“Nobody has more right to live in this country than me, and I am not going to leave. So shut up”, says Shah Rukh Khan

This is how I felt while living in Maharashtra (etc). I did not intend or care or feel the need to learn the language or culture of anywhere in India to live there. Being a law abiding citizen of India was enough. There was nothing to prove to fellow citizens no matter which part of the country they lived or ‘belonged to’.

Hillele

Shah-Rukh-Khan

Shahrukh Khan, during a Twitter townhall with a leading media outfit, said that he is open to the idea of  giving up his award as a symbolic means of protest against extreme intolerance in India.

“Yes, as a symbolic gesture I would give it up,” the actor said, referring to the spate of other film personalities, artists, writers, scientists and others who have returned awards as a measure of protest in recent months. “I do think there is intolerance. There is extreme intolerance,” the actor added in a hard hitting statement.

Shahrukh Khan, when asked about communalism in the country, reiterated the importance of India’s secular fabric. When asked about his identity as a Muslim in India, the actor said: “No one can question my patriotism. How dare anyone?” adding that the biggest mistake a patriot could make was to go against secularism.

SRK

Actor Shah Rukh Khan, celebrating his 50th birthday…

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70 thoughts on ““Nobody has more right to live in this country than me, and I am not going to leave. So shut up”, says Shah Rukh Khan

  1. “I did not intend or care or feel the need to learn the language or culture of anywhere in India to live there.”

    While I disagree with the goons, I think it’s remarkably shallow and inconsiderate of people to insist that they will have nothing whatsoever to do with the local culture of the place where they choose to live. It’s not necessary that one adopts every facet of the culture, but there are many things to learn. It’s just arrogant to claim that you don’t care and it’s not surprising that such an attitude would give rise to resentment. Mutual respect is important and taking efforts to learn about other people comes under the broad umbrella of ‘giving respect’. I don’t agree with the above statement at all, though I support SRK’s statement on this issue.

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      • Very True. We can accept our neighbors just as they are, but trying to fit in and be like them, is never going to help and frankly no one has the time. Tolerance is always about living together in spite of all the differences.

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      • It’s not about time or talent, it’s about intent and frankly,good manners. No one is demanding that you speak fluent Malayalam if you move to Kerala tomorrow, but learning a few common phrases and being aware and respectful of local customs is the right thing to do.This is the same thoughtless mindset, that when taken to an extreme leads to racism and violent racist acts.

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        • If a need is felt the newcomers would learn a language. They don’t owe any special courtesy to anybody, mutual courtesy is good enough.

          Why is not knowing a language such an issue? If the newcomers have similar expectations they would be equally unjustified.

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        • On the contrary think its the sense of entitlement that newcomers should learn ‘a few words’ or ‘a few sentences’ or ‘the entire language’ that leads to racism and not a newcomer who minds his own business.

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        • We had a Manager when I worked in Chennai who had moved in from Kolkata. He lived for 10 years in Chennai and did not learn a word of Tamil. Obviously it is upto the individual, his/ her capabilities and interest to do this. However, the clear indication we got from him was that learning Tamil symbolised him dropping down from his current status. This is what annoyed me. It is fine that you do not want to mingle with us, but do not pass on your self-acclaimed fake superiority down to us.

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      • I agree that not everyone has the talent for languages (My father being a prime example – 40 years in B’lore and his Kannada is a running joke in the family) – but the statement above comes across as rude and disrespectful – not considerate of local culture in any way. SRK is an articulate and very intelligent man – who has said something to this effect in other interviews too – and the tone has always sounded off to me – I don’t buy that this is solely my interpretation. And you needn’t be fluent in a language – showing you’re making a genuine attempt at it is mostly enough.

        That said, no denying that he has a perfect right to his opinions.

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      • I agree with IHM and Mersha. As it is India has so many different languages and everytime somebody has to move to various places, you can’t learn all those languages especially if you are not good in languages. As for the culture you do get to know the culture but what’s the need learn? Expecting someone to learn your culture because you moved in there is being territorial. We owe each other courtesy and tolerance, respect is something when you look up to someone and maybe there are some aspects of culture that might call for respect and for that nobody has to expect respect. Respect is something intrinsic and can’t be forced. Courtesy and tolerance is a must.

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      • No one is asking you to learn the whole language IHM. A few words? A little effort?
        Most people try to speak Hindi everywhere and they expect to be understood, and are angry when the locals can’t understand/won’t respond.
        I’ve seen this happen so many times in Bangalore– there seems to be an outrage that locals don’t know Hindi, or even worse that we speak it incorrectly/with the wrong accent/pronunciation. It’s get irritating to put with all that condescension.

