Identity, Jaffna, Language, Peace and Conflict, Politics and Governance, Post-War, Reconciliation

Is the Tamil version of our national anthem a joke?

Recent media coverage in Sri Lanka has focussed on the confusion over the ban of the Tamil version of Sri Lanka’s national anthem. In media reports that need to be read in the context of the ignominy suffered by the President in England recently, it was suggested that the President had,

“reportedly argued that no one of the other countries in the World had national anthem ‘in more than one language’. He also told the cabinet that the Tamil anthem is a limitation which undermines the unity amongst people in Sri Lanka.”

This of course is blatantly wrong, as Indran Amirthanayagam noted on Groundviews. Sutirtho Patranobis from the Hindustan Times captures it well,

“At a time when Rajapaksa’s been talking about a trilingual society — Sinhala, Tamil and English — the move could be interpreted as regressive. The lessons of history seemed to have been forgotten here; discrimination over language was one reason behind the civil war. If one nation, one anthem was the logic then it didn’t do anything to make the Tamils feel secure about their present or the future. There are several countries where the Anthem is sung in more than one language. This controversy revealed how rightist politicians here make use of India’s example when they require. Minister Wimal Weerawansa claimed India’s anthem was in Hindi though it had 300 languages. Yes, the same Weerawansa who went on two-day fast unto death in July against the UN. Yes, the same Weerawansa who spews periodical anti-India speeches. And yes, he got it wrong: the Indian anthem is in heavily Sanskritised Bengali, not spoken by the majority in India.”

Indian television was also quick to highlight the error.

As the BBC reports, Public Administration Minister John Seneviratne was first quoted in the media as supporting the ban of the Tamil version, but went on to deny it. The Presidential Secretariat also denied these media reports.

However, there is no media coverage as to what Wimal Weerawansa’s response was to the fact that he was, as ever, wrong. Particularly telling is the lack of any distancing of Government from the comments of Weerawansa, who unequivocally claimed the Tamil version of the national anthem was a joke in an telephone interview with Ada Derana.

[audio:http://groundviews.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Wimal.mp3]

What the Minister says in Sinhala is,

“No other country in the world translates a national anthem to another language and sings it in the country. If for example you take India, although you have a large number of languages, the national anthem is only in Hindi. All those who speak in other languages sing the national anthem in Hindi. This is why it is called a national anthem. A national anthem is one that all nationalities accept. Now only in Sri Lanka we find, since the 1978 constitution, a national anthem translated into Tamil. This is a joke. This is in the 1978 constitution. After this the Education Ministry’s textbooks featured the translations of the Tamil national anthem. This mistake needed to be corrected. No country in the world translates the national anthem into different languages. Therefore, it is a correction of this mistake that it happening here. Instead of this, to support the continuation of this mistake is inappropriate.”

In not condemning this statement (and the more disturbing mindset that gives rise to it), we can only believe that the government condones it. The very creation of Sri Lanka’s national anthem has a violence associated with it. In 2003, the then government decided that the formal recording of it was somehow not dignified enough, and decided to do a re-recording of it. It is unclear whether this re-recording actually occurred, and whether even today, the incredibly discordant versions played in many cinemas and theatres are not suitably dignified. But it is a question of dignity that fuels the controversy and Weerawansa’s comments. One can certainly debate the need for a multi-lingual anthem, but to denigrate an existing translation, sung in the country for decades, is to clearly bring out the callous mentality of senior figures in government. Dignity comes with seeing oneself in the fabric of a country. If the Tamil version of our national anthem is a joke, then it follows that Tamil peoples who sing it in their mother-tongue are also a joke.

Ignorance mixed with chutzpah is an incendiary coupling in post-war Sri Lanka, yet how many decry it?

  • eeurekaa

    Oxford fiasco and the National anthem quagmire successfully hide the ground relity of the government trampling the Tamils behind the 21C Army Curtain.

  • Padda

    Either it is one language anthem or all language anthem. If SL has a Tamil anthem as well, Muslims may ask for a Arabic one, and veddah people their own one and the imperial boot lickers may ask for a English one too. Best thing is to stay with the current one. USA has one anthem (15-20% of population are Hispanic + Indigenous), Aussies have only one in English, and French has a French anthem despite of 10% of Bask people in the country. The country name also should be one. Sri Lanka, Shri Lanka, Illankeyi, blah, blah should be banned and should be called Sri Lanka only.

    • Sie.Kathieravealu

      Mr.”Padda” may not be aware that the Muslims in Sri Lanka have not said at any time that ‘Arabic’ is their mother tongue. Most probably he wants the Muslims to demand that ‘Arabic’ be made one of the national/official languages of Sri Lanka

    • ram

      Since when is Sri Lanka comparable to Democracies like USA and India ? In India we take the Army to task when they commit a crime even in Kashmir. Not like Sri Lanka where Army’s misdeeds are hidden with knee jerk reaction.
      Also, if Indian Anthem is in Bengali, a minority language, why not Lankan Anthem in Tamil or Arabic ? As per you, its love for motherland that matters, isnt it ?

      • Padda

        @ Ram – It may not be a democracy to the LTTE sympathisers and tamil separatists. India a democracy? my arse! And Indian army are the best behaved army! My arse! just recap what they have done in N&E in SL. You have nothing to add with intellectual value, and instead resort to name calling.

        Still you have not countered why USA, Japan, Australia, Pakistan, Malayasia has only one national anthem. And countries with one national anthem are doing better than ones having several!

