This is in response to the well-meaning advice of Dr. Nataraj for energizing the AKKA function. I would like to address the ten points proposed by him. I was the President of Vidyaranya Kannada Kuta in Chicago and a member of the by-law committee of AKKA to draft the Amended Constitution and hence am fairly familiar with the Organization.
I agree that there is no need for anyone in Karnataka to worry about the status of AKKA here. We are all fully capable of resolving any differences and move forward.
As far as arranging press conferences in Karnataka, I dont see anything wrong. We want our people back home to know what we as Kannadigas are doing for Kannada and Karnataka here. This is all the more important for the proposed AKKA Charitable Foundation, which needs the input from various non-profit organizations and dedicated volunteers there.
He has said all Presidents of Kannada Kutas should be involved. We amended the Constitution of AKKA to include all Presidents of Kannada Kutas as Directors and they have a majority in the Board. In effect, they have a big say in the Organization. The amendments were approved with a majority. Please visit AKKAonlne.org to read the amended Constitution. As in any Democratic organization, we can amend this any time, if need be.
I agree there is no need for anyone in Karnataka to influence our activities here and I can assure you that is the goal of the Organization.
AKKA does not expect any financial aid nor seek the same from Karnataka Government. However, when we invite them, it is upto them to send the Artists, Politicians, etc. We have no control over that process and we should not expect that either.
We cannot just invite the CM. What if he is unable to come? Also, there is a Minister for Culture and it is only appropriate we invite that person also.
AKKA spends quite a bit of money on the invited Artists. We dont spend money on the Govt. sponsored Artists. As a matter of fact, the registration fees do not cover all the expenses of the convention. Invariably, we need $50-$80 per person additional amount to meet the expenses and that is when the generous donors pitch in. This has been the experience of all the National level Organizations that I know of. As far as local talent is concerned, some of them are good but as our experiences in the individual Kannada Kutas have shown, we do need professionals to attract a large number of audience.
Conducting the Conventions in an orderly and timely fashion goes without saying. The Houston Sammelana was outstanding in this area. We need to learn from them and conduct our future Conventions to emulate Houston experience. I am sure the Organizers of the Orlando Convention are very cognizant of this.
I have no idea how donating to AKKA benefits the donors personally. It is only fair that we honor them for their generous donations. I dont know of anyone who has donated large sums and benefited from AKKA. I do agree that donors should not be encouraged to use AKKA for personal gains and that is why the Board of Directors is there to see that things are under control.
The last point was debated quite a bit while proposing the amendments. That is why, the Board has the majority control with the Kannada Kuta Presidents. The reason paid members become important is they provide the money for the running expenses, they donate generously, they are normally very interested in financially supporting Kannada literature, Arts, etc and hence they should have a voice. Although Kannada Kuta Presidents represent Kannada Kutas, how are we sure the are voicing the majority opinion? The present Constitution is an attempt to balance both the view points.
Hope Dr. Nataraj is assured that AKKA is in tune with the direction suggested by him and his points have been already thought over, implemented or in the process of implementation. Thank you.
- M. Jayaram, Chicago