A week or ten days ago, it was when I was scrolling through my Instagram feed that I came across this advertising that announced an early bird offer for the first 50 participants to learn derivatives trading in the stock market. The advertising was in English. I found it lucrative, 900 bucks is a good investment if you can learn something to promote yourself from an investor to a trader, right? At least to earn the path to become one.

Fast forward to the first session that was held on 29th October 2021, Mr. Siddhant Kumar from “Wow Traders Club” kicks off his session via Zoom call. There are 450-500 participants on the call and we’re told to not use the chatbox during the meeting. We’re told that we shouldn’t use the Telegram group till the end of session. Now, given that it’s hard to handle such a crowd on an online platform, the rules seem sensible. Three minutes into the call, even as the host is switching between Hindi and English, someone reports this, asking for the content to be shared in English. Our humble host, humbly says that it hss been previously announced that the session will be bilingual. But then, even our governments are bilingual, so it shouldn’t matter. At least he is being considerate by holding a bilingual session. It’s fair.

But then, he says something that hit me hard. He said “most people here anyway know Hindi, the session will be in Hindi”. There it was again, that entitlement that Hindi speakers often exhibit, chest-thumping nationalists who believe Hindi is the rajabhasha, rashtrabhasha. Those that often cannot distinguish between Hindi and Hindustani and strongly feel Urdu is a Muslim language that should be spoken in Pakistan. Now, true that Mr. Kumar didn’t claim any of these, he only assumed that everyome on the call amd everyone these days anyway know Hindi. It was this siddhanta of his, this taken-for-granted-ness that he imparts to the wider group that didn’t go down well with me. I protrsted,I pinged him nevertheless. I asked him how he can claim something like that. That this is hegemony, oppression. He wouldn’t bother. He goes on speaking in Hindi and presumably blocks me from sending amy further chat messages on the platform.

Now, passions flare quite high for Kannadigas around the month of November. I’m not among those, for many years now, I have felt the need for Kannada and all other languages and the regions in which they’re spoken to stand up against Hindi hegemony and preserve the particular identities of their regions, the people who inhabit them and speak those languages. Languages are not just modes of communication. Those that clain so will be rejecting Marx at the same time and they don’t see the contradiction. A sysnthesis is oblivious to its thesis and anti-thesis, a synthesis merely exists. Hindi hegemony merely exists, it doesn’t know what it means for the non-Hindi speakers to wear their linguistic identity on their sleeves with pride. The only thing they know other than propagating their language through Bollywood, BJP and Hindi Pakhwada is to hate Urdu. Not to digress, languages are not just modes of communication. They form a culture, they give us an identity to transgress the caste and class divides. With the concept of Indianness being questioned everyday, the definition being changed everyday, and with a dominant Indian culture that nost of us don’t relate to, we non-Hindi speakers can define our terms. So, please! Zabaan zara sambhaal ke baat karna sahib! Hum aise log hain jo China ko Chinese mein gaali de sakte hain!!

I quit the Zoom meeting. I’d rather not attend his lecture. The one that never advertised its Hindi-ness when offering seats at hefty discounts. I know it may be a lost cause at the fees have already been paid and he is richer by 900 bucks. Let that 900 be my bakshish to him for him to pay for some additional bandwidth and learn a little more than trading, about the people of his country.

P.S. High time the regional identities are upheld and flags granted. Not just Karnataka, every state in India should have its own flag. And no, it isn’t anti-national.

Sirigannadam gelge. Sirigannadam baalge. Jai Hind.