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        • Expecting anybody to learn any language they don’t speak, or want to, our can’t (or whatever) is likely to create resentment. This sort of sense of entitlement creates divides.

          If someone does choose to learn a few words or an entire language that’s their gain (easier communication, approval from those who expect this as their right) or loss (of time or effort for instance) – it doesn’t make them more Indian or better neighbours.

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        • One problem is this sense that some people own special rights to the neighbourhoods where a majority speaks their mother tongue. Might as well warn newcomers officially so they don’t waste their time and money settling in such places, unless they are prepared to seek approval from those who make such demands.

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        • Well for some people expecting someone to learn few words are enough, for some few sentences and few ‘would’ expect you to learn the entire languages. So which all of these people should be entertained?

          If somebody makes fun of locals for not knowing hindi they should be told that hindi is not language of the state or country and they have no basis for expecting people to know hindi. But there is no need to preach that they should learn ‘few words’, ‘few sentences’ or the entire local language. Let them figure out how they want to manage.

          I have also experienced that when you do try to learn the local language even you are made fun for your pronunciation many times.

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        • Expecting South Indians to “know a little Hindi” (even if they’ve never lived in the North) is the same as expecting North Indians to “speak a little Tamil or Kannada” when they live in Chennai or Bangalore. Both expectations are unnecessary. What we should expect is common courtesy and law abiding neighbors. What language they speak or do not speak is their business. Where do we draw the line? Must celebrate local festivals? Must wear local traditional clothes? Although these expectations are not bad/evil and are simply the result of human nature, they do encourage mild forms of prejudice/racism and a feeling of insiders/outsiders and false requirements for fitting in.

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      • I love SRK, have watched all his movies. I do not agree with those who question his patriotism.
        That said, what is this Intolerance he is talking about? He probably is the MOST LOVED Actor in India, does any of us think about his religion when watching his movies? What kind of image of India has he portrayed to the world? Should he not have some sense of responsibility before uttering such words? Are Twitter trolls equivalent to what’s happening on the ground in India? Does he understand even POTUS is not spared from abuse? From MMS to Modi to RG to Salman to Amitabh everybody gets abused on Social media. What has he faced in India? I am being bombarded with questions from non-Indian co-workers about the state of affairs in India, they seem to think India is like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia for Minorities. Nobody is ready to listen to my explanation. Seriously, what has happened now to people ?? Did we not hear about any such incidences earlier? …I DO NOT support all this Award wapsi happening, none of them are helping the victims, just creating an atmosphere of doubt and fear which is not at all true in India.

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    • Completely agree with you Fem. I’m so tired of Indians who think that local cultures shouldn’t be respected, because “aren’t we all one big country”. That’s a gross over-simplification in my opinion.

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    • Fem, Well said.

      I come across this disturbing trend where people who move to the city I love in and settle down here (for the opportunities this place has to offer) practice intolerance for everything that belongs to this place including the language. While these people cry hoarse about being subjected to racism if someone innocently says ‘learn the local language’, them going out of their way to NOT learn it or avoid learning it is nothing short of pure malice and hatred. I can understand if adults don’t have the time or capacity to learn but what about actively preventing their children from learning ? Let me give the example of my neighbor. Her young son has the option of picking the first, second and third languages in school and she specifically said she wants to avoid the state language/local language (with the flake reason that it is too difficult). What will he pick instead ? French.No, this family obviously is not from France but from a neighboring state, known for it’s language chauvinism , if I may add. So there are these whole bunch of kids who are born and brought up here and will probably live here all their lives but will not learn a word of the local language (while learning French, English and what have you) thanks to this subtle hatred and apathy instilled in them by their parents.

      Another interesting observation I have about the people who are proponents of the this right to live anywhere in India without having to learn the local language are usually those who do not live in their native state. I’d love to see these people advocate the same rights for people who will move into their state, for example, and refuse to learn the local language. That won’t happen, of course.

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      • Maybe you are correct about your neighbour, but i dont think teaching children an international language in lieu of the local one is bad. depends on what they think is more useful for their kids lives i guess. and it is certainly not hatred for the locals. I learnt french ,love the lang , dont like the french or france much At all🙂 lived there done and moved on. whereas lived in calcutta dont speak a work of bengali or desire to but love the place and people.
        you may be right about your neighbour but one never know whats in someone else’s mind. I wouldnt paint a single family with the politics of an entire state.

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        • I completely understand it when some family has come to reside here for a few years and could move on to a different place like army families.You obviously can’t expect them to go on learning a new language every few years. The problem is when someone has chosen a place to settle down, the children are born here and do all of the schooling here and they choose to AVOID learning the local language in school or otherwise like it is the plague. I cannot find a single reason why someone would choose to do that other than deep rooted malice.

