`Do not sacrifice Karnataka's interests'

TUMKUR, FEB. 15. The noted writer and Jnanpith award winner, U.R.Ananthamurthy, has said: ``We must not sacrifice the interests of Karnataka to be Indians.'' Presiding over the three-day 69th Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelan, which began at the Gubbi Veeranna Vedike on the Government Junior College Grounds here on Friday, Dr. Ananthamurthy asked the Government to evolve a comprehensive ``cultural policy'' to safeguard the rich heritage of Kannadigas from the onslaught of globalisation.

Dr. Ananthamurthy cautioned the Government against turning the State into ``an Argentina'' in its pursuit of economic liberalisation, and said: ``Seers of the past predicted the advent of the age of workers (Shudrayuga), which did not happen. However, the age of a new tribe of businessmen (neo- Vysyayuga) has come into being following the mad rush for information technology.''

He said there should be a policy, native to ``Kannadadol Bhavisida Janapada'' (the land conceptualised by Kannada), to guide the conduct of multinational companies setting their foot in the State. Use of Kannada in their administration and the job reservation policy, as applicable to government posts, should be made compulsory for the multinational companies.

He said the ``silicon valley'', Bangalore, should remain the pride of the State, even as it blossomed into a ``pretty universe.'' Kannadigas should progress in such a way that Kannada was not neglected. The five crore Kannadigas should become literate. There should be uniformity in education at the primary level. The concept of mother-tongue in education was wrong. The schools, if necessary, could adopt bilingual (Kannada and English) medium to teach Science subjects.

He said: ``Let us learn Kannada, and also English. Let us not learn Kannada in English. Information technology is more dangerous than Parthenium. Engineering colleges are a threat to the study of core subjects of science, humanities and languages. Kannada is relegated to the kitchen in urban areas. Educated employee remains linguistically poor forever, while a coolie in a bus stand turns into a multi-lingual person out of necessity.''

Lamenting that the love for modernity had become the major weakness of Kannadigas, Dr. Ananthamurthy said: ``We strived to achieve equality by creating spiritual awareness. But the undue desire for modernity defeated the very objective. Export-oriented literature is produced in English. Revolutionary writings of Basavanna and Buddha are given a go-by. Gandhi's village here and Mao's hamlet in China are aiming at westernisation.'' He urged the Government to explore alternatives to escape the influence of the West.

Praising the Chief Minister, S.M.Krishna, Dr. Ananthamurthy said his belief in the elected democratic government was strengthened when Mr. Krishna listened to the people and decided to wind up mining activity in Kudremukh National Park in five years. The State did not listen to the diktat of Delhi, but heeded the villagers' wish.

Lauding Tumkur for its contribution to literature, art, and culture besides politics, he recalled the services rendered by Veeranna, Thee.Nam.Srikantaiah, Gangadhararaya, Srinivasa Rao, Siddhaveeranna Odeyar, Baragur Ramachandrappa, S.S.Marulaiah, Sannaguddaiah, Doddarange Gowda, and K.B.Siddaiah. He said the Siddartha Education Society founded by H.M.Gangadharaiah was a movement in search of self-confidence by weaker sections of society. Siddaganga Math was a model for others of its kind.

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