The Kannada Context: Exclusive Identity and Other Stories

How do we begin diving into the world of blogs in Kannada language? Firstly more about Kannada here and the state in India where it's mostly spoken here. Is there a better way to begin a round up of a small blog world than by linking to a thoughtful essay that explores the questions of identity? M.S. Sriram comes out with an engaging rebuttal against some, who define an exclusive Kannada identity and propagate a brand of “militant regionalism”. He chides a line of argument that relies on ad hominems using labels like “horanADa kannaDiga” (non-resident Kannadiga), “elite” and so on. We all are so familiar with this line of argument. Aren't we? He presents the futility of the search for the “pure breed” by a compelling set of examples and a nice little metaphor-

If we, taken over by extremist attitude, endeavour the search for the pure breed [Kannadigas], a sample of what we would miss could be: Masti, Bendre, Karnad, Chittala, Devudu, TaRaSu, Puttanna Kanagal, G V Iyer, C V Raman, Sir M Vishweshwariah, Rahul Dravid.. Thus, if we want to exclude them all, what will we be left with? The search for a Kannada identity is like peeling an onion. As we go on excluding the layers, what we will be left with are tears alone! [Translated]

The latter part of the essay in quite upbeat since Sriram does not find any reason to be unduly alarmed about the state of Kannada. He concludes the essay with flourish by quoting Isaac Bashevis Singer's Nobel banquet speech where Singer explains why he writes in a “dying language” (Yiddish). A must read!

On a related note, Kannada Sarathy has a set of complaints about people's outlook towards Kannada and Karnataka, especially in Bangalore, which are not invalid either. And he is not at all amused by the blatant negligence of Kannada by FM radio channels, and their “cosmopolitan” line of defense. Well, although I don't want to get into any of these, it's true that the concocted potion that the RJs serve as “cosmopolitan Kannada” (or whatever), is pesky.

Taluku Shrinivas exudes similar feelings, albeit poetically. He is nostalgic about the legacy and is not happy about “invaders”. However, he does realise that nostalgia won't take us too far, and we all have to unite and strengthen. Fair enough.

Shyam Kashyap thinks aloud about globalization, patriotism and the questions of identity. In the contemporary world you can get a “feel” of your country anywhere, because the symbols of our (pop) “culture” are accessible, especially when there is a huge diaspora. But still there is something very nice about the notion of nations and nationality, he believes.

Rujuvatu at Sampada, regularly records some of U R Ananthamurthy's thoughts. You can find the transcript of a radio interview of Ananthamurthy at Churumuri. The interview is in English.

Vinayak Pandit at Agaseya Angala shares his joy after watching eight of Kurosawa's movies. He has a detailed and meditative essay on them. He talks about Kurosawa's empathy towards Samurais, his theatrical sets, his stunning protagonists and his social sensibilities. Indeed. I can vividly recollect the high I had got due to watching Rashomon, when I was a young lad.

Jeevishivu writes a series of posts on Pier Paolo Pasolini's cinema. A nice series of posts on Pasolini's “poetry in motion”.

sRujana-kannaDiga has an excellent essay on mathematicians. He talks about mathematicians of yore who were passionate about abstractness and aesthetics: Hardy, Nash, Ramanujan! He says each one of them is an artistic masterpiece, and ponders how well art can capture them. Books, plays and movies about the mathematical geniuses often fall prey to populism, reducing them to mere mortals. He hopes the new movie on Ramanujan and Hardy by Dev Benegal will consider this caveat.

If you are a budding poet, then Hosa Chiguru welcomes you. You can publish your poems there, and check out others’ poems. And if you are looking for a place where you can find some critically acclaimed Kannda literature, is a great place. Great initiative; nice to see it growing at a steady pace.

Blogging in Kannada is fine, but can you program a computer in Kannada? Indeed, says Dr. Pavanaja. He had developed a version of Logo that supports programming in Kannada a few years ago. It is a good language for young kids to learn programming. It only needs to be used. Incidentally, Dr. U.B. Pavanaja of VishwaKannada is a well known name in the Indic community.

Among other things, Vishwa Puta pays homage to Janab Naushad Ali. Tulasivana has a post on home, neighbourhood, narrow streets and memories. Nice. Like a lot of people are doing, Ismail urges you to look “beyond reservations”. Ahoratra gets poetic about Dose! Well, it's early morning and I am trying to catch up with a few deadlines. But the poem reminds of the Dose at Vidyarthi Bhavan! Pavvi narrates some anecdotes about late Kannada writer a na kru.

Sanjevani, a Kannada news paper claims to be the first Indian news paper to podcast. The podcasts are pretty good, actually. And there are very good podcasts at Sampada; interviews of Kannada litterateurs.

There are a few fake news blogs (inspired by The Onion, perhaps) that do quite a good job at satirizing news and newsmakers. The “news bureau” at Bogale-Ragale, for example, reports the “Bar-King News” of Manmohak Singh and Large Bush hatching a plot for the Third World War while having a good time in a Bangalore bar. They also report a story on how a scientist accidentally invented an “Aunty-Mosquito” software, while trying to invent a software against some women [aunties?] that constantly stalked him.


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