Kannada scholars at a seminar here on Tuesday said that there was a need to throw light on people who helped foreign scholars in their contribution for Kannada in 19 century.

The Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysore, and the Karnataka Theological Research Institute, Balmatta, had organised the seminar on “Kannada as a classical language in 19 century and contributions of foreign scholars” at Sahodaya here.

Senior Kannada scholar T.V. Venkatachala Shastri from Mysore said the contributions of those who helped foreign scholars in their research on Kannada should be recorded.

In his keynote address Purushothama Bilimale, Director, American Institute of Indian Studies, Gurgaon, said that it appeared that a majority of those who assisted and provided information to foreign scholars during their study were Brahmins. It appeared that they gave selective information to foreign scholars.

A case in point was the fact that Yakshagana was missing from the studies undertaken by foreign scholars who visited the coastal belt. He said that not enough records were available on foreign scholars' contribution to the study of Yakshagana. To support his point of view, Mr. Bilimale said that Yakshagana did not enjoy the patronage of people belonging to higher castes in the 19 century. They did not support watching and participating in Yakshagana performances. Hence Brahmins might not have introduced Yakshagana to foreign scholars. Otherwise, Mr. Bilimale wondered, how could foreign scholars keep themselves away from studying Yakshagana.

D.R. Sadananda, Director, Karnataka Theological Research Institute, who agreed with Mr. Bilimale's point of view, said there was a need to study why foreign scholars did not throw much light on Yakshagana.

B.A. Vivek Rai, Professor, Wurzburg University, Germany, released Govinda Pai Nighantu written by A.V. Navada, Kannada scholar and convenor of the two-day seminar.

Mr. Rai said Tamil got an importance as a classical language after an American linguist wrote on Tamil.

But no such scholarly article written by any American linguist on why Kannada should become a classical language was available on the internet.

He stressed on the need for digitalising Kannada manuscripts of importance.

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