Here's a quick way to learn Kannada

A WhatsApp-based initiative looks at teaching spoken Kannada. The project, which will be launched today, hopes to reach out to five lakh non-Kannadigas by the end of 2020

Naveen and Ravishankar

We often hear non-Kannadigas struggling to converse in the language in Bengaluru. While Hindi, English, Tamil and Telugu can pass off here, basic Kannada is a must for day-to-day communication, believes N Ravishankar and Naveen Billava.
To help people become familiar with the language, they have started a new initiative called ‘Spirit of Kannada, Bengaluru’, which will be launched on November 1, on the occasion of Karnataka Rajyotsava. The two hope to use this as a platform to teach and familiarise people in Kannada.  

 It is love and passion for the language that drove Ravishankar and Naveen to start an organisation dedicated to promoting and popularising Kannada. While Ravishankar has 20 years of experience working in several organisations that are associated with Kannada language and culture, Naveen is an MCA graduate, who dabbled with modelling and acting before taking up this new venture. He started his own startup and this is one of the many initiatives under that.  

Ravishankar explains that this idea didn’t take seed overnight. “We worked on this for a year to understand if people will be receptive to such an idea. We also wanted to understand what age group will be interested in learning a new language. Our small survey revealed that people from all walks of life, including 60-year-olds, were inclined towards learning new languages,” Ravishankar says.   

Naveen adds they don’t intend to impose the language on people. “We want people to learn Kannada for basic communication. This will not only ease the problem of interacting with the locals but also instil a love for the language. Knowing the language will also give people the confidence to find their way around the city.”

Naveen says that the classes will be online and the communication will be through WhatsApp and phone calls. The initiative has kickstarted in 28 constituencies across the city. “If groups of learners want physical classes then it will be arranged in their respective constituencies. We want people to use the facility at their convenience. They can learn the language even while they are on the move. This is the advantage of this initiative,” elaborates Naveen. 

The group has already set a target for itself. “We hope to cover at least five lakh people under this scheme. I don’t know if we will be able to achieve our target but we want to start work from November 1 and keep at it till November 30, 2020,” adds Ravishankar. The group has found an interesting way to spread the word. “We will nominate ten Kannadigas, who in turn will nominate ten non-Kannadigas for the classes. This way it is easier to spread the word,” he says. 

 For details contact 9480080886, 8951856685 and 9110275499. 

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