Chandra Arya, an Indian-born Canadian legislator, spoke in his native Kannada in the Canadian parliament on Thursday, saying it is the first time the language has been spoken in a parliament in the world outside of India. A video of his address has gone viral.
Arya, who represents the constituency of Nepean, Ontario, in the House of Commons, Canada’s lower house, tweeted a video of his speech and said Kannada is a beautiful language spoken by about five crore people.
“I spoke Kannada in my native language (first language) 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 has been spoken in any parliament in the world outside India,” said Mr Arya.
“I am delighted to have had the opportunity to speak in my native language Kannada. It is a matter of pride for 5 crore Kannadigas that someone who is from Sira Taluka in the Tumukuru district speaks in Kannada after serving in the Canadian Parliament has been elected,” he said in Kannada. His colleagues in the house greeted him with a big round of applause when he finished.
I spoke in my native language (first language) 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 has been spoken in any parliament in the world outside of India. pic.twitter.com/AUanNlkETT
— Chandra Arya (@AryaCanada) May 19, 2022
Mr. Arya is from Tumkur district, about 70 kilometers from the capital of Karnataka, Bengaluru. He was elected to parliament as the Liberal Party candidate in the 2019 general election.
After completing his master’s degree in Business Administration from Dharwad in Karnataka, Mr. Arya worked in the high-tech sector.
Several people have praised Arya for speaking in his native language in the Canadian Parliament.
“Beautiful, this inspires me to learn Kannada,” said one user.
Wonderful, this inspires me to learn Kannada.
— BeepBop (@ab41j1t4000) May 19, 2022
“That way you wear your cultural and linguistic heritage on your sleeve. It is also the beauty of Canada that does not tolerate, but accepts such diversity,” said another user.
This is how you wear your cultural and linguistic heritage on your sleeve. ಧನ್ಯವಾದಗಳು
It is also the beauty of Canada that does not tolerate such diversity, but accepts it.
— Hindu Times Canada हिंदू टाइम्स कनाडा (@hindutimescan) May 19, 2022
“I feel proud, even though I don’t understand Kannada, because it’s the language of our country. I thought he spoke in Sanskrit,” said a third user.
I feel proud even if I don’t understand Kannada because it is the language of our country!!
for a while i thought he spoke in sanskrit!!
— Vinamr Tripathi (@TripathiVinamr) May 19, 2022
Mr. Arya was Vice President of the Ottawa Community Immigrants Services Organization. He is now the President of the Indo-Canada Ottawa Business Chamber.