ಅಕ್ಕಗಳಿರಾ... ಅಣ್ಣಗಳಿರಾ...ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಕೇಳಿರಾ..!
Before you read the stuff below please take a look at the premise on which the author Mr. Lakshmikant V. has submitted the interview with ailing Mr. Prabhu Dev, former trustee AKKA. The interview is posted in English to avoid even a remote chance of loss of meaning while transalating - Editor Thatskannada
Dear Sham ( Thatskannada ) K.M. Veeresh ( Chitraloka ) and Sheshagiri.( Ourkarnataka)
Recently there is a controversy going on w.r.t AKKA and its members.I met Prabhu Dev recently who is on dialysis treatment and I was surprised to see still the burning desires of uniting Kannadigas in him with his bad health conditions also. As a trustee of AKKA committee some years back, now he is no longer with that committe because of reasons I have explained in the attached document. Prabhu dev has explanations and suggestions for solving some of the issues related to AKKA, Kannada, Karnataka.
I know, thatskannada and chitraloka have covered about AKKA in previous issues. Along with Sham and Veeresh I am also requesting Sheshagiri to publish this article.
I am giving permission to all 3 of you for this article to avoid any confusions.
29 Dec, 2002
"AKKA" galira, "Anna" galira .... swalpa Kelira..
Three years ago, when I moved from Detroit to Bay Area, California, I was under the impression that, Bay area will have lots of skyscrapers. But I couldnt find many. (Since Bay area is prone for earthquakes). But accidentally, I found a veteran who has ambitions as tall as New York skyscrapers and has done lots of good work for local Kannada group and other communities besides many quakes with his own health conditions. He is none other than the ex-president of Kannada Koota of Northern California. (KKNC). He is Mr. Prabhu Dev.
When I met him recently, he was under the dialysis treatment. Even when his health conditions are not good, I could still see the burning desires in him for uniting Kannadigas, to bring awareness among Kannadigas towards the betterment of our community and to make Kannadigas feel proud about their language and culture.
Prabhu Dev is unhappy : Dev is unhappy with the recent on goings of "AKKA" (America Kannada Kootagala Agara) controversies, mud sledging among the various Kannada community groups. When asked, Dev gave his opinion about the "AKKA" controversy and suggested ways to solve these problems. His advice was very worthy. Thats why I would like to share his opinions and suggestions with our fellow community people.
Surprisingly, Prabhu Dev who was born outside Karnataka has a great passion for Kannada. Is he not a true Kannadiga ? If every Kannadiga thinks on the lines of Prabhu Dev, then we wouldnt have had to worry about "Saving" our language.
Prabhu Devs career is very interesting. Lived half of his life outside Karnataka, but his thoughts are always about Karnataka. With his strong roots back in Hiriseve , Hassan district, which is his fathers native place, Dev still owns lots of property there. Graduated from UVCE, Bangalore in 1974-75, Dev was actively involved in college magazine committee as an editor, in university hostel as a general secretary.
After completing college, Dev was on wheels, living in various places like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Phoenix, Detroit and now finally settled in California. The interesting fact he has observed everywhere is that Kannadigas never wish to identify themselves, as Kannadigas and they dont feel proud of being a Kannadiga. And moreover, he sees more "casteism" in Silicon Valley (California) than in Karnataka. What he quotes is, that "Casteism" is not going to improve the Kannadigas or uplift Kannada community anywhere.
Source of the Problem : "AKKA" (America Kannada Kootagala Agara) was a concept Developed by Prabhu Dev and his few more friends some years back is now facing controversies involving current President of AKKA, Amarnath Gowda and ex joint secretary, V.M.Kumaraswamy. Dev says that it is Kumaraswamy who is behind all these problems and he suggests Kumaraswamy should stop creating such nonsense and he should mind his own business. Kumaraswamy who is well known for creating such problems in the past wants to pull down Amarnath Gowda by hook or crook. Dev who was a former trustee is not with the AKKA committee now because of obvious reasons. One can imagine easily what could be those reasons and people beyond that. If good people are not allowed to work in the committee like AKKA then people like Kumaraswamy will get upper hand.
Dev adds that, Kumaraswamy is trying to get some publicity for himself , which is not going to help our Kannada community in any way. Dev suggests that, Kumaraswamy should change his attitude and should do something constructively, which gives some good publicity to Karnataka and Kannada people at international level. Dev doesnt forget to tell that, Kumaraswamy has done some good things in the past and now he should behave in a more responsible way to lead the youngsters.
Prabhu Dev feels happy with the two major communities ( AKKA and Pampa Kannada Koota ,Detroit , Michigan) that worked together to make the Detroit World Kannada conference , 2002 , function a grand success.
Few suggestions : Dev suggests to AKKA that, the responsible committee of AKKA (Treasurer / Financial controller) should give the full details of the conference to the Kannada people/media to avoid any controversies and confusion again in the future.
Dev requests people to appreciate volunteers work and time-shared for the community activities. He mentions that it is very easy for anyone and everyone to criticize someone else work, but its not easy to allocate some time to community activities besides their family, work and other personal issues.
