Kannada or Devanagari? The dialect-rich Konkani sets off furious debate between Sahitya Academy & Konknnis

Politically powerful Devanagari lobbyists have argued that the Central Sahitya Akademi has only recognised Konkani written in Devanagari.

Though Konkani is written in 5 different scripts, namely – Kannada, Roman, Devanagari, Perso-Arabic and Malayalam – the Sahitya Akademi (Central), since the very beginning, has been awarding Awards, Assignments and Projects only to the literature in the Devanagari script.   Despite the fact that Devanagari is only the 3rdmost prolific script (after Kannada and Roman), the Akademi has been squarely ignoring and neglecting Konkani literature in other scripts.  When innumerable pleas and countless representations against this gross injustice evoked no positive response, Eric Ozario and 2 others (Vally Vagga, Mysore and Marcel D’souza, Mangalore ), on behalf of all Konkanis, have approached the honourable High Court of Karnataka, with a Writ Petition – WP. No. 35120/2011(GM-PIL) dated 8-9-2011.

The Writ Petition prays the High Court – ‘to issue a direction to the Sahitya Akademi, Respondent no. 1 herein, to recognize all the 5 scripts of Konkani Language viz., Kannada, Roman (English), Devanagari, Arabic and Malayalam as eligible for grant of Awards, Research funding and all other incidental works, for which assistance is rendered by the Akademi’.

While the High Court is considering this Petition, the ‘Karnataka State Konkani Linguistic Minorities Institutions’ have filed an application to implead them in the case and have pleaded to consider ‘only Devanagari for recognition’.  Together, they have issued a Press Statement (published on l2-6-2012) with false information.

Their statement claims that –

1.      ‘Devanagari is the official script of Konkani’.

2.      ‘The Constitution has given prominence to the Devanagari script’.

3.      ‘Konkanis use only the Devanagari script and not Kannada or Malayalam’.

4.      ‘If any script other than Devanagari is recognized, it will be detrimental to Konkani Langauage’.

Jagotik Konkani Songhotton (JKS) condemns these statements and wishes to expose the truth –

 Official Script –

(i)                  Who decides which is the official script of a language?  Does Devanagari become the official script, just because the Devanagari lobby declares so?  Such a decision has to be taken in a democratic process, at an assembly of representatives of all scripts.  Such an assembly has never been convened in Konkani.

(ii)                Moreover, this is not a question of the ‘Official script’. The Question is whether the Sahitya Akademi’s mandate is to honour and support the ‘literature’ of a language or the ‘script’ of a language.  If it is literature, then how can the Akademi pamper and patronize the literature in one script alone and completely ignore and disregard the literature in other scripts?

‘The Constitution has given prominence to the Devanagari script’ – totally untrue.  Articles 14 and  29 of the Constitution of India read as follows –

(i)                              Article 14 – Equality before law – “the state shall not deny to any person equality before law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India”.

(ii)                            Article 29 – Protection of interests of minorities – 1. ‘Any section of the citizen residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same’

a.                   The Constitution of the Sahitya Akademi is very clear as to the script issue – the Constitution of the Sahitya Akademi – clause 3, sub clause 9 (a) ‘To improve and develop the various scripts in which the languages of the country are written’.

b.                  Not only that, in its reply to our Petition the Sahitya Akademi has admitted to the honourable High Court that – ‘ The mandate of the Sahitya Akademi is – fully to recognize and support the literary traditions of the given language”.  The literary traditions of Konkani being that it is in 5 scripts, the Sahitya Akademi has no option but to recognize and support literature in all 5 scripts of Konkani.

‘Konkanis use only the Devanagari script and not Kannada or Malayalam’.  This is the pinnacle of falsehood.  The truth is – According to the2001 Census, of the total Konkanis in India, 31.82% Konkanis live in Goa. 31.73% live in Karnataka.  All Konkanis living in Karnataka read and write Konkani in the Kannada script Goa is divided between Roman and Devanagari.  A Study conducted in 2011 reveals that only 12.7%Konkanis in India use Devanagari script; the remaining 87.3% use other scripts.  The use of Kannada script is the highest – 58%.

