I live in Bangalore, Karnataka. Lately, I’ve become absolutely fed up with people around me not speaking Kannada.

I go to a hotel, and the security guy who’s supposed to help me park doesn’t even know how to say “banni” (come), or “saaku” (stop).

Delivery people call me, and more often than not speak in Hindi.

There are asshats like this guy who say:

That’s because of Karnataka language issue — Local people / Police feel that they are the boss and never wants to talk in neutral language like Hindi & English. But they never imagine if the outsider is not there — what will happen — who will take rent houses, how Uber will run or how the revenue will generate. And somehow they are loosing business also due to this kind of regional bias.

Dear Mr. Asshat:

We were doing just fine a long time before you graced us with your asshattery. We’d be just fine without you. Heck, I’d even say we’d be a lot better off without you. Let’s also have no illusions. You aren’t here out of the goodness of your heart, to make Bangalore land lords rich. You’re here because this is where you found education, and employment. So show some gratitude.

Would you go to Japan and complain about the police and locals not speaking Hindi to you? What would you say if I went to Uttar Pradesh and expected people to speak to me in Kannada.

While we’re on the topic, let’s get one thing straight: Hindi is in no way neutral. Hindi is as neutral to me as Korean. Neither is English. For better or worse though, English is the language most of the world speaks. There are world class text books that are only available in English. There are economic reasons for me to be proficient in English. There is absolutely no reason for me to know Hindi.

Now, I know I sound like Donald Drumpf talking about immigrants. Quite the opposite, actually. I think immigration is a wonderful idea. Immigrants work harder, and are more motivated than the lazy incumbents to get things done. They have more of a purpose in life because they left something behind, in search of something better. I’m convinced that the reason the US is as successful as it is, is because it is a nation of immigrants. I would love for more motivated people from all over India to come to Bangalore, and make it a better place. Create more meaningful jobs, improve the economy, and make the lives of those around you better.

There is one major caveat though: assimilation. If you’re going to come here, and show no respect for our way of life, you’re just going to recreate the place you left (for good reason). We don’t want that.

When you come here, learn to live like us. The first step in that process: speak Kannada. I’m not asking you to become an expert in Kannada literature. All I’m asking for is to learn enough to speak to people you see on the roads.

Do you have kids who go to school in Bangalore? Make them take Kannada as a second language instead of Hindi. Even if you’re a lost cause, ensure your children are not.

To those of you who have lived in Karnataka for several years and have still made no effort to learn Kannada, consider this my version of:

This is Karnataka!

Gopal Sharma

gps gopalkri