  • R.M.B Senanayake

    The country is misled by village buffoons. In Anuradhapura they call them “baiyas”. wimal Weerwansa who knows nothing is opening his mouth on subjects he is totally ignorant. It is only in Afican countires that leaders are of such poor quality

    • Sie.Kathieravealu

      Mr.R.M.B.Senanayake might be correct BUT he has missed a small point. Except Vasu, none from the government side have criticized it. That means they (including Tamil and Muslim MP’s) accept the proposal.

      Now look at the comments of “Suranga”. he says “Tamils are the most elite in Colombo taken all the top jobs in banks and in Govt”

      Very much similar to speech of Hon. Wimal Weerawansa.

  • Suranga

    Sinhalese tolerence has gone beyond imagination. Muslims are building thousands of mosques in Anuradhapura. Not a single temple allowed in muslim countries. Tamils are the most elite in Colombo taken all the top jobs in banks and in Govt.

    We need to be ike every other country (less tolerent) and then all problems will go away.

  • Krish

    Whatever be the merits/demerits of having the anthem also sung in Tamil, why create an issue out of a non-issue? Does the singers of Tamil version become any less patriotic than those Sinhalese version singers? Moreover, how much time is it going to take to sing the anthem in Tamil also? 2 minutes, may be? I don’t understand all the fuss. To start with, my confusion is why 2 anthems and now why scrap it? I mean aren’t there bigger issues in Srilanka than fighting about national anthem in another language?

    Padda – What do you mean by country name should be one and names like Srilanka, Shri Lanka etc should be banned? Are you suggesting that Srilanka should be renamed as “One”? 🙂

    • Padda

      So what do you want SL to be named? Eelam? There should be only one Official name for a country. And that should be “Sri Lanka” whether it’s written in Sinhalese, Tamil, English, Japanese, Arabic, Afrikaans or in Hebrew.

      • Krish

        @Padda

        Earlier, you said this (please read it carefully)!
        “The country name also should be one. Sri Lanka, Shri Lanka, Illankeyi, blah, blah should be banned and should be called Sri Lanka only.”

        My point was (if you have a bit of sense of humour), “Do you want Sri Lanka to renamed as One?”. Moreover, you are saying calling it Sri Lanka should be banned and follow it immediately saying it should be called Sri Lanka only. Isn’t that a contradiction? 🙂

  • Savi Hensman

    Belgium has I believe three official versions of its national anthem – in French, Dutch and German. There are other countries too such as Switzerland that have versions of their national anthems in different languages. In most of these countries, suddenly banning one of these versions would probably inflame tensions among the different ethnic communities.

    • Padda

      Do Australia, USA, Japan, Germany and Malaysia ring a bell?

  • Sie.Kathieravealu

    May be the government is going in correct direction.

  • saleem madavoor

    Wimal Weerawansa [Edited out] says Indian national anthem is in Hindi. But it is in Bengali. Why can’t Srilanka accept tamil version as the official national anthem? no they can’t, such a discrimination is there

  • Chaminda

    Sri Lanka: one step forward a marathon backwards! the post-apartheid National Anthem in South Africa is in five national languages. Not five versions but one song with lyrics in five languages. It even has verses from the apartheid anthem. THIS is reconciliation and true magnanimity when Mandela can hold his hand to heart and sing verses of the people who put in prison for 30 years!

  • Just like India, let us have it in a minority language, Tamil only!
    And, let us change the picture flag also in to simple colours!
    Why do they want overshadow the major problems by creating petty issues?

  • The Mervyn Silva

    The One Country
    The one nation
    The one people
    The one leader
    The one anthem
    and…
    The one (and only) Joke.

    • Citizen

      how about choosing English as the ‘one’

      • The Mervyn Silva

        “how about choosing English as the ‘one’”

        His Majesty is going to the Oxford side to be suggesting that (among many other valuable suggestions for the Sri Lanka side and the whole worldwide when the baby Tigers and the English Tigers getting to gether to be chasing him out. So no Tamil, no English. This is called doing the Tit for the Tat!

    • ram

      then in that case, compare Lanka to Samoa or Kiribati. Not with USA and India are known for unity in diversity.

    • Tamilan (RAMESH)

      Haha haha, True Fact; Every tamil in this world = “”LTTE””, Can’t change that

      Silly Boyz in Politiczzzzz, one day it will haunt them back. Nothing More to say,

  • aljuhara

    yaa its funny how cocksure they are when they mislead the masses,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_national_anthems

    States with multiple national languages may offer several versions of their anthem. For instance, Switzerland’s national anthem has different lyrics for each of the country’s four official languages: French, German, Italian, and Romansh.[11] The New Zealand national anthem is traditionally sung with the first verse in M?ori (Aotearoa) and the second in English (God Defend New Zealand). The tune is the same but the words are not a direct translation of each other. South Africa’s national anthem is unique in that five of the eleven official languages are used in the same anthem, in which each language comprises a stanza.[12]

  • kavi

    Many countries have national anthem in multiple language anthem.
    Canada, Switzerland
    Some counties has one anthem with multiple language composition.
    south Africa(mix of 5 languages), Zimbabwe

    India and Singapore has national anthem in minority languages
    India -Bengali,majority language Hindi
    Singapore-Malay,majority Chinese

    Sri Lanka has long history of discriminating Tamil from 1948,one of the main reason of war!Again doing same fault,didn’t change!

  • eureka

    Is the Tamil version of our national anthem a joke?

