A wave of vandalism targeting prominent cafes in Bengaluru has ignited a heated debate about language and cultural identity. Pro-Kannada activists, advocating for the primacy of the Kannada language, have been accused of destroying English signboards at popular establishments like Starbucks and Third Wave Coffee.
This aggressive act has sparked outrage among many Bengalureans, a city known for its cosmopolitan character and multilingual embrace. Supporters of the Kannada cause, however, defend the action as a necessary step to protect their linguistic heritage in a city increasingly dominated by global influences.
Over 1,000 people organized by Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) activists gathered on Airport Road to protest the absence of Kannada signs in commercial establishments.
The protest turned violent when some activists allegedly started vandalizing signboards of cafes and shops.
Police intervened and dispersed the crowd. No arrests have been made yet.
The Triggering Point:
The incident reportedly stemmed from a recent Karnataka High Court judgement. The court upheld an official order mandating Kannada signage to be prominently displayed alongside any other language used on commercial establishments. While the order aimed to promote Kannada usage in public spaces, its implementation has become a contentious issue.
Targeting Popular Chains:
Protesters specifically targeted cafes like Starbucks and Third Wave, both seen as symbols of globalized consumer culture. By defacing their English signboards, the activists aimed to send a message against the perceived marginalization of Kannada in the face of Western influences.