BENGALURU: The Centre of Excellence for Studies in Classical Kannada (CESCK) was set up six years ago. It has had a full-time director for all of one month. It was touted to become a premier center for research on Kannada but is still struggling for basic facilities.
Though classical status for Kannada was granted in 2008 and CESCK was approved in 2011, the lack of progress has irked Kannada writers. Drawing comparisons with CESCK’s Tamil counterpart - Central Institute for Classical Tamil (CICT) – the writers felt that the State should persuade the Centre to expedite appointments and autonomy.
Mukhyamantri Chandru, former chairman of Kannada Development Authority said that the varsity was in shambles, as there was no pressure from the State on the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD). “Several committees have to be formed by CESCK to show that it can sustain itself. However, neither the State nor Kannada and Culture Department have any clarity,” he said. He added that the centre would have been better off in Bengaluru rather than Mysuru. R A Prasad, president of Kannada Anushtana Mandali said inadequate monitoring of the centre and lack of to researchers were issues.
Gag on criticism of varsity?
A writer, associated with Kannada Development Authority, on condition of anonymity said: “Some writers were rebuked by Kannada and Culture Minister Umashree for their strong stand against the delay in providing autonomous status to CESCK. So, they stopped criticisng the centre,” he said.
Meanwhile, several ancient Tamil works are being translated and workshops are being held across Tamil Nadu for archiving and digitising. “CICT is chaired by the CM of Tamil Nadu. In contrast, there is nobody to look after CESCK. The State should do what TN has done and shift the centre from Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) to a new location,” he added.
New director soon
Prof D G Rao, Director of CIIL said: “We have invited applications for project director for Center of Excellence for Studies in Classical Kannada and an appointment will be made soon.” He added that a decision on increasing the number of researchers and faculty would be taken once the facility is shifted from CIIL to Mysuru. “About 10-12 researchers are employed currently,” he added.
N K Vishukumar, Director of Kannada and Culture Department said that efforts are being made to sort out the issues with the varsity. Minister Umashree was not available.
Timeline of events
2008: Classical language status granted to Kannada by the Center
2010-11: Following decision to start CESCK, applications for post of project director invited by the Center
2014: Kannada professor H M Maheshwaraiah takes charge as project director for a month, before being appointed as Kalaburagi VC
2015-16: CIIL personnel in Mysuru with no expertise in Kannada serve as in-charge directors
2017: Appointments invited again for the post of project director