Thackeray's remarks on Kambar raise hackles in Belgaum

The Marathi daily said the Jnanapith Committee should withdraw the award conferred on Kambar and the writer should be kicked in the backside. Kannada activists on Thursday burned copies of ‘Saamna’ in Belgaum and raised slogans against Thackeray. They also burnt an effigy of the Sena chief.

In an editorial in Saamna, Thackeray wrote: “Dr Kambar’s hatred for Marathi language cannot be condoned by just condemning him. He should be kicked in the back and taught a lesson in Marathi. But, does Maharashtra have any such writer or politician to take on Dr Kambar,” he asked.

‘Saamna’ said Kambar’s statements that Marathi-speaking citizens created problems in Karnataka, and those who wanted education in Marathi should go to Maharashtra, “do not behove a Jnanpeeth awardee. Kambar has brought disrepute to the award.”

“Marathi-speaking people have been treated unjustly in Karnataka, but Dr Kambar, as a writer, never once expressed concern about the problems they faced. He feels Marathi-speaking people in Belgaum are enemies... Dr Kambar has no right to ask people to go to Maharashtra for Marathi education,” Thackeray wrote.

“Lakhs of people from Karnataka are engaged in industry and business in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra. People from Udupi control hotel businesses. What will happen if we ask all of them to return to their native places and make a living there,” Thackeray asked.

“Mumbai has Kannada schools and many of them are aided by the government. Littérateurs Girish Karnad, Dr Shivaram Karanth, U R Ananthamurthy, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Gangubai Hangal have all ruled over Marathi minds. Literature does not have enemies... Kannada literary persons and people have contributed to the growth of Maharashtra,” Thackeray said.

DVS condemns attack

Taking serious exception to Thackeray’s attack on Kambar, Karnataka Chief Minister D V Sadananada Gowda said on Thursday the Sena chief was indulging in petty politics.

Speaking to reporters in Bangalore on Thursday, Gowda said Thackeray, who was not a poet, should refrain from commenting on Kambar. “Thackeray is not a poet and he has no knowledge on the subject. He is only indulging in petty politics. People who are creating problems in Belgaum want to keep the issue alive. I seriously condemn this,” he added.

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