Kannada writer Santeshivara Lingannaiah Bhyrappa expressed concern over ignorance of mother tongue over English language
Celebrated Kannada writer S L Bhyrappa, widely regarded as one of modern Bharat’s foremost novelists, opines that the children in schools across the country should be taught in their mother tongue. Professor Bhyrappa who was recently at the Guwahati Press Club for an interaction programme emphasised on learning English as a subject efficiently.
“As English medium schools are growing in number across the country, we have to think over the implication of this development seriously. In Karnataka, English educated youths are not interested to read anything in Kannada, not even the newspaper headlines in language dailies,” said Prof Bhyrappa during the ‘Guest of the Month’ programme held on March 28, 2016.
The prestigious Saraswati Samman awardee added that English language thus emerges as a major challenge to all Bharatiya languages. The octogenarian author expressed concern that now one’s in Bharat wants to send one’s kids to English medium schools expecting a bright future for their children.
“Not to speak of the middle class, but also the lower middle class families today prefer English medium schools for their children. The result is that more and more youths in our country now remain unaware of the local languages and literatures,” he explained.
It is worth noting that the Kannada Sahitya Parishad, the highest literary forum of the state, pursued this matter with High Court, where the verdict was pronounced that selection of schools for their kids remains the prerogative of parents. The literary forum soon approached the Supreme Court of India with an appeal that medium of instruction for children should be mother tongue till tenth standard, but it was dismissed by the apex court.
“So unless there is a specific law in this regard, we cannot expect justice. Prime Minister Modi ji also supports the concept to educate the children in mother tongue. But the BJP does not have majority in Rajya Sabha and hence it becomes a futile exercise for them to bring a bill unless the Congress assures support.
“We need the political will here,” commented Prof Bhyrappa. His comment was supplemented by veteran Assamese journalist DN Bezboruah, who was present in the meeting and asserted that anyone educated in regional languages can also learn English professionally.
Speaking about his early life, Prof Bhyrappa narrated that he was born at Santeshivara village, around 162 km away from Bengaluru and he had to struggle for survival and education. He lost his mother in early days and also a younger brother. The poor family had to work hard to pay for Prof Bhyrappa’s education. With little family resources Bhyrappa completed his completed his MA from Mysore University and doctorate in Philosophy from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda.
He has authored twenty three novels in his career spanning more than five decades. Many of his novels were translated into other Bharatiya languages and English. Prof Bhyrappa has been one of the bestselling authors in Kannada for past twenty five years. For a brief period, Prof Bhyrappa participated in the freedom struggle when was around thirteen years old.
Answering questions from participating journalists, the nationalist writer commented that character of Bharatiya mainstream media has changed a lot in present days. While the media played an important role in the pre-Independence era to make Bharat a sovereign nation, it started worshipping first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in post-Independence period.
Slowly the media turned into a business entity where the politicians started getting involved with the medium because of its influence over the people. The capitalists also did not trail behind and grabbed many media groups. However, the emergence of alternate media where everyone can participate in the discourses has changed the situation in favour of educated common people, stated Prof Bhyrappa.
NJ Thakuria, Guwahati