Funds released by the Union Ministry to CIIL have been returned

Even after the Union government according classical language status to Kannada and the Mysore-based Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) setting up a Centre for Excellence to research, document, propagate and teach classical Kannada, nothing substantial appears to have been achieved in the past few years.

According to CIIL sources, funds released by the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development to CIIL have been returned in the last two years because of the technical hurdles in appointing a director for Project Monitoring Board (PMD) that come under Centre for Excellence.

CIIL was made the nodal agency to coordinate with all those working to develop Kannada, including the Department of Kannada and Culture, the Kannada Development Authority, universities across the State and the Kannada Sahitya Academy, after classical status was conferred on Kannada.

The Centre for Excellence, which was inaugurated in 2011 planned to translate classical Kannada texts into other Indian languages, English and select European languages.

Central institute

The State government has drawn up a plan to have a Central Institute of Classical Kannada (CICK) by removing it from the ambit of the CIIL on the lines of the one in Tamil Nadu, which has established a Central Institute of Classical Tamil (CICT). CICST is getting Rs. 75 crore a year to fulfil its objectives.

However, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has instructed senior officials of the Department of Kannada and Culture to get the file pending with the Union HRD Ministry expedited.

When contacted, Ramesh Zhalki, Secretary, Kannada and Culture, said that the centre was ready to set up the Central Institute of Classical Kannada if land is allotted. But, the Ministry of HRD wanted the centre to work under CIIL. The government is prepared to allot land for the institute, but it has reservations in accepting CIIL’s supervision.

“We will accept only if that were to be the condition laid, while permitting Tamil Nadu to set up the institute. Commissioner of Kannada and Culture has been directed to visit Tamil Nadu and study the clause. The government will move forward based on his report,” he said.

Litterateurs are also subscribing to the stand of the government. According to writer Baragur Ramachandrappa, CIIL is burdened with other work and does not have the adequate number of researchers to continue research in Kannada language. Incidentally, Subbu Krishna, former Deputy Director, CIIL, and the lone Kannadiga in the institute, retired last month.

The CIIL sources said that the institute did not want to relinquish its hold over the classical language studies, claiming that it had rigour and discipline to conduct study, whereas an independent institute may lack that. CIIL recently convened a meeting of experts to draft a roadmap for the functioning of the Centre for Excellence. But, in the absence of a director, Project Monitoring Board, nothing will move forward and funds allocated have to be returned. “Except conducting workshops and seminars, major projects such as surveys could not be taken up in the absence of a board,” said Dr. Subbu Krishna.

According to him, CIIL has been striving for the constitution of board, but technical things have become a major hurdle.

Meanwhile, the government is inquiring about the utility of Rs. 1 crore sanctioned by the previous governments to various universities to conduct study on Kannada.