Litterateur D. Javare Gowda (De.Ja. Gow) here on Wednesday said conferring the prestigious Karnataka Ratna Award will have meaning only if the Government commits itself to protect the interest of Kannada and Kannadigas by implementing Kannada as medium of instruction and according priority to Kannadigas in employment.
Responding, after receiving the award, the highest civilian award instituted by the Government, he also demanded the fixation of ‘some kind of tax' on English-medium institutions.
Clarifying that he was not against English language, he said: “The colonial language should only act as a fertilizer to Kannada and should not occupy the place of the mother tongue. He was not at all elated by the Government conferring the prestigious award on him, but would be exultant if Kannada gets primacy in the State in “letter and spirit”.
Regretting the apathy of the Union Ministers representing the State at the Centre in getting the benefits of classical status, he called upon the people to stop them from entering the State for not serving the Kannada cause. However, he praised Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa for his contribution to promoting the language and protecting the interest of the land. He noted that Mr. Yeddyurappa had played an important role in getting classical status to Kannada and allocating maximum funds for the promotion of language and culture. “He should get the credit of instituting maximum number of universities in the last three years and a folk university,” he said.
Conferring the Karnataka Ratna awards to both Mr. Javare Gowda (2008) and D. Veerendra Heggade of Dharmasthala (2009), Mr. Yeddyurappa said the award acquired real honour because it was conferred on persons of highest commitment to land, language and culture. “Both Mr. Heggade and Mr. Gowda have influenced society through their contributions, and they are the pride of the land,” he said.
Describing Mr. Hegde as his model in rural development, he said had his predecessors followed the model of Dharmasthala, the situation would have been different today.