The Indian (Malanakra) Orthodox Church
INDIA/KARNATAKA/BENGALURU —- From uttering “Nannige Kannada gottilla….,” (I don’t know Kannada), planning to make a serious attempt to learn Kannada language from scratch itself a marked change.
HG Dr Abraham Mar Seraphim, the youngest Metropolitan of Indian Orthodox Church and Bengaluru Diocese, just seems to do that. The Metropolitan, though may not have made a beginning, but is definitely planning to learn Kannada language.
Kannada or Canarese is the official language of the southern Indian state of Karnataka of which Bengaluru is the capital, the HQ for Bengaluru Diocese of the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church.
The Kannada script is used in Karnataka to write the language. Bengaluru, is home to a large number of migrants from other states who have made attempts to or have mastered the language. Kannada is derived from the Old Kannada script and is closely related to the Telugu script but slightly different from Malayalam language.
Dr Abraham Mar Seraphim may require some time to learn the language before he applies it for basic conversation. The vowels and its diacritics may seem simple but consonants can be ‘tricky’. However, with an aim this can be easily achieved with the help of a tutor. Like other South Asian writing systems, vowels following a consonant other than the default /a/ are written with extra strokes, as in the following example like ka, kaa, ki, kii…could take some time. But it is achievable and rest assured that Dr Mar Seraphim will soon adjust learning to its intricacies.
A busy schedule and constant travelling keeps the Metropolitan in contact with people of different regions and locations. Constant use of Malayalam for liturgy and daily conversation has also offset plans to learn the language. However, Dr Mar Seraphim is determined. His Grace will soon make a concerted effort to start learning the language and to master it at the earliest possible time.
Bengaluru sees hordes of migrants who settle down in the city for various purposes. It is an open secret that most of the Malayalees who were born outside Kerala or who have made non-Kerala states as their place of domicile know Kannada language better than their native language. There are also a large number of expatriates of the younger generation working in the Arabian Gulf who have mastered regional Indian languages.
As Bengaluru Diocese expands, a Holy Eucharist in Kannada language cannot be ruled out. The Metropolitan will also endear himself if he obliges to speak in a language of their ‘choice’. Kannada will also help serve mainly to converse with the local community. With the Diocese planning to establish new parishes or places of worship in other districts in future, this can be of great advantage.
As vicar, Dr Mar Seraphim had earlier served the St Gregorios Church in Tumkur, Karnataka, which will have instilled in him the nuances of the language. On the flip side, it can boost our relations with the local ecumenical groups and provide a lead at various religious platforms.
As an established pastoral counsellor and spiritual advisor, Dr Mar Seraphim stands better with opportunities to get to a different milieu which will also help him in his ministry work. The Metropolitan is confident of mastering the language and is only a matter of time before he reaches the goal.
LIju Cherian for OCP News Service