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      • I don’t think that not learning the local language exhibits intolerance of the locals OR their language, necessarily, Like IHM says, some people can and do learn languages easily, others don’t. As long as they’re not actively denigrating anybody or anything, and they’re not harming anyone but minding their own business, where’s the problem?

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    • I am a bangaloean.. I speak kannada, telugu and english fluently for the best of my knowledge…
      3 scenarios:
      1. If any of my non- bangalore friends/colleagues speaks/tries to speak/ learns/tries to learn Kannada, i feel a sense of pride and happily teach/listen to them. I have had hindi speaking colleagues who wanted to learn Kannada songs and sing them in any given event at work.. i would very excitedly teach them how to pronunce words etc etc.. and listening to them sing kannada is so exciting…
      2. If any of my non-bangalore friends choose to not speak in kannada or not to learn kannada at all, i will not get offended.. we anyways have english a common language for our communication.. am not bothered at all, i respect their choices…
      3. If any of my friends disrespect any of the languages that i speak or others speak, i would surely rebuke.. if they disrespect kannada, yes i will answer back, same holds good if they disrespect ppl speaking english too.. i have had ppl tell me, enough of your style, shut up and speak kannada.. I say my mouth, i decide what comes out of it, you have no rights to dictate what i speak.. I dono whats so stylish in speaking english, its just another language of communication..
      there is a saying in kannada ‘Ganchali Bidi Kannada Mathadi’ Meaning:’leave ur arrogance and speak kannada’. I would say ‘ganchali bidi, ella bhashe gu Maryade kodi’ Meaning:’leave ur arrogance and respect all languages’

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    • As the child of an army officer, I’d say that while one should be open to learning new languages and be interested in sub-cultures, it’s impossible from a practical point of view.

      I have lived in 13 different states, many with their own regional language and sub-culture.

      I have always liked learning new languages, but am only tri-lingual, and speak a fourth language atrociously. It’s an impossible proposition, for someone like me, who’s had to up and leave every few years.

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  2. Shah Rukh Sir is a law abiding citizen and comes from a family of freedom fighters. He has nothing to prove and laud his courage for speaking the truth on growing intolerance. It’s his opinion and expression it doesn’t make him less Indian.

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  3. I’ve lived in TN, Karnataka, AP, Kerala, Delhi , Calcutta and UP . I speak 3 lang ( sinceit was reqd in school) but beyond that i didn’t care to learn any more. local culture or not. managed with english and mostly sign language…
    doesnt mean i don’t respect people. I agree with his statement, Its INDIA and If im INDIAN i can go live where i please and not have to learn an extra thing. while i did imbibe what i liked about the local culture there were places where i didn’t think they had one single thing i could adapt too. but it was india … and as an indian its all the same.

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  4. I think effort can be made to learn a few words of the language when you live in a particular area.
    If you don’t, at least don’t expect the locals to know your language, in Bangalore I see people trying to speak Hindi to everyone and then getting offended if the bus conductor/vegetable seller/auto wallah don’t understand/don’t respond.
    Also when someone tries to speak Hindi, they are ridiculed for their pronunciation/accent.
    Lot’s of intolerance i would say.

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  5. I would also like to add that its amazing to see and experience different cultures. Its beautiful to explore especially if you are on a holiday. Some people look out for professional assignments where they get to travel and experience different cultures. But if its made into some sort of entitlement by the locals the whole interest in the culture goes for a toss. You start resenting something that should could have been a lovely experience. You just ruin it making into an expectation or a rule. Also some people are extremely busy, and learning a few words of a language make take only 10 mins a day but maybe they have some 50 things in pipeline for those 10 mins which might also include an exercise, calling up your family or feeding your dog. What do you have to say about people who are shy? Maybe they just want to keep to themselves Would you call them as having bad manners? Being rude to people is bad manners not keeping to yourself. Offending someone’s culture is bad manners not being absent from it.

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  6. I do believe in practicality when it comes to learning/not learning languages. If it makes life easier for the individual to learn the local language, he/she will learn. If that individual chooses to not learn the language (for whatever reason) he/she will have to deal with the communication gap. However, learning/not-learning any language does not give anyone a ticket to deny courtesy towards that individual. I am a maharashtrian, married to a bengali. It is in my benefit that I learn to alteast understand some basic bengali. Same for my inlaws…it is in their benefit that they learn some basic marathi/hindi. Hence, we do try on both sides to learn each others’ languages.
    And now that I am in bangalore, where many people speak kannada, I will at least try and pick up some basic kannada. Not because im interested in learning languages or interested to fit it but because it will make my life easier in communicating with locals (esp autowalas, veggie vendors).

