"We should not become mere reputations. People must read us. There should be direct translation of our works which is not happening," said UR Ananthamurthy, Bharatiya Jnanpith award winner expressing his anguish over the future of regional writing in the country.
A Kannada fiction writer, Ananthamurthy was in the city on Saturday along with six other Jnanpith awardees to be felicitated by Chancellor SM Krishna at the inauguration of a three-day national seminar organised by the University of Mumbai's Gurudev Tagore Chair of Comparative Literature.
While the awardees expressed their happiness, they also voiced their concerns over the future of regional literature and education as well.
Reiterating Ananthamurthy's views was Telegu writer C Narayan Reddy who
|Names of the Bharatiya Jnanpith Awardees who were felicitated|
|Telugu||C Nayaran Reddy|
spoke in chaste Hindi. "There is a need to promote the work of recognised native writers. English is a post-colonial language that is being given far more significance than our native language," he said.
The message comes at a time when universities abroad specifically in UK and US have established advanced centres for Sanskrit, Tamil, Gujarati and even Marathi.
Ananthamurthy said that while his generation grew up reading works of Rabindranath Tagore, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee and Sarat Chandra Chatterjee, post-independence India has seen a historical shift.
"We only read European literature. Let this worry us," he said. "The comparative literature department must study this and render translation to the works of Tagore and other regional writers."
With most opining that the English language must be a compulsory spoken language to empower all equally, Assamese writer Indira Goswami believes that the English language and the local language must be taught at an early age.
"The two must go hand-in-hand," said Goswami who is playing an important role in the peace talks between the ULFA and the government.