Biocon Chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw Says Sorry For Tweet On Kannada Activists Amid Language Row

The government had suggested introducing English in around 1,000 government schools in Karnataka

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Biocon Chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw Says Sorry For Tweet On Kannada Activists Amid Language Row

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw rued that her words were being twisted.


Bengaluru: 

After a war of words on Twitter between Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and the Kannada Development Authority (KDA) over its opposition to the state government's proposal to introduce English medium classes in primary schools, the Biocon chief has apologised.

The government had suggested introducing English medium classes in around 1,000 government schools in Karnataka, but the KDA objected to the idea saying it would threaten the Kannada language.

"If we introduce English medium, it will kill Kannada. If you want to kill a group of people, first kill their language," SG Siddharamaiah, the KDA chief, had said.

Mr Siddharamaiah along with senior Kannada writers met Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy over the weekend and asked him to encourage education in Kannada.

Ms Shaw had tweeted in support of English as a medium of instruction. "Media always portrays a small & insignificant group of naysayers as 'activists' - these r usually attention seeking trouble makers who don't care about education nor employment (sic)," Ms Shaw tweeted on July 7, referring to Kannada Development Authority's stand on the issue.

Her tweet was criticised and in another post she said her words were being twisted.

"Political malcontents r trying to play mischief with my tweets. I have said students shd learn both Kannada and English for good job opportunities. I stand by this for the sake of Karnataka's youth. Please don't twist my comments," she said in a tweet.

Professor Siddaramaiah then wrote to her saying, "I express my deepest sense of anguish on your tweet terming Kannada activists as insignificant naysayers...."

He said the government should encourage the mother tongue and while he felt he did not need to explain these issues to Ms Shaw, he was doing so to instill a sense of responsibility for the future while commenting on major issues.

In her apology to Mr Siddharamaiah, she wrote, "...I hold the Kannada Development Authority in high esteem. I had no intention of hurting your sentiments."

Dr Shaw said she had responded to a newspaper headline and had not registered who had actually met the chief minister to protest against the move.

She added, "I firmly believe Kannada is a rich language which must be given prominence in every way possible to respect our heritage. I apologise if I have unintentionally caused you any anguish."
She tweeted her clarification in Kannada as well.



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