    Yes, when Tamils continue to be squashed for more than six decades:

    Then:
    http://www.groundviews.org/2010/09/23/submissions-before-lessons-learnt-reconciliation-committee-llrc-by-chandra-jayaratne/
    ‘’Inequitable allocation of national resources and consequential disparities in regional economic development, infrastructure development and public service delivery have sown the seeds of discontent and disillusionment leading to conflict, insurrections of the South and the North and even the armed struggle towards a separate administration’’

    Now:
    http://www.groundviews.org/2010/09/23/submissions-before-lessons-learnt-reconciliation-committee-llrc-by-chandra-jayaratne/
    ‘’…IDP’s being denied access to their former places of residence …
    Preventing willing and capable NGO’s/INGO’s, international community and Diaspora from helping people in need at their most vulnerable moment of need …. Free availability of liquor, cigarettes and narcotics ….”

  • PitastharaPuthraya

    first of all we should understand that SL is a multi ethnic and multi religious country. If people do not understand and accept it then we have long way to go. Then there will be more problems in the future as majority sinhalese will try to impose their dominance over the others.

    When somebody complains that hundrends of mosques are being built in Anuradhapura he/she does not undersand that they have a right to do so. Obviously in S.Arabia we may not be able to build temples as it is a Muslim country and they maay not allow us to do so.

    Even if no other country has more than one national anthem we can have more than one if it suits us. After all what is natitonal anthem. It is a collection of words with a tune. What matters is whether it serves its purpose which is uniting the people of different ethnicity and religion under a single banner. If it is a facator which divides people does it serve the purpose?

  • Heshan

    Most Indians do not even speak Hindi. I know this from experience. How is it possible then, that they are able to sing the so-called national anthem?

    • Krish

      Heshan,

      “Most Indians do not even speak Hindi. I know this from experience. How is it possible then, that they are able to sing the so-called national anthem?”

      Agreed that Hindi is spoken as first language by only 40-50% of the population (or whatever the number is). But, most Indians including a big chunk of Tamil people can understand and speak Hindi well.

      Your question can be answered in a funny way. If you carefully look at the Indian anthem, it has names of places and rivers. So, it isn’t too difficult. Secondly, the anthem (although written in Bengali) is closer to Sanskrit and since most North Indian languages are from Sanskrit, most Indians comprehend the words and sing it well.

      Seriously, what kind of an experience was it that made you conclude the most Indians don’t speak Hindi? 🙂

  • Heshan

    *That is, sing it in Hindi

  • Heshan

    Krish,

    I have difficulty believing you’re actually Indian. Hindi is NOT a first language for 40-50% of the population. I actually work with South Indians on a daily basis, and only one of them actually knows Hindi.

    • Krish

      Heshan

      Hindi is not the first language for 40-50% of the people in India simply because only one of your South Indian friends knows Hindi. Now, all my South Indian friends speak in Hindi to me including a dozen Tamilians. Does that mean all Indians know Hindi? Come on, don’t bring in your friends and relatives to drive your point. 🙂

      best
      Krish

  • Heshan

    Krish,

    Once again, I have great difficulty believing you’re an Indian. North Indians and South Indians are like oil and water. If you put the two together in the same room, they will not mix. Why don’t you inform the readers here about the anti-Hindi agitations in Tamil Nadu, and then let’s see if you have the guts to continue with your nonsense about Tamils/Telugus/Malayali people willingly learn Hindi. Next you’ll be saying that South Indians are avid fans of Bollywood. I am waiting for your lies… don’t assume that because this is a SL forum, people know very little about India. That may be true for the average Sinhalese person in SL (who is generally anti-Indian), but some of us are actually world-travelers , having lived outside SL for decades.

    • wijayapala

      Prof Heshan, I very much enjoyed your attempts to educate Krish

      Next you’ll be saying that South Indians are avid fans of Bollywood. I am waiting for your lies… don’t assume that because this is a SL forum, people know very little about India.

      Do not be getting angry when the Tamil and Telugu films try to emulate Bollywood singing and dancing because of their popularity. It is very sad to see you lose your cool here on groundviews.

      That may be true for the average Sinhalese person in SL (who is generally anti-Indian), but some of us are actually world-travelers , having lived outside SL for decades.

      Maybe that’s the problem, your actual knowledge of India is dated by a number of decades. To begin with, were you aware that India achieved independence from the UK? There have been a lot of changes since then. In Tamil Nadu (not Madras Presidency) the Justice Party is no more and the Dravida Kazhagam is now rather poorly-led by Veeramani (I too have no idea who he is). Nizam of Hyderabad also is no more and Andhra Pradesh is one state. There’s more to tell but I don’t want to overwhelm you.

      • Krish

        Wijayapala,

        I am trying to restrict myself to discussions to SL, but being an Indian get carried away every time that India is discussed. Anyways, few observations (not necessarily disagreements):

        “Do not be getting angry when the Tamil and Telugu films try to emulate Bollywood singing and dancing because of their popularity.”
        Hindi and South Indian languages have been copying each other a long time now. Although Heshan is right in saying that Telugu and Tamil industries are separate entities, movies from North are remade in South and vice-versa. Unfortunately, both North and South are predominantly commercial and qualitatively Malayalam and Bengali movies would be much better. Malayalam and Bengali movies of Sathyajit Ray would sound very similar to Lester James Peiris’s and Gamini Fonseka type movies to a great extent.