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  7. I seem to have touched on a sensitive subject. But to be honest, I wasn’t really just talking about language. The entire comment that one doesn’t need to or “care about” learn or participate in the local culture, just reeked of such arrogance. The first thing I would do when moving to a new place is to explore it and try to enjoy all the nice things it has to offer. It doesn’t mean you have to blend in completely. It means you offer something and receive something in return. That’s what multiculturalism is all about – not about different peoples shut behind their invisible barriers of arrogance and apathy. Being doesn’t take away from an Indian citizen’s right to live anywhere in India. This general consideration just helps everyone rub along a bit better and have a genuine exchange of cultural practices, which broadens horizons and is basically the only way forward. I think this attitude is where all the nonsense of marrying into the same community and strictly controlling other people comes from – because people don’t want to mix.

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        • Actually the locals also dont care one way or the other if a newcomer learns their language or not…but language is a bonding factor is it not? a means of communication through which human beings bond? It would have been great if we all had one common laguage, but we do not. So how do we bond with our neighbors/locals when we cannot communicate? And its ok,if you do not want to bond with your neighbors…its totally up to you. But then dont complain if your neighbors do not reciprocate!

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    • //I think this attitude is where all the nonsense of marrying into the same community and strictly controlling other people comes from – because people don’t want to mix.//

      Haha … thats one way to interpret it. However I find locals feeling entitled to newcomer showing interest in their culture akin to in laws in patriarchal set up expecting the new bride to blend in especially if she is from another culture.

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      • I never said the locals should feel entitled to thrust their culture upon a newcomer. I am against that sort of bullying. I am saying that people should open their minds to other people around them and participate in cultural exchange as much as they can. Shutting yourself up and not caring about mixing with different people and experiencing different things is something I find very arrogant because there is usually no reason for it other than the simple idea that you think your way of life is infinitely superior to everyone else’s. That’s why you “don’t care”. I find such behaviour very sad.

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  8. I live in Mumbai and speak hindi – thats not my mother tounge , having said that my husband is fluent in marathi and hindi, how i have no idea. i cant understand much of marathi and can barely speak a work , its v v hard .but i can speak french🙂 because i love the way it sounds…
    It is certainly easier to know the local language. but in a country like ours its should NOT be a requirement. we are an amalgamation of languages ,cultures, practices.
    No good comes out of force or expectations. ever.
    Its wrong to expect people to adapt to the local culture just like its wrong to expect the locals to cater to your rigidity.
    Language is a means of communication, nothing else, if you can communicate then thats all that matters , all this fighting is pointless, how about those who are dumb… dont they communicate???

    If you are an indian , it is your birthright to live anywhere in india. speak any language . and follow any culture. irrespective of it pleases your host culture or not. tolerance has to be both ways. respect and consideration both ways.
    IMO maharastra for marathis for e.g is one of the dumbest ideas i have heard. sure put sign board in marathi and go your way , its upto me to decipher it or not. its not your job to impose on me to learn marathi. if i cant read the boards its my loss. how i resolve that issue is none of anyone’s business. calling me rude for that is rude . and calling me less patriotic or asking me to go back to the state whose lang i speak is ever more unacceptable. Its is after all a part of india and I am indian. or so my passport says.

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  9. My pets don’t speak English or any Indian language, but we get along fine. We don’t bark or meow either.

    Humans in general have a lot of hang-ups. Speaking of hang-ups, when I lived in Mumbai, every south Indian to them was a “Madrasi” and all our languages were “andu gundu”. If you can’t be bothered to remember where I am from, don’t expect me to learn your language. If you want to send your kids to English-medium schools, I assume you speak English, so let’s talk in English. I understand and speak Marathi, but if you want to call me a “Madrasi” and say racist things like “you don’t look like a Madrasi ‘cos you are fair”, I will speak only in English to you.

    The really nice Maharashtrians (and there are many) don’t have these hang-ups.

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  10. If you think about it, it isn’t unlike ILs demanding the DIL follow their customs and traditions ‘cos she is the “outsider”. Nope. You can follow your beliefs and traditions, I will not disrespect them, but I will follow mine, thank you very much.

    Your son is free to follow your/his beliefs and traditions if he so chooses. What language I speak, what I wear, what festivals I choose to celebrate is strictly my business.

