Bengaluru: Colourful rallies, cultural shows and revelry across Karnataka marked the state entering the 61st year on Tuesday.
The day-long celebrations began with the hoisting of the state flag, rendering of the state anthem, parade by the state police, colourful processions and folk dances by troupes in cities and towns across the state by the people, about 500 Kannada organisations, political parties and the state government.
The southern state was carved out on November 1, 1956 by merging the old Mysore region with parts of the Bombay province, Madras Presidency, Hyderabad region and coastal areas and named Mysore. It was renamed Karnataka on November 1, 1973.
“Karnataka has a splendid history of over 2,000 years. With a common language (Kannada), culture and hoary tradition, we are celebrating the diamond jubilee of a unified state,” said a statement by the state information department.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the state government was taking steps to protect and encourage Kannada, the language of the land and its soil.
“Kannada is our mother tongue; it is language of this land and soil. Showing our Kannadiga pride only on November 1 or during this month is not enough, it should be a life-long commitment,” he said at the main function here.
Recalling the state’s united fight on the Cauvery water issue, the chief minister said being in power was not permanent, but the land, water, culture and language of the state were paramount.
“It is our responsibility to protect even at the cost of power and the state government is committed to it,” he asserted.
Addressing a huge gathering at the Kanteerva stadium, the chief minister said Kannadigas felt injustice was being done to them in matters concerning the state’s boundaries, language and water.
“We should not lose patience, harmony and sensitivity. Our stand on making Kannada as the medium of instruction has not changed. We will prevail upon the central government to amend the Constitution to promote our mother tongue,” he reiterated.
At Gadag in the state’s northern region, state Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister K.H. Patil said Kannada language had a rich cultural legacy and retained its uniqueness by adapting to the digital era.
The event was also celebrated with gaiety and fervour at Mysuru, Mangaluru, Hubli-Dharwad, Belagavi, Shimoga, Bellary, Bidar, Kalaburgi and Vijayapura.