        “There have been a lot of changes since then. In Tamil Nadu (not Madras Presidency) the Justice Party is no more and the Dravida Kazhagam is now rather poorly-led by Veeramani (I too have no idea who he is). Nizam of Hyderabad also is no more and Andhra Pradesh is one state. There’s more to tell but I don’t want to overwhelm you.”
        Exactly! The changes are important to comprehend. Today’s Chennai (formerly Madras) is far more cosmopolitan than the one you saw in the mid-sixties when you had anti-Hindi, anti-Brahmin and even anti-India agitations were going on. With a booming economy and fast life, there is no time and space for that (besides a lot of people from North are coming to chennai for economic reasons). People of Tamil Nadu understand very well that all these stupid sentiments were used to exploit them by politicians. Recently, in one of the functions organized by Karunanidhi to welcome Manmohan Singh, Hindi songs were played. When asked about this, an embarassed Karunanidhi said, “Yes, we oppose imposition of Hindi on us, but not songs”. K Veeramani who runs today’s Dravida Kazhagam is as much corrupt as Karuanidhi with no political or mass base.

        And regarding the kings/Nizams, slowly but steadily all of them were made irrelevant by the Indian Government after independence. The Wodeyars of Mysore, Nizams of Hyderabad, the Maharaja of Travancore have all been let to have their inherited their properties like land or palaces or whatever they had but not any say politically. In a certain way, that is good too. 🙂

  • Krish

    Heshan,

    First of all, I never said that South Indians are Bollywood fans. If the world traveler in you is all about imagining things and attributing it others like you just did, that’s fine! Good luck to you!

    Back to the point, you are bringing in yet another thing which is “putting North and South Indians in the same room”. That has nothing to do South Indians knowing Hindi or not. Not mixing with each other could be due to several factors like mutual distrust, not knowing each other or even caste-ism etc.etc. Even among Tamil folks in India, there is a deep caste divide for exmaple, Brahmin Tamils vs non-Brahmin Tamils or Thevars vs. Dalits etc. On a related note, Pakistanis and Indians may not get along well with each other, although they understand each other linguistically many a times. In this case, mutual hostility or religion could be a factor. But, I am not getting into that.

    The fundamental point is, Hindi may not be spoken as the first language in India (as compared to Sinhala spoken in Sri Lanka as first language), but Hindi is understood well and fairly spoken by most of India including many Tamilians. If a Bengali meets a Gujarati, they would very likely speak in Hindi. If a Kannadiga meets someone from Bihar or a Teluguite meets Maharashtrian, they will very likely speak in Hindi too. I have seen instances where a Kannadiga (Kannada as first language) and Teluguite (Telugu as first language) speak in Hindi between them, although 90% of the written script is same for both Kannada and Telugu. Hindi has caught up well as a language of communication across India in the last 60 years or so, although for majority of India Hindi may not be the first language.

    I will credit you on one point, which is, the lack of knowledge. Most Sri Lankans don’t know much about India in general and Tamil Nadu in particular. And most Indians don’t know anything about Sri Lanka either. This is really sad. What is worse is, Tamilians in India and SL don’t seem to know much about each other. But that is a completely different story I guess. 🙂

  • Heshan

    Krish,

    Thanks for admitting that there is a major divide between North and South India. South Indians will never have Hindi as a medium of instruction in their schools – if this is the case, then you can’t claim that Hindi is a “first language” for them. There are those who may live in the North and pick up Hindi via osmosis , but this is something totally different. If you are in Mumbai, you can get away with speaking Hindi. If you are in Madras, the preferred language is either Tamil or English. Here is what some Indians have to say, which agrees with my point:

    Re: Hindi: understood throughout India?
    Hindi will get you okay as far south as Goa, more or less. While it may not be the local language in any given area, people will generally understand it.

    I’m living currently in Tamil Nadu (well, almost – Pondicherry, which is officially a separate state), and Tamil and English are the only two languages that it is worth knowing here. People study Hindi in school, and there is a certain sense that it is upwardly mobile to speak Hindi, but there is also a lot of resistance to learning Hindi here, and anyway English is more useful.

    If you get away from the major cities it’s really difficult to get around in Tamil Nadu without knowing Tamil. I am currently working full bore on learning Tamil, and it’s not an easy language – or maybe I’m just getting old. Hindi seems incomparibly easier.

    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1046283

    ——

    My friend comes from Kerala.
    He learned Hindi at school, but he doesn’t speak it and understands English much better than Hindi.

    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1046283

    • Krish

      “Thanks for admitting that there is a major divide between North and South India.”
      I never said that North and South Indians are buddies. You started it with your oil and water analogy for North and South.

      And your original point was this, which you haven’t proved yet!
      “Most Indians do not even speak Hindi. I know this from experience.”

      “South Indians will never have Hindi as a medium of instruction in their schools – if this is the case, then you can’t claim that Hindi is a “first language” for them.”
      The medium of instruction in Tamil Nadu in most schools is English, not Tamil. Are you suggesting that Tamil is not the first language of most Tamilians?

      “I’m living currently in Tamil Nadu (well, almost – Pondicherry, which is officially a separate state), and Tamil and English are the only two languages that it is worth knowing here. People study Hindi in school, and there is a certain sense that it is upwardly mobile to speak Hindi, but there is also a lot of resistance to learning Hindi here, and anyway English is more useful.”
      That’s like saying, I live in Quebec province, which is officially a separate state and French is is the most widely understood language that is worth knowing here. People study English for upward mobility but most Quebec fellows oppose English. BTW, it is Puducherry now and is a Union territory (not a separate state). And you should go to other parts of Puducherry like Mahe or Yanam and try speaking in Tamil nobody will respond. Hindi, probably yes! If you want to speak Tamil, Gorimed or Thatanchavady or even Bahour might help. 🙂

      “If you get away from the major cities it’s really difficult to get around in Tamil Nadu without knowing Tamil. I am currently working full bore on learning Tamil, and it’s not an easy language – or maybe I’m just getting old. Hindi seems incomparibly easier.”
      Agreed that Hindi is easier to learn than Tamil. Even with your Pondicherry City Tamil, it won’t be easy in Tirunelveli or Kanyakumari or even Coimbatore. Such is the nature of it’s variation of Tamil from district to district. Besides, TN isn’t India but only a small part of it. 🙂

  • Heshan

    One more thing: learning a language at school will not necessarily make you fluent in that language. I studied 4 languages in school, and remember nothing. You have to be in an environment – for a substantial period of time – where the language predominates, to really pick up on the nuances.

