A lesson on language love for present-day bureaucrats

British era letter from Queen written in Kannada found in Belagavi

A lesson on language love  for present-day bureaucrats

That top government officials have a penchant for using English in the day-to-day administration is a known fact.

But letters from the days of the Raj that have been found here show how even the Queen of England had acknowledged Kannada as the administrative language of the region.

A thanksgiving letter from the queen, written in 1911 to kings loyal to the regime, which has been found at the Kanabargi suburb here is proof of this.

Members of the Belagavi unit of the State Advocates Sahitya Parishad, while collecting documents regarding use of Kannada in administration prior to Independence, came across the thanksgiving letter written by the Queen of England in the possession of former Belagavi corporator Shivangouda Bhimgouda Patil. 

Governors, lieutenant generals and those loyal to the British throne had been invited for the coronation of the Prince of Wales as the administrative officer of India on June 22, 1911 in Delhi.

Thanksgiving letters were sent to them on December 12, 1911 in Kannada.

The invite too was in Kannada, printed on khaki colour paper 1.5-foot wide and 2.5-foot long. The thanksgiving letter, also printed on khaki colour paper with red ink, was 10-inch wide and 16-inch long.

Both have the emblems of the British kingdom and are printed at Government Central Press, Bombay (now Mumbai), as mentioned at the bottom of the letters. Names of those who translated the letters into Kannada have also been printed.

Shivangouda Patil’s father had been working as the police-patil. Hence, he used to receive letters and invites at his residence at Kanabargi. Patil’s father used to participate in the programmes in Delhi.

Property purchase documents of 1928, survey documents of 1939 and court fee receipts of 1940 and other documents that have been collected would be submitted to the government as evidence for the case pending in the Supreme Court regarding the Karnataka-Maharashtra boundary dispute and would be used for research, said Ravindra Totger, Belagavi district unit president of the State Advocates Sahitya Parishad.

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