Pics: Umesh Marpalli
Daijiworld Media Network - Udupi (HB)
Udupi, Aug 21: The nation's surviving freedom fighters are without an identity and their legendary past is on the verge of extinction in a few years time. Anything related to freedom struggle will be completely eliminated. This is the worst tragedy that has arisen. Today’s youth has no connection with struggle for freedom. The only place they will find freedom fighters and Toofan Sena will be in their textbook," stated Palagummi Sainath on Sunday August 20 in a lecture on endowment where he spoke on 'The story of rural India in the digital age'. Tallur Nudimala - 2017: Karavali Kattu, Endowment lecture was hosted by Talker Family Trust, Tallur at Town hall Ajjarkad, here.
"We fought for freedom and independence, but achieved only independence. The average national dailies that dedicate their front page to rural India is 0.67%. In the previous year it was 0.26%. 69-70% of the rural population is non existent in media. They are completely marginalized. This kind of progress is dangerous to the country's democracy. The first priority is Delhi and Mumbai, while Kolkatta and Chennai are next in line. Rural India is more complex as there is a lot of diversity, but few people can comprehend it.
"Hindi is not an independent language. Avani Maithili, Bojpuri’s rich culture and 1500 works of literature are clubbed into Hindi making this the most diverse nation in the world. 255 regional (tribal) languages have got destroyed in 50 years."
P Sainath alleged, "Rural India is facing a major deskilling. Traditional Kanchipuram weavers are being trained by the skill training center to be autorickshaw drivers instead of restoring the rich heritage. There is no thought of reviving this vanishing culture.
"Education has become commercialized and privatized. Private institutions charge Rs 10 lac to Rs 22 lac to complete graduation. Inequality can be seen everywhere and is increasing drastically. Many children are without books and necessary learning tools, as they are unable to afford the burden of fees. A poor student expects access to knowledge, textbooks and access culture in the classroom. Nearly 61% of citizens cannot afford textbooks for their children."
Anxious about the fast growth in India Sainath said, "We have an incredible history which is on the ruin. Many common people have made an effort to change society, while still in poverty. Nearly 50.8% of the wealth in India is owned by 1% of the country's population. Bottom 10% has minus zero wealth leading to negative growth in the country.
"One must look beyond poverty level. Karnataka is facing a gigantic water crisis, not just a drought. There is need to understand the average ground water level and how much we are restoring it.
Since 20 years media has become fully commercialized. Very little coverage is given to rural issues. On the other hand publicity on unwanted issues is heavily televised. Channels should hold debates on social evils like in-equality, poverty and illiteracy."
In the interactive session Palagummi Sainath said, "I have no hope in social media. It is just a tool for exchange of ideas and is not at all a life transforming forum. The monopoly is destroying media. Digital media is the greatest monopoly.
Government hospital management is handled by the private sector. Health sector has become a panic sector today. Expenditure is extremely high and this sector is undergoing a total mess. The nation will pay for not building a public health service.
Magsaysay awardee Palagummi Sainath released the book ‘Nunnanna Betta’ written by Rajaram Tallur.
Senior journalists Nagesh Hegde, Dr Narayana A, senior journalist G N Mohan and economist and writer Prof M S Sriram were present at the interaction sessions.