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Daijiworld Media Network – Mangaluru (DV)
Mangaluru, Nov 12: The statue of Dr Ferdinand Kittel was unveiled at the Karnataka Theological College premises here on Saturday, November 12, by Kittel’s great granddaughter Germany Almuth Barbara Eleonore Meyer (Kittel).
After unveiling the statue during the occasion, Almuth Barbara Eleonore Meyer (Kittel) said, “This is a great occasion. We are emotionally connected to this place. This city is really dynamic.”
She also lauded Dr Ferdinand Kittel for his contribution to Kannada language by writing the Kannada-English dictionary and towards Kannada literature.
Speaking on the occasion, Deputy consul general federal Republic of Germany Friedrich Birgelen said, “For the first time I am coming to Mangaluru. I did not know about Kittel, but one day while I was walking on the streets of Bengaluru his statue was decorated and garlanded during the Kannada Rajyotsava. Contribution of Kittel to Kannada is a great legacy. Being a missionary, Kittel has contributed a lot to Kannada. He became a bridge between two countries. His desire to learn the local language, customs and music is laudable.”
Kittel’s great-great grandson Yves Patrick Meyer said Kittel left everything and came to India at the age of 21. “He has contributed a lot to Kannada language. Due to his work he conquered the minds and hearts of people of Karnataka. His entire dictionary of 70,000 words was written with a feather and ink,” he said.
Dignitaries were felicitated during the occasion.
Prof Dr B A Vivek Rai reflected on the life, works and contributions of Dr Ferdinand Kittel.
He also added that a road should be named after Dr Ferdinand Kittel. The government should publish his works in a single volume. After Herman Moglin, Kittel was the second person to obtain a doctorate degree in Kannada.
In his presidential address, principal KJC and secretary KACES Dr HM Watson said, “It is an important day in the history of Mangaluru and the state. We are grateful that descendants of Kittel have arrived to attend the programme from Germany. We are really proud about this. Let Kittel’s works reach the people.”
Former principal KJC, Bishop-KSD Rt Dr CL Furtado, Professor United Theological College, Bengaluru Dr Gudrun Lowner, Kannada scholar A V Navada, opposition leader MCC Corporator Naveen D’Souza, Dakshina Kannada District Kannada Sahitya Parishad MP Sreenath and others were present.
Protestant Christian community is very small in numbers spread across coastal Karnataka & Hubli/Dharwad region., There are many unsung heroes/missionaries need recognition for their contribution.., In fact they are keeping themselves very low profile, highly tolerant, kind, loving & no-nonsense people, silent & content with whatever they have…!!!!, The Missionary legacy to include – M’lore tiles (earlier known as Basel Mission Tiles – embossed words can be seen at St Aloscious college roof tiles)/Basel Mission printing press(which released first kannada news paper in karnataka)/Basel Mission Schools & the famous Clock factory… to name a few…
We Kannadigas need to be grateful for Dr. Kittel, a German for such a zealous, committed dedication to Kannada language. Creating a dictionary is not a small task and takes years of dedication. Karnataka should honor and recognize his works in a more appropriate way, though I doubt whether it will ever happen! However, the works of Dr. Kittel is already recorded in the history all over the world so, it can never be deleted. May God Bless Dr. Kittel and his family for his contribution to mankind in the form of language foundation. I can also attribute Kudos to another missionary who started the first major hospital in Mangalore – Fr. Muller, again from Westphalia, Germany.
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