President of the 80th Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelan Na. D’Souza on Thursday criticised the silence of writers on issues concerning State, language and culture. They prefer to remain silent on these issues as they were afraid of losing the prospects of getting awards, including the Jnanpith, and posts in cultural academies if they speak against the system, he said at the convention’s valedictory programme.
Writers were mincing words and were afraid of speaking the truth when confronted with issues concerning language, religion and culture as they have a desire to get awards and head cultural academies, he said.
“People have a lot of expectations from writers who profess values through their works. By remaining silent, they are disappointing those who have reposed faith in them,” Mr. D’Souza said.
Writers had the responsibility of safeguarding the interests of the impoverished, Dalits and landless labourers. But they had failed on this front, he said. It was time they got themselves corrected and lent their voice to the voiceless, he said.
“I have expressed my opinion without mincing words, knowing fully that my views will hurt some people. But I cannot gloss over the truth to please all,” Mr. D’Souza said.
“My words [at the sammelan] were well taken and discussed. Some people even got issues clarified. This is what I expected from this sammelan. The purpose of the convention really served,” he said.
Recalling the contributions of Hermann Friedrich Mogling, a German missionary, and Reverend Ferdinand Kittel, who stayed in Kodagu and contributed to Kannada lexicography, Mr. D’Souza appealed to people of the district to build a memorial for them.
Expressing his gratitude for the reception extended by the people of Kodagu, he said he had forgotten a few bitter moments of the sammelan.
In his valedictory address, writer Hampa Nagarajaiah called upon the Kannada Sahitya Parishat to launch a peaceful movement for protecting and promoting Kannada.