‘If any script other than Devanagari is recognized, it will be detrimental to Konkani language’. Our Response –

(i)                  Our fight is not against Devanagari.  We are not demanding that Devanagari be neglected.  Our demand is that the other 4 scripts also be considered, along with Devanagari.

(ii)                Their attempt is to destroy all script variety in Konkani and impose their variety on everyone.  This is detrimental to the unity and development of Konkani.  We condemn this and seek legal remedies.

Variety in Konkani is not in script alone. There is plenty of variety in dialect, religion, caste, traditions, customs, practices, folk-arts, cuisine, costumes, festivals, rituals etc. etc..  In the midst of so much variety to seek unity by destroying these varieties and by imposing one’s variety on all, is utter folly. ‘Unity in diversity’ is the mantra of our nation’s unity.  ‘Unity in diversity’ is also the formula for Konkani unity and future.

 

 

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Indian Media: The Great ‘Kannada” News Channel Circus

So  for  all those who still doubt whether there is space for one more news channel to make it 7 in all apart from the 11 general entertainment Kannada channels,  it is only a matter of time before they are able to get an fitting answer.  This debate has come to the fore with the recent addition of Public TV of former Kannada Prabha and Suvarna Channel’s News Editor H R Ranganth, to the existing stampede of channels.   With one more player in the market   the fight for the top slot in the small screen is going to generate more heat and the clamor for ‘breaking news’ is sure to witness a new high (or is it low?).  One-time firebrand journalist H R Ranganath being at the helm of affairs at Public TV has only added more nosiness and intensity to the existing fight for supremacy among channels for grabbing eyeballs.

Public TV which was went live on February 12, 2012 and 7 channels are now competing and combating with one another to climb to the top with ‘breaking news’ of every possible kind.  Public TV has become the 7th Kannada news channel of the state which will fight it out with Udaya News, T V 9 Karnataka, Suvarna News, Samaya, Kasturi and Janashree News channels, with each one trying new stratagem to garner public attention.

How these channels will conduct themselves in the course of next few years will be crucial.  In the entire fiasco the viewers will have no other option but to keep changing channels in their search for credible or unbiased channel for news and views.  Nevertheless, many regular viewers of the news channels in Karnataka have expressed their views openly in favour of one or other channels.

Suvarna News is the Best channel. TV9 is losing its scene in state..Kumaraswamy’s Kasturi news channel is used only to blame Congress and BJP..says Dinesh Poojary, Kundapura. Dinesh Rao from Mangalore is irritated about the influx of these channels. He says, ” Of course the number of Kannada news channels has increased over the years. But who cares about the quality? In the name of getting viewership all most all channels are reporting only cheap political, crime related or unnecessary items in the name of news. You must have seen many channels are thriving on murder, rape or accident stories…or even daily household quarrels which can happen at any time next to your door!! Also all most all channels use buffoon like specimens, who will be talking nothing other than nonsense! Why cannot these channels, if they do not have their originality just imitate English news channels like NDTV 24X7 or CNN-IBN? Can Burkha Dutt, Prannoy Roy, Vikram Chandra, Rajdeep Sardesai teach these something so called as… journalism??”

R. Bhandarkar from Mangalore opins that the craze for English in these Kannada channels are not lost. ‘Breaking News’, ‘BIG NEWS’, etc . etc. Many a times the ‘breaking news’are restraint drainers. ‘Break or be Broke’ seems to be the motto of these channels nowadays. These news contents in thses ‘breakers’ are often suicides,accidents, killings etc.These have no repititive values but are aired till one is disgusted. ‘BIG NEWS” does not even have that ‘little’ to make one sit up and watch. Many of the programmes, serials etc are ‘direct lifts’ from the more popular Hindi Counterparts. The less said of the ‘humour or comedy programmes’ the better!