  • Heshan

    Friend Wijayapala:

    Do not be getting angry when the Tamil and Telugu films try to emulate Bollywood singing and dancing because of their popularity. It is very sad to see you lose your cool here on groundviews.

    Thanks for displaying your eminent knowledge of nothing, yet again. Bollywood films (the new ones) are generally copycats of Hollywood movies. Tamil films are something else altogether. In any event, I suggest you do not try to watch Bollywood films, as such activities may be considered unpatriotic. Much better if you to stuck to pirith-chanting on Rupavahini. Now that His Eminence has cleared the island of terrorists, the next targets will be young couples who hold hands in public, skin flicks at Liberty Cinema, and naughty youngsters who smoke beedi during the school recess. May the Triple Gem guide him.

  • Heshan

    Krish,


    And your original point was this, which you haven’t proved yet!

    “Most Indians do not even speak Hindi. I know this from experience.”

    Being able to speak broken Hindi is different from being fluent in Hindi.

    Try reading this:

    “Why Doesn’t South Indian People speak Hindi perfectly ?”

    Some answers:

    1. they prefer to use english as their second language instead of hindi (first language obviously their local ones), so as a result not many people go for it.

    2. Because Hindi is not their mother tongue and South India is not a Hindi speaking area. Hence they study Hindi only in School.

    http://www.travelexpertguide.org/forum/India/Why-Doesn-39-t-South-Indian-People-speak-Hindi-perfectly-357901.htm

    Above answers by Indians back up my argument. Being able to say hi-bye in a language does not make you fluent in that language.

    • Krish

      “Being able to speak broken Hindi is different from being fluent in Hindi.”
      Heshan, I strongly disagree. Most of the states that don’t speak Hindi as first language still speak fluent Hindi. I am talking about states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Orissa etc. etc. And among the Southern states, most folks from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka speak good Hindi (with their heavy state accent). Tamil Nadu could perhaps be an exception (followed by Kerala probably, but surely not as bad as Tamilians).

      Now that you drag the argument from speaking Hindi to speaking Hindi PERFECTLY Heshan. You live in Puducherry don’t you? Go around and see if any Tamilian there ever speaks Tamil without English ever mixed. For example,
      “Andha bus enga pogum?”
      “Ennoda cycle puncture aayidichchu”
      “Tea kudikkareengala?”
      “Hotel pogaliyaa?”
      “Heshan sir, officekku kelambitteengala?”
      etc etc.
      So, going by your logic, almost all Tamilians in India can not even speak their language fluently. Therefore, nobody in Tamil Nadu and Pudhucherry speak fluent Tamil. 🙂

  • Heshan

    Krish,

    Nice try but most Andrah people don’t speak good Hindi. Only Karnatka people are moderately fluent in Hindi. And now you admit that the Hindi spoken in TN is worthless, therefore contradicting the example of your dozen Tamil “friends.” 🙂 Once again, it’s very difficult to pick up on a language unless the language is (1) the local language, and/or (2) the medium of instruction in schools. (2) is obvious from the fact that most South Indians speak far better English than any Hindi. Studying a language for one or two years in school as an “elective” is also generally meaningless.

    • Krish

      Heshan, Fantastic!

      1. Now, you accept that people from the dozen states that I mentioned speak good Hindi! Thanks. 🙂

      2. And now, Karnakata speaks moderately fluent Hindi. I am glad you took 2 days to admit that. Great!

      So, we still have only 3 states to go namely, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. Let’s go one by one!

      1. Andhra Pradesh: Has 3 major regions namely Telengana, Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra Pradesh.

      a) Telengana folks are fluent in Hindi simply because this region was under Nizam’s rule for 500 years and Urdu (which is very similar to Hindi in spoken form, although uses Persian script) was the official language. Even today some courts have hearing in Hindi/Urdu here, not in local Telugu.

      b) Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra were formerly with Madras Presidency and weren’t that good in spoken Hindi before. With a separate AP state in the early-mid fifties and Hindi as a compulsory language, they have picked up a whole lot. Fluency-wise, they aren’t that good as Telengana folks but still communicate well enough in Hindi and can read and write.

      2. Kerala: Don’t know about your friend from Kerala but Keralites are fairly fluent in Hindi. They don’t have the Hindi/Urdu exposure like AP, but nor did any Dravidian movement hold them back from learning. Just go to KPN bus counter in Pondicherry and talk in Hindi to those Malayali guys, you would get a decent response in Hindi. 🙂

      3. Tamil Nadu: Obviously the state that speaks least Hindi, but improving fast as well. From the anti-Hindi riots in the sixties, TN has come a long way in catching up and many Tamilians do speak good Hindi lately.

      a) The current younger generations have better exposure to Hindi channels, programs, news, cable etc. which weren’t available, say, even 10 years ago.
      b) Many schools have compulsory third language as Hindi. Then you have Kendriya Vidyalayas and CBSE schools that promote Hindi.
      c) Don’t forget that Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Saha (a body that spreads Hindi in South India) was started by C. Rajagopalachari, a Tamilian who served as India’s only Governeral General immediately after British left.
      d) Finally, most Tamilians obviously feel the need to speak Hindi and are taking it up. The current generations (people in forties, fifties) may not be fluent now, but future generations will surely be.

