Bangalore, Nov 1, 2013, DHNS: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday said the government and citizens should work together to ensure that Kannada is not sidelined in its own State.
Speaking after presenting the Kannada Rajyotsava awards -2013 to 58 persons with outstanding achievements in their respective fields, Siddaramaiah termed it unfortunate that there was no atmosphere in the State that compelled outsiders to learn Kannada.
“It is estimated that 80 per cent of population in a city like Bangalore are non-Kannadigas. Ours is a federal country and people are free to live in any city or state. But, at the same time, we should create an atmosphere where they learn Kannada and become part of the State,” Siddaramaiah said.
He pointed out that people who migrate to states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra have no option but to learn and speak the local language.
The chief minister reiterated that an expert committee would be set up to study the Sarojini Mahishi committee report revised by the Kannada Development Authority (KDA), that seeks to give primacy to Kannadigas in local employment.
He said people should shun the impression that students who study in Kannada medium do not fare well in their career.
On the dot
There was glitter and colour at the Ravindra Kalakshetra, the venue for the award presentation. However, not all could join in the celebrations. The two-hour long programme began dot on schedule at 6.30 pm.
With the auditorium filled to the brim, security personnel locked the entrance to keep away the surging crowd. Many relatives and friends of the awardees had to watch the proceedings standing in the aisles or on close circuit television installed outside the main hall.
Harekala Hajjabba and Soolagitti Narasamma got the loudest applause when they received their awards from the chief minister.
Ninety-two year old Narasamma of Tumkur district, popularly known as soolagitti (traditional midwife) has the credit of carrying out 1,500 deliveries in remote rural areas. She does not charge any fee for her services.
Hajjabba of Dakshina Kannada earns a living by selling fruits at the Happanakatta bus station in Mangalore. But his profession did not deter him from putting his savings along with contributions from donors to construct a high school for poor children in his native village near Mangalore.
Siddaramaiah said the selection of awardees was done independently by a committee headed by Jnanpith awardee U R Ananthamurthy.
The chief minister said he had recommended only one name to the committee that of noted agriculture scientist S Ayyappan of Chamarajanagar district. The committee had selected awardees based on their merit.
The awardee list also had several people who had had not sent in their applications for the awards, he said.