Mr. Hardeman was the star attraction at the 80th Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelan here on Wednesday.
Litterateurs who interacted with him were surprised by his command over Kannada. His opposition to the “domination” of English over the native languages, including Kannada, impressed those who attended the convention.
“I don’t know what will be the future of Kannada, because of the increasing hegemony of a colonial language. The next generation will feel closer to English, than Kannada,” he said.
He learnt Kannada on his own with the help of dictionaries and grammar books. “I have not learnt Kannada through a Guru (teacher). I am a self-taught man,” he said.
Mr. Hardeman came to Bangalore as a tourist for the first time in 1996 when he decided to learn Kannada, as he wanted to live in Karnataka. It had become difficult for him to learn Kannada, as according to him over 70 per cent of the people spoke English and other languages in Bangalore.
After living in Bangalore for 14 months, he left for Mysore to learn Kannada. “It is a must for those living in Karnataka to learn Kannada,” he observed.
Now, he works as a translator. But his wife, Angelina, speaks Tamil and they converse in English at home.
He has read all the significant literary works in the original, and his favourite writer is Poornachandra Tejaswi. “I have read eight important works of Tejaswi and my favourites are Karvalo, Chidambara Rahasya and Jugari Cross. I like Tejaswi because of his unique, mesmerising style,” he said.