ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)

- Memoir - Invasion of Foreign Language- Devotees of English -

[Sujanaa]

When it came to the issue of Kannada, Sri Kuvempu would become very aggressive. He wouldn't let anyone go by if the other tried to break his devotion up. It is not a new phenomenon. He exhibited the same fearless fervour to Kannada while he was still a professor. May be around 1951, Prof.A.R.Wadia had just delivered the university convocation address. He had spoken against the native languages and, certainly, for establishing the English. Kuvempu spoke emotionally to us in the classroom about this. He decisively said, "Sri Wadia is one among the four professors I liked most while I was a student. But how can we tolerate this suicidal prescription just because he has said it?" It did not stop at that. The same day there was a jam-packed congregation at the Yuvaraja College. The chief speaker, again, was Sri Kuvempu. His speech was much more charged than his previous speech at the classroom. He said, "I have faith in our students. They are not powerless. They are not meek. If they appear so, it is mainly because of the incursion of the foreign language. If Gandhiji were alive today, he would have fought to liberate us from these forces. As he insisted us in those days to burn the foreign clothes as a symbol of our desire to get freedom, he would certainly have asked us to burn the foreign books." Thus, he decried in clear terms the devotees of English as well as Prof. Wadia. That electric-charged speech demonstrated to us that Kannada was not a colour glued to his skin but it was his attitude, and his religion.

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