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  11. Learning the local language of the place you live in – even at a rudimentary level – is akin to doing what you would do if you had to visit a foreign country where English is not the main language. You have to learn enough to be able to communicate with the people around you in a respectful manner. I think it’s more of doing something practical to make your life easier than looking at it as an imposition.
    In Mumbai, I have seen some rickshaw wallas not understanding a word when you speak to them in Marathi and that befuddles me. Even if Marathi is not your mother tongue, if your business and city of choice requires you to interact with a population that majorly speaks the local language, how could you not take the effort to learn it? Not only does it make business sense, it is one way of respecting the local city which gives you the means to earn a living.

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    • It’s their loss. They alone are the affected party. Why should the local people interfere or care? What have they to gain? A sense of superiority because they believe they have more rights to the place and they can control or demand what newcomers (like daughters in law ) learn?

      Also, does knowing the language really help the newcomers/outsiders? I have blogged about a ‘Marathi’ friend who grew up in other places and another who spoke Marathi and grew up in Maharashtra (army kid) but was originally from Uttarakhand. Knowing the language did not compensate for the wrong surname. The right surname allowed special entitlement.

      Those who are prejudiced look for excuses, those who wish to bond, bond anyway.

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      • I am a Maharashtrian, born and brought up in Mumbai. My sister married a Tamilian and we all went down to Chennai for the wedding. I was super excited about meeting the folks from my future BIL’s side of the family. A few days before the wedding, I wrote down a few sentences in English and asked a Tamilian friend to translate them to Tamil. They were simple greetings, compliments, Thank Yous and other such things. My sister did the same – no elaborate language learning sessions, just enough to communicate in a friendly and respectful manner with those who spoke/understood Tamil only. My sister’s in-laws were pleasantly surprised to hear us speak our albeit very basic Tamil and we were happy to be able to communicate better with them. My BIL returned the gesture by learning some basic Marathi too.
        I think it has something to do with the mindset that you approach the situation. You either see it as an opportunity to learn something new, or decide that it is an imposition.

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      • “Those who are prejudiced look for excuses, those who wish to bond, bond anyway” ……….by that account are you not prejudiced because your excuse is you do not care to learn about the local language and custom, which by the way sounds like a very stuck-up person. One does not have to dive in and learn everything local and dress and eat like them and what not. But making an effort to speak some local words is not asking to learn rocket-science.

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        • I make no excuses. I just don’t care to learn new languages wherever I visit or choose to live ( within my rights)

          I am also not able to see why is it ‘disrespectful’ to anybody. I believe I am respectful to all and expect the same from them.

          How does my knowledge or lack of knowledge of any languages affect someone?

          Why do some of us feel entitled to displays of respect?

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    • A rickshawala may not have an aptitude for languages or time for that matter because its a draining job. It may not be his ‘city of choice’ ,he does not have opportunities in his own village to earn a livelihood and has moved to a new city in most cases leaving his family behind. Imagine the stress of working in a new city away from your family, a place where you are considered an outsider and yet continuously asked to prove your allegiance to a city by adopting their ways and language. From where will he learn the language? He’s not working for a software company where he goes for one month training.

      //Not only does it make business sense, it is one way of respecting the local city which gives you the means to earn a living.//

      He is also providing services to the people of city. How much are you considerate about him? As long as he is not disrespecting your culture or the city he owes you or the city nothing more than his paid services.

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      • It does not take a month’s training to learn a few sentences. It would not take even take 15 minutes each day and most of it can be on the job training, if only one took the effort. I am not talking about learning the language from scratch, just knowing enough sentences that help with the job. After all, the person did learn to drive a vehicle, so learning is clearly not an issue here.
        On the other hand, refusal to learn something that is essential for earning a living reeks of entitlement and arrogance to me.

        With all that being said, I do want to address the part about how this whole issue is politicized. No one likes being pushed into a corner and have people demanding that he/she learn a certain language. I think this makes even some reasonable people push back and refuse to follow such demands. I wish it did not have to be this way.

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  12. Radha and Indian Warrior had given very apt examples that even dumb and pets can communicate. So expecting new comers to learn a new language citing bonding as a reason is just an excuse ridden with entitlement. Somebody is getting offended by the language chosen by parents for their kids to learn in school and somebody finds language the only means to connect with neighbours. I would like to share a lovely story about a Malaysian tenet my grandparents had when I was very little about 5-7 years old. There was no common language between us as his English was also very broken. My grandmother didn’t even know English and it was so much fun to see them communicate and they always managed to amidst small little misunderstandings which were a big source of fun and laughter for all of us including my grandmother and him. Nobody told him learn any language. He was very fond of children and could make us his friend by some very endearing ways. He use to stay on 2nd floor and I use to play with my friends on 1st floor balcony. Suddenly we would see a chocolate hanging from the balcony from a rope from the upper balcony. My grandfather and he sometimes cooked together as he loved cooking and was extremely good at it.He saved and nurtured a little bird and would let us play with friendly bird when it recovered. The bird too didn’t speak any language but it was friendly with everybody. Once he went on a one month meditation spree and my grandmother cooked food for him thrice a day for the whole month and we use to leave it outside his room. When he went back to Malaysia we use to get new year cards from him. We still remember him with so much love and affection though there was no common language.

