Lunch time talk – Hatred towards Chennai

During my customary lunchtime conversation with my friends few months back I got to know the hatred people had for my home town Chennai. I was first a little bit perplexed and annoyed with their accusations but understood that most of their issues came about due to the language. I decided to do some research online and found lots of blogs and articles regarding the same issue.

To be frank I don’t understand what the big deal is. The major accusation against Tamil Nadu is that they don’t speak the “National Language” Hindi. Which itself is a false premise for the hatred as India as a country does not have a National Language. People fail to understand the same as they have been wrongly taught in schools as Hindi is our National language. Indian constitution does not mention a National Language for India. Hindi along with English is one of the official languages of the country and each state has their own official language along with English.

So this makes our country a linguistically free country, which means that anyone is free to talk their own language. No one is under pressure to speak or learn any language unless they want to out of interest. So this begs the question as to why people from other parts of India expect Chennaites to speak in Hindi. Why can’t they converse in English as it is the other official language of our constitution? My parents were bank employees and we have had our share of moving around the country and every time I am in a new place I would have to adapt myself according to the place I am in. Being a Tamilian I cannot go to Delhi and expect them to speak to me in Tamil. I have to learn Hindi to blend with them. People fail to realize that someone coming outside Tamil Nadu faces the same issues as the ones coming into it.

When I came to the US in 2003 one of my Tamil friends warned me about the Telugu friends in the college. He said that we are isolated and they don’t talk to us. I did not take any of that nonsense and I mingled with them and learned their language and smoothly slid into their circle. I now have great friends from college and I am still in touch with most of them. It just teaches one thing, people who are happy to change themselves and adapt themselves will always come out ahead. People who crib about anything and everything will always fall behind.

I now can speak Hindi, English and Tamil fluently and can understand and speak broken Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam which makes my life easier. For me cribbing is not an option in these scenarios. We are always competing in this world and it’s always survival of the fittest. No place is a bad place; every place has its own charm and culture. If you embrace it then you will be the winner. When we go to a new place the people there don’t change according to our needs, we have to change according to where we are.

I am not going to sit here and say that Chennai is the best place in the world, for that matter even in India but it’s not the worst either. Yes Chennai has its issues like language, Weather etc but has its advantages too. Every place in India is the same. For a Tamilian travelling to Delhi or Mumbai, the issues are the same but we try to adjust. There is no complaints on our part.

Chennai is a great place, I love being there but if I have to move to a different part of the country I will do it without a problem. If I have to learn Marathi, Gujarati or any other language to blend into the local crowd I will do that. That’s what makes life interesting isn’t it. We are moving towards new age India and it’s sad to see that we are still in the stone age of fighting over language and region. Just try to blend with the locals wherever you go and you will find that the place is not that bad after all.

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