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Kannada classical centre moves to new premises

The Centre of Excellence for Studies in Classical Kannada (CESCK) shifted to its new premises at the University of Mysore campus on Saturday in a move expected to boost research on the language.

The CESCK functioned all these years out of the CIIL premises. A spacious office was provided for it in the building of the National Centre for History of Science at Manasagangotri. Experts and littérateurs who graced the virtual event to mark the occasion and celebrate the Kannada Rajyotsava, laid the broad contours and the work that needs to be undertaken on priority.

Jnanpith awardee and Kannada littérateur Chandrashekar Kambar who made a virtual address said Indian languages have a hoary past and a wealth of literature but English has usurped the position of a link language due to the education system introduced by the British. This system introduced by Macaulay bred an inferiority complex among Indians who have come to consider their past as worthless. The situation is such that it is considered a must for jobs today and the language experts and CESCK should strive to ensure that Kannada regains its pride of place, said Mr. Kambar.

He said there was no country as linguistically diverse as India with a wealth of literary corpus and the Bhakti movement opened the floodgates of literary outpouring. Yet English was encouraged as it was linked to job opportunities whereas this was not so in countries like China, Russia or Japan.

G. Hemantha Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, University of Mysore, described the shifting of the CESCK to Mansagangotri campus as a sort of ‘homecoming’ and laid the broad road map for the centre apart from its research activities. He said works of poets like Pampa, Ranna, Ponna, etc., should be translated into English and other Indian languages. There was no dearth of Kannada scholars but efforts should be made to identify senior most scholars and document and recognise their works, he added.

Deputy Director of Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) Umarani Kuppaswamy said there were nearly 43 million Kannada speakers in the country constituting 3.61% of the population. The language had rich traditions spanning over 2,000 years. She said culture and language were interlinked and celebrating a language amounted to celebrating a culture and if the language was lost the culture too would perish with it. She said the CIIL can help in promoting Kannada as a link language among tribes some of who had their own languages but did not have a script.

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