Land, Language, People Reviews

All about Kannada

It was exactly 63 years ago on November 1 that Kannada-speaking people were brought together under one state. Despite formation of Karnataka on linguistic lines, struggle by Kannadigas are still continuing to protect the interest of land (Karnataka), language (Kannada) and Kannada speaking people.

At this juncture, three different volumes on Kannada-Kannadiga-Karnataka, jointly edited by Kannada activist and writer Ra. Nam. Chandrashekar along with renowned writers, scholars, thinkers, historians, research scholars gains importance.

Kannada Dindima (The Kannada Drum), which presents a detailed picture of various pro-Kannada movements of post-unification movements, is solely written by Ra. Nam. Chandrashekhara himself a Kannada activist, who witnessed most of these movements.

The 350-page volume Kannada Dindima (published by Sapna Book House) delineates pro-Kannada movements in 11 chapters under 200 plus sub heads. As the writer himself records in the preface of the volume, inspired by Kannada activists Aa. Na. Krishnaraya, Ma. Ramamurthy, Nadigera Krishnaraya, M.V. Seetharamaiah and others, Chandrashekhar become a part of pro-Kannada movements when he was just 12 year old. He continued to be part of agitations launched to protect the interest of land, language and Kannada culture. Genesis of Kannada Dindima can be found in Kandu Kelida Kannada Chaluvaligalu (Kannada movements as heard and watched) in 1991. Based on the research documentation made for the article, he penned Kannada Horatagalu-Ondu Nota (A View of Kannada movements). It is not an easy task to record pro-Kannada movements dispassionately, being a Kannada activist. Chandrashekar met stalwarts involved in Kannada movements including Ma. Ramamurthy, Aa.Na.Kru., and collected hundreds of pamphlets, press clippings from the personal archives of various people. He visited all the areas where Kannada movements turned strong in Bengaluru.

All about Kannada

When Chandrashekhar started writing the volume, he understood the challenges in recording movement authentically without any biases. Looking at other works, for instance, the work by Raghavendra Joshi of Belagavi, he learnt that, his understanding was Bengaluru centric and not pan-Karnataka. Nevertheless, Chandrashekhar doesn’t claim that Kannada Dindima is comprehensive, he calls it a bird’s eye view. This volume deals with all the important Kannada movements. “Details of many Kannada movements in other parts of Karnataka are lost for lack of authentic records. Those who led the movements failed to preserve the documents. With all these constraints, an honest attempt is being made to record pro-Kannada movements, as objectively as possible. It is still possible to include what is left out and bring out a comprehensive volume, if authentic documents are made available,” says the modest, Chandrashekhar.

In a way, Kannada Dindima is a narrative of the rise and fall of Kannada movements. Though it reads a bit emotional, it provides a detailed understanding of the historicity of a linguistic movement. Kannada Dindima differs from other works of the nature because of the extreme restraint of the author, who is a witness to various movements. He records the proceedings of the movements with the temperament of a journalist, rather than that of an activist. The work covers most Kannada organisations from Karnataka Samyukta Ranga to the present-day Banavasi Kannada Balaga. Kannada Dindima can be described as an attempt to capture the spirit and format of Kannada movements. There are chapters on the border movements in Belagavi, Gokak agitation for the primacy of Kannada language, entry of Dr. Rajkumar, struggle for Kannada Doordarshan, employment for Kannadigas, agitations for Cauvery and Krishna river sharing, among other things. It is also possible to look at Kannada Dindima from cultural and sociological history of Karnataka. At one level, it is useful as a reference work for those who want to write post-unification of history of Kannada movements.

Besides Kannada Dindima, two volumes of Kannada-Kannadiga-Karnataka jointly edited by Ra. Nam. Chandrashekhara, with eminent authors, writers, are aimed at making Karnataka a welfare state and offers guidelines for minds which are bent upon building modern Kannada.

All about Kannada

Kannada-Kannadiga-Karnataka, which was jointly edited by Prof. L. S. Sheshagiri Rao, Dr. M Chidanandamurthy and Ra. Nam. Chandrashekar has a collection of Kannada poems from all the renowned Kannada poets including Pampa, Govinda Pai, Kuvempu, B. M. Srikantaiah, Chennaveera Kanavi Huilugola Narayana Rao, Da. Ra. Bendre, Gopalakrishna Adiga, K. S. Nisar Ahmed, Sali Ramachandra Raya among others in the first part. The second part has articles on the history of Karnataka, land, language and culture of Karnataka by eminent writers and research scholars, river disputes, achievements of Karnataka in various fields including, power, irrigation, road transport, tourism, irrigation projects among other things.

During the release of second edition of this volume, renowned novelist and writer S. L. Bhyrappa, described Kannada-Kannadiga-Karnataka as the “Unofficial Constitution of the Kannadiga”. The revised 12th edition of this volume was brought out by Sapna Publication in August 2016. As this edition is not restricted to recount past glory and history of Karnataka, but aimed at offering transparent picture on the present situation, the later editions have revised data and statistics on population, districts, per-capita income among other things. “This volume helps the bureaucrats and the elected representatives to get a clear picture of the present in the light of past. Meanwhile, it will facilitate Kannada activists to understand true nature of the problems, before launching any movement to protect the language and land,” observes Prof. Chidanandamurthy.

All about Kannada

“To prepare volume of this kind is not an easy task, as some of the reports are not available. A report prepared by Jnanapith recipient writer Masti Venkatesha Iyengar on Administrative Language in 1967 could not be procured even after long search. Some reports are in English and huge in their volume. For instance, Recommendations of Dr. Nanjundappa Committee on Regional Imbalances runs to 1500 pages and Mahajan Committee Report on Border Disputes is about 500 odd pages. Similar is the predicament of report of Sarojini Mahishi Committee. Had we reproduced them as it is, the volume of this work would have ran for over 6000 pages. Keeping logistic problems, we have decided to carry important portions of the volume, which would help the Kannadigas for their research and study,” says Chandrashekhar and Muralidhara. Despite all its limitations, the authors feel that, “this volume is the most comprehensive one”.

It is not an exaggeration, if Kannadigas describes the combination of these three volumes as the ‘unwritten constitution of Kannada-Kannadiga-Karnataka’.


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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 4:34:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/all-about-kannada/article29840721.ece

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