  • Heshan

    Krish,

    Very clever with the Urdu there! While I agree they are virtually the same in spoken form, the written form brings differences with it. So you cannot claim that Urdu equals Hindi. Besides, what % of the AP population speaks Urdu period? 500 years is not a long time in Indian history. Malayali people don’t speak Hindi well at all.

    I never said that North Indians are not fluent in Hindi.

    • Krish

      Heshan

      What is there to be clever in mentioning Urdu? Urdu and Telugu are official languages of Andhra Pradesh. And Telengana borders Hindi-speaking Madhya Pradesh besides Maharashtra. Andhra (or coastal Andhra) has borders with Orissa. The upper portion of coastal Andhra speaks much better Hindi as compared to lower districts like Nellore or Prakasam district. In Rayalaseems, except Chittoor, other districts speak good Hindi. So, we can conclude that 90% of the people speak fluent Hindi/Urdu. 🙂

      And I don’t understand your logic of 500 years. English has been in TN for not more than 350 years. Can we safely conclude that Tamils cannot speak English fluently? 500 years ago, there were hardly any English speakers in USA or Australia. Does it mean that nobody there understands English today? We are talking about the present and whether or not people in a certain state/province understand Hindi. Doesn’t have to do anything with all that you are trying to bring in.

      Please take a trip to Kerala and see if folks there speak Hindi or not.

      I am trying to respond to you on every point you make, but you are just running around in circles. Seriously, if you take Madras or Puducherry or Kerala is a sample to decide India’s linguistic map or demography, I cannot argue much with you. 🙂

      Groundviews/Sanjana – Thanks for putting up with my arguments. Feel free to delete my posts if you guys think I have been spamming this forum. I understand this is a SL site dedicated to SL’s issues primarily. So, feel free. 🙂

  • Heshan

    Krish,

    You can make up numbers all you want – such as the ridiculous assertion that 90% of all Telugu ppl speak fluent Hindi – but remember that we are in the Information Age. If any of the readers want to verify whether 0.9% of Tamils are speaking Hindi, or 99.9%, all it takes is a Google click. By the way, China has borders with Russia, and India has borders with China. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any Chinese who are fluent in Russian, Russians who are fluent in Chinese, Indians who are fluent in Chinese, or Chinese who are fluent in any Indian language. As I have said earlier on, the first language for people in India is the language of their home state. Please reserve your Hindustan daydreams for when you watch Bollywood.

    • Krish

      Heshan “You can make up numbers all you want – such as the
      ridiculous assertion that 90% of all Telugu ppl speak fluent Hindi
      – but remember that we are in the Information Age.” If you are in
      an information age, then go ahead with your research and counter my
      arguments. Point out where exactly I am wrong. I have tried to
      counter your arguments with utmost sincerity. All that you have to
      offer is, “Krish is clever”, “Hindustan dreamer”, “Bollywood
      watcher” etc. “If any of the readers want to verify whether 0.9% of
      Tamils are speaking Hindi, or 99.9%, all it takes is a Google
      click.” Attributing things to what I never said is your trait,
      Heshan. I never said that 99.9% Tamils speak Hindi. I mentioned
      clearly that Tamil Nadu (and by extension Tamilians/Tamils)
      speak/understand the Hindi the least in India, but even they are
      catching up like others. “By the way, China has borders with
      Russia, and India has borders with China. Unfortunately, I don’t
      know of any Chinese who are fluent in Russian, Russians who are
      fluent in Chinese, Indians who are fluent in Chinese, or Chinese
      who are fluent in any Indian language.” China and Russia don’t have
      borders with England, but many Chinese and Russians can speak
      English. Why? You just keep going around in circles with no
      knowledge of languages and history, particularly those of India.
      Learn something before you argue, Heshan. You have a long way to
      go. 🙂

    • wijayapala

      Prof Heshan

      You can make up numbers all you want – such as the ridiculous assertion that 90% of all Telugu ppl speak fluent Hindi – but remember that we are in the Information Age. If any of the readers want to verify whether 0.9% of Tamils are speaking Hindi, or 99.9%, all it takes is a Google click.

      I am so glad that you did bother yourself with clicking Google yourself to provide the evidence. It is so refreshing to hear you lecture about Information Age and other hi-tech stuff, with a subtle threat of exposing Krish without actually exposing him nor answering his point at all.

      By the way, China has borders with Russia, and India has borders with China. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any Chinese who are fluent in Russian, Russians who are fluent in Chinese, Indians who are fluent in Chinese, or Chinese who are fluent in any Indian language.

      Another gem. Somebody unfamiliar with the wisdom of Heshan might ask what China or Russia have to do with language proficiency in India, especially given that they are entirely different countries, with all the related restrictions on cross-border travel and interaction that mere subnational entities within a federation do not have. Someone else, maybe from India might observe that Indians (particularly S. Indians)

      If I were to humbly offer a suggested addition to Heshan Wisdom, why not debunk this foolish Krish by pointing out that the word “India” begins with the letter “I” whereas the Indo-Aryan equivalent “Bharat” begins with the letter “B.” That argument also does absolutely nothing to prove your point but it is a good thing to throw out there to pretend that you have actual knowledge. I eagerly await your insight into this proposal.

