Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The naked truth - 2

Dear Arjun and Anirudh,

You must have realized by this time that there is too much hidden beneath these clothes. Peeping through them to see what they are really covering would be quite exciting. I need to focus my attention strictly on the subject or else it will drag me to somewhere else. So, I will be more serious this time.

Like food and shelter, dresses are also essential. Their role in human life is multiple, some of which are essential and some are not. Like shelter, it will protect us from the severe weather conditions. That is likely the primary use of clothing during initial period of human race. The secondary use of the clothing is for the 'cultured society' to protect them from their shame of nakedness. No other roles of the clothing are fundamental for human beings.

There is a major Jain division called 'Digambara' which treats the sky as their clothing. Thousands of years back, they had realized that clothes aren't a basic necessity of human beings. According to some traditions, all the followers of jainism were renounced of all the attachments and bindings, including the emotion of shame at ones nakedness. A part of the community migrated to south at some point due to the prediction of famine, and the other stayed back in the north. But, gradually the community in the northern part became relaxed in their practice of austerity and started wearing white clothes. That sounds quite logical as the weather in northern part of India is very cold compared to the south.


That makes me wonder whether the clothes are really essentially for human beings. If there are still people who think it isn't essential, it wouldn't have been essential part of human life for some time. But how do we go back in the history to find when people really started thinking 'nakedness is a shame and we need clothes to cover that'. When everyone is naked, why would some one even consider that as a shame or problem? Imagine a world where we are brought up in an environment where our elders don't program our brains with their perception of what 'shame' is. In that world, would we be so paranoid about people not wearing anything to cover their body?

Perhaps I don't need to go back in the history to find the answer. The answer might be just around us, in you and me. I didn't have any issues roaming around naked till the age of 5-6 years. After starting school, I started feeling the 'shame', because others repeatedly told me that it is 'shame'. You certainly enjoy not wearing clothes at present. The joy of not wearing them is very evident in your expressions. After all, we share the same genes! If we are surrounded by people of our mentality, when would we start feeling the guilt of not wearing anything? Would it continue till our adolescence? That is still a hard question as we are trying to answer something we would never experience in our life. It is not much different than going back in the history to find exactly when human race started thinking of wearing the clothes to cover the shame of nudity.

No one has come up with a convincing theory for human evolution. Darwin's evolution theory worked well only in our high school exams. Even if we accept his theory of evolution by giving some additional credits, it only proves that clothes weren't essential part of the human life. None of the early descendants of homosepians were seen wearing clothes. Except for us, none of the other species in this world has seen the need for wearing clothes. So let us forget the evolution theory and believe that God created us all as a 'special species'. I don't know whether God is also ashamed of nudity or not. But I am sure he didn't want us to feel the shame of nudity. According to Abrahamic religions, Adam and Eve didn't have the shame of nudity till they ate that rotten apple. If god wanted us to wear the clothes, he would have created us fully cladded with beautiful clothes. But none of us are born with clothes, neither we wear any clothes after the death. So the need for clothes in human life is only transient.

Thinking again, I no longer think that the primary reason for wearing clothes is for protection against the weather. The other species in the nature use food and some kind of shelter for their survival, but don't use clothes for the protection against adverse climate. The same logic should hold good for human beings as well. The initial human race might have started in a hot terrain and later migrated to other colder places for whatever reasons. The weather is unlikely to be the key reason for clothes even in those places as our body would have found some way of bearing that similar to other living beings or the migration wouldn't have happened. So, the primary reason for wearing clothes must be same everywhere. That is to cover up things that we don't want to expose!

What we are trying to cover up isn't that easy to understand. If you think that the clothes are to cover up the sexual organs, you are certainly wrong. Every one has got the reproductive organs, so what is the need for hiding it? I can't see any pressing issues. The cover is needed only for those secrets that we would like to hide from others. Those are the secrets that others wouldn't have expected from us. Those are the secrets that would have changed their opinion on what we really are! Those are the secrets that our mind cannot effectively hide from others like our normal thoughts. The cover is essentially for the mind that has the control over our secrets, not for the body parts that acts as a vehicle to express it!

