Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday observed that amending the Constitution to make Kannada the medium of instruction in primary education was the only option left if the government lost its ongoing legal battle in the apex court.

Laying the foundation stone for the centenary building of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat here, he said government was making all possible efforts to make Kannada the medium of instruction. But the recent Supreme Court verdict was a major blow.

The government had filed a review petition questioning the verdict of the Constitutional Bench. In case the verdict went against the government, a sustained struggle to get the Constitution amended was the only way for the people to protect Kannada.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said a delegation that he led recently appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to convene a meeting of all States to discuss the issue and evolve a national policy on making regional languages the medium of instruction.

Mr. Modi had assured them the suggestion would be considered, he said.

Lamenting that Kannadigas were not proud of their language, the Chief Minister said they should emulate their Tamil Nadu counterparts who loved their mother tongue.

“We should be liberal, but not to the extent of sacrificing self-esteem. Not loving your own language can also be detrimental to the interests of Kannada.”

Criticising parents’ preference for English education, he said that it was necessary to understand the difference between language and medium of instruction. Nobody objected to children learning English as a language, but Kannada should be the medium of instruction, he said.

‘No dearth of funds’

Stating that there was no dearth of funds for the cause of Kannada, the Chief Minister told the parishat to utilise the funds released to it judiciously. “The government sanctioned Rs. 3.5 crore for the building and Rs. 1.5 crore to organise centenary celebrations,” he said.

In his keynote address, parishat president Pundalika Halambi assured support to the government in its fight to protect land, language and culture.

Minister of State for Kannada and Culture Umashree was present.