Literature has great power – the power to destroy or build society – and youth should be encouraged to take to it, said Minister for Health and Family Welfare U.T. Khader at the eighth annual district-level Chutuku Literature conference that started here on Saturday.

Elaborating on the need to ensure the survival and growth of Chutuku, the four-line Kannada poetry style, the Minister said, “It would help children if textbooks incorporated Chutuku in it, making it easier to learn lessons.”

Commenting on the sparse attendance during the inauguration of the conference, he rued the lack of importance being given to poetry and literature. “The fact that parents are more likely to take their children to a mall rather than poetry reading sessions is a disturbing trend,” he said. He said the government should extend its support to ensure that the four-line poetry style is encouraged in every district.

The two-day conference, held at Mangaladevi Temple in the city, featured Chutuku poetry reading session in languages of Kannada, Konkani, Tulu and Beary; discussion sessions; and a book exhibition. On Sunday, a State-level Chutuku poetry session is to be inaugurated by District In-charge Minister B. Ramanath Rai.

A succinct form

Elaborating on the growth of Kannada poetry styles Chutuku and Hanigavana, writer and scholar N.G. Patwardhan said the styles which were once in the fringes of Kannada literature has now grown to be an integral part of it.

“The forms sought to capture the ‘most meaning’ in the least number of words possible. Even Kuvempu dabbled in them…It is Dinakar Desai that took them to new heights,” he said.