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  13. I agree with Fem to a certain extent, but also agree to a certain extent that you should wish to live your life how you wish. And yes I agree that language should NOT be a determinant ! But will put that in a separate paragraph.

    From Fem’s POV, It can come off as ‘arrogant’ in certain ways if you are not open to people of that region who let you live in their place. I have seen it personally. It’s like they welcome you to their land and you shut them off? That doesn’t sound right. A roommate (very immature and not open to anyone besides her friends) of mine went to Europe over the summer and it appeared as if she and her friend (from the story she was telling) had NO consideration for the people there, rather it seemed they placed a bad image on Americans in general by getting drunk in public and being rude. (Yes she only went to Europe to drink and get drunk, not much of learning the place and culture..no wonder she was claiming the French did not seem to like her and her friend). By opening up to other cultures, making CLOSE friendships with them you do learn a lot of things, and you become LESS judgmental and stereotypical. Most importantly, you learn RESPECT! Like some pointed out, your world widens a lot. Honestly I feel NO ONE is open and friendly towards anyone anymore ! Hence the reason why in many areas you see these racial cliques that just herd together in workplaces, schools..etc. And yes Indians too are very guilty for this too by separating themselves to confine only to their culture. People say it’s because we’re of similar culture and can relate, that’s understandable and fine, but it does not mean you need to shun off everyone else who is different! I wouldn’t be the person I would be today if I wasn’t surrounded by diversity. I was able to explore so many things I wouldn’t have had like experiencing my first Vietnamese wedding which was FABULOUS ! Or listening to African melodies and music which was so much at peace. I have so many examples that the list is endless. My dream is travel the world because I want to learn more about people from different cultures and experience the life they live. So far I’ve got Kerala since I’ve been there numerous times as I have family there and vacation there with my parents and brother once in a while, and Vietnam when I was living with my landlord. Obviously I’m my own individual and wouldn’t confine to the the things in those cultures that I don’t agree with (but will adopt the things I enjoy and cherish), but still it’s good to have the opportunity and witness it. I really desire to go all over India one day as well. My cousin did it last year and he said it was worth it. However, just to add, although, I think people should be more open, it does not mean they have to get rid of their culture and values. They can and should live their way of life, and in a way, others can learn about them (in a mature way, not the behavior that my roommate possessed lol)

    On the other hand, I agree with the language. No one should be forced to learn a language and everyone has a language that they feel relaxed in, it does not matter where they live. However I will admit that learning other languages should be encouraged. I am a native English speaker, but can converse in Spanish, Malayalam( though I am not fluent in either of those languages,) and am aiming to learn to at least hold basic conversations in Hindi. I also hope to learn Korean and Hungarian too lol. It was actually funny because just today I was watching a video with Tamil film actress Jyothika about her marriage to Surya and at one clip she was mentioning the reason why she speaks fluent Tamil (she’s a Punjabi family from Mumbai so her mother tongue is Hindi) is because her MIL insisted she learned the language. It may be because MIL may not know any other language besides Tamil, but some people were claiming that it may be due to language chauvinism which Tamils and Hispanics are greatly known for. I’ve ran across a few Tamils in the past and they say that Tamils who are not well versed in the language are not actual Tamils (which I don’t agree with), or less of a Tamil. I’ve seen this among many Hispanics too who appear to be very judgmental towards other Hispanics who are not well versed in Spanish. I’ve seen interesting controversies regarding this. You can be proud of your culture and ethnicity even if you don’t know the language. It does not make you any less or more. However some people refuse to see this sadly.

    I’m not a fan of language chauvinism at all. I’ve seen it somewhat in my family where you get ridiculed for not speaking, reading and writing the language perfectly. (Malayalees can be like that too in a way). And then you get compared to others and those people show off and gloat about. It’s ridiculous and is one reason why I refuse to speak Malayalam at home and admit had a love/hate relationship with that language of the arrogance and foolish behavior some of my family members betrayed. I just want to be me and respected, not be a show off trophy to put down others. I prefer English and would rather speak in English if the person knows English, however if the person does not know English, I will try and speak in their language. Btw, I tad disagree that language means bonding. I find there are always exceptions to it because even though I don’t speak fluent and perfect Malayalam, doesn’t mean I did not feel any closeness to my paternal grandma whom I loved dearly. There are several ways you can bond🙂

    Just my two cents, feel free to disagree or agree.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This, a hundred times! This is exactly what I was trying to convey. Saying you don’t care about how the people living around you function is a terrible attitude. It has nothing whatsoever to do with language, which for some reason, is the only thing everyone is picking from my original post. Nobody is forcing you to learn an entirely new language, but being open to other cultures is a huge must.

