BANGALORE:ven after 97 years of its inception no female litterateur has been elected as head of the Kannada Sahithya Parishat (KSP) till date. In the final list of eligible candidates for this year’s elections, there were no mention of women candidates. In 2004, however, Kannada poetess Narayanamma contested the election.
When Express spoke to 79-year-old Narayanamma, she regretted that women are not economically powerful as men.
“When I contested the election against Prof Chandrashekar Patil, popularly known as Champa in literary circle, there were only 40,000 voters. But now there are more than one lakh voters. It is practically impossible to visit all the members but we can write letters to each voter.”
People, who have been members of KSP for more than a year can vote. This year, there are 1,08,028 voters of whom 90,897 are male and the rest 17,131 are women.
Explaining the difficulties Narayanamma said, “A single letter costs around Rs 5 and if I want to send it to all the voters I should invest more than Rs 5 lakhs for the letters excluding the charges of printing and posting it. We should send the letter at least thrice to get the attention of voter, and the cost of sending the letters comes to Rs 20 lakhs.”
She added that the candidate needs to visit all the KSPs across zillas and taluks. According to her, the travel cost will be around Rs 50 lakh for the purpose. When contacted, former president of KSP Nallur Prasad, said “It all lies in the level of efforts and dedication women put in to win elections. It is sad that no women contested the elections this year too. There is a hurdle and women need to fight it.”
However, Prasad denied that economic factors kept women away from elections.
“Money is not at all a problem. There are many women who are economically powerful to fund the expenses of elections. Women who wish to contest should get involved in KSP activities much ahead of elections.” He added that such efforts by women will be encouraged.
There were also voices raised against the KSP condition of allowing women to contest after every three male presidents. Nallur Prasad said he will support such amendments if it helps women to occupy the key-post.