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A periodical that united Kannadigas - Deccan Herald
A periodical that united Kannadigas
N Jagannath Prakash March 21, 2017
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LONG JOURNEY The cover of 'Jeevana Shikshana' periodical.
When the British introduced the modern education system in the late 18th century, there was no scope for learning Kannada in government-run schools. Though there were enough Kannada-speaking areas, primacy to the language was not accorded. There was no separate identity for the region.

This gave rise to a clarion call for the unity of all Kannadigas. Many people worked towards regaining the rightful status to Kannada. One such person who contributed significantly to the unification movement was Channabasappa, an engineering graduate turned government officer. He joined government service and was appointed as the first principal of Government Boys Training College in Dharwad in 1856. After realising that other languages were dominating over Kannada in Kannada-speaking regions, Channabasappa felt the need for Kannada-based education. In order to achieve this goal, he started training teachers.

Later, in 1866, Channabasappa was appointed as the deputy education officer in Dharwad and worked there till his retirement. As a result, he came to be known as Deputy Channabasappa. During his tenure as the deputy education officer, many Kannada medium primary schools were established and promoted. This helped school teachers develop a sense of belonging to Kannada. Later, Dharwad-based Karnataka Vidyavardhaka Sangha, played a pivotal role in the unification of Kannada-speaking regions.

Channabasappa also thought of publishing a periodical in Kannada to make use of the emerging print medium. Hence, he started publishing Math Patrike in 1865. In the later years, the name of the publication changed to suit the needs of changing times. The later names include Math Shala Patraka (1865), Shala Patraka (1866), Kannada Shala Patraka (1871) and Kannada Prathamika Shikshana (1929). Although the name of the periodical kept changing, the publication has sustained for over 150 years now. The periodical came to be known as Jeevana Shikshana in 1956, the year of unification of Karnataka.

The main reason for Channabasappa to launch Jeevana Shikshana was to accord primacy to Kannada. To encourage kids of Karnataka to study in Kannada medium was another major reason. Channabasappa’s vision for Kannada was clear in the first editorial of Math Patrike. The editorial stressed that education in Kannada medium schools should be the basis of the unification of the State. The magazine started off as a handwritten periodical. However, it later adopted improved printing technology from time to time.

Jeevana Shikshana, which has the distinction of being one of the oldest educational magazines in Kannada, also contributed immensely to the overall development of children through a series of efforts. In its early stages, it informed people with the ways to face the influence of other languages. Later, it began concentrating on creating awareness about the language among its readers.

The magazine catered to the overall development of students by dealing with issues like sports, fine arts, science experiments and health. Through its articles, the magazine motivated people who were well-versed in Kannada but were hesitant to talk or write in the language. The magazine also insisted that the teaching community should sign the attendance registry in Kannada.

Jeevana Shikshana, which created a platform for Kannada language development and quality education, has never restricted itself as a educational magazine. It gives an opportunity for children’s to showcase their talents as well. From its humble start, Jeevana Shikshana has come a long way. It is presently published by the Department of Primary and Secondary Education of Karnataka.