Devanuru Mahadeva declines to chair sahitya sammelan

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BENGALURU:  Even as the State government has decided to file a curative petition in the Supreme Court over Kannada as the medium of instruction in primary schools, writer Devanuru Mahadeva has declined to chair the 81st Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelan over the ‘lack of political will’ to implement the language as the medium of instruction.

Author of Kusumabale, recipient of the Kendra Sahitya Academy and Padma Shri awards, Mr. Mahadeva had rejected the offer to chair the sammelan twice earlier over the same issue. He had also refused the prestigious Nrupatunga Award while sticking to his guns.

The writer said he would take the lead if the Kannada Sahitya Parishat abandons the event till the government implements Kannada as a medium of instruction and reiterated that he would not even participate in the event till then.

Kannada Sahitya Parishat, which is celebrating its centenary year in 2015, had recently announced that the noted Dalit writer would chair the sammelan.

Parishat president Pundalika Halambi said neither the government nor the parishat had the power to make Kannada the medium of instruction.

The Supreme Court had quashed the government’s 1994 language policy making mother tongue or Kannada the compulsory medium of instruction in primary schools.

Defending the government, he said, “The government has not given up and is making every effort to protect the interest of Kannada.”
‘Natural choice’

Mr. Halambi said there was demand from every section of the society to get a Dalit writer to chair the sammelan as they did not get representation since the day the parishat started holding the annual event.

“Devanuru Mahadeva was our natural choice. I wish to make it clear that Mr. Mahadeva was chosen not only because he is a prominent Dalit writer, but is undoubtedly a writer par excellence in Kannada literature,” Mr. Halambi said.

He also stated the he would meet Mr. Mahadeva and appeal him to reconsider his decision and use the platform to air his views. If he refuses to amend his stand, then there is no alternative except considering other Dalit writers,” he said.

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