What lies beneath the anti-Hindi protests in Karnataka

Problems are being created by vested interests who seek to gain politically by polarising people.

 |  3-minute read |   12-07-2017
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The protests against the alleged imposition of Hindi in Karnataka have brought to the fore the problems of development in India. Unfortunately, instead of analysing the unrest and pondering over solutions, the media largely fuelled the passions further.

Karnataka, in general, and Bangalore in particular, is very cosmopolitan and attracts people from across the country. Yet, until recently the state, like the rest of the southern states, has enjoyed relative peace. It is hence the belief of a section of the people that these problems are being created by vested interests who seek to gain politically by polarising people. The challenged posed should ideally make us think about why such strife recurs across India with regular intervals.

The fact that Karnataka is cosmopolitan is testimony to its development story and the multitude of opportunities that come with it. India has fared poorly in terms of attaining balanced regional development. Economists and sociologists across the globe agree that balanced regional development is a prerequisite for the harmonious and smooth development of any nation.

The development should be seen and experienced by the people of the nation, rather than be restricted to advertorials. One may recall the jokes from late last year, when it was revealed that the central government spent more than two times the money on advertisements than it spent on the "Mangalyaan mission".

karnataka_071217125355.jpgActivists protesting against use of Hindi signages. (Credit: PTI photo)

It is common knowledge that the southern states have comparatively remained immune to communal hatred, and at the same time embraced the path of development. With development comes opportunities, which contribute to the pull factors of migration. Over the years, Karnataka has done comparatively well to tread the path of development.

Further, CM Siddaramaiah’s pet projects of Anna Bhagya, which assures 30 kg of rice at Re 1 per kg to the people below poverty line, Ksheera Bhagya, which provides milk to school children, Vidya Siri, which provides scholarship to students who are financially weak, are all schemes that endeavour to attain inclusive development.

Likewise, the schemes of Krishi Bhagya and Pashu Bhagya cater to the aspirations of farmers, which is essential to arrest the agrarian crisis the country is facing.

Instead of debating over such schemes, and brainstorming over methods to attain sustainable and inclusive development, our public discourse is made shallow by politicians, in connivance with many influential sections of the media.

States across the country should strive for development and there should be a healthy competition to attain higher results in parameters of importance like HDI, GDP, gender parity etc. Only then will we grow and develop together as a society and as a nation.

Instead, every day our news outlets scream out which language is being imposed on others, what food is being maligned, which celebrity took a jibe at another, ad nauseam! Common sense tells us that such a non-productive approach to reporting will be detrimental to our society, as the real problems and real discussions will seldom get any media attention. Fuelling such agitations, whether actively or inadvertently will further strain the relations of various sections of our society.

People from all cultures should be welcome to Karnataka, or to any other state, which adds to the diversity of the host society and makes it vibrant. What should, however, not be welcome, and actively resisted are the feelings of superiority and a sense of entitlement.

We must all compete on development, not on our primordial loyalties, of language, religion or region.

Also read:How Modi's Hindi-first is another step to divide India


Ashwin C Gowda Ashwin C Gowda @acgmech

The writer is an assistant professor in Department of Computer-aided Engineering, Visvesvaraya Technological University, Bangalore

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