HYDERABAD: Does Hyderabad discriminate against non-Telugu-speaking tribals? Yes, indicates a study conducted by Jawaharlal Nehru University assistant professor Kishore Vadthya.
The research assessing how accommodating the capital city is to Lambada youth highlights various reasons behind why the tribe’s language is a point of difference against which Hyderabadis are deeply prejudiced, leading to the stigmatization the community. In-depth interviews with fifty Lambada youth aged between 20 and 35 years belonging to middle-class families revealed 43 of them prefer conversing in Telugu, Hindi or English to Lambadi with someone from their community in the presence of non-Lambada persons. The reason? They believe it gives them a better chance at earning a decent livelihood and increases their societal acceptability.
Several of the youth claimed their social status improved once they adopted Telugu as their primary language of communication and started using it increasingly in their daily lives. This helped them establish a relationship of trust and strengthen their rapport with their superiors or colleagues in their workplaces, according to the study.
Fluency in English is a prerequisite for well-paying jobs and being viewed as having a good standing in the society, many of those interviewed said, leading to the downfall of regional languages. However, this study titled ‘Language attitudes of Lambada youth in a language contact situation between Telugu and Lambadi languages’ indicates how the dominance of regional languages affects tribal languages.
Apart from saying that they preferred to use Telugu in public interactions, many of the sample group said their children were comparatively better versed in Telugu than in their mother tongue.“It makes them feel like they have been uprooted from Lambada culture. What makes preserving the language more difficult for them is the absence of a script,” he said.