When Prabhu Dev was the president of Kannada Koota of Northern California for the year 1999-2000, he had done lots of good work to the Koota. He was able to get the Sunnyvale temple hall free for 3 days in a year for 33 years with the help of his friends.
Also, he was able to increase the Kootas income to 25,000 dollars without touching the previous years balance. This was like almost double the income of all previous 25 years.
We can also remember here that Prabhu Dev solved the earlier controversy involving music director C. Ashwath and AKKA regarding the cheque that got bounced because of some confusion between AKKA and its team members. And as a reward for solving this problem he was thrown out of the AKKA committee.
Kannadigas always support and help people from outside but not someone within the state excluding their immediate relatives or friends who belong to the same community as theirs. Devs main concern is if Kannadigas dont support their own people, then who else are going to rescue the Kannadigas and their interests. Dev feels that, we are still in "Hakka Bukka" stage of forming "Karnataka Samraajya" and with lack of support from political parties and people from every corner of Karnataka, we lost the places like Neelgiris, Sathya Mangala, Kaasargodu,etc.
We need to get into mainstream : When ex president of United States, Bill Clinton was visiting India; Prabhu Dev worked very hard with the chief minister of Karnataka, S.M.Krishna to add Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of Asia to Mr. Clintons itinerary. But his efforts went in vain and he is very much upset by the support he received from the local Kannada community in United States to lobby the White House in Washington. And finally Andhra people succeeded in lobbying and made Clinton to visit Hyderabad. Dev is very angry with this and he says if we Kannadigas dont go into mainstream by pulling some strings, how can we solve any issues relating to Karnataka. And also he mentions a very valid point, Karnataka Government is always against the tide with the Central government and we are not getting any benefits because of this and there are no regional parties who can fight for the interests of Kannadigas.
Regarding the Kaveri problem, Dev regretfully says that, when current chief minister S.M.Krishna was fighting against the supreme court for the first time in recent history, no other party of Karnataka tried to support him and they just tried to exploit the situation for their own political interests which finally led to the benefit of our neighboring state Tamilnadu.
The bottom line : Dev says, bottom line is that whether it is AKKA, KKNC or any other Kannada organization it is the "casteism" and only "some community groups" which are pulling the Kannada and Kannada people down. He adds , "some" community groups are not letting our own Kannada people to come up. He recalls an instance when he was the president of KKNC (KANNADA KOOTA OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA), some community groups objected for non-vegetarian food ordered in Kannada Koota function, but the same community groups wont mind having food in restaurants where they serve both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food side by side. Devs point here is when, we "our own" people dont mingle with our other community people how can we all raise our voice together at state or national level.
About Kannada movies Dev says, if our own kannadiags dont support the good Kannada movies, then who else is going to watch Kannada movies. He requests Kannadigas to show their support by encouraging good Kannada movies at least.
About Kaveri water dispute : Dev blames Kannadigas themselves for todays situation of begging supreme court to use its own water. Dev says, People from Tanjore , Tamilnadu protested and supported for Kaveri problem even though Kaveri doesnt flow to Tanjore and where as in Karnataka , if there is a problem in Mandya , people in Bangalore and Belgaum wont bother to support the farmers of our own state.
Dev feels that Karnataka is "his parent state" (even though he was born in Tamilnadu), but every time his own "Kannadigas" try to pull him down. Neither these people are doing any good nor are they letting Dev or people like him to do something good.
His feels that he would have been more successful if he was born as a non-Kannadiga.
Dev feels that , the basic problem that is not bringing all Kannadigas on one stage is the "casteism". He requests Kannadigas to unite and support our own Kannada people instead of putting red carpet for outsiders. Its like the third man getting the benefit, between the fight of two Kannadigas. So Devs belief is, instead of giving main priority to the individual groups like Brahmins, Lingayaths or Gowdas, Kannadigas should unite under some common interests of our Karnataka where we can fight for the right cause which will benefit us.
Finally .. : Dev is ready to support any leader from any caste who can work hard to do something good for the Kannada community, to improve the status of Kannada whether in America or in Karnataka. With alternate day of dialysis treatment and with lots of pain and illness, Prabhu Dev is still thinking, worrying , and working about poor Kannadigas who are not uniting for a good cause. But still Dev is trying in his own way to bring up Kannadiags into main focus and his dream is if everyone thinks on his lines, then Karnataka will definitely come up and can fight more efficiently for its issues. He also suggests some groups that by honoring the people with garlands and wasting money on those will not improve Kannadas situation, rather start helping one another and try to show the presence of Kannadigas at key positions which matters a lot when it comes to solving the issues like Kaveri water dispute, nabbing Veerappan etc.
When I asked him about his future ventures for Kannada and Karnataka, he mentioned that he is currently working with the super star of Tamilnadu, Rajanikanths team in uniting the rivers (Ganga Kaveri) to solve the major Kaveri river water sharing problem and he also has some plans for producing a Kannada movie too.
Interview by Lakshmikanth V
A note : Opinions expressed here belong to the author - Editor
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