E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: As the news of the non-availability of a Kannada translator in Parliament for over 6 months spread, I went in search of the elusive Kannadiga in Delhi. Delhi has lakhs of Kannadigas, plus or minus a few thousands.
I knew Karol Bagh had hundreds of Kannadigas, if not thousands. I saw one coming out of an Udupi restaurant in Ajmal Khan Road and asked him whether he would be interested in taking the vacant translator’s job in Parliament. He was suspicious in the beginning and was willing to talk only after verifying my credentials.
“I am quite interested in taking up this job. But I don’t know the Hindi word for aduru—iron ore. I start shaking all over when I hear the word. ’Kai Kaalella adurakke shuru aagutthe’. In the whole news these days it’s only about that word, I don’t want to take this job, even if they pay me 150, 000 per year or 150,00 per month!”
Next, I saw a Kannadiga coming out of Karnataka Bhavan. I asked him whether, he was willing to help out the Karnataka Government and take up the job.
“Bedwe beda Saar! As it is, I find it difficult to keep track of leaders from Karnataka and the party they belong to. I am also unable to differentiate between members of the ruling party and the opposition. Sometimes they oppose one another and in no time they come together to form a government to fight either ‘fascist forces’ or ‘communal forces’. I really don’t know the difference between the two! Also, I have to deal with Hindus, Hindulidavaru, Ahinda and now…. Hindi! It’s all so confusing. Nanganthu saakagi hogide! In fact, recently, I learnt Manipuri language and I am the Manipuri translator in Parliament’!
Next, I met the ‘Dehali Kannadiga’ who is a staunch Kannada supporter and runs a magazine by the same name.
“Why don’t you help the Lok Sabha Speaker by providing a Kannada translator? The Speaker says the last one retired and there is nobody to translate speeches made in Kannada in Parliament.”
“Is that so? This is news to us. Generally, Not many MPs from Karnataka speak in Parliament except to reply to Tamil Nadu MPs’ demand for Cauvery water. Since it recently rained camels and donkeys, we understand the dams are already over- flowing in KRS and Mettur, and there is no fight over ‘Demand and Supply’ of water this year! If I am not mistaken, even our MPs were not aware of the absence of Kannada translator!”