It is our home festival'

Print edition : October 21, 2011

Chief Minister D.V.Sadananda Gowda at the inauguration of the Dasara celebrations on September 28 when Sri Vishvesha Teertha Swamiji of Pejawar Math offered prayers to the godess Chamundeshwari. - M.A. SRIRAM

Interview with Karnataka Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda.

CHIEF Minister D.V Sadananda Gowda took some time off from his busy schedule to speak to Frontline on the Dasara celebrations. Excerpts:

You have called the Mysore Dasara a State festival. What are your government's plans for this year's festivities in Mysore?

Yes, the Mysore Dasara is a State festival. After all, Mysore and Dasara are integral aspects of our country's cultural image. I want the festival to be a clean one. No influence should be exerted in the selection of artists, dancers, etc. There should be utmost transparency in the financial aspects of the festival, with all accounts being placed before the public soon after the functions are over. Also, I would like this year's Dasara to have more traditional aspects to it.

How will this year's celebrations be different from the previous years'?

Every year the people want something new. Even while retaining the traditional aspects, we bring in innovations. For this, we have set up 23 independent committees and deputed nine special officers. The quality of programmes will be very high. Besides, focus will be placed on adequate security measures, cleanliness, accommodation, transportation, etc. We expect around 50 lakh visitors to Mysore during the festival. Of these, 10 to 15 lakh will be present during the famed Jambu Savari. For this, we have allocated Rs.10 crore, of which Rs.6 crore has already been released. Sufficient funds have also been provided to the neighbouring districts of Mandya and Chamarajanagar. Dasara will also be celebrated as a State festival in all district headquarters.

What steps are you taking to promote Brand Mysore?

We need to further publicise the Dasara festival and showcase it to an even larger audience. Also, the planning for the festival needs to improve, and meetings between officials should be organised round the year. We have given the festival ample publicity through the print and electronic media.

For many years now, there has been talk of setting up a separate authority for Dasara. Are you in favour of this?

It is the need of the day. It will certainly be helpful. But before taking a decision, I would like to give it my full thought. I am yet to discuss the proposal with my senior officials. The proposed Dasara authority will have a dedicated set of officials and experts who will plan the flagship festival well in advance.

The authority can also promote tourism. Let us see. But I must admit that elected representatives and officials are already thinking about the next edition Dasara 2012.

There is also a popular demand for more focus on the Dasara at Srirangapatna. After all, it was there that the Wodeyars started the tradition of Dasara 401 years ago.

Yes. We are aware of this. The Dasara in Srirangapatna has not received the kind of attention it deserves. In 2008, when it was revived, the government had sanctioned Rs.1 lakh; that sum went up to Rs.10 lakh the next year and Rs.25 lakh in 2010.

This year the government released Rs.50 lakh to Mandya district to organise it. And we decided to celebrate the Dasara in Srirangapatna in a big way. From September 30 to October 4, the people of Mandya district get an opportunity to watch a variety of programmes, including those organised at Sriranga Vedike at the Ranganatha Temple in Srirangapatna. The idol of the goddess Chamundeshwari will also be taken out in a procession.

The festivities in Srirangapatna this year will be inaugurated by the Kannada writer and Jnanpith Award winner Chandrashekar Kambar.

How has the response been from other political parties to this year's Dasara?

Very good. We have already had high-level meetings with members of political parties, and social and non-governmental organisations. They all agree that it is our home festival. The Maharaja of Mysore will also take part in the festival.

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