There can be no doubt that this university will bring to perspective the vibrant folk culture of Karnataka to the topmost level of visibility among all other cultural forms of Karnataka and bring to fruition the meaningful initiative of the Government of Karnataka. At present in the whole of Asia, this is the only university providing advanced teaching, learning and research opportunities to students of folklore and it has a commitment to excel in translating its vision and mission into reality. Establishment of this university has certainly added a new dimension to higher education in Karnataka, worthy of emulation by other linguistic states of India, as the next frontier of inclusive studies of Kannada culture.
Karnataka is a rich treasure house of Traditional Knowledge. The process of unearthing this knowledge involves collecting data, documenting the knowledge system and understanding the contextual importance of such knowledge sources. This collection, preservation and conservation of Folk elements need highly professional stream of academicians who can transform such thoughts into practices. This is possible only when graduates are produced not only with skills to deal with such material but also, with the right aptitude to do such work. They should admire our culture and heritage first. Therefore, there was a pressing need for establishing a Folklore University to provide an opportunity for Higher Education and also to conduct advanced Research in the field of Folkloristics.
There is an urgent need for exploring the traditional art and cultural glory through research and it is needed to disseminate the abundant skill of specific arts, embedded in the life of the people of our land. There is an ample treasure of knowledge which is yet to be unveiled for the purpose of utilization. At this juncture, the Folklore University is established. The expectation of scholars and folk performers is very high about the functioning of this university. The objectives may be designed by the experts but they express what is ardently desired by the proud people of this land.
It is apt at this moment to recall the great memories of a visionary - the then Rural Development Minister Late. Nazir Sab who understood the pulse of common folk very well. He is an inspiration and root cause for the early efforts to start a special Institute for folklore studies. He directed Late Jee.Sham. Paramashivaiah to submit a proposal for preservation and conservation of Folklore. In that proposal submitted to Govt. of Karnataka, Prof. Jee.Sham. Paramashivaiah mentioned, for the first time, about the need of a Folklore University. The dream visualized by J.S. Paramashivaiah is realized now because of the consistent efforts of many. Shri. Go.Ru. Channabasappa has created a space by bringing enough pressure on ministers who are at the helm of affairs to take the decision of establishing a university for Folklore Studies. This was effectively supported by the efforts of other leaders and senior scholars such as Prof. De.Javare Gowda, Prof. Chandra Shekhar Kambara, Late G. Narayana, Shri T. Kempa Hanumaiah, Prof. D. Lingaiah, Mukhyamantri Chandru and many others.
Shri. Go. Ru. Channabasappa observed closely the efforts and care towards the conservation and preservation of Folk Culture at various institutions at the International level, he has visualized the need for an exclusive university for Folklore Studies. He submitted a proposal to the Government of Karnataka on 18.05.2009. He organized a meeting of experts at Karnataka Folklore Academy, Bangalore. This Committee strongly recommended the establishment of Folklore University. This letter was submitted to the Govt. on 23 rd July 2009. The Govt. of Karnataka highly appreciated the spirit of experts and responded positively and conducted an interactive meeting with experts on 22nd December 2009. The essence of this interactive meeting was reported to the Chief Minister.
Ultimately the then Chief Minister Shri B.S. Yediyurappa considered Folklore University as his dream child and processed positively and thus Karnataka Folklore University is established. The declaration of the establishment of Karnataka Folklore University is announced on 28th September 2010 and the Special Officer is appointed on the same day.
After I assumed the charge as a special officer, a team of experts began to survey the land required for constructing the campus. This team was headed by Shri Go.Ru. Channabasappa, the then chairperson of Karnataka Janapada Academy, and the members are Prof. M.M. Kalburgi, Dr C. Veeranna, Dr Basavaraja Malashetty, and Dr Ramu Mulagi. After the thorough survey, they have identified land near Gotagodi of Shiggaon Taluk in Haveri District which is situated exactly in the Central part of Karnataka. This land had additional facilities such as being near to National Highway, Airport and Railway Station. The land is rich in Ground Water and natural beauty. This place is selected as it reflects the close connections between Folklore and Nature.
Our Traditional lifestyle and rural economy have become destabilised due to the abnormal influences of Industrialization, Liberalization and Globalization. The Tribal and Rural Folklife is losing its cultural roots. This has created an urgency of creating awareness about the traditional knowledge systems to the younger generations and these knowledge systems have to be appropriately applied in the modern perspective so as to uplift their values once again. In this background the decision of establishing a Folklore University under the able advice of Shri Go.Ru. Channabasappa has created a history now. Shri Go.Ru. Channabasappa and his team consistently appraised and convinced the then Chief Minister Shri B.S. Yadiyurappa about the progress in establishing folklore university.
The Hon’ble Ministers of Government of Karnataka Shri Basavaraja Bommai and Shri C.M. Udasi are instrumental in establishing and functioning of this University at Gotagodi. The deep concern shown by Shri Basavaraja Bommai is very deeply appreciated. He has involved himself wholeheartedly on all occasions since the conception of the process of establishing this university, till the land which was selected for this purpose and handed over to the University. This was done in minimum time span, because of the special efforts of Shri Basavaraja Bommai. He wishes this university, which is established in his constituency should grow to the level of an International Institute. The other two personalities to be remembered at this hour of success are Shri Aravinda Limbavali, who is instrumental in conducting important interactive meetings with experts and Late Dr V.S. Acharya who has showered all sorts of affection and extended wholehearted support. He has defined the dream of establishment of a different type of university for folk culture studies in a proper frame of practical thought and helped us by commencing the process of establishing this university with good momentum.
In sum total, the credit of establishing a mono faculty university for Folklore studies goes to Govt. of Karnataka. This is a new inclusion in the series of other mono faculty universities such as Health, Veterinary, Horticulture, Music, Sanskrit etc. Through the establishment of this Folklore University, Govt. of Karnataka has respected the life and culture of the rural agrarian communities, farmers, farm labourers, Shramikas, Dalits, Nomads, Tribal people and all those who have kept alive the folk culture and way of life in various ways. All credit is due to the folk communities for this.