‘Make Kannada first language in school’

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BANGALORE: The Grand Old Man of Kannada letters, 98-year-old G. Venkatasubbaiah, has said that the development of Kannada on all fronts would be possible only if Kannada is made the compulsory first language from classes I to X in all schools in the State.

He was delivering the presidential speech on the inaugural day of the three-day 77th Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelan here on Friday.

His 32-page speech traced the influence and vitality of Kannada in education, administration, and literary publication, going as far back as the 18th century to the contribution made by German missionaries to the language.

He made a blistering attack on the absence of ethics in political parties, a speech heard out in rapt attention by a phalanx of politicians from Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to Ministers Govind Karjol, V. Somanna and S. Suresh Kumar; BJP general secretary H.N. Ananth Kumar and Janata Dal (Secular) leader P.G.R. Sindhia.

Prof. Venkatasubbaiah said the Government, particularly the Department of Education, and people concerned should take special care in promoting Kannada as a language and make efforts on the lines of what had been done in Tamil Nadu.

With the backing of strict laws, the Government should implement Kannada as a compulsory first language from classes I to X. The Supreme Court has allowed Tamil Nadu to bring in such a measure. If Karnataka could do that, even non-Kannada-speaking children in the State would become Kannadigas in a decade. There was no alternative to ensure the survival of Kannada in Bangalore other than this, he said.

Referring to the falling standards in Kannada teaching in primary and high schools owing to lack of good Kannada teachers, Prof. Venkatasubbaiah suggested that the Government recruit those who have studied Kannada as an optional subject as Kannada teachers and prepare an army of 1,000 such teachers annually through language inculcation camps.

The Government should not overlook the influence and importance of dictionary projects and translation of important works from other regional languages into Kannada.

Although, it was not wrong in borrowing words, phrases and idioms from English, Kannada should not be pushed back in its usage and utility, he cautioned.
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