Belgaum: Literature cannot flourish based on the support of government alone, said President Pranab Mukherjee here on Thursday, and added that society at large, philanthropists and the private sector must play their role in nurturing and promoting the treasure of Indian languages and literature that is India’s heritage.
Speaking after inaugurating the Karnataka Legislature Building here and presenting the 2010 Jnanapith Award to noted litterateur Dr. Chandrashekhara Kambar, Mukherjee said: "We need to do much more to recognize, nurture and promote excellence in writing in Indian languages."
"The creativity and talent that is widely present in Indian languages need better platforms and greater exposure. There is a need to take to the world Indian literature from our vernacular languages," he added.
"Indian writing in English has sparked excitement and recognition across the world. Even greater laurels await us if we can expose the world to the flowering of creativity in our vernacular literature, Mukherjee said while expressing his happiness on conferring the 46th Bharatiya Jnanpith Award on Dr.Kambar, the eighth awardee of this prestigious National Literary Award in Kannada language.
"I understand that Kannada has the highest number of awardees amongst regional languages and is next only to Hindi. This achievement should be a matter of pride and joy for all members of the Kannada literary fraternity and all Kannada speakers in India and across the world," Mukherjee said.
Dr. Chandrashekhara Kambar joins the band of illustrious Kannada writers comprising Kuvempu, D.R.Bendre, K. Shivarama Karanth, Masti Venkatesha Iyengar, V.K.Gokak, U.R.Anantha Murthy and Girish Karnad who have received this award in the past.
"These writers and their works are a glowing testimony to the richness of Kannada literature," said the President.
"Dr. Chandrashekar Kambar is an icon not just in Karnataka but across India. A man of humble beginnings, I understand poverty forced him initially to drop-out at school level. However, he persevered in his efforts to gain formal education and went on to acquire postgraduate and doctorate degrees. He subsequently not only taught in the University of Chicago and Bangalore University, but also became the Vice-Chancellor of the Kannada University at Hampi for two terms. I believe Dr. Kambar was able to develop the University into an important Centre of “Kannada Knowledge” conducting multi-disciplinary research into various aspects of Karnataka," said Mukherjee.
He described Dr. Kambar as a well-known as a poet, playwright, short-story writer, novelist, folklorist and film-director.
The President also expressed his delight over the fact that a number of Dr. Kambar``s works had been translated into English and prominent Indian languages like Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Punjabi, Malayalam and Rajasthani.
The Jnanpith Award instituted in 1961 by Bharatiya Jnanpith, a trust founded by the Sahu Jain Family is along with the Sahitya Akademi Awards the foremost prize for Indian literature. Over the last half century, it has established itself as a prestigious award recognizing the best of literary talent in different languages of the country.