RCB Anthem Is Reflective Of Bengaluru's Shifting Linguistic Mental Makeup

Harsha Bhat

Sep 19, 2020, 10:09 AM | Updated 10:17 AM IST

Logo of the RCB
Logo of the RCB
  • On the eve of the Indian Premier League 2020 which takes off today, the anthem of RCB left their fans divided over the language blend used.
  • Most were left wondering if an anthem in Kannada was too much to ask of a team that represents Bangalore.
  • Royal Challengers Bangalore released its album one day before IPL takes off on Friday (18 September)morning. And the official twitter handle announced it as a dedication to its fans. Calling their fans 'the 12th man', it called out to them to 'crank up the volume to the max'.

    But if there was anything that cranked up within moments of its release was negative feedback for the song which although is about the cricket team representing Bengaluru, the capital city of Karnataka is mainly in Hindi with some English thrown in.

    No sooner did it hit social media that it had fans from Karnataka wondering why the anthem had hardly any Kannada in it.

    Social media furore had them tweet out another version of the anthem in four hours which they called the "RCB Anthem ಕನ್ನಡ Rap ft." But in this version too, one has to hunt for 'Kannada' to find it. Only the 'rapped' lines have been redone in what they call 'Kannada'.

    But none of it has gone down with fans who have been trolling the anthem. While its 'non' Kannadiga fan base who have been trolling the critics calling their demands myopic, the team itself has kept mum releasing the rap version and tweeting nothing much in this regard.

    While the team has tried to hush up the issue with the safety net of the anthem being aimed at 'global fans', for a team that has never won the premier league, this was the least they could do to keep their 'home' fans happy.

    If Chennai Super Kings can have an anthem in Tamil and the Hyderabad team in Telugu, what stops Bengaluru 'lions' from roaring in Kannada asked most tweeters who saw no sense in the defence that was being given by sections who called it a team with fans across the country.

    And this, coming at a time when the state has large segments of language warriors playing to the galleries and joining neighbouring state Tamil Nadu in seeking to #StopHindiImposition, the team and its management could have done better to get the language politics and semiotics right.

    But this, sadly, is what ails Bengaluru not just Royal Challengers. It is not just about the team that clearly sees no connect with Kannada, what with its intelligent choice of letting 'the wall' go, but about this phenomenon called Bengaluru.

    The city's Kannad Gothilla termite has eaten up the linguistic fabric to an extent that the cultural identity of this town no longer includes the language of the state. Which is why a team can dare call itself a representative of the capital city of a state but have scant respect for its state language.

    And sadder still is the fact that unlike say a Chennai, the capital in its bid to fit itself into the cosmopolitan gown has disrobed itself off its cultural makeup and that has left the baton of linguisitic identity in the hands of a class of crass hooligans in the garb of activists.

    Just few days ago, one saw self proclaimed saviours of Kannada breaking and dismantling boards in Hindi at public places like Railway stations where Hindi rests among other languages.

    But dare they take on popular media renditions like these? They dont have the gall for it nor the intellectual understanding to see the semiotic shift that has crept in the language sphere.

    Anyone who has watched any popular media output in Kannada for the last decade or so, be it the language used in films, on radio, in advertisements or on news channels, can clearly chart the path of the disappearance of Kannada. And this isnt about 'loan words' making it into another language, nor about L2 (second language) influence.

    The Kannada in sandalwood songs, barring those penned by lyricists who are fortunately writers, novelists and 'Kannada' knowing thinkers is outrageous. A new school of cinema makers ofcourse have tried to present various regional varieties but that is a niche class of cinema, which also have a different audience.

    Popular 'mass numbers' have more 'dilbar,' jaaneman' 'pyaar' 'salaam', 'brotheru' 'sisteru' than their Kannada equivalents often and these are lapped up without batting an eyelid.

    Kannada has had to undergo what usually happens to 'other tongues' in foreign lands, that get restricted to the home domain given the presence of official languages that are the lingua franca. And RCB has just played to the trend, but stretched it a bit too far - or probably this is where Bengaluru is getting to.

    Tokenistic championism, destructive activism have together killed Kannada in Bengaluru. Which is why a team that carries 'Bangalore' for Bengaluru in its name, dares bring out an anthem where the language of the state is restricted to four words.

    Also read:

    1. Bengaluru’s “Kannad Gothilla” Problem, And What Can Be Done To Resolve It

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