The growth sprout during adolescence period brings a number of rapid changes in ones body and the brain. The physical and psychological developments during this period also includes the production of hormones that control ones sexual desires. In the absence of clothes, the naked body acts as a catalyst for ones sexual desires. The natural desires aren't easy to control and the desire soon stimulates the hormones turning what was essentially invisible in ones mind into physical form through various body parts linked with sexual arousal. It is those desires that aren't common to all and the ones everyone want to hide from others. If not, those thoughts at a wrong time will make the situation very uncomfortable for everyone involved. The thoughts are hard to control, but not the actions. So, it makes perfect sense to hide those thoughts, that need not necessarily result in any action. People who have absolute control over their sexual thoughts, don't need to cover up anything for themselves. Still, they will have to do that for others to prevent being a source of stimulus igniting the sexual feelings in others. That will also help in maintaining some order in our society. Many wars have been fought in the name of love and sex. Absence of clothing could have only made it worse. So, covering our body is essential to keep our secrets of sexual desire within our-self and also to minimize the sexual desires of others. That is the basic need of clothing for human beings, all others are secondary.

I finally got a convincing answer to Ashwini's question. I can go out naked in the public when I reach the stage where I have absolute control over my hormones. Still, I wouldn't do that unless I am sure that others watching me also have achieved the same level of control. That is when every one of us attain the status of those Jain monks. For them, the 'salvation' can't be reached unless one wins the war against their hormones. When we achieve that, we won't have anything to hide anymore! But not every one is after the 'salvation', we have our choices!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Lucia and the Aam Aadmi

Two things I have been following very closely these days are 'Lucia' and 'Aam Aadmi Party'. They are two entirely different ventures, yet have too many things in common. One is a pure commercial venture, trying to address few issues in a small sector. Another one is a pure social venture, trying to address the larger problems of a nation of billion people. Both of them are exceptional ideas started by two brilliant individuals. Not many people think they will really succeed, but it all depends upon how many people will really believe in their idea and ready to take a small part in their venture.

'Lucia' is a kannada film directed by Pawan Kumar, which is funded by the audience itself. The film started last year and will be releasing in August. Here is the story behind the film.

After directing his last successful film 'Lifu ishtene', the director finds it very hard to get the dates for his next film by prominent actors. That wasn't uncommon in our film industry where film heroes are treated like gods. There was a time in the past where the story-line and directors used to control the movies. That era saw the greatest directors like Puttanna Kanagal and also a lot of great movies. But, once the weight shifted towards the actors, everything else started to lose. The stories became the slaves of the actors and movies became a means of quick money. The entire film industry became just like our political system where talent started following the hereditary genes making others hard to enter the field.

Pawan got sick of this attitude from the industry. Instead of going with the flow to have a comfortable life, he decided to go against this mentality decisively. As a result, he came up with the idea(not really new) of raising the money from audience themselves. Within 27 days of his proposal for crowd funding, he got the funding of 51 lakhs for the film. That includes 12 producers, 27 co-producers and 28 assistant produces. On top of that, you can pre-order the film and become as distributor. There are 971 distributors and I am also one of them. By paying Rs2500, I get to see the film and 50% commission from whatever I sell. Doesn't that sound like a good business deal? Probably.

But, I didn't do it for investment. I don't have the time or energy to market this and make some money. I took part in it exactly for the same reason why Pawan started this project in the first place. In his blog post 'Making the enemies', Pawan explains how the remake is ruining the film industry. The 'hero worship' in this country is damaging everything. They are doing it as a family business making it hard for new talents to enter the field. If Pawan's strategy works, it could make a revolution not only in Kannada film industry, but in many other places and sectors having similar issues. He certainly brings some hope to the people who understands that there is a problem. Rs 2500 isn't that big a money for me. 5 people having a good lunch in Bangalore will cost more than that. So, why not use that to support something you believe might bring some change?

