Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

Kannadigarella ondaagi Kannadavannu ulisona, kalisona and belesona

Gokak varadi and Dr. Rajkumar:Kannada needs another CHALUVALI


Gokak varadi and Dr. Rajkumar

The “Gokak report” popularly known as “Gokak varadi” was about making Kannada a compulsary language for primary education. Considering that the language is spoken by a majority of people in Karnataka, the Gokak movement’s goal was to give Kannada the same basic right already enjoyed by other official languages in their respective states of India. When the Kannada literary experts and students started this movement there was a popular positive response from the common man in Karnataka. It gained momentum when Rajkumar was asked to lead the movement. He became actively involved in the movement and soon became the force behind the Gokak movement that was designed to bring Kannada to the forefront. He took a rally from Belgaum to Bangalore and gave speeches about the importance of Kannada. The government responded positively and Kannada was to become a compulsary language of education in Karnataka. Ensuring respect and dignity for Kannada language and Kannada culture were the corner stones of his life.

When he played activist
The historic Gokak movement saw Rajkumar take an activist�s stand in public life. �I am ready for any sacrifice for the sake of Kannada land and language,� he declared, and stood by his words too.

To trace the time-line: It is nearly 25 years since the Gokak movement. Rajkumar himself had recently crossed 50 years in cinema. The man and the movement are both a memory now.

Kannada Sahitya Parishat President Prof Chandrashekar Patil who was alongside Rajkumar during the Gokak movement told Deccan Herald that the movement took the proportion of a �people�s movement� only after Rajkumar joined in. He explained thus:

On April 2, 1982, the Jail Bharo andolan had begun under the leadership of senior litterateur Shambha Joshi. Writers like Kuvempu, Masti Venkatesh Iyengar, Dr. Shivaram Karanth were asked to join in but they refused. Rajkumar was in Madras then; we made an appeal to him through the media. His ready response in support appeared in the newspapers the very next day. His statement from Madras said that he would give up his all for the sake of Kannada and would fight for it no matter what form the fight might take. It was a verbal stroke that absorbed him into the cause entirely. Later on, he travelled all over the State with the other leaders enlisting support for the movement.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr. _Rajkumar


Gokak agitation


Dr.Rajkumar in a speech during Gokak agitation

Dr.Rajkumar in a speech during Gokak agitation

Gokak agitation (Kannada: ಗೋಕಾಕ್ ಚಳುವಳಿ) was a successful language rights agitation in the 1980s that fought for the first language status of the Kannada language in the state of Karnataka.

It was named after the committee headed by V. K. Gokak that had recommended giving primacy to Kannada in State schools. The actor Rajkumar led the campaign.


Karnataka had adopted Three language formula for education in schools since the linguistic reorganization of states in 1956. Strong opposition to Hindi was witnessed in the 1960s and ’70s, leading to Kannada speakers leaning towards English. It was also felt that Kannada faced threat from Sanskrit, which was the dominant language in schools, leading to a situation where students could complete their high school education without having to study Kannada. This created a wide incompatibility between languages used for state administration and education. [1]

This led to a linguistic movement against retaining Sanskrit as the first language in School education. The movement was initiated and supported by political parties, groups of Kannada teachers, students, college and university professors, literary critics, playwrights, and creative writers. This made the government rethink about the language policy for school education and constituted a committee on July 5, 1980 with Prof. V.K. Gokak as the Chairman.

Gokak Report

V.K. Gokak, the former Vice-Chancellor of Karnataka University , also now one of the Jnanpith awardees, headed the committee appointed by the Government of Karnataka to analyse and study the linguistic issues that were raised regarding the importance of various languages, including the state language Kannada and other languages such as English, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil and Urdu. The report given by the committee recommended that the Governement provide first language status to Kannada and also demanded the primary facilities that the language needed at the time.

The agitation and campaign

There was opposition to the Gokak Report from several sectors of the public, which included minorities from various non-Kannada speaking groups. The Government had not passed any ruling or announcement, even after the report was officially submitted by the committee. This resulted in minor protests from various men of letters, writers, and some pro-Kannada, pro-Karnataka organizations. The response from the public was moderate and there were no signs from the Government that it intended to implement the recommendations made by the Gokak committee.

Dr. Rajkumar’s leadership

Various personalities from Kannada literature world including Chandrashekhar Patil, approached and requested Rajkumar, an icon of the Kannada film industry, to participate in the agitation along with the other major artists from the industry. Rajkumar accepted to participate, and soon the entire Kannada film industry stopped its film-making activity, and started in state-wide rallies and speeches. With Dr. Rajkumar’s leadership, the agitation gained a very strong momentum and there was a drastic change in the response from the general public of Karnataka state. People from all over the state, started participating in the various gatherings, and speeches. The topics such as, importance of the Kannada as the mother-tongue, and importance of having the primary education including the learning of Kannada language were talked in detail in all those speeches.

Government’s response to the agitation

The Government of Karnataka, headed by the then Chief Minister, R. Gundu Rao, responded to the seriousness of the agitation, which had gained significant momentum after Rajkumar had taken leadership of the agitation. It announced that it accepted the report submitted by the Gokak Committee and would ensure all the primary facilities that the language Kannada deserves as the mother tongue of the local people as well as the official language of the state of Karnataka.

Further reading

  • B. Mallikarjun, Language policy for education in Indian states: Karnataka, in Language in India, Vol.2: 9 December 2002 accessed at [1] Feb 20, 2007
  • K.N. Harikumar, Language and democracy, article in Deccan Herald, April 5, 1982 accessed at kannadasaahithya.com Feb 20, 2007

July 21, 2007 - Posted by | BENDRE, GOKAK


  1. thank u for ur information….

    Comment by SHIVA.MS | September 19, 2010 | Reply

  2. Aaa.. Dinagalu suverna dinagalu
    jai V K gokak

    Comment by Sharathbabu | January 18, 2013 | Reply


    Comment by SMITHA CARDOZA | December 31, 2014 | Reply


    Comment by SMITHA CARDOZA | December 31, 2014 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: