KOTA (UDUPI DIST): THE audience at the 13th annual Dr Kota Shivarama Karanth Birthplace Award ceremony gave a standing ovation to the Kota Thattu Gram Panchayat for remaining steadfast about its decision to confer the ‘Dr Kota Shivarama Karanth Huttura Prashasthi’ (Dr Kota Shivarama Karantha Birthplace Award) for the year 2017 on actor Prakash Raj at a ceremony held at Karantha Theme Park in Kota on Tuesday.
Despite stiff opposition from various right-wing organisations and BJP leaders including the MP of Udupi-Chikkamagalur- Shobha Karandlaje on conferring the award on the actor, the local panchayat led by its president Pramod Hande whose candidature to the Panchayat election was backed by BJP, walked the talk.
Mired in controversy since the time the national award-winning actor stirred up a storm after questioning the ‘chilling silence’ of PM Narendra Modi on some people ‘celebrating’ the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh, uncertainty had surfaced over the award ceremony.
BJP MLC Kota Srinivas Poojari who used to be a regular at this annual ceremony was conspicuous by his absence on Tuesday. It is said that he did not turn up foreseeing further internet trolling as already many people had expressed their ire against honouring the actor with the award in Kota.
Accepting the honour, actor Prakash Raj said that there was no meaning in threatening him for speaking against the Prime Minister. ‘’If anybody wants to reprove my view, they should do it for writers like Dr Shivarama Karantha, K P Purnachandra Tejaswi or P Lankesh. I am just a reflection of them and ardent reading of their books have made me what I am today. If I do not speak what I see, I will be deceiving them,’’ he said.
‘I feel that I am not alone now’
Udupi: After receiving the award, he began his address by apologising to the people in case they were hurt by recent developments. ‘’Visiting the land where a legend like Dr Shivarama Karantha lived once feels as if I am visiting my grandfather’s house. I am emotional. Forests in Karantha’s narratives focus on environment. He opposed the nuclear power project at Kaiga. He never lied. I have inculcated his habits to be truthful to my own conscience. Looking at the support I evoked for my comments regarding PM Modi for his silence on Gauri Lankesh killing, I feel that I am not alone now,’’ he said.