“Some channels have alignment with political parties, some are pro congress and some are pro BJP and some are pro communists and some are pro communual. Some channels are there to make money and blackmail by sting operations. The journalistic ethics have been compromised…Forget about the regional channel, even the national and international channels are biased..God alone knows the truth. Anyway journalism has grown very well in India and would continue to grow. But they should work in the best interest of community, peace, nation, truth and act as bonding agent between different faiths and communities…should work as watch dog against social evil practices, alcoholism, corruption, female foeticide, dowry, caste system etc etc”, writes Shahnawaz Kukkikatte from Dubai.

Below are views from the cross section of society from Karnataka:

“i think TV9 is doing good job, many criminals and corrupt officer and politician behind the bar, because of TV9. for simple reason: one week i did not get this cannel i am watching other news channel but their communication is very poor. but TV9 is sound and communication very good. what ever it i like only channel u can give good report like corrupt officer, and corrupt politician. some channels don’t. have power to publish against corrupt politican and police dept. but Tv 9 not worried about all this thinks.”

“Suvarna 24×7 is the best channel, they caught porn MLA’s watching porn Video. TV nine is busy in film news n always busy in telecasting Bhootha n Pretha stories. Busy in slapping it’s on back. TV9 loosing it’s credit after Suvarna news came into  existence. Udaya news pro congres. Janashri pro BJP. Etv is neutral.”

“I have lot of respect towards H R Ranganath who have started Public Tv. I believe he will do justice for the same.I want all culprits to be exposed so that people can understand the double game of all politicians. Best of luck for u and ur future.”

“Most TV channals are behind TRP rating, & are craze with giving foolish news, highlighting rape stories, pralaya & exagarations, slapping their own back as top rated channels. All channels should learn ethics from basic & telecast with sense. The wrong news published or news published in wrong way will be watched by people across state. ‘Ethics first – Publicity last'”

“Tv9 started a very peculiar way of presenting news by pronouncing words split-in at unwanted places and ending sentences with an awkward style. Suvarna started well, but followed TV9 in style. Very irritating way of presentation. One lady news reader (Ms. Soumya?) has developed a peculiar style of ending sentences – very shrill ending deliberately developed(?)to look special???. pronounce the words as it is in its natural kannada way and make hearing the news pleasant. Too garish appearance by some of the anchors is not appreciable.”

“Looks like most of the news channel are funded by political party. New Entry is Public TV looks to be unbaised and appreciate the effort of Ranganath owner. He has a very good knack in explaining in details about any news which attracts. Lets see how Public TV future goes without support of Politicians……..”

Padmashri Dr. Girish Kasaravalli supports’No Dubbing in Kannada’

On the reported statement that I would give my life to stop dubbing taking entry to Kannada cinema on 84th birth anniversary of Dr Rajakumar at Dr Rajakumar Memorial on 24th April, Shivarajakumarhas got wonderful support from the media and some of the bigwigs of the Kannada cinema industry.

The most important phone call  Shivarajakumar remembered today at Charminar Kannada film launch speaking to media is the one from one of the pioneers of parallel cinema Padmasri Dr Girish Kasaravalli. You have made the right statement at the right time said Dr GK to Shivarajakumar.

Actor Vijay, producer MR Pattabhiram and various others said we would follow Shivarajakumar is a good sign of development informed Shiv. At the Charminar briefing Shivarajakumar sitting with Premkumar and director R Chandru on the spot got the support. Lovely star Premkumar said I would Shivanna in this issue of dubbing ban. R Chandru went a step ahead and said he would give life for Shivarajakumar.

Shivararajakumar politely stated that even television media has to mend in a different way. The channels while making the calls they should not control it.

On the dubbing issue I am not against to the law. We should protect our mother and mother tongue is my sole intention. The issue of egoism is causing disturbances here in Kannada filmdom. From the statement on that day half are scared disclosed Shivarajakumar.

Kannada people vs the Kannada film lobby??

