ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Whose Language Is It Anyway?

The political games played with our regional/vernacular languages is a matter of serious concern. The distortion of Telugu, for example, by both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh news media is a cause for concern. While the accent/dialect of Telugu spoken in both the new states differs, and there have also been claims by Coastal Andhra news media and people that the Telugu they speak is of superior form, none have the right to distort a language out of shape. If the linguistic nationality principle alone is to be strictly followed in identifying and recognising a nationality or for forming a state, the division of united Andhra Pradesh should not have happened at all! And the same goes for the myriad other demands for division of bigger linguistic states where the demands for division into small states are basically for reasons other than language! It is often a result of uneven development since independence that so many demands are made. Another example to be considered is Karnataka, where a systematic attempt has been made for some time to identify Kannada language with Hindu religion and Hindutva. The point is, there are many non-Hindu speakers of Kannada language in Karnataka—Muslims, Christians, Jains and others. Like the attempt to equate Hindi with Hindutva, an attempt is being made to equate Kannada with Hindutva.

The rich linguistic diversity of India and each of their distinguished heritages has to be respected and preserved, but no political party or group has the right to destroy the integrity of a language and use it for their own narrow partisan ends.

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