Safeguarding Kannada language must get the highest priority, says Hamsalekha


With about a month left for the start of the famous Dasara festivities in Mysuru, renowned music composer Hamsalekha, inaugurating this year’s celebrations atop Chamundi hills next month, on Tuesday said safeguarding the Kannada language has to be the highest priority of the people of Karnataka. He added that his appeal ahead of the festivities is Kannada has to be secured amidst the increasing influence of other languages.

Expressing concern over the “attempts to impose Hindi” in the South, including in Karnataka, he said the apparent efforts to impose Hindi in non-Hindi speaking States have been there since the time of Jawaharlal Nehru. “North India wants to impose Hindi in States where it is not spoken to make it a national language. There has been a lot of awareness on the issue among the people here amidst the increased efforts for imposing Hindi on us,” he told reporters participating in the meet-the-press programme organised by the Mysore District Journalists’ Association (MDJA).

Recalling the days when he first saw Jamboo Savari with his father, Mr. Hamsalekha said, “I remember even today my father took me to show the grand festivity when the Maharaja of Mysore used to sit in the Ambari (in the procession). I believe Mysuru Dasara is a festival of happiness as it spreads joy. It has over 400 years of glorious history. I think the festival continues to unite people and spread happiness.”

Mr. Hamsalekha said he was very happy that he was chosen by the State to inaugurate the festivities. “I am working on a song for Mysuru Dasara,” he replied.

To a question on the problems faced by the Music University in Mysuru, the music director said it is time the university starts online courses to spread out its reach. A person sitting abroad can learn music from the university and it need not have to depend on the students for offline courses. This will serve two purposes– the university will get strengthened and the culture will also spread.

When asked about the Film City project in Mysuru, he said, “Being a man from the film industry, I think Mysuru is the most suitable place for establishing the film city. Mysuru has been at the forefront with regard to film shootings, studios, and so on for decades. It is also a tourist city. All these factors work out in the city’s favour.”

Mr. Hamsalekha, however, suggested that the government, instead of bringing some multinational groups for ideas and expertise, should consult the people from the industry who have vast experience and have set up large studios.

To a question, he said Karnataka’s folk culture can go a long way in safeguarding the language from the impact of other languages. The rich diversity of folk art needs to be harnessed, he advised.

The music director refused to comment on Mahisha Dasara which is being organised a few days before the start of festivities here. When reporters insisted on his opinion on the event, he said, “I have been invited to inaugurate Dasara and I am very pleased to be part of the festivities. I don’t want to comment on the issue.”


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