Even a year after the government announced Pampa Prashasti for 2010 to litterateur G.H. Nayak, the latter is yet to receive it.
“I never hankered for awards or honours in my life. Though I am delighted by the award which was announced in 2012, I am facing embarrassment because of the delay by the government in conferring it,” Prof. Nayak told The Hindu.
A selection committee, headed by Chandrashekar Patil, selected Prof. Nayak for the award for 2010. The announcement was made in May 2012 and the Department of Kannada and Culture notified it on June 21 that year, according to sources.
The former Chief Ministers D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar could not confer the award on the writer, because of their busy political schedules. Even four months after becoming Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah has not found time to do the honours.
When Prof. Nayak expressed disappointment over the government’s lackadaisical attitude at a function last year, the Kannada and Culture Department told him that the award would be presented to him at a function in Banavasi on November 30, 2012. “I was elated on learning about receiving the award in my native Uttara Kannada. But the programme was postponed,” he said.
Again, on March 19 department sent a telegram stating that the award would be conferred on him on March 21 at a function held in Bangalore. “They telephoned me but they did not say who would confer the award. Then, I refused to attend the programme,” he said.
The Assembly elections further delayed the process. After Umashree assumed charge as Minister of State for Kannada and Culture, she took the initiative to meet the writer. “But the meeting did not materialise, as I had to undergo a minor surgery,” Prof. Nayak said.
Ms. Umashree, then, met Prof. Nayak recently and urged him to receive the award at a function, during the Dasara celebrations, on October 5. However, Prof. Nayak refused to accept the award during Dasara celebrations saying that he is committed to secularism. “I told the Minister that I am prepared to receive the award even at my residence but not during Dasara celebrations,” Prof. Nayak said.
The Pampa Prashasti instituted in 1987 by the State government is a prestigious literary award. It is one of the highest literary honours conferred by the Department of Kannada and Culture. The award carries Rs. 3 lakh in cash and a citation.