Saturday, July 01, 2006


Code in Kannada!

Students of SJCE, Mysore - with the help of Banavasi Balaga - have come up with a unique idea that has won a prize from Red Hat. Linux in Kannada! This can be a path-breaking initiative.

One of the reasons a lot of bright minds of rural India do not do well professionally well is because of lack of good grasp of English language. People with otherwise good analytical skills get short-changed because of this disadvantage. Rural and underpriviliged India has realized this, and hence the war-cry for making English compulsory from 1st class in Karnataka by oraganizations like Dalita Sangharsha Samiti.

This demand is not without reason. There is no doubt that in the present context to get any kind of entry into the IT field, one needs to be good in English. And every Tom, Dick and Harry in India wants to be in IT field today.

At the same time, I hold the belief that one of the key ingredients for a countries progress is to allow all transactions in their local language. By forcing a foreign language upon people, we are breaking their self-belief. Not surprisingly, most of the richest countries in the world transact in their own language, and most of the poor countries transact in foreign language.

One must read this eye-opening essay by Sankrant Sanu. If anybody still thought that it is because of our "English-speaking skills" that India is able to get the max of globalization, then this should remove any such illusion.

I hope initiatives like this Linux kernel in Kannada will bridge the gap between India's English-speaking elites and the non-English speaking millions. Imagine somebody coding in Kannada using "paTTi -u" rather than "ls -l"!

Avoid all weakness, for weakness is sin, weakness is death.
-Swami Vivekanda

I'm happy to read this blog. How did you come to know of the association of Balaga with the project? I'm Kiran from Balaga and I guided the students.
@Kiran, First of all my kudos for working on this path-breaking initiative. I hope this initative is taken forward and will lead to a revolution wherein we will provide people the flexibility to use their local language for all purposes while using IT.

I'm part of a Kannada group in the company I work, and got to know from a common member between the two groups.

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