The Kannada media industry now wants no movies/shows to be dubbed in Kannada. There are statements and articles by Kannada media personalities protesting against dubbed movies and even TV shows like Aamir Khan‘s Satyameva Jayate. They claim that dubbed movies/shows will eat into their market and strangle the Kannada industry.

It is very easy to raise popular support by claiming it is for the good of Kannada. I’d like to analyse whether such a move would actually benefit the Kannada people or just the pockets of the Kannada film lobby.
The Kannada Film industry through its lobbying over the years enjoys several protectionist measures including subsidies, 100% tax concession, restrictions on the way other language movies release in Karnataka, etc. It is almost an universal law that protected industries always tend to lag in quality, technology and innovation.
Even a Kannada fanatic would be hard pressed to say that better quality movies/entertainment have been produced because of these protectionist regulations. Kannada movies have long stopped entertaining the discerning audience and remain the staple for those cannot access other forms of entertainment. Even an occasional well made movie finds it tough to attract the former due to the morass of bad quality movies it is hidden amongst [every one of them taking a chunk of out of the tax money, mind you].
It shows the declining quality of Kannada movies/shows if people will prefer watching badly lip synced dub versions of other language films and shows. And why should the people of Karnataka not have the option to do so. It is in their interests and rights to gain access to more and better entertainment which their own media industry has failed to satisfy and is always trying to smother.
These protectionist measures supported by a few media gimmicks, goonda tactics against those do not agree and political connections serve only to protect the pockets and interests of the rich dudes who run the industry. They neither benefit the Kannada culture nor the Kannada people. Talibanisation does not benefit anybody except those who preach it.
Deregulating the industry will force the industry players to change and face open competition. Some will go bust but at the same time it will open doors for new players who have the what the audience enjoys.
The release restrictions are being stayed in courts and a recent Supreme Court judgement regarding AP might end the regime of tax concessions. In this age of increasing awareness and increased channels of media consumption, the out-dated barons of the industry face a downward path and are trying to prolong their exit. It is they who are strangling the Kannada media industry. What remains to be seen is, if the Kannada people continue to allow this by actively/passively supporting such short sighted measures and allow the Kannada media industry to roll into the valley of irrelevance. (courtesy: Ajey)

“masses lost touch with Kannada literature b’cos of English media”- Jogi

English media along with social networking sites like Facebook have played a big role in detaching people from the world of Kannada literature, said Jogi, litterateur and magazine editor of ‘Udayavani’.He was speaking after inaugurating the 8th University level ‘Vidyarthi  Sahitya Sammelana’, a literary meet for students organised by Mangalore University post graduate alumni association at University College, Mangalore, on Saturday.

Stating that although Kannada newspapers and magazines had been acting as a bridge between Kannada literature and the masses, people, especially in the urban areas, lost touch with Kannada literature with the advent of Englih media. “The English newspapers encourage consumerism and hardly focus on literature”, he opined.

Mr. Jogi said that it is also noteworthy that most prominent writers and literary figures hail from rural areas. “People in the rural areas are the ones who have firm interest in literature and that is why we find people from these areas shine in the field of literature”, he said.

Advising students to look for contentment in their literary works, Mr. Jogi said “One should focus on getting satisfaction even if five to six people read his work rather than aiming of becoming an overnight literary star with thousands of readers as his fan following”.

Advocating that one should make a deep study of literature, Mr. Jogi said that students must not pick their priorities on the basis of few readings. “If you say Tejaswi is your favourite writer, you must know all his works, his thinking, his philosophy…you must know that author through and through by reading all his works. Literature is as tough as medical science where you have to study the intricacies in detail”, he said.

Mr. Jogi also said that students must never complain of not finding topics to write on. “Not finding a topic is not a trait of a writer. There are hundreds of topics around us. Numerous incidents take place around us which we can convert into stories and be a story-teller.  Don’t we all use “Yen Kathe maraaya? (So what’s the story?), here in Dakshina Kannada? Real life incidents are potential story-telling topics”, he sai