Thousands cheer for Kannada at Bangalore meet

Friday, February 4, 2011

BANGALORE - Thousands of lovers of Kannada language, literature, songs, art and culture gathered here Friday for a three-day literary meet, held in the state capital after 41 years.

Drummers, dancers, folk artists, singers, tableaux, film stars and a police band led the procession from Freedom Park in central Bangalore to the National College grounds, about six kilometres away in south Bangalore to mark the start of 77th Kannada Sahitya Sammelana.

A massive ‘pandal’ has been put up at the National College grounds, the venue, to accommodate thousands at the inaugural function. The organisers, Kannada Sahitya Parishat, said there were 60,000 people at the function.

Eminent Kannada lexicographer G. Venkatasubbaiah, who is 97 years old but still sprightly, is presiding over the meet.

Venkatasubbaiah, a retired Kannada professor, is regarded as the father of modern Kannada dictionary. He has compiled an eight-volume Kannada-Kannada dictionary and a dictionary of complex Kannada words.

The literary meet took on added significance for two reasons this time. First, it was being held in Bangalore after four decades and second, the Kannada speaking population in the nation’s tech hub is only about 30 percent of its present nearly eight million population.

Karnataka’s population is around 60 million.

Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, in his address at the function, said his government would strive to make Kannada the administrative language at all levels.

In his presidential address Venkatasubbaiah, born on Aug 23, 1913, spoke of the declining interest of Kannada speaking people to use the language and their growing preference for English.

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