Kannada is getting new readership: Siddalingaiah

Dr Siddalingaiah, Chairman of the Kannada Book Authority in Bangalore on 21st October, 2011. Photo : K . Bhagya Prakash.

Dr Siddalingaiah, Chairman of the Kannada Book Authority in Bangalore on 21st October, 2011. Photo : K . Bhagya Prakash.  

Poet and writer Siddalingaiah is a founding member and ideologue of the Dalit Sangharsh Samiti. He has served twice as member of Karnataka Legislative Council and chairman of Kannada Development Authority.

As the chairman of Kannada Book Authority (KBA), he has envisaged various programmes to promote reading, organising book fairs to reach the best works of Kannada literature. Though his three-year term expired last June, he was given another year's extension. His term will now end in June. Excerpts from an interview:

Are you satisfied with the work done in the last three years?

Though I'm not completely satisfied, I did my best to push KBA's goals: to promote reading and encourage publishers. While my predecessors held three book fairs during their tenure, six were held during mine. Those averse to Kannada works earlier have started reading them.

How do you look at the development?

Now readers are getting books in Kannada on subjects not available earlier. They can now lay their hands on works ranging from literature to astronomy.

What is your contribution during your tenure?

In a first effort, I launched a series of publications in Braille and encouraged writing on medical science in Kannada. Of the 50 books covering all eminent writers in Kannada, 15 have already been published and the remaining will be released shortly. I also took interest in publishing major Kannada works, which are in demand but out of print.

The controversy surrounding the publication of Samagra Vachana Samputa (comprehensive compilation of Vachana literature) finally ended and 30,000 copies of the 15-volume work will be released [this month], after 11 years.

The KBA is bringing out over 250 works under various categories.

The prose form of classical literature is less popular compared to poetry and [we're] introducing the best prose, including Mudra Manjusha by Kempu Narayana.

The Government conducted a probe into the violation of Transparency Act with regard to the tender for publication of Samagra Vachana Samputa. What is its outcome?

A letter had been written in this regard to the Government. [But we] decided to release 30,000 copies in view of public pressure. It is up to the Government to act on the letter.

Have you succeeded in reaching out to Kannadigas outside the State?

KBA has made its best efforts to reach out to them. Over 25,000 books were distributed among Kannada schools and organisations in Kasaragod, Sholapur, Mahabubnagar, Talawadi, Mumbai and Pune.

Are you happy with the support extended by the Government during your tenure?

The Government had sanctioned Rs. 50 lakh in the previous budget and sanctioned additional funds whenever we asked. We're preparing a proposal to seek more funds in the coming budget.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2020 8:19:14 PM |

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