17 January, 2021

Heard That Kannadiga Joke?

On the predicament presented by, yes, lack of stereotypes

Illustration by Sorit
Heard That Kannadiga Joke?

It is impossible to miss the large, floor-to-ceiling close-up shots of coy Indian brides and grooms on the restroom corridor walls at the Delhi international airport. Couples in Bengali, Kashmiri, Maharashtrian, Malayali, Punjabi and Tamil wedding finery are paired across the wall shared by the restrooms. It made me realise, yet again, that Kannadigas (and no doubt many other language communities in India) do not find a place in the cute and lazy visual schemes of national unity. In the national imagination, there are few images, sounds or smells that help create a recognisable presence of the Kannadigas.

Another instance was the national unity song, Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, telecast ad infinitum on DD in the late ’80s. The video strove to bring an authentic fit between the landscape, dress and personalities and the various Indian langu­ages in the song’s lyrics. Decked in a Gujar­ati-style sari, Mallika Sarabhai sings a line in Gujarati, actress Revathi is draped in Kan­jeevaram while being all ears to Balamu­ralikrishna singing a Tamil...



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