      Please reserve your Hindustan daydreams for when you watch Bollywood.

      The crowning touch of this Heshan Post was the characteristic Angry Rant when unable to defend the argument. It is this special feature of Heshan’s writings that conveys a truly artistic quality, combining the worst aspects of ignorance and delusion with anger and frustration. Who else on Groundviews can combine so many things into one?

  • Heshan

    Krish, English is a universal language, unlike Hindi. Like
    I said, the point that remains that for South Indians – and even
    many North Indians – the primary language is the language of their
    home state . Hindi is a bastardized version of
    Persian/Arabic with some Sanskrit added in for flavor; it is not a
    pure language like Tamil or Malayalam. The only reason a South
    Indian would “learn” it is if he moved to the North for work – and
    then, he would learn it via osmosis (aka it would come
    naturally, without even trying.
    ). Other than that, South
    Indians are perfectly satisfied with the language of their
    home state and do not harbor any fantasies of
    Hindustan.

  • Krish

    Heshan

    “Krish, English is a universal language.”
    Exactly! In the Indian context Hindi is universal.

    “Like I said, the point that remains that for South Indians – and even many North Indians – the primary language is the language of their home state.”
    Hopeless logic which I have refuted already.

    “Hindi is a bastardized version of Persian/Arabic with some Sanskrit added in for flavor; it is not a pure language like Tamil or Malayalam.”
    Harsh words for Hindi with hatred, insecurity and inability to debate. Hindi in written form uses “Devanagiri” script for writing and is closer to Sanskrit in pure form, that is if you remove Urdu/Persian words. Pure Hindi would be Sanskrit and most North Indian languages will be very close to Sanskrit in purer form.

    And the [edited] version of Persian/Arabic you talk about is Urdu. Urdu is similar to Hindi in spoken form, uses Persian/Arabic script. And in literature/pure form is very very close to Persian.

    Tamil is not pure anymore in Tamil Nadu from what I understand. Heavy use of English in spoken form and even the Tamil dailies “Dinathanthi” and “Dinamalar” use English or Sanskrit words heavily.

    Malayalam isn’t truly pure either. First of all, it is a derived language of Tamil and uses Sanskrit in a big way. Quite literally, if you mix Tamil verbs and Sanskrit nouns, you end up getting close to Malayalam.

    “Other than that, South Indians are perfectly satisfied with the language of their home state and do not harbor any fantasies of Hindustan.”
    Last I heard, you were the one who wanted Sri Lanka to be ruled by Hindus. You should explain why you harbour such Hindustan fantasies. 🙂

    Frankly Heshan, you rock! 🙂

  • Heshan

    Exactly! In the Indian context Hindi is universal.

    Hindi is only “universal” if you’re in North India . Whereas for the rest of India, English is more universal than Hindi.

    Hopeless logic which I have refuted already.

    You mean with your assertion that 90% of Telugus speak Urdu? 🙂 Ever heard the phrase, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride…” I think it applies to you.

    Harsh words for Hindi with hatred, insecurity and inability to debate. Hindi in written form uses “Devanagiri” script for writing and is closer to Sanskrit in pure form, that is if you remove Urdu/Persian words. Pure Hindi would be Sanskrit and most North Indian languages will be very close to Sanskrit in purer form.

    Hindi is just a cut-off from Urdu. Hindi would not even exist if the Moghuls hadn’t come. Tamil/Malayali/Telugu etc. are much, much older than the bastardized Hindi. That is why I keep calling it a joke every time you try to claim South Indians are mad for Hindi. South Indian languages are thousands of years older than that rotting apple called Hindi.

    ———–

    Is Hindi a fake, artificial language: a deviant from the real language of Urdu (please read details)?

    Shudh Hindi is the artificial creation of the Indian government. Before Muslim rule in the India, Sanskritized Devanagari was only used for sacred Hindu religious texts. When Muslims came, Persian was brought to the courts. After the Persian soldiers interacted with the locals, Urdu developed. It comprised mainly of Arabic/Persian derived words. Urdu was written in the Nastaliq script, because it is most similar to the Persian & Arabic scripts. It has all the alphabets Persian & Arabic have, which Devanagari doesn’t have. During 700 years of Muslim rule, Urdu & its Nastaliq script developed greatly while Sanskritized Hindi was confined to religious Hindu texts.

    When British ruled, Hindus tried to promote Sanskritized Devanagari for more than religious texts. They translated literary works written in Nastaliq Urdu into Sanskritized Devanagari. This resulted in the Hindi-Urdu controversy. This ‘Hindi’ that mostly contained Persian/Arabic derived words was being translated into Sanskritized Devanagari. Muslims thought they would lose their heritage if ‘Hindi’ in Devanagari script would make them lose their great Islamic heritage.

    The script for Nastaliq however was always more prominent than Devanagari, because it was promoted by Muslim rulers, for its similarity to & their love for Arabic, the language of the Koran. Sanskritized Devanagari was also limited in its lack of ‘Arabic/Persian’ alphabets, which would mean if people used Arabic/Persian derived words from the Sanskritized Devanagari script, they would be butchering them.

    Indian Muslims who loved Urdu tried to promote an artificial script called “Hindi Devanagari”, that included dots on certain Sankritized Devanagari alphabets so that Urdu words would not be butchered by the speakers. So Hindi is a fake language in every way. It has no right to claim that Persian/Arabic derived words are part of Hindi, as it uses Sanskritized Devanagari script, which is limited in its alphabets as compared to Persian and Arabic. Urdu, Arabic, Persian are right from right to left, Hindi is written from left to right like English.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101208034119AAHHupG

    Last I heard, you were the one who wanted Sri Lanka to be ruled by Hindus.

