Initially, it will cover activities of Kannada and Culture Department only: official

The dream of the State having a cultural policy on the lines of the one in place at the Centre, conceptualised 15 years ago, still hangs in balance.

However, Minister for Kannada and Culture Umashree has breathed new life into the dream again by announcing that the government was planning to bring in a cultural policy to improve the working of the Department of Kannada and Culture.

“Suggestions from litterateurs, intellectuals, artistes and researchers will be taken, while formulating the policy,” she said recently.

Interestingly, efforts to formulate a cultural policy first began when the Janata Dal government, headed by J.H. Patel, was in power. At that time, a high-level committee, headed by the former Secretary of Kannada and Culture Chandrahasa Gupta was constituted. However, the Janata Dal government could not implement the recommendations.

Later, the Congress government, headed by S.M. Krishna, constituted another committee under litterateur Baragur Ramachandrappa but failed to implement its report.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government too evinced interest in the subject and convened a meeting of litterateurs and chairpersons of various cultural academies in April last. However, before it could prepare a draft, its term ended.

Now, the Congress government is again dreaming of ushering in a cultural policy to help formulate guidelines on awarding financial assistance to cultural organisations, selection of people for various awards being given by the government, appointment of chairpersons to various academies and authorities, among others.

Prof. Ramachandrappa, who was part of the drafting committee and who participated in a preliminary meeting on the policy, said there was consensus among the representatives on formulating a cultural policy for the entire State instead of restricting it to cover the activities of the Department of Kannada and Culture alone.

Theatre person K.M. Marulasiddappa, who was part of the policy drafting committee during J.H. Patel’s tenure, favoured a “core policy” to streamline the functioning of the Department of Kannada and Culture and a “broader policy” to provide a vision to the entire cultural spectrum.

“The priorities of the ‘broader policy’ could change with the change in government, but the ‘core policy’ should be intact,” he said.

However, sources in the department disclosed that the government now favoured a cultural policy for the department initially. A senior official said that drafting a policy covering a gamut of issues pertaining to the State was a big task and it needed elaborate preparation and discussion. “Hence, we have decided to limit the policy to the department,” he said.

More In: Karnataka | National