ನೀ ಮೆಟ್ಟುವ ನೆಲ ಅದೇ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ,
ನೀನೇರುವ ಮಲೆ ಸಹ್ಯಾದ್ರಿ |
ನೀ ಮುಟ್ಟುವ ಮರ ಶ್ರೀಗಂಧದ ಮರ,
ನೀ ಕುಡಿಯುವ ನೀರ್ ಕಾವೇರಿ ||
Nee Mettuva nela ade Karnataka
Nee Eruva male sahyadri |
Nee Muttuva mara shrigandhada mara
Nee Kudiyuva neer kaveri ||

These lines have been extracted from a poem by Kuvempu, the first ‘Jnanapeetha’ awardee from Karnataka. The meaning of the above stanza is:

“The place that you are standing is Karnataka,
The Mountain that you climb is Sahyadri
The tree that you are touching is Sandalwood
and The water you drink is Kaveri”

Karnataka, the land of opportunity, has been a place where students from across the world come to study/work. They have liked it so much that they have made it their home town, the latest addition to that list being the South African cricketer, AB De Villiers, who admitted that the love he received in Bengaluru was so overwhelming that he feels Bengaluru is his hometown.

We are proud of our hospitality. However, the rapid exodus of people into Bengaluru has changed the ethnic portrait of the city. The city, which was a center of excellence for literary, cultural and traditional practices of Karnataka, has given its native, a sense of alienation. The rationale for the hosts to feel so – The barrier of language and culture!
To overcome this hiccup, many organisations have started taking steps to teach non-localites the local language Kannada and the culture that it proudly inherits from more than a thousand years. In the same spirit, RV College of Engineering started an intra college club called ‘Kannada Sangha’ in the early 2000’s.

Showcase of talent.

Showcase of talent.

Since then, ‘Kannada Sangha’ has been functioning to propagate the richness of the culture and language of Karnataka to thousands of students of RV College of Engineering. Apart from holding competitions to promote participation of students, in every odd semester (from August to December), ‘Kannada Sangha’ organizes ‘Kannada Habba’, a one day festival, under a unique, culturally enriched title. That day is also celebrated as ethnic day where all students come in ethnic attire. An eminent orator of the language is invited to be the guest of honour along with a noted personality from the field of literature, culture or media.
The festival day starts early, with a procession from the administrative block to the venue of the event. The procession is led by the students and faculty, dancing to traditional beats of the State and escorting the guests of honor. The procession takes around 45 mins to cover a distance of 500-750 meters. The gathering is that huge!
Once the procession reaches the venue (which is inside the college) and the crowd settles down, the program begins conventionally. Invocation, followed by lighting of the lamp, welcome address, etc. The orator’s speech that I have heard in all the three years of celebrations of which I have been a part of, till now, have either been very inspiring or very informative or a synergism of both. All the formal events finish by lunch hour and the cultural events by students and faculty start by 2.00 pm after a break. The post lunch session is the most awaited session. 

[I needn’t stress on the fact about how longing any engineering student will be to showcase his extracurricular skills!] The cultural teams in RVCE: ALAAP (The music club), FOOTPRINTS (The dance club) and Kannada CARV (Circle of Acting at RV) preparing for over a month on their shows, would be gearing up to impress the audience with their talent.

Dr. Gururaj Karjagi,eminent speaker and educationist speaking to students of RVCE

Dr. Gururaj Karjagi,eminent speaker and educationist speaking to students of RVCE

ALAAP has been making the audience dance to their music, while FOOTPRINTS is a master at making the audience sing and dance to their beats and movements. The Kannada CARV, famous for its original scripts, puts up a laugh riot every single time. With the moral and financial support that the college and staff provide, these clubs (and many more) have won many awards and have also been recognized at the national and international level.
Performances in the evening by a professional music band is the highlight of the festival where the bands look forward to a crowd full of energy. Few famous personalities that have decorated the stage (and minds of the audience) with their performances have been: The Legendary Singer, late C. Ashwath and team, Sangeetha Katti and her troop, Bhrame (Band), and the list goes on. The day ends with the crowd heading back home, relishing the moments they had and looking forward to next year’s celebration.
It is not just this one day festival that RVCE proudly showcases for their efforts in promoting Kannada culture to non-Kannadigas. RVCE has an audit course in Kannada that all students must clear in partial fulfilment of their degree. There are three levels of the course based on the expertise the student holds in the subject. There are teachers and prescribed textbooks for all the three different levels of the course:

1) Kannada Kali – This course is for people who are new to the state and the language. This course basically teaches them how to converse in Kannada and a little introduction to the state and its culture.
2) Kannada Lipi – This course, aimed at those who know how to talk but not to write, teaches the students how to read and write few basic sentences in Kannada.
3) Kannada Anubhava –This course is aimed at the local students of Karnataka who know how to read and write in Kannada. This course follows a text book that has been formed keeping in mind the amount of expertise they would have gained. It throws light on the works of famous authors and poets and also about how to prepare formal paperwork in Kannada.

All these efforts by RVCE shows how much the institution is determined towards the outreach of Kannada and its culture. It’s an inspirational call to other colleges and universities to do their bit of contribution. After all, they too are being benefitted by the government and people of Karnataka.
My suggestion to all the non-Kannadigas, please make an effort to learn this beautiful language. You’ll love it! You’ll be able to see the amount of bonding you achieve with the state and its citizens. It’s not difficult at all. As one of our legendary poets describe…

“ಸುಲಿದ ಬಾಳೆಯ ಹಣ್ಣಿನಂದದಿ,
ಸಿಗುರು ತೆಗೆದ ಕಬ್ಬಿನಂದದಿ,
ಉಷ್ಣ ಅಳಿದ ಹಾಲಿನಂದದಿ,
ಸುಲಭವಾಗಿರ್ಪ ಲಲಿತವಹ ಕನ್ನಡ ನುಡಿಯಲಿ
ತಿಳಿದು, ತನ್ನೊಳು ತನ್ನ ಮೋಕ್ಷವ
ಗಳಿಸಿಕೊಂಡರೆ ಸಾಲದೇ?”
“sulida baaLeya haNNinandadi,
siguru tegeda kabbinandadi,
ushNa aLida haalinandadi,
sulabhavaagirpa lalitavaha kannaDada nuDiyali
thiLidu, tannoLu tanna mOkshawa
gaLisikonDare saaladE ?”

(Like a peeled banana,
like a skinned sugarcane,
like tepid milk,
is Kannada: easy to use and full of beauty.
And when you can acquire the knowledge of
your own Self, in Kannada language, and attain moksha,
is it not enough? )

– Shubhankar S Kulkarni 

shubhankar-profile-picShubhankar S Kulkarni is an Electrical and Electronics Engineering student of RV College of Engineering. He is a theater person and a Kannada enthusiast. He is also an active member of Kannada CARV at RVCE.