Rashmun wrote:As I was born in south Tamil Nadu, which is far away from the Cauvery delta, I had no sentiments about Cauvery. Either water is given or not, I had no benefit or loss because of that. But, there was a kind of negative image about Kannadigas before coming here. That's how the media in our place used to portray them. This is what I used to think about them - 'They would never give water. If you ask for it, they would beat up all Tamils in Bangalore. They are fanatics!'. I used to think it was an entertainment for Kannadigas in Bangalore to chase Tamils and kill them when they had no time-pass. Something like that happened in 1992. 18 Tamils were killed in various riots that happened due to Cauvery issue. There has been nothing like that before or after that incident. Whatever be the case - be it anybody's - 18 lives are not that cheap. Those who did it have to be punished by the law of the land. There is no question about it.
It's true that every Tamilian in Bangalore gets scared of his life every time this issue comes up. It's a matter of livelihood for the Tamils in Tanjore whereas it's a matter of life for the Tamils in Bangalore. But, are the Kannadigas such bad people? My personal opinion is - "No, they are not!". I keep saying this - "Leaving exceptions aside, an average Kannadiga is a better human being than an average Tamilian. I am not saying this to please my friends in Bangalore to gain any extra benefits. I have reasons to say this. Let's talk about them. Why should I talk about those reasons or why should all Tamils have the right understanding about Kannadigas? My answer is - Not all problems have to be settled in supreme court. I may have many problems with my brother on a day-to-day basis. We can't go to a court for each problem on daily basis. Whether we like it or not, we have to live together. We are inter-dependent. There is no point in being adamant about our points of view and growing the bitterness. It will take us nowhere.
One argument of Kannadigas that I agree with is - "If it was the other way around and we were to depend on Tamil Nadu for our water needs, we wouldn't get even a few drops of what we are giving you guys now!". I am more than sure that the Tamil politicians who are worse than their counterparts in Karnataka would have played dirtier games with this issue. After Kamaraj, we never had a decent chief minister. We didn't even have someone like Krishna. So, any one from Tamil Nadu would have been as good as him or worse than him but not better.
We could have solved this problem without coming to streets. It was politicized by politicians from both states. There were lots of unwanted rhetoric, sound bites, interviews and speeches that wouldn't help solve the problem.
Tamils in Bangalore also have to learn some basic etiquette. This is another complaint Kannadigas have. They ask, "Why do we not hate Telugus or Malayalis as much as we hate you guys?" and say, "They don't ask us who we are sitting in our house!". I agree to this to some extent. The other two groups don't hurt their sentiments when they are there in someone else's land for their livelihood. But, Tamils are little too much. Why? Maybe because they are huge in number. Or, may be because some of their grandfathers or great grandfathers have been part of the city's growth story right from the beginning. I know of some people who were migrated from northern parts of Tamil Nadu to Bangalore for all daily wage laborer jobs by British themselves long time back. They just know that Tamil is their mother tongue but wouldn't know their native place in Tamil Nadu. They have become so much sons of the soil. That's why I think they are more naughty in Bangalore than in Mumbai or Delhi. That's okay. It's great if you feel at home. But, things like not learning their language, making fun of their language or culture in public places, forming language-based groups and playing region-based politics in workplace have to be avoided at all costs. Nobody that instigates them to claim their rights teach them about these things.
I was saying in the beginning that an average Kannadiga is a better human being than an average Tamilian. Let me tell you how. It's a known fact that Tamils are the most aggressive lot in the south. The flip side of it is called arrogance. We do not have the basic decency of smiling at someone at the end of a conversation. We mistake self-respect to ego. We are not open to accepting other people as ours. No other state in India has given place for so many outsiders like MGR, Jayalalithaa or Rajnikanth. That is a different story. But, the ground reality is that Tamil Nadu is still not open to outsiders, which is not the case with Bangalore. It's easier for a Tamil to live in Bangalore than a Kannadiga in Chennai. I can challenge you to prove this wrong. The only thing that you would be able to prove is that the food in Chennai is tastier than Bangalore. That's it.
