BENGALURU: Former Additional Director General of Doordarshan Mahesh Joshi, who was recently elected as the president of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat has a long to-do list. Among his many ideas, the first one he plans to implement at the start of his five-year term, is the amplification of Kannada literature.
"We're going to make an e-library of sorts so that people world-over have access to Kannada language and literature books. The app will allow them to access the books wherever they are without having to hunt for books, which is the case now. We have to adopt modern technology to keep age-old literature intact," says Joshi, who won the election with a lead of more than 46,000 votes. He took over the position from retired IAS officer Manu Baligar who was elected in 2016.
To implement the books' project, Joshi will begin by approaching college students and school faculty (as membership is for those 18+) to encourage them to borrow and read books in the local language. "There will soon be a door-to-door campaign for a membership drive where students will be given discounts. It will be free for military and paramilitary personnel," he says, adding, “I want to bring down the lifetime membership to Rs 250; it is currently Rs 500. It’s a pocket-friendly deal wherein one will have unlimited access to books.”
It’s been a busy couple of months for Joshi, with the big win being the culmination of much hard work. Enthusiastic and passionate about the language and the role, Joshi plans to reread some Kannada classics as and when time permits.
In fact, the entire tête-a-tête is completely in Kannada, a language he feels people across the state should pick up. Back to books, he says, "If you want to know about nature and its description, it's important to study the works of Kuvempu. Triveni's novels have impacted me personally. Many of these books were adapted into films and touched millions."
When it comes to poetry, Joshi’s suggestions are the compositions of DR Bendre and PS Narasimha Swamy. "These personalities are the jewels of Karnataka literature," he says.
Being the recipient of many awards, including Nadoja, President's Home Guards and Civil Defence Medal for Meritorious Service, Joshi comes with much experience. In his term, he wants to make the Kannada Sahitya Parishat "a commoners Parishat". "There’s a lot to do and work is on in full earnest," he says.