K.N. Venkatasubba Rao

Process of constituting 11 literary and cultural academies is on

Kannada and Culture Directorate preparing panels

Constitution of academies, a contentious affair

Bangalore: Even as the Directorate of Kannada and Culture has begun the process of constituting the 11 literary and cultural academies for a fresh tenure of three years, influential forces in cultural and political circles are reportedly drafting panels of their own. It is an indication of the clout that such forces have in the administration.

The constitution of the Sahitya, Nataka, Sangeeta and Nritya, Lalitakala, Yakshagana, Janapada, Urdu, Kodava, Konkani, Shilpa Kala and Tulu academies has been pending since March 31, 2008.

The directorate is preparing panels of names for the academies to be constituted in accordance with the guidelines. However, interested individuals are said to be making frequent visits to the Chief Minister’s office, and a team of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh volunteers at the behest of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, and a group of established singers are trying to “push their case” in the constitution of the academies.

The directorate is said to be planning to recommend to the Government to appoint the chairpersons and let them nominate members. But it is common knowledge how this method implemented by the S. Bangarappa government in 1991 diluted the quality of some of the autonomous bodies and ended up producing substandard results.

The constitution of the academies has always been a contentious and prestigious issue because of political, administrative and cultural reasons, for over a decade now. The appointment of chairpersons in recent years has never been a smooth affair.

Responding to queries on the constitution of the academies in 2005, the former Deputy Chief Minister M.P. Prakash said, “It has become a challenge for any Chief Minister or the Minister concerned to select deserving chairpersons and equally deserving panel members without giving room for interventions, interference and lobbying.”

Ironically, in the absence of an independent Minister for Kannada and Culture, Mr. Prakash and the then Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh had repeatedly announced that the “Government will appoint chairpersons and members to academies without further delay.”

The BJP had then, on the floor of the Legislative Council, strongly criticised the delay in the appointment of a Minister for Kannada and Culture and chairpersons for the academies.

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