Row over changing of Kannada name in Kerala's Kasargod

Karnataka leaders object to changing of Kannada names in Kerala's Kasargod district

The Kannada Development Authority and JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy were among those opposing the proposal

Credit: iStockPhoto

A row has erupted over a decision by the Kerala government to rename some Kannada names of villages in Kasargod district to Malayalam. The villages are located in Manjeshwar and Kasargod taluks, the Kannada-speaking regions of Kerala.

The Kannada Development Authority and JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy were among those opposing the proposal by the Kerala government, as the decision came under sharp criticism from social media users in Karnataka. The Karnataka Border Area Development Authority (KBADA) has written to ministers in Kerala to stall the process by considering the cultural significance of these regions to Karnataka.

Speaking to DH, Dr C Somashekara, Chairman, KBADA, said that he was alerted about the process of changing names in Kasargod by local Kannada activists. "They have proposed to change the names of nine to 10 villages. I have written to the Revenue and PWD ministers to stall the process," he said.

Among the villages whose names are proposed to be changed include Manjeshwar, which is of great cultural, literary and historic importance to Karnataka as great Kannada poet 'Rashtrakavi' Govind Pai was from the place, he said.

Apart from a letter to the ministers, he has also petitioned Karnataka Chief Secretary P Ravikumar to write to his counterpart in Kerala to withdraw the decision.

The proposal by the Kerala government triggered a debate on social media on Sunday, riling Kannada activists who sought Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's intervention in the issue. One activist, Mahadev Talwar from Karnataka Rakshana Vedike said that the move was an insult to Kannada and Kannadigas. "The CM should take action immediately," he said.

JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy said that he was of the view that it was the responsibility of both governments - Karnataka and Kerala - to safeguard the traditional sensibilities of people in Kasargod district. "The names of these villages, it appears, are being transliterated to Malayalam," he said, urging the Kerala government to withdraw its decision and ensure that the Kannada names of these places are safeguarded.

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