Classical language status sought for Kannada

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PLEA: Kannada writers and activists led by former Vice-Chancellor D. Javregowda staging a dharna in front of the CIIL in Mysore on Monday. PHOTO: M.A.SRIRAM
PLEA: Kannada writers and activists led by former Vice-Chancellor D. Javregowda staging a dharna in front of the CIIL in Mysore on Monday. PHOTO: M.A.SRIRAM

Special Correspondent

Centre urged to respond to the demand within a fortnight

  • CIIL director comes under fire for his "inability" to read and write in Kannada
  • Activists tear into pieces his message in English

    MYSORE: The agitation seeking classical language status for Kannada resumed again after a brief lull with litterateurs and intellectuals of the city staging a dharna in front of the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) here on Monday.

    CIIL director Udaya Narayan Singh too came under fire for his "inability" to read and write in Kannada. His message in English was torn into pieces by the activists.

    Led by the former Vice-Chancellor D. Javare Gowda, the protestors locked the CIIL main gate for more than an hour. They demanded a response from the Centre Government to their long-pending demand for classical language status for Kannada.

    Among those who participated in the agitation included academicians, intellectuals and litterateurs including H.J. Lakkappa Gowda; H.S. Krishnaswamy Iyengar; M. Akbar Ali; C.P. Krishna Kumar; science writer G.T. Narayan Rao; Latha Rajashekar; K. Bhairavmurthy, Rajashekar Kadamba; M.B. Vishwanath and president of the Mysore District Kannada Sahitya Parishat, Manasa, B.N. Chandraiah.

    They alleged that MPs from the State were not bringing pressure on the Government or raising the issue in Parliament. Even bureaucrats came under flak for their "failure" to uphold the cause of Kannada.

    Prof. Javare Gowda, who addressed the activists, said that there was greater need for according classical language status to Kannada than Tamil, as it had a more ancient history and was richer in every respect.

    Columnist Krishnaswamy Iyengar alleged that Tamil Nadu Government had succeeded in obtaining classical language status by threatening to withdraw support if the United Progressive Alliance Government failed to meet their demand.

    CIIL assistant director B. Mallikarjun distributed copies of a message from the institute director, who was out of town. The activists tore it apart, following which Dr. Mallikarjun got the message translated into Kannada.

    The CIIL director said in his message that the institute was not the competent body to accord classical language status for any language, but it was empowered to implement the recommendations once such a status was accorded to the language.

    All language experts and lovers of literature were aware of the rich past of Kannada, its growth and evolution. Contribution of poets such as Pampa; Ranna; Kumara Vyasa; Basaveshwara; and Allama Prabhu, and "Vachana Sahitya" and "Dasa Sahitya" had enriched the Indian literary tradition. Works of the modern poets including Kuvempu, Bendre, and B.M. Srikantiah were classics, which laid bare the vitality of Kannada's literary growth, Dr. Singh said.

    Prof. Javare Gowda and others expressed concern over the fact that the CIIL director did not know Kannada.

    It was demanded that he be removed from the post for his lack of knowledge of the local language.

    The protestors dispersed after issuing an ultimatum to the Centre to respond to their demands within a fortnight.


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