, 2003)

A personal advice to you would be that you start with yourself. Like
the author of the article, do something painstaking to increase your and
others' awareness about the Kannada Nadu, to start with. Read more
Kannada books (a Kannadiga who advocates formation of Kannada community
in his office, and back home wastes his time watching English TV
channels is definitely not setting a good example of an industrious and
disciplined Kannadiga). I think you should go out of your way to
increase your awareness about your culture through reading and other
activities. Only if you convince yourself that you have sufficient
cultural energy, then you will automatically come up with creative ideas
to promote the culture. And your attempts towards the upliftment of your
community will be meaningful.

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