Dr Patil Puttappa, alias PaPu, veteran of struggles for Kannada language and land, has raised eyebrows by writing a letter to then chief minister Jagadish Shettar in English.
The letter surfaced in a reply from the Assistant Commissioner of Dharwad sub division, to application filed by social activist Chamaraj Bangi under Right To know Information (RTI) Act.
Providing copies to dna, Bangi wondered at PaPu writing a letter in English.
“No doubt, Papu has been leading activist in various social issues, particularly pertaining to Kannada land and language. Being a Kannadiga, I expect Kannada spirit from activists like Papu. I am not against the English language. But I would like to ask what was the necessity to write in English, when it was not necessary while writing it to the chief minister of Karnataka,” he analysed.
Convenor of Karnataka Jan Sahitya Sanghatane and Kannada author Basavaraj Sulibhavi observed that Papu’s contribution to the Kannada land and language could not be denied.
“However, writing a letter in English is unpardonable. It raises doubts about the integrity and moral responsiblity of people who lead movements to protect land, water and language of the state. It would have been acceptable if the letter in English was addressed to persons of other states, non-Kannada person or any foreign embassy offices. PaPu should appologise for this letter so that such move can become a lesson to other pro-Kannada activists,” he said.
Sulibhavi also recalled that PaPu has been exhibiting such “confusion” through out his life of struggles.
“When a question was raised about his grandchildren attending an English medium school, he had tried to explain it away by saying that the decision was taken by his children, and not he,” he recalled.
PaPu, a veteran journalist and a post-graduate from California State University in journalism, was the first president of the Kannada Watchdog Committee in 1985. He has been a pioneer of many pro-Kannada movements like the Karnataka unification movement held in the late 1940s and 1950s and the Gokak movement.
He is also president of the wellknown group of educational institutions, Karnataka Vidyavardhaka Sangha, since 48 years. As the founder-editor of ‘Prapancha’ weekly and ‘Vishwavani’ daily, he is credited with creating awareness about Karnataka and Kannada through his publications. He has also authored a number of books in Kannada.
The letter written by PaPu, in his capacity as president of Gandhi Gram Trust, seeks allocation of 50 acres of government land and release of initial release of Rs10 crore of Rs150 crore reserved for the trust.
PaPu was not available for his comment. Convenor of the trust Umesh Baligar defended PaPu’s action, on the ground that the letter was expected to be forwarded by the state government to the union government.
But Sulibhavi argued that anyone can write letter in Kannada even to union government. “There is a mechanism available to translate any document from any Indian language into English or Hindi,” he added.