Ra.One, Metallica, F1, Rath Yatra....These are the hot events that occurred recently. No, I am not talking about any of them. Those are left to the experts. So sit back and take a deep breath.
November 1st 1956 was when southern states were carved out from the erstwhile Madras presidency. Since then, every year November 1st is celebrated as 'Karnataka Rajyotsava' meaning 'birth of the state of Karnataka. I dont know somehow when, but eventually it got renamed as "Kannada Rajyotsava' - no harm but please note that the name of the state has now been replaced by the state language.
The day's celebration was extended by a week for convenience; later the entire month was celebrated as Rajyotsava; off late the celebration goes beyond the end of year. We have mandatory holiday that day. Auto rickshaws display huge Kannada flags. There are others who display the flag as well; I will come to it later.
This day is marked with the government asserting Rajyotsava awards to people who have contributed to the growth of the state; cultural shows are held along with the procession of the state Goddess. Few others choose to show patronage to Kannada by "showing" hatred or intolerance to other languages; especially Tamil.
Its a known bitter truth that few sections view Tamils as close to their enemies. God knows for what reason. The Cauvery issue in 1992 saw the struggle on Tamils in the state. The abduction of Rajkumar; by Veerappan in 2000 saw fear among Tamils in the state. He was in captivity for 108 days; and those days were smeared with unrest and violence. The so-called self promoted protectors of the state and the language blocked all Tamil channels and no Tamil movies screened.
Other two south Indian languages dont get affected. Anyway, so what happened this time. Screening of a Tamil Diwali release which was running packed houses was abruptly halted. What if it protagonist of the movie was invited just couple of months ago to grace the occasion of the music launch of a mega budget Kannada movie? What if he greeted his fans with few words in Kannada? What if the function created traffic jams and uncontrollable crowd; which was falsely attributed to a made up reason "fans of Kannada".
The posters were teared down; theaters forced to stall the shows; threatening the theater authorities of dire consequences if the movie was screened. When the actor visited Bangalore; he was garlanded with Mysore Jasmine, Mysore turban and a sword; interestingly these movies distribution rights are bought by Kannadigas.
All these happened just because there was not a single Kannada movie releasing on Nov.1
Earlier in the post; I said there are others also who display Kannada flag. Yeah, the self proclaimed saviors of Kannada attached to a "kannada outfit" whose job is to target MNCs and other corporations and extort money. They act as judiciary system as well. They are moral police who have the power to vandalize properties. Its not common to see Kannada flag and a photo of Rajkumar who is considered the cultural icon of Karnataka displayed at prominent places like shopping malls, MNC offices. These are considered as respect and patriotism; when in fact the sad but true reason is these malls and MNCs are scared of their properties being vandalized; scared of their work being stalled, scared of inviting wrath of these narrow-minded men who are linguistic fanatics; when in fact they are not patriotic but have used this as a tool to make easy money and fool the innocent folks.
Does it reflect the insecurity? Hell! yes. Every year during these times; we prepare to hear to lectures on "How to save Kannada", watch patriotic songs on TV, few patriotic folks at workplaces start a movement to teach free Kannada. How can you love your language when you cannot respect others? Does one show patriotism by hating others? It will really help the cause if "outsiders" as they like to call feel at home, are allowed to take active participation. No one likes to be forced; when would these ignorant folks realize they cant invoke love for Kannada by stalling movies and threatening common people?