Multi-lingual city welcomes Kannada meet with an open heart

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Cultural troupes performing during a colourful procession at the 82nd Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelan in Raichur on Friday.

Expression of joy of having such a meet after 60 years evident

Residents of the multi-lingual city, Raichur, welcomed with an open heart the all India Kannada Sahitya Sammelan that celebrates the strides made in Kannada literature over the years and examines cultural and social issues. The sammelan that began Friday would end on Sunday evening.

Though Kannada Sahitya Parishat, the pan-Karnataka cultural institution is 101 years old, the sammelan is in its 82nd edition, as the practice of holding such annual congregations was started 19 years after the parishat was founded in 1915.

The three-day literary festival would have sessions on various issues and lectures on issues concerning the State and its language, including border and river water sharing disputes. A bouquet of cultural programmes would be held in the evenings.

The expression of joy of having a sammelan in the city after 60 years was evident. Artists seemed to have taken over the Raichur-Kalaburagi Main Road that passes through the city. Worli-style paintings with white designs over brown backgrounds had been painted on all compounds and buildings on both sides of the road. Plastic posters with such paintings, inviting delegates to the city, were hung from prominent places.

A colourful procession marked the beginning of the literary festival. It seemed that the city was draped in yellow and red, the colours of the Kannada flag. Sammelan president Bargur Ramachandrappa and Kannada Sahitya Parishat president Manu Baligar rode on a horse-drawn carriage. Members of the parishat’s Raichur unit threw flowers at the guests when the procession began at the Karnataka Sangha Circle.

A 3,350-ft yellow and red flag was part of the procession. Over 2,000 school and college students were holding the flag prepared by the Taranath Education Society.

Dollu Kunita seems to have caught the fancy of the women’s art groups. The number of such teams participating in sammelans has increased over the years. The home-bred Spoorthi Kala Sangha team from Sindhanur led the procession. Molagu Mahila Kala Tanda from Heggodu attracted the crowd with the its loud beats and agile moves. Savitha, a mother of two from Mandya, demonstrated her dancing skills carrying the Nandi Dhwaja. Men and women from Vamshika Arts in Guruvayanakere got inside huge mannequins and danced to the amusement of children. The Kala Bhairaveshwara Puja Kunita team from Mandya performed daring stunts carrying long poles tied to their waist.

There were pop musicians too. Boys from the Lagori drummers team from Mysuru fused folk and rock music. A van carrying heavy duty speakers forced the audience to dance to Kannada film songs.

But the best tunes came out of teams of unsophisticated artists form the hinterland. Mallappa from Maindaragi in Solapur in Maharashtra led a Goravara Hadu team. Bheema Raya Dondgad who was leading the Charma Vadya team from Jewargi played rare beats when he stopped to perform at junctions. Beeralingeshwar Dollu Kunita team from Kalaburagi did not seem to lose its energy even after the four-hour procession. Members of the Sri Siddharoodha cart wheel drummers from Sulla in Dharwad district made the difficult art of playing on moving cartwheels seem easy. The multi-lingual district seemed happy to host the Kannada meet.

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