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KSP to intensify agitation to save Kannada

Staff Correspondent

`We will create public opinion on saving our language and culture'

HASSAN: The president of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat (KSP), Chandrashekar Patil, on Sunday, alleged that successive Governments have failed to safeguard the interest of Kannada in the State. The KSP will force the Government to accord priority to defend the language, which has been sidelined over the years, and culture, which is facing threat owing to economic liberalisation.

Addressing presspersons here, Mr. Patil said that for the first time, the KSP has decided to mobilise mass support and create public opinion on the importance of saving Kannada. Understanding the seriousness of the issue, the Government has invited a forum of 21 pro-Kannada organisations, led by KSP, for talks in this regard, he said.

The forum has given a one month deadline to the Government to meet its charter of demands, which includes implementation of a uniform education policy. Failure to meet the deadline will force the forum to launch a State-wide "Mathrubhasha Madhyama Chaluvali" (agitation for medium of instruction in the mother tongue).

Reacting to the demand of many forums, especially Dalit organisations, to introduce English from first standard in government schools, Mr. Patil said that KSP and 21 pro-Kannada organisations are not in favour of introduction of English from first standard. However, they welcome the ongoing debate on the issue as it speaks of Kannada awareness and portends another agitation on the lines of Gokak agitation. The KSP is in favour of introducing English as an optional language from third standard and as a regular subject from fifth standard, he said.

The objective of the proposed agitation is to pressure the Government to announce teaching of mother tongue or the regional language from first standard to seventh standard, inclusive of pre-primary classes from this academic year. The Government should take steps to vacate the stay given by the Karnataka High Court on the Supreme Court rulings in this regard 11 years ago, he added.

Mr. Patil said that he failed to understand why successive Government have failed to vacate the stay. Welcoming the reported statement of Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, who said that he is supported the demand to introduce Kannada from first standard, Mr. Patil said that the other issues will be sorted out during discussions with him.

He also urged the Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Ramalinga Reddy, to make teaching of Kannada compulsory even in Central schools in the state. He urged him to take action against educational institutions which are running English medium schools by obtaining permission to start Kannada medium schools. Suitable action should also be initiated against of the Education Officers, who have allowed these educational institutions to function, he added.

Supplementary report

Mr. Patil said that the Minister for Industries, P.G.R. Sindhia, had agreed to discuss the issue of implementing Sarojini Mahishi Committee Report about providing employment to Kannadigas in both private and public sectors. Admitting that the report is outdated, he said that the KSP is not averse to the idea of studying the problem afresh and submit a supplementary report at the earliest.

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