When the freedom to converse in one’s desired language is hindered

A Sign board in Hindi, Kannada and English

India is a country where there is a diverse array of languages, religions and cultures. Each individual is free to practice his preferred religion and speak in whatever language they are comfortable in. No one should impose their language on someone else for whatever reasons.

Sometimes we see when a person moves from one state to another for education or for maybe a job, he/she is often considered as an outsider because they don’t speak their language. They are even made fun of or bullied because of their ignorance of the preferred language of the state they move into. Our Constitution doesn’t make it mandatory that we speak the language of the state we live in fluently, why then, sometimes citizens are harassed and in some cases, beat to death even only because they didn’t speak a certain language?

One example of this shameful act has surfaced recently. The Kannada Development Authority has allegedly asked all nationalised, rural and scheduled banks to make it mandatory for all the employees to learn Kannada within the next six months. If any employee is unable to do so, they will be relieved of their job. Now, such imposition may be a result of a misplaced sense of respect for the local language but forcing people to learn it at the cost of something so important is clearly unfair.

India’s essence is in its diversity and all the beautiful languages spoken in the country. People have to understand that respecting one’s religion and language doesn’t mean we have to make everyone practice it. Each language has its own pride of place and that is what we should respect. Language should be spread through various other ways like movies and books in which people enjoy it and appreciate its uniqueness.

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