French or Spanish, Khajuraho cops speak it all (With Image)June 10th, 2009 - 12:39 pm ICT by IANS
By Deepak Upadhyay
Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh), June 10 (IANS) Policemen in this village known for its erotic temple sculptures are hard at work - learning English, Spanish, French, Italian and more. So the next time a foreign tourist asks for help, they can confidently rattle off a “Bonjour” or an “Hola”!
For the past six months, policemen in Khajuraho have been getting lessons on foreign languages to help visitors from abroad.
“Being an international tourist destination, Khajuraho attracts a large number of foreigners every day. But due to language problems, they have to face many difficulties,” Anil Mishra, the Chhatarpur additional superintendent of police, told IANS.
Khajuraho, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is a village in Chhatarpur district in Madhya Pradesh, some 380 km from Bhopal. It is famous for its erotic sculptures which were built by the Chandela rulers between the 9th and 12th century.
Hundreds of foreign tourists visit the village every day and sometimes they face tough situations because of their inability of communicate in the local dialect.
“For the last six months we have started a multilingual training camp for our staff. We have roped in language experts, authorised and identified tourist guides to teach English, Spanish, French, Italian and other international languages,” Mishra said.
“Now, we are planning to rope in Madhya Pradesh Tourism and the Archaeological Survey of India in this project.”
The police initiative to have their personnel interact with foreign tourists in their own language will not only boost tourism but also improve the image of the police, officials said.
After finishing their routine work, police personnel are asked to gather in a makeshift classroom at the Khajuraho police station. Authorised tourist guides and language experts have been roped in to help hone the skill of policemen in languages such as English, Spanish, French and Italian.
“We are learning English and some foreign languages to help the tourists visiting Khajuraho, and are delighted with our success,” Sheikh Chuni, a police official, told IANS.
Surya Bhan Singh, a sub-inspector, said: “Khajuraho is an international tourist destination, and the knowledge of English and foreign languages like Japanese is proving a great help to foreign tourists. We are learning these languages properly and the results are interesting. Tourists are very satisfied with our efforts.”
Madoka Chkako, a Japanese social worker, who has been living in Khajuraho for the last eight years, finds the initiative helpful. She said: “Now police officers can understand our problems better.”
English language expert A.H. Siddiki told IANS: “Knowledge of foreign languages is very essential in Khajuraho. Earlier tourists had to face many problems. They usually avoid going to the police station for any help because of the language barrier. Now the situation is improving because of this initiative.”
(Deepak Upadhyay can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org