The world’s people, residents of 200 countries, are said to be interacting in about 7,000 languages. Nearly one-fourth of that number is accounted for by the country’s present estimated population of 135 crore. The government has accorded the classical language tag to eight languages including Kannada while 22 languages constitute the list of official languages of the country. The policy of three-language formula has settled the question of which language should exclusively be accorded priority in the country’s administration. While the people residing in rural areas commonly use the region-based language marked by their captive vocabulary, urbanites conversing in at least two languages, including English, is common sight. Formation of States on language basis, with its fall-out on many counts, has its negatives and positives yet to witness an end, acceptable or not across the different sections in the country’s population, particularly the literate sections and the rest.
A fear is being expressed in some circles by both littérateurs and those who count in the country’s administration that many languages of the land are on the verge of extinction. Some among the scholars have also expressed their disenchantment about the decline in literary works at present times. The influence of cinema in the various languages and also programmes on the small screen has not only contributed to that decline but also has cut into the reading habit of people at large.
Spoken language is having a free run in the life of not only common people but also those in the ruling class — regionally, nationally and globally. Reports in the dailies that groups of people clashed causing injuries and also fatalities for trivial reason have often their origins in using unguarded language by the community. The heavy-weights in Karnataka politics are currently setting bad examples of using language while hurling abuses throwing decency to winds. Both the Nation’s Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of States have been witnessing the elected representatives freely exchanging mutually hurting remarks of personal nature.
In short, the nation’s adults seem to have turned a blind eye to the wrong signals that the teenagers are getting from them in the matter of adhering to decency of language for both communicating and writing. In this backdrop, the calls being given for preserving the country’s languages should rekindle the littérateurs to give a lead to all.