But, I felt little bad when Pawan told they don't want people like me to 'support' them. Instead, I should look at this as an investment. Sorry, I have other options for investment. This may get me some money, but I am not 'investing' here for money. This is not my area of interest for making money. Pawan certainly has realized that it didn't go well with many people. So, in a recent mail he acknowledged that people also want to 'support' this in addition to 'investing' in this venture. He also requested everyone to share the information to spread the news by using their blogs. But that is not the main reason why I am writing this blog.

I mentioned earlier that I am also following 'Aam aadmi party' from Arvind Kejriwal fairly closely. I don't need to talk anything about Arvind Kejriwal here. He is undoubtedly the greatest Indian of our life time. The task that he has taken is something that can change the entire image of our country. The bulk of the problems that India is facing today is mainly due to corrupt politics. The corruption has spread in such a way that, it is impossible to clean it unless we shake up the entire political system from the top. In 2012, the CBI told that Indians have $500 billion of illegal funds in foreign countries. The actual figure might certainly be more than that. If you count the illegal money within India, it would be hard to imagine the amount of illegal money that is stashed by corrupt Indians by looting their fellow citizens. In addition to that, they also have got tons of legal money as well. If India is put to sale in an open market, this group will have enough money to purchase the entire India. On the other hand, AAP has collected only Rs 4 crores so far for their election fund. How hard it would be for them to fight such a gigantic beast?

We have close to 5000 elected representatives in India(MPs+MLAs). Let us assume all of them are corrupt. Let us also assume each of the representative will have another 100 political leaders in their area who are also corrupt and made substantial money by corruption. That brings the total corrupt politicians to 5,00,000. Let us also assume there are equal number of business people and others who are also corrupt. If we assume majority of the corrupt money is due to this group, we are still talking about only 10,00,000 people. That is less than 0.1 percent of our population. It is these people luring probably another 0.9 percent to their group via various means. I find it very hard to believe there are even 1 in 100 that wishes to support a corrupt government because they are also getting benefited by this corrupt system. So, in a democratic nation, it isn't really hard for AAP to fight this gigantic beast responsible for majority of the problems of India. But, will they really succeed?

That really depends whether those 99% of the people really want to see the change or they are just complaining because they just love to blame others for the issues of the country. This is as big as the independence movement against British. But it is certainly more easier than the independence struggle to win as the communication has become more easier now. Though our democracy doesn't function properly, we still have some means of democracy and elections. Still, if we fail to win this fight against the corruption, we will permanently lose our right to blame the politicians for our current situation of misery. A lot of pre-election predictions for Delhi assembly elections have already predicted the raising popularity of AAP. They are very likely to emerge as the winning party. That will be a stunning performance by a party which is yet to complete an year. If they can do it in Delhi, it will spread to other parts of the nation as well. So, there is some hope for Indians. Thousands of volunteers are dedicating both their time and money to this noble cause. Thousands have even gave their blood and few their life. So, what are we doing to support this herculean task?

I should definitely not use the word 'support' here. It is more of an investment than support. Let us assume only 50% of the tax payers money is lost due to corruption. Looking at the black money data, I have no doubt more than 80% of the public money is lost due to corruption. Some one having a more accurate data should probably do that calculation. With 50% loss, if you are paying 1lakh per year as tax, you are actually giving 50,000 to these corrupt people. You are losing 50,000 each year for each lakh of tax you are paying. If AAP can minimize that to 10%, they are actually giving back 40,000 to you each year. So, how much should we actually donate them to make them ready for the big fight?

