No. A large population of India is not aware of English. IT services are introduced only in English. This is tricky position for a large population of India and they are excluded. I take equally responsibility to create language exclusion for fellow Indians.
When we look at China, internet adoption seems to be fueled both by spread of cheap mobile devices and access to good amount of content in Chinese language. Chinese, English and Japanese constitute 80% of web content. Can India get itself featured on this top list? Can product initiatives like iSpirit drive creation of ecosystem to include Indian languages? Here is another article Why thinking digital is equal to thinking vernacular
In 1981, while joining first standard, I made a conscious choice of second language as Tamil and primary language was English. In those days anti-Hindi perception was also prevalent in Tamil Nadu and was influence on me to choose my mother tongue as Tamil rather than Hindi. In my 7th or 8th standard, I learnt the need to be aware of Hindi to get jobs outside Tamil Nadu. I learnt to read and write Hindi, via classes of Hindi Pracharak Sabha. I had no conversation even in mixed Hindi-English dialect prior to coming to Bangalore.
A few days back I visited Swapna Book Store in Bangalore. They have Tamil collection of books. Picked few books and started to think my connection with Tamil for first time.
- I purchase Tamil books when I go to Chennai or Trichy. I visit book stores in Chennai and keep reading Tamil books and purchased Tamil books. I used to purchase them on behalf of my friends also. I purchase Ananda Vikatan magazine. I am regular consumer in my mother tongue language.
- I rarely write in Tamil. I am embarrassed to realize absence of one Tamil bog in this blog which has more than 400 blog posts. Neither my daughters read my Tamil Books at home, as I introduced them to reading using English books and failed to take initiatives to arouse interest in Tamil. I am not a creator in my mother tongue language.
While I demand for alternate choices to have cheque in addition to online payments, option to get services without Adhaar card, Why did I miss creation in Tamil? It is irony of having a friend, Balaji Kutty who authors Tamil books. Start observing the environment/context in where I live/ operate today.
- In my early daya, I use to write Tamil at school and write Tamil in letters. It has become rare for me to write letters, even my parents. Being in Karnataka, I am forced to fill application forms in English. My kids study Hindi and lost another area to be in touch with Tamil.
- All my blogs are written in English on computer. Most of the keyboards support English. I have neither searched for editor that helps me to write in Tamil and continued to write in English.
- I have been involved to localize my outsourced products to German, French and Spanish. I have not localized my products to Tamil or Hindi. The localization became another job.
- Google supports Tamil inputs in English. On entering “India” and “Tamil” in English, the translation is ” இண்டிஅ” and “டமில்” and both are not correct. Happy Google shows interest in this space. Google India’s growth to support of vernacular languages.
- Indian start-ups like flipkart or redbus do not localize their website localized in Tamil or any other Indian language. Same is case with Ola Cabs and TaxiForSure.
- When Modi government talks about “Made in India”, we observe that e-Aadhaar and indane gas booking site support only English.
- Tally is available in Tamil and other Indian languages. Intuit working to adopt accounting software for Indian usage does not seem to have support for localized Indian language support and have site for India in English and the site for France in French.
- Visit political party websitesof DMK, DMDK and AIADMK and influence of English and the website is not localized. when you visit PMK blog site, founder Ramadoss name is in English. Theses are parties that used to put black tar on name boards with Hindi titles in Tamil Nadu. Please make a note that English website describes French political party represents party name in French.
- Even popular Tamil magazines like vikatan, kumdam, kalki have all menus and other items except actual articles in English. Subscription details are mainly in English. May they are looking for non-tamil person to come and buy a Tamil magazine?
Seems that 20% of IT savvy Indians are in trance and are more comfortable with English and forget the fact they cannot create in Tamil. Are they not excluding 80% of fellow Indians? Why IT start-ups do not consider vernacular language support to be differentiation?
Some months back, I read article PM Modi’s US visit: Modi follows footsteps of AB Vajpayee, speaks in Hindi at UN.When Gates or Bezos or Mark comes to meet Modi, will he demand support for Indian languages? Will Modi mandate that IT firms support solution or product in Indian language as pre-condition to bag a government contract.
On my side, I am going to write a Tamil blog next. Found this online multilingual keyboard & editor to help me write in Tamil.