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    • Interestingly, one thing I have noticed is that the more chauvinistic you are about your language, the more attention everyone pays to it , learn it etc . And they won’t even be bitter about being ‘forced’ to learn it. The example you have quoted is a case in point. These language chauvinistic groups will make sure whoever comes to their place is forced to learn their language but will they do the same when they go elsewhere ? No, sir. That is essentially the problem I see.

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  14. I think SRK lives in the very rarefied world of Bollywood, which has a sub-culture if it’s own. His snobbishness isn’t deliberate — it’s just a reflection of his class and status.

    I work with a few SoBo (South Bombay) women and my jaw dropped when I learnt that they could not converse in, or read, any regional language. Two are extremely proficient in French, but don’t understand a word of Marathi, the local language.

    What do make of that? Are they less Indian than me? Absolutely not. There’s many different kinds of Indian, including a Prada-worshipping, non-Marathi speaking one.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I come from a slightly different perspective. Having lived in the west I have noticed a lot of Indians not making much effort to integrate into their communities. Many just stick to their extremely specific state/language associations, eat only Indian food, socialize with other Indians, consume only Indian media, all live in one spot of the town etc. So my thoughts on this are divided. I understand that it is hard to learn a new language and get involved with local communities but I feel newcomers should make some effort, especially if they are going to be living and working there. And likewise locals should also make an effort to be welcoming – maybe the state government can offer free language classes or something. On the other hand demanding that newcomers assimilate completely or leave is nothing other than bigotry. There is a middle ground.

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  16. The kind of language terrorism down south is appalling ! Being born and brought up in Maharashtra, in school I learnt Marathi and Hindi ,Gujarati at home because its my mother tongue and being Muslim Urdu and Arabic both as language of instruction and officially religion delivery language . So, I don’t understand how a person who knows only Tamil/Kanada depending on state and English can feel superior to me !
    But they do ! In South India, I suspect nobody would learn even learn English if it was not associated with ‘foreign shores’ and hence opportunities !
    Expecting people to learn south Indian languages when they have gone to work for few years or transferred because of jobs is unrealistic. I don’t think people have so much time ,energy.
    It’s only because of religion, caste,community superiority complex which makes people expect other person to bend over backwards to learn their languages to mix with them .Now,this has become an epidemic. Maharashtra which is extremely accommodating and where commerce comes first especially Mumbai now wants to emulateother states and follow ‘language terrorism’.
    But, Srk was definitely not talking about languages .Nobody suddenly recognises Indian Muslims .We have been and are extensive part of Indian fabric and milieu . Yet, because of ignorance people don’t want to rent homes to Indian Muslims,if we don’t mix celebrate a festival of majority we are singled out .Why should we keep explaining ourselves and customs ? Who does that
    And ,this larger,insidious intolerance which most indian muslims feel he was talking about .He is a star,living a safe protected life yet he is targeted for his Muslim background .What happens to regular Muslim guy on the street ?
    All this is because of ignorance…… most people I come across at work have ‘filmi’ idea of being a Muslim .Most have never known one as a friend ! The majority don’t know about our lifestyle, custom,religion …..they know nothing about religion but still make stupid comments. They don’t want to know us,they don’t ask questions to get to know us.If you don’t know somebody you can’t mix with them and hostility multiplies.

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  17. Hindi speakers go to primarily non hindi states and dont want to learn language… cool.
    Then they get upset when people dont speak hindi while they are around!!! It cant work both ways guys… if u wont speak local language at all due to ur lack of language skill and all… why should others speak hindi just for u? Btw… if one tamil fellow moved to delhi.. would all of delhi speak tamil for his benefit? Btw dont quote rashtra basha … india has 20+ official languages including nepali and if historians are to be believed hindi was nearly beaten by bengali at the time of independence as language understood by majority

    Liked by 1 person

    • Expecting newcomers to pick up local language is one thing, acting and lording over one’s superiority over another is a different thing .That’s what happens down South and that automatically shuts all doors for others to mix with local people !
      Everyone is forced to learn the local language for rickshaw and bus walas and to buy grocery etc …..Nobody escapes that .