It's not that everyone in Karnataka hates Tamils. That hatred is there in just four districts. Bangalore, Mysore, Mandiya and Chamraj Nagar! Reason - Cauvery. Just like how it's not an issue for most part of Tamil Nadu, it's not an issue for most part of Karnataka too. None of the other districts take it so seriously. Nobody in Mangalore, Hubli or Shimoga throws stones on TN registered vehicles or Government properties. If you have been here and spent some time, I am sure you would have seen this in the local news channels. It's not that the whole of Karnataka hates the whole of Tamil Nadu. These are some poisonous weeds sowed by our media. They also have an equivalent word for hospitality in Kannada. How do you think then so many million Tamils could have settled in Bangalore for so long?
But, I have also seen that people's attitude changes as soon as the Cauvery issue comes up. They would block all Tamil channels. You can't predict when they would get hostile to what you say or do. They would forget all their differences with other people. Some people would even look at you like enemies. They would drag you to unwanted arguments by force and provocation. You would even get scared to drive TN registered vehicles. I am still not able to understand what makes such friendly people change so drastically all of a sudden.
Though I said it's a known fact that the Tamils are the most aggressive or arrogant lot in the south, as far as the Cauvery issue is concerned, the Tamils have always been in the receiving end. They have never given back. Only the last time, for the first time, during the Hogenakkal issue, we could hear about some untoward incidents in some parts of northern Tamil Nadu. It's a major change but I am not sure if it is good for the future of our relationship.
But, I should also tell you why Tamils accepted outsiders like MGR, Jayalalithaa or Rajnikanth in better ways than others. There is a reason for that also. Nobody is as mad about cinemas as the Tamils. That's why people from all parts of the country came and conquered there. It had plenty of opportunities and hence the industry had the openness to accept outsiders. On the other hand, Karnataka doesn't have that madness. Whatever interest they have for cinema is there in only few districts. Others don't even watch much movies or they watch only Hindi movies. Their movie industry is not that big. That's why Rajkumar did not become as popular as MGR or Sivaji Ganesan. Even in the Kannada cinema industry, there are a lot of others including Tamils. Not just as hero or heroine but also as various other technicians. Anyway, that's not required in the discussion of who is a better human being.
Having said all these, there is one basic thing that makes Tamils better. They have come to streets many times for various language-based political agitations. But, never have they killed a single human being in any of their demonstrations. Nobody could provoke them to kill a fellow human being, which was possible with the Kannadigas in 92. Even then I say that they are better human beings than us. Why? That's what I have understood from my day-to-day interactions with them. I am sure every Tamilian that has lived in Bangalore for any long or short period of time would agree with me.
Finally, let me tell you something and conclude this. There was a local rogue in the area where I stayed with my friends when I was bachelor. On a Sunday afternoon, when my friends and I were having lunch in a Malayali restaurant, he was having lunch with his friends too in the same place. All of them were drunk. At some point, for no reason, he threw the water jug and made a lot of noise. He was asking the restaurant owner for things that were not available. All his friends were trying to control him saying, "Hey, he is a Malayali not Tamil!". So, why did he create so much scene? One - he was drunk. Two - he mistook a Malayali restaurant to a Tamil one.
Another scene after a few months. There were trucks going from every area in Bangalore to all coastal areas of Tamil Nadu to help the victims of Tsunami. These trucks were carrying food, clothes and many other things for the helpless people. I saw this guy (the same rogue) being very busy in loading some stuff to a truck, which was going to Nagapattinam. I was touched by that scene. I should say, I was disturbed for many days. What made him create such a bad scene in the restaurant the other day? What made him so busy today in loading a vehicle that was going to Tamil Nadu? How do I decide whether he likes Tamils or hates them? Looks like he is just interested in being busy with something. It could be a fight. It could be a charity work. That's it.
This reminds me of something else too. Every time there is a natural or man-made disaster killing thousands of lives in the country, everyone across the country generously contributes to help the victims. Starting from Kargil war, for everything including Gujarat earthquake and Orissa flood, I have been hearing from the local media that the highest contribution went from Tamil Nadu. I am not sure how authentic the data is. I believe it not just because it strengthens my argument but also because it came from our media. I am sure the media would have verified the facts before publishing them though we can't believe them so much. Assuming that they are not lies, what we also understand from this is that they may behave differently than others or you may even say that they have behavioral problems but are not so bad human beings as others think. They are also better than others in some ways.
Now, the last question is - If both of us are good peoples, why do we fight against each other? That's where politics comes into scene. That's where the hatred politics finds its place. Should we not be more careful with such people (our own people) for our own good?!
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