‘They have the responsibility of keeping the genuine concerns of people centre stage’

Writers have a social responsibility to keep the genuine concerns of the common people centre stage at a time when communal and casteist forces are gaining ground, according to writer, film-maker and critic Baragur Ramachandrappa.

Speaking here on Tuesday after receiving the Nrupatunga Award, instituted by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation and presented by the Kannada Sahitya Parishat, he said that society has greater expectations of writers and artistes in a context where most politicians, religious leaders and even social activists are looked upon with suspicion as people furthering their own selfish agenda.

Distance from power

Prof. Ramachandrappa warned that writers have to “keep their distance from centres of political power, more so as their interactions with them increase”.

He said that a writer who forgets his social responsibility either turns narcissistic or loses himself in a web of self-deception.

On the importance of learning and speaking Kannada, Prof. Ramachandrappa said that the flawed notion of a “pure” language was putting off many from speaking the language, adding that “purity” is a highly disputed attribute, be it in assessing quality of literature or language.

Going down memory lane, Prof. Ramachandrappa said that as a little boy back in his village born in a poor family of a so-called low caste, he had won over his inferiority complex through education. It was his social condition that had egged him on to study and build an identity for himself, he added.

Legacy of equality

Critic Basavaraj Kalgudi, speaking on the literary legacy of Prof. Ramachandrappa, said that he was one of those who saw the hunger for social equality as an important aspect of the Kannada literary sensibility. He had woven many social and anthropological strands into the literary mainstream as a writer and as the chairperson of the Karnataka Sahitya Academy, Prof. Kalgudi recalled.

Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy said that Prof. Ramachandrappa had lent a voice to the poor and the downtrodden through his works.

The event also saw five young writers, Fakira, Virupaksha Marammanahalli, Raju Bhandary, B.S. Yudhishtira and Vittala Dalwai, being awarded Aralu Sahitya Prashasti.

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