Lets start with a very small plan. Lets decide to contribute only 0.1 to 1% of our wealth to AAP for fighting against corruption over a period of 5 years, based on their performance. If our worth is 10,00,000, we are targeting between 1000 to 10,000. That shouldn't be that big as we are still having more than 99% of our wealth for ourselves. It is not really a charity as it is going to benefit us in the future. If everyone of us can do that, I am sure it will be a huge boost for the people who are ready to sacrifice their time, blood and life for this country. More over, the happiness that brings by doing something as grateful as this one can't be compared with other material things. Tomorrow, if India is able to win against its corrupt politicians, we can only feel guilty for not doing what is required of us today.

That is the intention of this blog. 'Lucia' got 50 lakhs in 27 days. But a cause that could change the entire nation is still trying hard to get the attention of people. I like to support both the causes, but at the same time I am aware which one really deserves more attention today. 'Lifu ishtene' is a very nice movie. Please use this link to watch the movie if you haven't watched it already. I am sure 'Lucia' would have come even better. There are a lot of new talents in that movie. That would be coming some time in August-September and I will post a link in my blog once it is released in the home-talkies. Please watch that as well, if you like good kannada movies. All that I get as a distributor of these two movies will be given to AAP. Think about this calmly for atleast an hour. Do the right thing by being the change to see the change.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The naked truth - 1

Dear Arjun and Anirudh,

I know you get bored of hearing about your growth stories all the time. I wanted to tell you about other interesting things also from a long time. But as usual, the days are still having only 24 hours and a third of that is still reserved by my sleepy mind. Few days back, I looked at one of the articles shared by a friend of mine. I was very surprised to see that the author has somehow stolen my thoughts that I haven't shared with anyone. I could see my thoughts being framed as stale copy by not sharing them soon enough. So, came back quickly to put things together, but soon realized that the very thought of a fresh idea itself is an illusion. There is absolutely no way of proving that no one had thought about an idea earlier. So, there is no point in thinking that an idea or a thought originated only from one person. They are more like our software patents. Many would have thought about it, but only a few would go about expressing it outside.

If you haven't noticed already, one of the common fights that I have with your mother is over the selection of dresses. I don't have to explicitly say that it is over my dresses, and occasionally yours! I have a very clear expectation from my dresses. Its primary job is to make me feel comfortable, rather than to work on enhancing my looks! You can assume that it is due to the realization that even the best dresses can't help much with my looks! So, logically it doesn't make much sense for me to invest much effort on my clothing. Selection of a good dress is one of the most complicated tasks. Most of the time, what looks good for her looks absolutely horrible for me! And what looks good for me doesn't go well with her tastes. To complicate things, what she is really after is the appreciation from others looking at those dresses. And I have no idea how difficult it would be to know their taste and start dressing as per their interests. That is why I go with one simple rule. I don't put any restrictions on her dresses neither I take any restrictions from her on my selection!

Being an engineer, I continuously look for ways to save time by optimizing  my day-to-day routine. Some people see that as my laziness. I don't see much difference. Optimization is all about getting rid of unwanted things. I have stopped wearing formal dresses from years. As a side effect, I have also stopped ironing my shirts. I only keep one belt as searching/changing them is a pain. Whenever I wear some other pant without the belt, I end up holding them while running as they will also start running otherwise. I don't really care much about that as it is a fashion in England to wear the pants very low to show the underpants! I don't know whether the underwear companies pay for that space for advertising or it is just a not-for-profit service. Whenever your mom sees those teenagers, she will start scolding them with everything she has in her dictionary. On the other hand, I am in full support of them. If showing the back with deep cut blouse is a fashion in traditional India, why should she hate these teenagers still covering their body parts at least with underpants! Why do we even treat the underwears like a low class citizen. One of my friends used to wear multiple short pants inside his pants! How can she be so sure that what they are really showing off is their underwear? It could be a short pant inside the pant like my good friend, in which case she has no reason to blame them! If we go with that logic, even exposing the underwear isn't a wrong thing. They might be wearing more than one underwear or something in that category. Thinking more and more about that, I really fail to state clearly when she will get the right to blame them. In order to understand that, we need to define clearly some of the very basic things about dressing.

