BENGALURU: At a time when Karnataka is in the doldrums over issues related to language and inclusion, and deletion of certain chapters in Class X Kannada textbook, heartening news of two-time Canada MP, Chandra Arya, making a speech in Kannada in the House of Commons has thrilled Kannadigas. “I spoke in my mother tongue Kannada in the Canadian parliament. This beautiful language has a long history and is spoken by about 50 million people. This is the first time Kannada is spoken in any parliament in the world outside of India,” he tweeted, attaching a 59-second video.
In his speech, Arya said, “Honourable speaker, I am happy for the opportunity to speak in Canada parliament. India’s Karnataka state’s Tumakuru district’s Sira taluk’s Dwaralu village’s individual having been selected as MP and speaking in Kannada is a proud moment for over five crore Kannadigas.
The Kannadigas in Canada observed the Kannada Rajyothsava in this House in 2018. I will conclude my speech with Rashtrakavi Kuvempu penned poem sung by Natasarvabhouma Dr Rajkumar ‘Elladaru iru enthadaru iru endendigu nee Kannadiganagiru (wherever you are, however your are, remain Kannadiga forever. Thank you speaker.”
He made all Kannadigas proud: Canada MP’s dad
G Govindaiah, Chandra’s octogenarian father, told TNIE, “What to say. I am spellbound as he made all Kannadigas proud.” Ecstatic with his son’s feat, Govindaiah said Arya has been a dynamic person since childhood, changing professions daringly. “Before making the speech, he called us and informed us. It was a surprise for all our family members,” said Chandra’s younger brother G Srinivas. Chandra has an elder sister Leela and younger sister Umadevi. His mother Jayalakshamamma passed away six years ago.
Born at Dwaralu, he did his primary education in Chitradurga, high school and PU education in Ballari and completed his BE in mechanical engineering from Ghousia College of Engineering, Ramanagaram. He got his MBA degree from Kousali Institute of Management Studies, Dharwad. Govindaiaha said that since he worked with the commercial taxes department and the job was transferable, Arya had a vibrant upbringing, easily acclimatising himself to new places. He has been in Canada for the last 19 years.
His wife Sangeetha is an English teacher and son Siddhantha is a chartered accountant. As soon as the video was uploaded on Thursday evening (Canada time), it went viral, with appreciation pouring in from Kannadigas from all over the world. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai tweeted, “Arya has trumpeted the aroma of Kannada at the international arena, literally keeping his strong roots intact.
In fact, he visited his native Dwaralu in November 2021.” Minister Dr CN Ashwath Narayan, who was at Edinburgh University on an official trip, congratulated Arya for using Kuvempu’s poem which is relevant. Chandrakanth Arya, born in 1963, is a Canadian Liberal politician, who was elected to the House of Commons in the 2015 federal election and again in 2019. He currently serves as a member of the standing committee on international trade.