Karnataka Sahitya Sammelana

Choose a secular, national party with a regional agenda, says Champa

The president of the 83rd Kannada Sahitya Sammelan Chandrashekar Patil flagging off the meet with a procession on the Mysuru palace premises on Friday. M.A.SRIRAM  

Delivering a politically-loaded address months before the Assembly polls in the State, Kannada sahitya sammelana president Chandrashekar Patil on Friday urged Kannadigas to vote for a “secular, national party with a regional agenda”.

Obliquely batting for the ruling Congress in the opening address at the 83rd Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelana in Mysuru, he said Karnataka had failed in forming a strong regional party and the only option, therefore, was opting for a secular, national party which had strong regional concerns.

He said the party of choice should uphold democratic, secular values, besides respecting ideals enshrined in the Constitution.

Stating that this was his personal opinion and not that of Kannada Sahitya Parishat (which holds the annual event), Mr. Patil, who is popularly known as Champa, said there was deep apprehension that the present political dispensation at the Centre (though democratically elected), was “distorting the federal structure of the country”.

“Some recent developments force us to think whether the party in power at the Centre believes in one language-one religion-one ideology. It looks as if the Vande Mataram, which we sang in unison for decades, is now hijacked,” he said.

“Kannada consciousness is essentially secular in nature,” argued Prof. Patil, adding that the principle of social justice ran through the culture and literature of the land.

On the issue of protecting the interests of Kannada language, Mr. Patil said there was not enough efforts made to clear the legal hurdles in making Kannada the medium of instruction from classes 1 to 5.

He said despite successive governments issuing pro-Kannada orders, they were being questioned in courts.

The only solution to the issue was bringing an amendment to the Constitution.

“Despite Chief Minister Siddaramaiah writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there is no reply,” he regretted. He asked Mr. Siddaramaiah to convene a convention of Chief Ministers of all States and create a consensus to pressurise the Centre to bring in the needed amendment.

He indirectly took on the Bharatiya Janata Party on issues concerning the State. Without naming that party, he said, “A national party was silent when the State government batted for separate State flag and opposed imposition of Hindi. Local leaders were asked to keep their mouth shut by their high command.”

Recalling the days of the Gokak movement, which aimed at making Kannada the medium of instruction, Mr. Patil said that was a major language movement witnessed in the State in the post-unification era. The political picture of the State would have been different by this time if the movement had a collective leadership, he said.

Mr. Patil also emphasised the need to rejuvenate the spirit of the Bandaya movement of the 1970s to fight globalisation, privatisation, and more importantly, saffronisation.

Praise for Siddaramaiah

While the Kannada sahitya sammelana president Chandrashekar Patil by implication batted for the Congress in Karnataka in his speech by asking people to vote for a “national party with a regional agenda”, the praise was more direct when he talked of Kannada issues.

He said the Congress government was pro-Kannada and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, being the first chairman of the Kannada Kavalu Samiti and with a socialist background, was making his best efforts to meet the aspirations of Kannadigas.

As Chief Minister, he has done his best in making Kannada the medium of instruction, despite the non-cooperation of the Centre, he said. However, he warned that the government had a lot more to do.


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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 10:17:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/choose-a-secular-national-party-with-a-regional-agenda-says-champa/article20807248.ece

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