Published: 02nd January 2019
Want to win Rs 2 lakh? Take up this Kannada priest's English language challenge
Devappa's love for the language had prompted him to make a unique demand when he was in college. He wanted to write his English paper in Kannada script, as was done for Sanskrit exam
A priest from Hubballi has thrown a unique challenge for Kannada buffs ahead of the upcoming Kannada Sahitya Sammelana. Devappa M Vannalli, a priest at Vaishanav Devi temple near KIMS hospital, has promised a reward worth Rs 2 lakh to anyone who makes him utter even a word of English during a conversion. He has not been defeated in the challenge since the 1980s, said the 62-year-old Kannada lover, also known as Devappajjanavar.
Devappa claims he has not used any English word since 1981. According to him, Kannada is facing trouble in its own turf. "There are fewer people in cities who use Kannada in day-to-day work. They either end up speaking English or Hindi," he said, questioning the aversion of people in the state to speak their own language.
Devappa, who received his early education in an English medium school, developed a love for Kannada when he started studying astrology. He then took an oath to speak only in his mother tongue. "Since then I have been conversing in Kannada and trying to tell others to do that as well,” he said. Though he speaks Hindi and a little Russian, people around Devappa have tried and failed to hear any English word from him.
The suggestion to throw a challenge to people to make him speak English came from his friends. "I wanted to tell people that the Kannada language is rich and can be spoken with ease and without using words from English or Hindi. Before the sammelana, I had challenged and announced prize money once in 1981 and later in Ballari in 2013. In 1981, a group of three people, including two journalists, visited my home in the night hours just to check if I say anything in English. Later, I was challenged by a group of people in Ballari. They too lost," he recalled.
P V Bakale, a retired KSRTC employee and a close friend of Devappa, has agreed to give Rs 2 lakh for the challenge announced by him this year. "I have been hearing Devappa speak only in the Kannada language for several years. I appreciate his love for the language and wanted to be part of his challenge," he added.
Devappa's love for the language had prompted him to make a unique demand when he was in college. He wanted to write his English paper in Kannada script, as was done for Sanskrit exam. "The university had no choice but to allow me to write the English paper in Kannada script. The matter had reached the Governor, and was resolved," revealed the Hubballi resident, who hails from Kusugal village.
A father of two daughters, who are now studying engineering and medicine, Devappa also runs a charitable trust involved in social service. He will offer his vehicle for free to pick up and drop visitors at the sammelana.
Those who want to take up Devappa's challenge can reach him on 98806-38208.