From removing Hindi in Metro sign boards to asking Apple to include Kannada keyboards in their devices, the state government’s Kannada Development Authority (KDA) has been in the news several times in recent months. Now, the KDA has demanded that the passports issued in Karnataka should mandatorily have Kannada.
SG Siddaramaiah, Chairman of the KDA told TNM that the agency’s officials would visit the Regional Passport Office officials next week and put forth their demand.
“Our demand is that all Regional Passport Offices in Karnataka issue passports that also have details in Kannada. Kannada should be included in every passport they issue from now on. From the cover page of the passport to the inside pages where stamping is done, all information must be included in Kannada along with English,” Siddaramaiah said.
The KDA Chairman says that passport being the travel document certifying the identity of Indian citizens, it would be an excellent way to promote the language internationally.
“Passport is used for international travel. Kannada script on the passports will ensure that it is recognised by immigration officials. Why should it be printed only in English and Hindi and not Kannada? Besides, various countries issue passports only in their regional language. It is about protecting identity and regional pride,” he added.
SG Siddaramaiah has led successful initiatives since he took office as the Chairman of KDA. Last year the KDA and several pro-Kannada organisations had demanded that Hindi signs in metro stations be removed. The KDA had successfully managed to get Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) officials to agree to their demands.
In October 2017, the KDA chief and several of the agency’s officials had visited the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru, where they demanded that the announcements within the airport also be made in Kannada along with Hindi and English. The authorities met their demands and now announcements are being made in three languages at the airport.
The KDA also got BBMP to implement compulsory usage of Kannada on any sign board in the state.
“If we do not strive to protect our language and identity, there will always be imposition. There has been a long-standing demand that Kannada be included in passports issued in the state. It is time it became a reality,” Siddaramaiah said.