    I have no problem with Hindus. But the day you try to make Hindi a universal language in India, the day you try to force everyone to learn it – that will be the end of India.

    • Krish

      Heshan

      “Hindi is just a cut-off from Urdu. Hindi would not even exist if the Moghuls hadn’t come. Tamil/Malayali/Telugu etc. are much, much older than the bastardized Hindi.”

      Totally the other way. It is Urdu that developed and claimed prominence after Moghul invasion. Not Hindi. This is what your link itself says:

      “Before Muslim rule in the India, Sanskritized Devanagari was only used for sacred Hindu religious texts. When Muslims came, Persian was brought to the courts. After the Persian soldiers interacted with the locals, Urdu developed.”

      So, before the Persian/Arabic-speaking Muslims came to India, Urdu didn’t exist in India. 🙂

      Like I said, Hindi is closer to Sanskrit in pure form and Urdu closer to Persian/Arabic.

      Take some simple examples:
      Time to leave –> English
      Jaane kaa waqt aagayaa. –> Urdu
      Jaane kaa samay aagayaa –> Hindi
      As you can see, “Waqt” is Arabic/Persian/Urdu, while “samay”/”samayam” would be Hindi/Tamil or many other Indian languages.

      “That is why I keep calling it a joke every time you try to claim South Indians are mad for Hindi. South Indian languages are thousands of years older than that rotting apple called Hindi.”
      Go back and refute my claims state by state for Southern India and prove your point. We can then debate. Don’t go in circles bringing Kerala, TN and Pondicherry. 🙂

      Your link from Yahoo takes a simple premise to arrive at a propagandistic conclusion. They are saying that for 1000 years Persian was the written script of Muslim-ruled India. Therefore Sanskrit/Hindi and their scripts are fake. By the same logic, in the last 300 years (before India’s independence), English was the official language of Tamil Nadu. Conclusion: Modern Tamil script and language are fake. 🙂

      Now it is upto prove that Tamil is not a fake language! Be a man, Heshan. Prove it!

    • Krish

      Wijayapala,

      Sorry that I didn’t respond to you earlier in this thread and the other one. Wasted all my time with a man who doesn’t know the difference between Hindi and Urdu. I am hoping he is not living in Pakistan, thinking it is India. 🙂

      Regarding Heshan trying to disprove my points, I am not sure if he is going to. Not because he cannot, but he is simply not interested and more importantly, not curious. Everytime you refute him, he jumps to a completely off-tangent argument and continues from there. While I can patiently debate him point by point, he will throw some irrelevant link (linguistic equivalent of TamilNet) to substantiate his views. It is pointless to argue with him. I will probably continue debating if he can prove that Tamil is not a fake language. 😉

      best wishes
      Krish

  • Heshan

    Friend Wijayapala:

    I kindly request you not to concern yourself with the “Information Age.” The only information you need are the venues for the next kiribath party and Hon. Wimal’s next KFC-sponsored fast. All such information will be provided free of charge by the Ministry of Defense and “Daily News.” Please rely only on these two sources of information, as any other sources are a LTTE-backed foreign conspiracy to destabilize the island; remember to report such sources to Hon. Gothabaya for the appropriate *white van treatment.” Thank you for your cooperation.

  • sam

    Singing Tamil National Anthem in Tamil is not a joke!!! But it is proved again and again that the politicians in power in Sri Lanka are a bunch of cruel jokers!!! They have a frog in the well attitude!!!

    The antiquity, sweetness, richness and popularity of the Tamil language cannot be destroyed by the bunch of jokers!!! There is a proverb, which says that pigs cannot appreciate the smell of camphor!!!Tamil language will live as long as this universe, but the bunch of jokers will not!!!

    Patriotism should come from the bottom of the heart. Can you expect any patriotism from the Tamil people after all the injustices heaped on them since independence? What is the hurry to change the rules regarding the National anthem? Is it to prove that the Tamils are at the mercy of the Sri Lankan government? and to prove that it can further trample the Tamils? I have heard of how the victorious countries behaved in olden days eg. rape, killing and destruction etc. Where is the reconcilliation, which the president talks about when he goes abroad for the consumption of the donors? King Asoka renounced his throne and became a Budhist after he saw the death and destruction of the war. But our “king” is becoming more and more tyrant after seeing the effects of his “genocidal war”

    • yapa

      “But our “king” is becoming more and more tyrant after seeing the effects of his “genocidal war””

      I think king’s attitude is formed by prejudiced and unsupported weepings and outrageous violence expressed like this by your people. When you try to attack anybody with whatever you can pick, no body would say you are right and the king or anybody else is wrong. Try to build your arguments with reasonable facts, try to express your grievances in an acceptable manner.Attack is the best form of defence won’t work everywhere. Attack with some discipline, with some reasonable mind set. Try to go for a win-win situation, that may take you to your goal along with others. Reconciliation is a thing which demands honesty and sincerity of both parties.

      Thanks!

      • sam

        If the Government is honest, it should publish the results of all the numerous commission it had in relation to the Tamil grievances. Why can’t it allow the UN to have an impartial investigation? No Tamil in his senses will trust this Government or any other previous governments which are green or blue!!! Only Tamil who will trust the Sri Lankan government is douglas, Karuna and Pillaiyan and their armed cadres. They have no way other than that as they are well and truly trapped!!