A fiery exchange between a Bengaluru auto driver and a woman over Hindi vs Kannada has teed up a fresh controversy over language in the southern state.
The video of the incident, in internet speak, is now viral. It has racked up 1.5 million views.
The 26-second clip, shows the auto driver refusing to speak in Hindi and berating the woman for not speaking in Kannada. The woman, who kept video recording the driver, refused to speak in Kannada.
NDTV cannot independently verify the authenticity of the video.
Here’s the exchange between the two:
Driver: Why should I speak in Hindi?
Woman: Okay, okay, okay.
Driver: This is Karnataka. You have to speak in Kannada. You people are north Indian beggars.
Woman: Why. We will not speak in Kannada.
Driver: This is our land, not your land. You have to speak in Kannada. Why should I speak in Hindi.
Why should I speak in Hindi?
Bangalore Auto Driver pic.twitter.com/JFY85wYq51
— We Dravidians (@WeDravidians) March 11, 2023
“Please find that lady who intimidated that autodriver and advise her to read Indian Constituion Preamble 10 times,” said Rejimon Kuttappan, an author, in response to the video.
The video attracted a lot of attention with people weighing in on the language debate.
“How will Bangalore become Asia’s Silicon Valley when we can’t get over trivial issues even tho both natives and migrants understand a common language?” said a person reacting to the video.
“The fact that video is in the public domain recorded by the passenger tells you the entitlement these lot have. They think the auto driver is in the wrong while they’re the victims when they’re simply too arrogant to respect the land they’re in,” said a user in comments.
Some praised the auto driver for standing up for himself.
“Salute to the auto driver for standing up for his identity and giving back. Imposing your language on others is plain high headedness. Respect for dravidians,” said another.
Hindi has been an emotive issue in South India. Last year, the southern states reacted angrily to Home Minister Amit Shah’s appeal to broaden the reach of Hindi to all parts of India, calling it “the only language that can unify the entire country”.
DMK chief MK Stalin had demanded that the Prime Minister intervene and threatened “a nationwide agitation,” while the Congress in Karnataka called Mr Shah’s statements “propaganda” and AIMIM in Telangana said “India is much more than Hindi, Hindu, Hindutva”. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the statement made by Home Minister is inappropriate.
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