JNU V-C seeks grants to revive Kannada Studies Chair
The Kannada Studies Chair, instituted in October 2015 with annual aid of Rs 50 lakh by the government, has been in suspension since August 2020.
TUMAKURU: Is Karnataka lagging behind in promoting Kannada in the country’s prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University? The Kannada Studies Chair, instituted in October 2015 with annual aid of Rs 50 lakh by the government, has been in suspension since August 2020 after the head of the chair Purushottama Bilimale retired. The state government has not taken an initiative either to appoint a new professor or release grants.
Now, JNU Vice-Chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandith is showing keen interest in reviving the chair, seeking Rs 10 crore as corpus, which she pressed for while delivering the 16th convocation address of Tumkur University. Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot thanked her and promised support from the Karnataka government. Higher Education Minister Dr M C Sudhakar remained non-committal, saying the “government will do its part”.
Speaking to TNIE, the vice-chancellor drew a parallel in promotion of languages by state governments. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin has given Rs 10 crore for Tamil, business magnate Shiv Nadar agreed to give Rs 5 crore while Sundar Pichai of Alphabet Inc also promised financial aid. Gujarat has given Rs 30 crore to promote studies on the Swami Narayan movement, Maharashtra Rs 10 crore, and Rs 25 crore separately for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj chair, while Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma instituted a chair after Srimanta Sankardev, scholar, saint and poet, with a Rs 10-crore corpus, she elaborated.
“Similarly, Karnataka can take such initiatives. The state has eight Jnanpith award winners, religious mutts and Anubhava Mantapa set up by Basavanna, there is cultural vibrancy with good offbeat movies and Yakshagana art. Releasing grants annually will not help the Chair’s sustenance, so Rs 10 crore is required at one go,” she suggested, adding that Infosys Foundation can also contribute through its CSR.