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      • “Down South” ? It is evident you haven’t visited anyplace “down south” so you should stop with the prejudices. Maybe what you say is true for TamilNadu, but not the other places.

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  18. since when did learning a few words of a different language become such a bother? The fact that India has so many widely spoken languages is a matter of pride, our diversity speaks of our rich cultural heritage. Our Kannada literature is as precious as Rabindrasangeet which is as versatile as Marathi theater. Why would one try to turn a blind eye to this multicolored fabric of our identity? Very sad.
    My 2.5 year old toddler speaks simple English sentences with a slightly New England accent in school. At home we speak in Marathi which is our mother tongue which she is fluent in. Then we speak a few sentences in Hindi and play some popular Hindi (children’s) songs. She enjoys it all and is picking up really well. Then there’s Kannada. My husband is a Maharashtrian who was born and raised in B’lore. We’d love if our daughter can at least understand Kannada (like I do) if not speak it like a native – which my husband does. I have lived in Hyderabad where my mother’s family hails from. So I understand Telugu though I can speak only in words. There are some sweet Telugu songs I don’t want my daughter to miss out on.
    Let me confess that I have no natural flair for learning languages – far from it actually. But you don’t really have to learn the whole language to connect to the place. The fact that you made an effort to belong to a place will not change your identity – it will open you to new learning. It’s unfortunate that people have started taking offense when there’s none.
    It’s a long comment – just an example of how language is a just one way of bringing people together. People inherently love to connect and find something in common, language is a catalyst. A Pakistani cab driver going out of his way to help us stranded tourists in a snow battered London in the wee hours – all because he heard us speaking Hindi. The sweetness of that moment is still fresh in my memory – i saying shukriya bhai sahab and him saying – apna khayal rakhna. Aww!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kavs,

      I agree with you that learning languages can be beautiful and should be encouraged. I have posted that in my post, but I think what people are trying to say here is that language should not be the sole determinant of blending in another region. I have brought up language chauvinism where people take unnecessary pride in their language and look down upon those who don’t speak their language, especially if it’s people who are of their region but grown up elsewhere. I think that’s the point of the article, where they try to force and guilt trip you into their culture w/o respecting you and let you be. It’s not that people shouldn’t learn other languages because they should and I agree it does open new doors, but some people are not good with languages. Does that make them any less of a person or that they neglect your culture and tradition? NO ! You daughter may choose to speak a different language to you when older, but if you foster a love into her regarding the languages you speak and DO NOT shove it down her throat like I have seen many times and at times happened to me, you’ll be surprised..she in fact may be a polygot🙂

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  19. THe funny part is people who are asking SRK to leave and go are themselves traitors of the nation I would say .. without taking names I definitely remember one of them saying that Mumbai is for maharashtrians and all others should leave Mumbai..

    It is such a sad situation in our nation the people who make such atrocious statements are themselves the ones who need to thrown out of the nation .. so our nation can be a better place..

    such a shame

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  20. I think the discussion about learning the local language and the culture of a place you are living in is a different discussion and it has its two sides of the coin – its slightly away from what are the issues which the statement by Shahrukh is highlighting.

    Why does Shahrukh Khan have to keep proving time and again his Indianness. OR for that matter, why does Sania Mirza have to keep proving to us about her Indianness? “Is it because they do not belong to the same group/religion/region/ideologies/traditional view which the accusers belong to?” Or is it because they are not afraid to SOMETIMES use their position in society to call a spade a spade (They dont do it as frequently as some would want them to do because they dont want to risk any harm to be done to themselves or to their family maybe).

    What about the ones who go to the historical monuments of India and desecrate them? Are they doing things which are Un-Indian?
    What about those people who instigate hate by calling on people to harm other Indians. Are they being asked to prove their Indianness instead of their regional pride?
    What about the people who stash away money abroad instead of putting them to use in India. Are they being asked to prove how Indian they are?

    I am a 33 years old man who has been fed these messages about regional pride, fear of other communities over-ruling us, undue advantage being given to some communities, etc.
    It is only due to the openness in my family, my education, my exposure to western culture of questioning what I think is not right and the freedom to ask the tough questions – (even if I am targeted and hated for it) which has helped me get out of the “We are the victims here” syndrome.

    I think, the generation which comes after us are not going to be as easy as us to brainwash with these messages of hate and enmity. They will have a far greater exposure to the worldly views.
    It is this next generation who, in my opinion, will find heroes in the likes of Shahrukh, Sania, Abdul Kalam, etc.

    This is my view and as I have read somewhere on this really amazing blog, I hope people who do not agree with my view will fight to defend my right to have my own view.

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