Kannada is supreme in Karnataka: C T Ravi

Karnataka Kannada and Culture Minister C T Ravi on Thursday said the BJP-led government at the Centre has no plans to impose Hindi, as he asserted that Kannada is supreme in the state.

"Central government is not imposing Hindi and it won't do it also. Our party's principle is that importanceshould be given to regional languages," Ravi said. Speaking to reporters here, he said, "Kannada has its own ability and in Karnataka Kannada is supreme... link language is different matter and it was left for people to decide whether one needs to learn it or not."

Union Home Minister Amit Shah last month pitched for Hindi as a common language for the country, which had reignited the debate on the issue, and drew flak from various organisations and political parties in the southern states.

Seeking to defend Shah's statement, Ravi said it was an opinion that Hindi can be a link language in the country, as "we have accepted English as the link language internationally". It had nothing to do with imposition. "This opinion is not new as several leaders in the past like Nehru and Indira Gandhi have advocated this. It is not a matter of politics," he said, noting that a good per cent of people in the country naturally speak Hindi.

Following the controversy over Shah's statement, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa too hadrecently asserted that Kannada is the principal language in the state and its importance will never be compromised.

Ravi said, eleven years after Kannada got classical language status, steps were now being initiated towards formally initiating activities including setting up of Centre of Excellence for Studies in Classical Kannada, currently functioning at a quarters in Mysuru, and blamed inaction on part of successive governments for it.

After meeting experts on the issue, he said though Kannada was given the classical language status in 2008, because of initial confusions including litigation and the location to set the up the Centre of Excellence for Studies resulted in not reaching the that should have been achieved in ten years. "As a way forward we will now be registering a society and will also be forming three committees- governing board, finance committee and academic council," he said. The government would soon decide whether to set up the Centre of Excellence for Studies in Classical Kannada at Mysuru University or Kalagrama in Bengaluru, he added.

Stating that he will discuss with the Chief Minister and cabinet colleagues and by will take all necessary steps tofacilitate research in Kannada, an ancient language, the Minister said, this will help the state in getting more funds from the central government. He said: "So far only Rs 10 crore has been received from the centre after being accorded classical language status.

... it is because of lack of preparedness on our part, and successive government's inaction."

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