INDIA-LANGUAGE

Paolo Gambi, Rinascimento poetico

INDIA-LANGUAGE
LOCAL LANGUAGE DRIVE GATHERS STEAM IN BANGALORE

BANGALORE, INDIA, NOV 18 (REUTERS) – A CAMPAIGN AGAINST ENGLISH-LANGUAGE SIGNBOARDS GOT UNDER WAY IN THE INDIAN HI-TECH CAPITAL OF BANGALORE ON TUESDAY, WITH DEMONSTRATORS SHOUTING SLOGANS AND BURNING A HUGE COCA-COLA SIGN.
THE CHAIRMAN OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT-RUN KANNADA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, CHANDRSHEKAR PATIL, SAID BUSINESSES HAD BEEN GIVEN AN ULTIMATUM TO DISPLAY SIGNS IN KANNADA, THE LOCAL LANGUAGE, BY DECEMBER 10.
"WE WILL BE FORCED TO INTENSIFY THE CAMPAIGN FROM DECEMBER 10," SAID PATIL, WHO LED MORE THAN 50 ACTIVISTS IN A SYMBOLIC MARCH DOWN A FASHIONABLE AVENUE OF THE CITY TO DEFACE AN ENGLISH-LANGUAGE SIGN.
BANGALORE, CAPITAL OF THE SOUTHERN STATE OF KARNATAKA, IS HOME TO INDIA’S SO-CALLED "SILICON VALLEY" OF SOFTWARE AND HI-TECH FIRMS, MANY OF THEM MULTINATIONALS.
PATIL SAID HIS ORGANISATION DID NOT WANT A TOTAL BAN ON ENGLISH-LANGUAGE SIGNBOARDS — BILINGUAL SIGNS WERE STILL PERMITTED, PROVIDING THE KANNADA WORDING WAS LARGER THAN THE ENGLISH WORDING.
BUT HE SAID HE WAS PUTTING PRESSURE ON THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO MAKE IMPRISONMENT A POSSIBLE PENALTY FOR PEOPLE WHOSE SIGNS WERE NOT IN KANNADA AS WELL AS CURRENT FINES OF UP TO 250 RUPEES ($6.66).
KANNADA ACTIVISM HAS IN THE PAST LED TO TENSION IN PARTS OF BANGALORE WHICH ARE DOMINATED BY TAMIL AND URDU SPEAKERS.
(1$=37.5 RUPEES)
18-11-97

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