There was another argument we had related to this subject. When we shifted to our new apartment, I observed that the large bathroom window was very different to the windows from rest of the rooms. It was sufficiently tinted so that people from outside won't be able to see the bathroom. So, I never used to put the curtain when taking bath. After having the mould problem in bathroom, I went one level up to open the upper portion of the window as well without putting the curtain. Without much thinking, one might argue that I was taking bath with the window open! But, the angle of opening and the position of window is such that, unless someone really tries hard to see me taking bath, it wasn't easy to do that. Ashwini had fought with me several times against me taking bath without pulling the curtain. She also challenged me that everything would be visible very clearly from outside during the night with lights inside the bathroom. That was a fresh news for me. I couldn't buy that argument above my own instincts. The people who have designed the flat must have surely thought about that. Otherwise why would they take the pain to have a different window only for the bathroom. If not for Indian standards, at least for the UK standards! Even in India, the standards are very low when it comes to males. It is quite common to take bath in public with only underwear! So, there wasn't anything I needed to worry here. Still, I wanted to verify her argument. So I checked how it would look in the night with lights on. I could see few things that were very very blur. I could identify moving objects, but it was impossible to know clearly what I was seeing. But things were very clear for her eyes. So we went with the third party to resolve the conflict. The third party gave the verdict that the bathroom is partially visible, so it is not acceptable for ladies, but gentlemen may chose not to worry. That small edge from the third party was sufficient to ignite the flame. The war of words continued. Naturally, I like to win the arguments like any other human beings. But at the same time, I do want to realize my mistakes. If not at that time, atleast after the heat of argument was reduced! I was only arguing against her opposition of my freedom to take bath with open curtain. The third party judgement was technically not against my stand. Still, it was against my perception of the matter in general. We continued the argument for some more time and then Ashwini asked, 'if you are acting so liberal, why don't you walk naked in the streets?'. It came as a shock for me. I don't generally get such quality response back from her. I didn't have an answer ready this time. I just told 'I know what was expected of me in this society, so I act accordingly. I don't see any issues taking bath with open curtain, but I do see issues walking nakedly'.

I don't know whether that convinced her or not. But definitely it wasn't convincing to me. It was a very poor answer to my standards. It was just an ordinary answer to win the argument for the sake of winning, not the one that could give me a satisfaction of winning. I had always been taught that 'food, clothes and shelter are the basic necessities of all human beings'. Without food we can't live. Without shelter we can't bear the scorching sun, chilling cold or the pouring rain. But, can't we live without the clothes? We are not born with the clothes neither we wear them after the death. So, why are we so mad about them in between. It makes sense for people living in UK or other cold countries. But not much to people in India and other hot countries.  So, I started thinking very seriously on that question. Somehow, it didn't look as important as the other two basic necessities.

My recollection of the childhood memories doesn't show me or my friends with much clothes around. Perhaps we were wearing even less clothes than that of bollywood actresses! When we were kids, we only used to get 1 pair of clothes per year during deepaavali. That is one of the reason why deepavali was so special for us! I don't think we were really wearing anything when we were like you. Untill 5 years of age, roaming around naked was very common in our village. We used to get clothes once in a year, but there were few who didn't even had that luxury! Up to 10 years, we used to take bath naked, publicly. It was very common, atleast in our village, so we never felt that was unusual.

But, that is not the case with you! The only time I see you naked is while changing the nappy and giving bath. Other times you were always covered. That makes sense as you are living in this cold country where being naked isn't as exciting and encouraging as it was for us. We visited India for the first time after your birth when you were about 6 months old. Since it was very hot, we had to strip you to the nappy most of the time. And for some reason, that looked quite odd for us! Whereas seeing you in full clothes was quite odd for your grandma and others over there. They were used to seeing babies of your age naked. So they weren't quite getting the feel of you as 6 month old infants! Since it was very hot and the nappies were expensive, we happily gave you the freedom for few more days, which also made them happy!

