Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Multilingual India : Problem of too many

I had tried making few STD calls this morning to book a hotel at Fort Kochi at Cochin. I gave up after some botched effort trying to explain that I want to book a hotel through their agency. The problem was that the people on the other side do not speak the dialects I used. Neither they speak Hindi nor English.
I missed the opportunity to stay at Fort Kochi the last time I went to Cochin. Becuse most of the hotels were full as foreign tourists prefer to stay here. I called up several numbers from the net and also from my own directory from last visit. It was a pity that the people on the other side could neither speak Hindi nor English properly. Despite this, they are part of the tourism industry. And Kerala thrives on tourism. Fortunately, Ms Lalitha Mohan, the lady executive of Agatti Island Resort speaks English.
I had some experience of this problem the last time I went to Cochin. Specially with drivers and autos. Once I had to pull my hair trying to explain to the autowallh that I had left my key in the hotel and so we need to go back to the hotel. One of the driver we hired there could communicate in Hindi and I missed him a lot in the later part of the tour.
Now I will have to try to learn some Malayalam. Then may be Tamil, Telegu, etc., etc. We have so many languages across India. I think 15 of them are recognised by Govt. The denomination in currency notes are written in all these 15 languages. Unrecognised dialects are probably uncountable. Fortunately, if you know Hindi, you can manage across entire North, Central and West India. And also in some places down South like Banglore and Hyderabad. In rest of the places you need intervention God almighty.

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