Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hindi in Kerala

In my many visits to Kerala over the past many years, the one thing that I have found resilient in the state is the unstinting love for its language. The language is Malayalam. If you speak Malayalam, stuff happens. If you speak other languages, things wont move. They will, but at a slighty different pace. And while English would grudgingly win you a few brownie points for being a tourist - not too many other languages would - perhaps in the corridors of 5 star hotels, but on the street - no way. And Hindi - well, the less said the better. I was amazed at the reluctance of the state to learn Hindi.

But a few months back, on a routine visit I was amazed to see quite a few people converse in Hindi. It turns out that along with the emergence of Yadav Bhelpuri Centers there are quite a few north Indians and east Indians working in Kerala. They are there to supplement the labour pool. After all you don't want a post graduate waiter do you? So, in a hundred percent literate state, there are either no takers for certain jobs or the pay is too less - so they migrate to other states in search of jobs. And who comes in their place? People who are willing to do those jobs. Thus it has happened that there are quite a few "Northies" in Kerala and this time I heard people converse in Hindi with them. That's quite a change.

But now, as a certain Raj Thackeray asks and soon a Raj or Reji or Rehman in Kerala will ask - why arent they learning Malayalam?

Interestingly, it will also result in better North Indian food in Kerala apart from Yadav Bhelpuri centers and hopefully better phulkas and rotis...


Gayathri said...

hehe, typical south-hostile-northie post. when south indian migrate to north they are supposed to somehow learn and speak in the north languages, but when bloody northies come south, it would be a crime on our part to expect them to learn the regional tongue. yeah, you got under my skin by this post, the link to which was sent to me by my northie boyfriend.

ecophilo said...

Gayathri, of course they should learn and I think that Mallus should ensure that these guys learn. I have seen Sardars running auto equipment shops in Cochin speaking chaste malalayalam. I can speak 4 languages myself - surely others can learn too?

I was surprised that in this case, instead of these chaps making an effort to learn the language - the owners did - that surprised me.