In Bengaluru’s Metro rail project, the signboards at stations that use three languages, Kannada, English and Hindi, have drawn criticism, with this being viewed as another instance of the imposition of Hindi. The chairperson of the Kannada Development Authority (KDA), which is a governmental body, has written to the MD of the BMRCL (Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation) asking him to explain under what rules the signboards have used Hindi.
Chairman of KDA, S G Siddaramaiah told press that under the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, Kannada was to be given importance over the other languages. “It is only central government entities that are required to follow the three-language formula whereas all other establishments should have Kannada and another language, with Kannada in larger font,” he said.
Siddaramaiah said an incorrect view was being promoted that Hindi was the national language. Pradeep Singh Kharola, MD of Bangalore Metro, refused to comment on the issue, because the issue concerning BMRCL and the KDA.
Siddaramaiah’s letter has raised the question about who owns BMRCL, a joint venture between the central and state government. Pro-Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj saw the hand of the Centre in the move to include Hindi in signboards. Nagaraj said Kannada had to be promoted in the state and there could be no compromise on this. “People coming from other states are welcome here, but they must also make an effort to learn the local language,” he asserted.
Now a protest campaign is running online with the hashtag #NammaMetroHindiBeda on Twitter widely.