That also reminded few other incidents of my childhood. When my sisters were in high school, one of my uncles brought two chudidhars as a gift to them for his marriage. My father was very furious to see those dresses. It was very uncommon for girls to wear chudidhar's in our village. It took more than a week of drama for my uncle and mother to convince my father. Even though he gave his permission at the end, I don't think he really liked them wearing that dress for the marriage. Later, more and more girls started wearing that dress and it became the de-facto standard for ladies dress in the entire village. The scenes were pretty much similar, but probably with less drama when my cousins started wearing jeans. I don't think they still wear that in our village. Forget them, I don't think even your mother wears jeans in our home, though I have told her repeatedly to wear that many times. I don't see much point in trying to pretend in order to please others. But, that could be just me!

There is a tribe in our village called 'kudubis'. The traditional kudubi ladies don't wear any blouse like other ladies. They just wrap the sari slightly higher to cover their chest area. Any of the film actresses wearing that kind of dress would surely attract a lot of attention. Unfortunately, in our village, it was mainly their older generation who were following that traditional dress code. The younger generation found that little uncomfortable with the society and switched to the dress code of the majority.

These incidents really made me think hard about this subject. Why those younger generation should feel ashamed about their dress code of the tribe. There is so much of nudity in the temple scriptures, still why people feel so shameful about the nudity? If we are not having the dress during our birth and death, why are we being so paranoid about these dresses in the middle? Why people even go to the extent of judging a person based on the dress they are wearing? I started thinking hard on this subject on the very same bathroom that ignited these questions. With the curtain and the window open, all the foul smell went outside and the cool wind started blowing some fresh ideas to my head. I finally came out of the bathroom enlightened!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A dying tongue

The recent status of Kannada medium schools have been bothering me for quite some time. There is a lot of talk going on criticizing state government's desire to close the schools with not many students. I really don't think the problem or the solution lies in closing/opening the current schools with poor strength of pupil. In my opinion the actual problem lies in the broader policies about the medium of instruction and more importantly a false pride in our people for knowing the foreign language.

I understand the need to know English as a common global language accepted by all. Having studied in Kannada medium school, I understand the difficulties in switching to English medium education. I also understand the long term effect of ones command over English as a language, by having the primary education in mother tongue. I have been living in England from last 4 years, still, I am not that proud of my English oratory skills. Very often, I still have to speak twice while communicating with local people. Often, I still can't understand their English completely. I need to understand them based on the context they are talking. Should I blame my primary education in mother tongue to my inability to get a command over English? Absolutely not! I have only spent my 10 years of education in Kannada medium where as the remaining 6 years of higher education and 10 years of work life was predominantly English based. Would my situation had been better if I have studied in English medium? I don't have any reasons to think that would have been. More importantly, do I regret not studying in English medium school at the beginning, or do I feel I was deprived of any opportunities due to my medium of education. Absolutely not! If I have to choose my medium of education again, I will still choose Kannada.

Few years back, my sister asked my suggestion to decide whether she should send her daughter to English medium or Kannada medium. I have always been a supporter of primary education in mother tongue. But when it came to deciding it for my niece, even I got confused. I started thinking, why everyone is so so obsessed about learning in English medium. What advantages a English medium provides that a mother tongue education can't provide, other than a pseudo sense of superiority of knowing English. I couldn't find any specific answers as I haven't seen any relationship between ones success to his medium of education. Yes, there is a slight advantage in having English as a medium for jobs that require English, like call centre jobs. But, in the same way, there are definitely advantages in having the education in mother tongue for other jobs. But, primary education in mother tongue doesn't prevent anyone from having the English skills required for the jobs. It is quite hard to determine quantitatively how much benefit one gets by going to English medium school as measuring that is fairly complicated task. It is often driven by the perception and the fact that English medium schools are often attended by financially sound families, influence that perception substantially. That perception alone has created an obsession in the minds of parents to send their children blindly to English medium schools. As a result, the number of children in Kannada medium schools are going downwards resulting in very less competition in those schools. That is one of the main points that made me to think hard when I was asked for a suggestion regarding my niece. She ended up going to English medium, I still don't know whether that is the right decision or not.

