Meira Kumar appeals for a renaissance in India

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 31 July 2010 23:16 IST

Jnanpith to Ravindrabab Kelekar

Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar has appealed to the writers to take initiative for a renaissance in India, on the lines of European countries.

She echoed the desire expressed by Ravindra Kelekar, a Konkani writer, who was conferred with India's most prestigious award - Jnanpith. 

The 85-year old ailing writer was brought in an ambulance for the function, held in Panaji, to present the 42nd Jnanpith award for the year 2006.

After reading out her formal speech, Meira Kumar spoke extempore on the issue raised by Kelekar in his speech. Noted Hindi writer and vice chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University Namwar Singh read out his speech.

Mr Kelekar, in his speech, expressed the need to have a renaissance in the country and only the writers writing in regional languages could take initiative in this regard.

According to him, glorification of English has created bonsai intellectuals, writers, teachers and even readers. 

"They look nice and beautiful, but cannot deliver like a bonsai coconut tree", he said.

To justify his argument, he cited examples of a great Indian philosopher J Krishnamurthy and an equally great Indian Marxist M N Roy. 

"They had a great vision, but could never reach the masses since they did not communicate in local regional languages", he said.

Picking up a chord from this, Meira Kumar quipped: "I always liked bonsai, but will have a different outlook henceforth."

She fully agreed with Mr Kelekar and asked: "why can't we still get away with discrimination of Indians on the basis of caste and religion. We need a renaissance", she asserted.

Taking the argument ahead, Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat however appealed to the people to introspect on too much of love for English, though denying existence of English may not be practical in today's circumstances.


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The kind of Indian renaissance Ms. Meira Kumar desires would include a pan Indian vision, which none of the social or political leaders today display. Not even Mr. Ravindra Kelekar's idea that only writing in regional languages would bring it (renaissance). Mr. Kelekar has been awarded the Dnyanpeeth award for his writings in Konkani but his own language is mired in caste politics which is the bane of Konkani, Goa and India. A regional language, if at all, is read by only the people of the region and this is the main drawback of these languages which would hasten the balkanisation of India. No state leader rises above (his) caste, his language (Ex.: Thakrey &fly.) and his constituency or state. Mother tongues and regional languages do have ease of communications within a group but not across because people do not like ‘other’ groups. Let us first bring renaissance in our mindsets.

However, if one looks around hopefully the situation is slowly changing due to computer and television media all over the country, education in science and technology (scientific temper as against emotional judgments) and spread of the principles of management methods outside the industries (such as labour and user friendly approaches). To percolate this to the lowest rungs of the society it would take 100 years as a nearest guess.

- Kalidas Sawkar, Panaji Goa | 03 rd August 2010 11:49

 

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