Published: 01st November 2019
'People stare at me in disbelief,' says man who speaks unadulterated, fluent Kannada without using a single English word!
Chaitra Priya believes in celebrating Kannada bhashe every day instead of honouring it only on Kannada Rajyotsava
While most of us celebrate the Kannada language and the unification of Karnataka only on November 1, Chaitra Priya from Bengaluru celebrates it every day - not by hoisting the flag or distributing sweets, but by speaking fluent Kannada bhashe. Chaitra Priya who works as a udyanavana kalegara (park landscaper) has been going on the 'only Kannada' route since 1977. He says, "During my college days, I was part of several literary and art clubs. I used to write and direct plays and this inspired me to use only Kannada words. Whenever I did not know the Kannada words for something, I would go home and search for it in the dictionary. It so happened that everyone slowly started looking up to me for speaking perfect Kannada. It's the same even today. My college lecturers and friends would chat with me in corridors or college grounds just to listen to me speak the language. Today this has become my identity."
Since Chaitra Priya is a park landscaper, he works closely with the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and has been involved in the planning of more than 106 parks in South Bengaluru. He makes sure to speak only Kannada while on duty also. He explains, "Due to increase in the use of mobiles which mostly display everything in English and the anchors in TV news channels who use 90 per cent English words and only 10 per cent Kannada words, people have forgotten most of the common Kannada words. When I speak to the officials and Engineers in fluent Kannada, they stare in disbelief. Sometimes, I get to know that they are not able to understand certain words. In such cases, I tell them the meaning and make them understand certain complicated words. For example, Adhika is a Kannada word which means more in English which most people have forgotten."
A few years ago, BBMP decided to implement the use of Kannada language in the documents that were meant for bank transactions. They approached Chaitra Priya to translate every single word for bank transactions into Kannada. He explains, "Even the smallest word like receipt was changed into raseedi in Kannada. Similarly, total was translated into motha, cost into bele and so on. But the officials were not able to get used to reading these words. Hence, they went back to printing English words in documents."
Though Chaitra Priya stresses the importance of speaking Kannada to preserve it, he also states that it is okay if people use some words in English like mobile, cheque, spoon, bus and so on. When we asked the reason behind it, he says, "There are many words in Kannada which have been derived from Sanskrit, Telugu, and Tamil and we use it in our daily lives. Hence, when people use some common words in English that are difficult to remember in Kannada, there is no need to stress and say it is wrong. For example, we use the word police which is called aarakshaka in Kannada. While rakshaka is protector, aarakshaka sounds like the opposite word of protector. People will get confused in such cases. "
Kannada translation of some common English words:
Sahaja Krishi- organic farming
Maadhyam - media
Padhavi poorva- pre-university
Aarakshaka - police
Bahupaalu- large amount