I often think people are confused between education and the medium of education. Education in general sense is a form of learning to acquire new knowledge, skills and habits that can lead to a better life. Communication is just one part of that and language in particular is just a part of the communication. Knowing English doesn't mean that one would be able to effectively communicate with other. It is much more than just knowing the language. It is also about having a complete understanding about what you want to communicate and knowing what is the best way to present that. Studying in English medium doesn't guarantee effective communication in English.

There is also a lot of difference between getting control of a written language and spoken language. If we are taking Kannada itself, it is spoken widely differently in many parts of Karnataka. Many times, we might completely fail to understand the Kannada spoken by a person from Bijapur or some other northern parts of Karnataka. It is same with English as well. Though, we might think people studying in English medium school will be able to speak good English  they might completely fail to communicate with some one in England due to the change in accent. If we can't effectively communicate with someone else speaking English, what is the point in choosing that as a medium of communication? They might still have a slight edge over Kannada medium people, but is that really worth it? Honestly I don't think so.

Some researches have shown the advantages of studying in mother tongue to increase the confidence and academic performance of youngsters. Research carried out in several countries on the place and role of mother tongue in education and learning has lead UNESCO to conclude by saying, “children who begin their education in their mother tongue make a better start, and continue to perform better, than those for whom school starts with a new language". It is not just about ones academic performance  alone, it is also about preserving the rich culture of one's own land.

With the world becoming a global village very fast, it is hard to ignore the importance of English. It has already killed a lot of languages and will continue to do the same. There is no second thought that we need to learn English in order to keep our place in this global village. But, at what cost should we be preserving our place? Definitely not by sacrificing the mother tongue which is key for the growth of an individual. The studies also show that children at early stage can pick up more than one language very easily. So, I am not sure why we are not going for 2 language education where we continue to learn subjects related to our land in mother tongue and other subjects in English. I also can't understand why people give more importance to Hindi over their mother tongue. I have always been told that it is because Hindi is our national language. It took me years to find out that we don't have a national language in our constitution. Both Hindi and English are the official languages of the central government whereas state governments can have their own official language. So, why shouldn't we give more importance to mother tongue over Hindi as learning two languages should surely be easier than learning three. I have studied Hindi only for 3 years and know it enough to understand the bollywood movies! I don't think I need it for anything more. If we get good movies in Kannada, probably I don't even need to bother! The propaganda about glorifying Hindi as a national language doesn't buy us anything. We don't need 'a 'language to unite as a nation. India wasn't created for people speaking one language or people seeking one religion. To be a true Indian, we don't need to speak one language. We only need to understand our true history!

For a long time, I have been a bitter opponent of Tamil, as a lot of other Kannadigas. But, as I gather more and more information on this subject, I started to realize how wrong I have been all these days. There is no doubt that we have a lot to learn from them in order to preserve our culture, art and history. As the world is becoming a global village, the technology is also becoming smarter and smarter to bridge the barrier between languages. There is already several translation engines available which does the preliminary job of converting sentences from one language to other. I wouldn't be surprised if the technology is advanced to such a level in future so as to completely remove the hurdle of language barrier. When we reach that stage, we can only repent for killing our beautiful mother tongue for nothing!

After writing so much about the medium of education, I might still choose to send my kids to English medium for whatever compulsions. But, when I do that, I will be morally obliged to teach them enough about their mother tongue, that enables them to study the language on their own. After all, I do want them to enjoy the same literature that I have been delightfully enjoying all these years!

(Written some time back for my high school magazine. They wanted articles in English to show Kannada medium people can write in English. I couldn't find any other subject better than this for them. If you see any grammatical mistakes in this article, it was intentional!)