Kasaragod: Karnataka chief minister B S Yediyurappa asked his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan to stop changing the names of places in Kasaragod district from Kannada to Malayalam in a letter sent on Monday. Kerala’s government denied reports that it was considering renaming places. Yediyurappa listed the existing Kannada names and the new Malayalam names of the places in his missive.
Kannada-speaking areas of Kasaragod district, including Manjeshwar and Kasaragod, are known for their traditional culture and history, and names of places in Kasaragod and Manjeshwar are associated with immense sentimental values for people. ‘It is astonishing to note that in the recent past local authorities have been seeking to rename some villages without giving the residents a chance to express their views’, wrote Yediyurappa.
‘Change of village names will hurt the feelings of people and their sentiments adversely. This will also destroy Kannada and Tulu cultures that have existed for a long time’, Yediyurappa said. According to him, the act of changing the names of these villages would cause deep anguish among the people living there, and this can affect harmony, comity, and brotherhood among the Kannada and Malayalam-speaking communities. Karnataka’s chief minister pointed out that most existing names were from Kannada and Tulu languages while others had a long history of several centuries.
JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy writes to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan requesting him to halt the process of renaming some villages in Manjeshwar of Kasaragod district, which have Kannada names, to Malayalam "in the name of linguistic harmony and cultural co-existence". pic.twitter.com/DbKtAtJoAZ
— ANI (@ANI) June 28, 2021
As many institutions have expressed concern to the Karnataka Border Area Development Authority (KBADA), he said, ‘I request you to kindly reconsider the proposed decision of changing names of some villages in Kasaragod and Manjeshwara Taluks of Kasaragod district in Kerala state’. In addition, he said that the Kerala government may not intend to change the names of these villages, and that this may be a unilateral decision made by local authorities. Dr. C Somasekhara, chairman of KBADA, had earlier informed Yediyurappa that the Kerala government intended to change the names of some Kerala villages to Malayalam-sounding names.
Aravind Limbavali, Karnataka’s Minister of Forest and Kannada and Culture, also wrote to Yediyurappa regarding the Kerala government’s decision to change the name of border villages in the State from Kannada to Malayalam. ‘We must strongly oppose the move of the Kerala government as an attempt to protect Kannada culture. Since the issue is about emotions of the people and also a sensitive one,’ he said, requesting Yediyurappa to write to the Kerala counterpart and urge him to reverse the decision.
S Suresh Kumar, the minister of primary and secondary education in Karnataka, has also expressed anger over the move. Former Karnataka CM and Janata Dal (S) leader HD Kumaraswamy also wrote to Pinarayi Vijayan, ‘I request that you cease this process in the name of linguistic harmony and cultural harmony. Despite being part of Kerala, Kasaragod has always had a seamless relationship with Karnataka, and its people have always been friendly to one another’.
The Kerala government, however, denied that it was considering renaming some places in the Kasaragod district. M V Govindan Master, the minister for local self-government, denied the reports and said the ruling LDF government had not taken any steps to change the names of any places in Kasaragod district. ‘The news is entirely false. Kerala’s government did not change the names of places’, a senior minister’s office stated. MLA A K M Ashraf also said the names of places will not be changed.