50,000 to attend 2nd World Kannada meet in BelgaumMarch 10th, 2011 - 11:56 pm ICT by IANS
Belgaum, March 10 (IANS) Around 50,000 Kannadigas from across India and around 200 from abroad will gather in this north Karnataka town for three days from Friday for the 2nd World Kannada Sammelana.
Being held 26 years after the first World Kannada Sammelana in Mysore, the three-day event will showcase rich Kannada literature, culture, art, cinema and other aspects of life in the southern state.
N.R. Narayana Murthy, founder and chief mentor of Infosys Technolgies, one of the IT majors that made Bangalore a world-wide brand, will inaugurate the event Friday evening.
Actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will be the chief guest.
The city of Belgaum, abut 500 km from Bangalore, has been decked up for the occasion with yellow and red Kannada flags and buntings.
Belgaum, called Belagavi in Kannada, is famous for ‘Kunda’, a sweet dish made of milk. The town has around 200 ‘Kunda’ making families and they have been busy preparing tonnes of the sweet as almost every visitor the town makes it a point to buy it.
A huge dais of 120ft length and 60ft width has been erected at the Belguam stadium where seating arrangement for 50,000 has been made.
Kannada film industry has shut its shooting and other activities for five days from Thursday to be present in full strength at the Sammelana and entertain the delegates.
The first World Kannada Sammelana, held at Mysore in 1985 was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Inviting Murthy to inaugurate the second Sammelana was opposed by a section of Kannada writers who questioned his contribution to Kannada language and Karnataka itself.
However, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa defended the choice of Murthy saying his contribution to IT sector which has made Bangalore nation’s tech hub and brand across the globe was immense.
Several writers also backed Murthy’s choice pointing out that the Belgaum meet is not a literary convention and the Infosys founder was eminently suited to inaugurate it.
Murthy too told the media that Infosys employs around 55,000 Kananda speakers, out of its total staff strength of around 150,000.
Belgaum borders Maharashtra and has large number of people speaking Marathi. Maharashtra has been staking claim to parts of Marathi-speaking areas in the area and also for Belgaum town.
Karnataka has dismissed the neighbour’s claim saying the issue has been settled by the Mahajan Commission.
The commission headed by the former Chief Justice of India, Mehr Chand Mahajan in its report in August 1967 rejected Maharashtra’s claim to Belgaum. It, however, recommended that several Marathi speaking villages in the district be merged with Maharashtra.
Karnataka asserts that both states were bound by the Mahajan commission report. However, Maharashtra has not agreed and has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking transfer of Belagum.
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